How to Understand the Parts of a Drum SetQuestions and AnswersChoosing and purchasing a new drum set can be an expensive and daunting endeavor. Drum sets are offered in different sizes and configurations depending on the musical style played; in addition, choosing the right cymbals to pair with a drum set is crucial. If you are new to drums and want to learn your way around a drum set, you should begin by examining the role of each component individually. Learning how to understand the parts of a drum set will help you in choosing your first kit.StepsImage titled Play the Snare Drum Intro1Familiarize yourself with the snare drum. The snare drum is perhaps the most important drum in any drum set. It is a rather shallow drum fitted with a set of tightened wires underneath the resonant head; this gives it its signature "crack" sound. In nearly any musical style, the snare drum is played on the back beats (beats 2 and 4 in a 4/4 time signature).Image titled Become a Good Metal Drummer Step 32Examine the uses of the bass drum. The bass drum, often called a kick drum, fits hand-in-glove with the snare drum. The bass drum has a large diameter, most commonly 22 inches (56 cm), and thus has a deep, resounding sound. It is played with the drummer's right foot using a pedal. It is often played on the upbeats (beat 1 and 3 in a 4/4 time signature) to balance the snare drum back beat.Image titled Understand the Parts of a Drum Set Step 33Get to know the hi-hat cymbals. If you could only choose 3 components for an extremely basic drum set, the best choices would be a snare drum, bass drum, and a pair of hi-hat cymbals. The hi-hats are played in eighth- and sixteenth-note patterns to fill in the drum groove of nearly any kind of music. They can be closed and opened using a foot pedal located under the drummer's left foot.Image titled Understand the Parts of a Drum Set Step 44Acquaint yourself with the ride cymbal. The ride cymbal is the largest cymbal in a drum set, usually with a diameter between 20 and 22 inches (50 - 56 cm). It is the next most important component after the snare, bass, and hi-hat. Ride cymbals are used for the same eighth- and sixteenth-note patterns as the hi-hat, but provide a more sustained, "washy" sound. Ride cymbal patterns are especially prevalent in jazz drumming.Image titled Understand the Parts of a Drum Set Step 55Introduce yourself to crash and splash cymbals. Crash cymbals are smaller than ride cymbals, usually boasting a diameter between 15 and 18 inches (38 - 45 cm). Splash cymbals are even smaller and higher in pitch, with diameters ranging from 6 inches to 14 inches (15 - 35 cm). These cymbals are usually struck on their edge, providing a loud, piercing impact that is ideal for ending drum fills.Image titled Understand the Parts of a Drum Set Step 66Familiarize yourself with the toms. The remaining drums in a drum set are called toms or tom-toms. These drums do not have snare wires underneath them, and so provide a more mellow sound than the snare drum. Toms can be mounted over the bass drum or supported on a set of adjustable legs. They are most often used in drum fills, but can also form crucial parts of the groove in Latin American and Afro-Cuban drum patterns.