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Percussion Instruments 101: The Drum Set from Rock Band to a Real Band

English: Dixon double bass drum pedal Русский:...
English: Dixon double bass drum pedal Русский: Двойная педаль бас-барабана Dixon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The recent surge in drum set popularity can be slightly attributed to video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, which allow even music novices to perform like pro drum set players on their favorite music tunes. Before you make the transition from a video game drum set controller to a real drum set, you need to know what makes up a real drum set.

While your drum set will reflect your personal tastes, the type of music you plan to play, and your budget, each drum set shares a few common components. A standard drum set will have a snare drum, a bass drum, high hat, toms, cymbals, bass pedal, and all of the necessary hardware to keep your drum set together. Other things may be added to the drum set, like a cowbell, a drum set tambourine, extra toms, a heavy floor tom, extra cymbals, wind chimes, or even a gong. I even had one drum set where I substituted the snare drum with a djembe for a music gig.

The snare drum gets its name from the spiraling snares on the underside of the drum. These snares vibrate, creating the characteristic snare drum sound. The snare drum can have a variety of casings and can vary in the amount of muffling it has. You will need to own a drum key to tune your snare drum regularly and to adjust your toms, as well.

Toms are simple drums, most often with only one head. They come in a variety of sizes. The smaller the size of the tom, the higher the pitch of the drum. A floor tom is a deep tom, often located to the drum set player's right side and set up on its own "legs".

Cymbals are kept on cymbal stands and vary according to music style, drum set player preference, and budget. Most drum sets will have at least one ride cymbal and one crash cymbal.

The high hat stand goes to the left of the drum set player and holds two small high hat cymbals suspended edge to edge. A pedal, attached by a chain, pulls on the top cymbal, creating that suction "chick" sound. The high hat usually remains in closed position during much of a music gig, although the drum set player may opt to open and close the high hat for accents, a more driving rhythm, or complex rhythmic patterns.

The bass drum size will vary according to the style of music you play and your own personal tastes. The amount of muffling you choose will depend on the performance venue and the music style. A bass drum pedal is placed under your right foot. When sitting on a drum set, the player will have the left foot on the high hat pedal, will be straddling the snare drum, and have the bass drum pedal under the right foot. In a double bass pedal set up, the second pedal will be next to the left foot. The drum set player will have to alternate between playing the high hat and the extra bass pedal. Often, the drum set player will keep the high hat closed throughout and only use the double bass pedal with their feet.

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