How to set up a drum kit

Billy Cunningham

December 18, 2018

Welcome to this Christmas edition of the SDS Blog. I get asked many questions related to setting up a drums or fixing certain parts of the kit so I thought this month some of my students may be receiving a drum kit at Christmas time, I thought this might make a nice feature and hopefully be of some help to you.

Setting up a drum kit

First of all this Blog will be demonstrating/explaining how to set up drums based on the presumption that the drumheads are already fitted to the drums and are ready to be assembled. Sometimes when you buy a new drum kit the entire kit needs to be assembled including the drumheads. I have a separate video on how to fit/change a drumhead, see below.

Check the kit

First of all it’s a good idea to check you have all the correct parts of the kit before you put the kit together. This may vary from kit to kit but essentially you should have the following:

  • Snare Drum
  • High Tom
  • Medium Tom
  • Floor Tom
  • Bass Drum
  • Hi-hat Cymbals (top and bottom)
  • Crash Cymbal
  • Ride Cymbal (some new kits only come with a crash cymbal)
  • Hi-hat stand
  • Snare stand
  • Cymbal stands (one for the Crash, one for the Ride)
  • Stool

Assembling the drum kit

So then you are ready to put the kit together. See the video below for more details but the following is a recommended guideline to assembling the drums:

  1. Position bass drum to where you want to set the kit up. Bring out the bass drum spurs (spikes) and fit the bass drum pedal.
  2. Position the drum stool. Your knees should be below your hips and lower leg slightly slopping away from you when your foot is on the bass drum pedal. Also your body should be facing the front, slightly left of centre.
  3. Set up the snare drum stand and open out the tripod frame on top for the snare drum to be fitted. Fit the snare drum on to the tripod frame.
  4. Install tom holder(s) into the bass drum. Fit the high tom and medium tom. Adjust the toms to a comfortable angle and position depending on what is comfortable for you.
  5. Install the floor tom legs to the floor tom and position just below the medium tom.
  6. Install the hi-hat stand and fit the hi-hat cymbals.
  7. Extend the cymbal stands to the correct height and fit cymbals.


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So I hope that this has been of some help in learning how to set up a drum kit. Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!