five piece drumset
Snare Drum, Hi-hat, Bass Drum, Floor Tom, Hi-Tom

When starting out, most drummers (and parents) don’t know what is included in the setup of the five piece drum set. The most common configuration for a drum kit used in rock and pop music is the five-piece drum set, the number five referring to the number of drums in the kit (snare drum, bass drum, two high toms, and a floor tom). Along with the five drums, there are usually two cymbals and a hi-hat stand. There are many different set-ups for drum kits, but the standard is the five-piece.

In addition to the five piece drum kit, most drummers require other drum and percussion accessories.

The drum that is most used is the snare drum. It is the most prominent and loudest of the drums. This is because metal wires (called snares) are stretched across the bottom drum-head, rattling when the top drum-head is struck. A snare drum used in a drum kit usually measures 13 or 14 inches in diameter. Besides striking the drum-head, many players will click the rim with their sticks. This is called a rim-shot. Snare drums are also widely used in marching bands.

The second most used drum is the bass drum, or kick drum. The bass drum sits on the floor and is struck with a foot-operated pedal. Its primary function is to keep time; unlike the other drums, it does not have a set pitch. Bass drums vary in size, but the general measurement is 20 inches in diameter. In most cases, the bass drum also has brackets on top of it used for mounting tom-toms. Bass drums are used in marching bands, mounted on the player’s back and struck with mallets. Unlike the bass drum used in a drum kit, marching bass drums are usually tuned to a specific pitch.

The other three drums are called tom-toms, with two different varieties found on a standard five-piece kit. The first are called rack toms, and they are usually mounted on top of the bass drum using brackets. Sometimes, rack toms are mounted on their own stand separate from the bass drum, although this is rare. Rack toms generally measure 10, 12, or 13 inches in diameter, although there are both smaller and larger measurements available. The second variety is the floor tom, mounted upright on the floor, often measuring between 14 and 18 inches in diameter.

Another standard component of all drum kits is the hi-hat, a pair of cymbals (usually 14 inches in diameter) that can be clicked together using a foot pedal. Much like the bass drum, hi-hats are used for timekeeping. Opening the cymbals produces a rattling effect that is used a lot in rock and punk music. Similarly, the ride cymbal (usually around 20 inches) is also used to keep time; sometimes the bell of the cymbal is struck to create a distinct and pitched tone. Another popular type of cymbal is the crash cymbal, which is frequently used for accents rather than timekeeping.

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