Drum Setup

Every drummer sets up their drums differently to suit their physiology, style of music and personal preferences. These are some general guidelines to help you get started. They are written for a right-handed setup.

Snare Drum

The snare drum is the center piece of the drum kit. Position the snare drum directly in front of you between your legs, at a distance where the tip of your drum stick tip reaches the center of the head with your arms relaxed. The top of the snare drum should be slightly above your knees and tilted towards you slightly. The old timers tilt the snare drum to the right since this is how it was played in marching bands.


Position the bass drum so that the pedal is in line with your right foot when you sit at the drums. Position the hi-hat pedal in line with your left foot. Position the pedals roughly symmetrically about the snare drum so that you can sit comfortably with both feet resting on the pedals. Sit at a distance where your feet are slightly in front of your knees so that your shins are not quite vertical.

Tom Toms

Place the high tom in front of the snare drum, the floor tom on your right and the medium tom in between. The floor tom should be at the same height as your snare drum and the bass drum pedal should be halfway between them. All the toms should be tilted towards you.

The toms should be as close together as possible (about an inch apart) and as close to the level of the snare drum as possible (as much as the bass drum will allow). This will allow you to move around the drums as fast and efficiently as possible.


Position the hi-hat to the left of the snare drum. It should be high enough above the snare drum for you to play the hi-hat with your right stick crossed over your left without them clashing. Open the hi-hat about an inch by adjusting the hi-hat clutch.

Adjust the screw underneath the hi-hat so that bottom hi-hat is slightly tilted. This ensures that the hi-hat produces a crisp "chick" sound when played with your foot. It also lets the hi-hats touch loosely when you play open hi-hat. If the hi-hats are parallel they'll trap air when they're played with your foot, which mutes the sound.


Cymbals should be close enough to reach comfortably while not blocking any drums. Position the crash cymbal in front of the snare drum and the ride cymbal to your right above the floor tom or medium tom. You can add other cymbals as required. Position cymbals so that they don't hit other cymbals, drums or hardware when they swing.


Wider positioned legs are more stable than narrow legs. For the stand to be as sturdy as possible, adjust the legs so that the legs and the struts form equilateral triangles. If your cymbal stand has a boom arm, position the boom arm over one of the stand legs for maximum stability.