Drum set hardware may not be exciting, but you won't get very far without it! This article will help you identify essential hardware items, understand some key features and functions, and tell you some important things to look out for.
Before we dive in, don't forget that there are two excellent resources to help navigate the weird and wonderful world of drum set terminology. First, our glossary and also our book, The Ultimate Survival Guide for Beginner Drummers, which is available to purchase on Kindle, or as a free download with all plans.
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1. Drum sets need pedals and stands.
For the most part, drum hardware refers to the stands and pedals essential to your drum set. As a new drummer, you will need stands for your cymbals and snare drum, a hi-hat stand, and a bass drum pedal. Most importantly (yet so often forgotten), a comfortable and height-adjustable seat is an essential purchase.
Above. Simon explains the contents of a Yamaha 700 Series hardware pack in the video, How Do I Assemble a Drum Set? Fast forward to 8:21 for the low-down.
2. Sometimes, hardware is not included in your purchase.
Do you remember the feeling you got when someone kindly gifted you an electronic gadget, only to find out that the batteries are not included? Well, multiply that by a hundred, and that's how you'll feel when you rush to set up your gleaming new drum set, and you find out that you are going to be sitting on the floor, guru style, with a collection of floor drums and cymbals. While most starter drum set packages come with a hardware set, intermediate and professional level drums mostly do not. Check the fine details of product descriptions carefully, and remember that a "shell pack" refers to the drums only, not the hardware.
3. Electronic drums are not immune to this issue!
We're in the digital age, and electronic drums are a great way to get started on your drumming journey. Most entry-level electronic drum sets have a clever little rack system that holds most of the drums and cymbals, but be careful. Many do not include a bass drum pedal or a seat, and higher-end products may also require a separate hi-hat stand and snare drum stand as well. Again, check the product descriptions closely, and ask questions if you are unsure. Most online stores have a Live-Chat feature nowadays, like the one you see in the bottom right of your screen now. Good retailers offer "bundles" that include all of the essentials.
4. Hardware packs are available and can be of great value.
If your drums do not come with hardware, searching for "hardware packs" or "hardware sets" online will get you to the options you need. Most packs include a hi-hat stand, a snare drum stand, and at least two cymbal stands. Some have bass drum pedals, but again, check closely. Seats are rarely included in hardware packs, so a search for "drum seat" or "drum throne" will point you in the right direction. Here are a couple of extra nuggets on cymbal stands: Firstly, make sure that you get enough for the number of cymbals you have on your set. Some cymbal packs come with extra or free cymbals, which are not much use if you don't have a stand to mount them on. Secondly, cymbal stands can be straight (meaning just a plain old upright stand), and some are called "boom cymbal stands," which have a fancy arm on the top to help give you better positioning.
5. Drum hardware can also have another meaning.
Over the years, rightly or wrongly, the good folk in professional drum land sometimes refer to the fittings of the actual drums (tension bolts, rims, lugs, etc.) as "drum hardware." So let's say you have a drum set with brass fittings. You might describe that as "brass hardware." Nowadays, it's not unusual to see brass, gold, black, nickel, white, and other fancy fittings on drums. Chrome is still the overwhelming leader and most common on starter drum sets. But, to be clear, when 99% of people are discussing "hardware," they are mostly referring to stands and pedals, and not the fittings on the actual drum shells.
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