Tech Tip:Drum Set Assembly 101

Now that Christmas is over and the bicycles have been put together, the new clothes have all been worn and the chocolate-covered cherries have been eaten, it's time to put together the drum kit you bought for Junior.



Getting familiar with the kit
There are many different drum set combinations, the most common being the 5-piece kit. We will be assembling a kit consisting of these shell components:


1 - 16" x 22" Bass Drum 1 - 10" x 12" Ride Tom 1 - 11" x 13" Ride Tom 1 - 16" x 16" Floor Tom 1 - 5.5" x 14" Snare Drum


And these hardware components: 1 - Bass Drum Pedal 1 - Snare Drum Stand 1 - Hi-Hat Stand 2 - Tom Holders 3 - Floor Tom Legs 2 - Cymbal stands (one straight and one boom)


Let's Begin


Start with the bass drum. Locate the bass drum hoops, which are the largest of the hoops, and are usually the same color as the drum kit. You will also need to find the hoop claws and the longest lugs in the bag of misc. hardware you received with the kit. You should have 16 of each (eight for each hoop). Set the bass drum so it is flat on the floor. A determination will need to be made as to which is the front head and which is the "batter side" head. Most drum kits will have the manufacturer's logo on one of the heads, which goes on the front of the drum. Determining the front of the bass drum is much easier. The side closest to the bass drum legs (or spurs) is the front.


Place one of the small washers on each of the long lugs and insert through the hole in the claw. They will only work one way, so try one before you put them all together. There are usually 8 lugs per side, so place the correct head on the drum, place the hoop on the head (it should fit on the outer rim of the head) and hang the claws on the hoop, threading them into the bridge lugs on the drum. Finger-tighten the head, turn the bass drum over and repeat. NOTE: Oftentimes a small pillow placed in the bass drum removes over-ring and adds punch.


Next—the toms. Locate the smallest of the toms and find the two heads and two chrome hoops that are the same size. 12 short lugs and 12 washers will be necessary for this drum kit. Place the head on the drum and the hoop on the head, lining up the holes in the hoop with the bridge lugs on the drum. Place a washer on each lug, insert through the hole, and thread into the bridge lugs. Finger-tighten only. Turn drum over and repeat. Note: Sometimes a top and bottom (batter head and bottom head) will be sent. The bottom head will always be thinner, usually transparent.


Using the same technique to assemble the other ride tom and floor tom, we should have all of the drums with heads. If the snare drum is not assembled, use the same technique for it as well.


Let's put it all together


Again let's start with the bass drum. Set the drum so that the two spurs are close to the ground and the chrome mount located near the middle of the drum is pointing up. Set the legs so that they are holding the bass drum securely, and not able to rock sideways (as if rolling). Firmly tighten the spurs.


Find the two tom holders in the package of tubular hardware. Each of these should fit into one of the holes in the top of the bass drum. Insert them one at a time, and point them out, so you can slide the toms on without banging them into one another. As for the correct position, there is no right or wrong way to set them up. You will need to try different ways to find what works for you.


The floor tom is next. You will notice about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom that the floor tom has three chrome mounts. These are the leg mounts, and you will find three steel legs in the hardware box. They are approximately 18"-24" in length and have an odd bend at one end with a rubber foot. Insert these into the assemblies and adjust to a comfortable height.


The snare drum stand is the stand with the shortest legs, and it will have a set of three "arms" which when folded down securely hold the snare drum. It will have a large adjustable nut under the basket, which you will use to tighten the three arms to hold the bottom of the snare. Another knob will let you adjust the height of the snare to a comfortable position. The third adjustment is the angle adjustment. It adjusts the angle of the snare drum. Again, adjust it for comfort.


The bass drum pedal attaches directly to the bass drum hoop on the back side. Attach it and lock it down securely with the adjustment knob.


The hi-hat stand may be in three pieces: a smaller solid shaft threaded at one end, a tubular piece with the cymbal cup, and the tripod stand with the pedal. The smaller shaft threads into the nut on the stand assembly, then the tubular piece slides over the shaft, and into the stand assembly. A felt washer goes into the cymbal cup, and the cymbal clutch tightens with a wing nut to the shaft.


This leaves the two cymbal stands, which both use the same size tripod base. The straight stand will be in two or three telescopic sections, and the boom stand will have an additional piece with a hinge in the center that allows you to place your cymbal closer to the drums.


Remember that the important thing is to HAVE FUN! There is no right or wrong way to set your kit up. Try different things and HAVE FUN!


Stay tuned for tuning tips.