It's most likely the least "cool" part of the drum set, but playing the drums is impossible without a good set of hardware. So what is it, and why is it sometimes not even included in a drum set purchase? To add to the confusion, the term "drum hardware" can refer to two very different things. Fear not. At Drum Ambition, we like to break things down to the manageable and understandable, so we've added this topic to our 5 Essential Facts series.
Before we dive-in, don't forget that there are two very good resources to help navigate the weird and wonderful world of drum set terminology - our glossary, and (shameless plug) our book, The Ultimate Survival Guide for Beginner Drummers - available on Kindle.
1. Drum sets need pedals and stands.
For the most part, drum hardware refers to the stands and pedals that are an essential part of your drum set. As a new drummer, you are going to 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. Whereas 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.
Other helpful articles in the "5 Essential Facts" Series.
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 the majority of the drums and cymbals, but be careful. Many do not include a bass drum pedal, none include 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, and these are worth looking out for.
4. Hardware packs are available, and can be great value.
In the event that 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, 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. A couple of extra nuggets on cymbal stands. Firstly, make sure that you are getting enough for the number of cymbals you have on your set. Some cymbal packs come with extra, or free cymbals, which are not much good 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.
Remember at the start when we said that the term "drum hardware" can refer to two different things? Well, 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 (as this author unashamedly did in the late 1990's), 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.
If you have any questions on this article, please feel free to email me: [email protected].