All you need to know about Drums

What are drums made of?

A ring called the hoop is used to attach the head to the shell, and the tuning bolts are tightened to tighten the head. The hoop is supported by the lug, and the hoop and lug are attached using a tuning bolt. Long ago, animal skins were used as drum heads, but now drum heads are primarily made of plastic. Basically, when the tension on the head is higher, the tone is higher, and when the tension is lower, the tone is lower.
The tom-tom has the simplest structure of all the drums, and there are two types: those with heads on one side and those with heads on both sides. It is possible to play a melody with a series of 10'', 12'', 14'', and 16'' tom-toms with their heads properly tuned. When used as part of a drum kit, they are usually attached to the top of the bass drum or to an 

The bass drum has heads on both sides of the drum, and the drum is placed on its side and is beaten with a foot-operated pedal. By the way, about the time that Dee Dee Chandler conceived of the drum kit in New Orleans about 1900, a foot pedal seems to have already been attached to the bass drum.

Some bass drums have a hole in the front head (the head that is not struck by the pedal). This hole serves to amplify the attack of the tone when the drum is struck. The hole is often found in rock drum kits because this attack is preferred, while it is not found often in jazz drum kits, because it is not desirable in that musical genre. Heads with holes can be purchased, but it is not uncommon for drummers to cut a hole in an existing head with a box cutter. This practice is said to have started in recording studios, where a cymbal was place on the head and used as a template to cut out the hole. Microphones were inserted into this hole to get a better recording. 

The shell also has small holes in it, called air holes or vent holes, and this bass drum has five such air holes. Without these holes, the drum has a muffled sound. An additional function of these holes is to limit the backlash on the foot that is created when the drum is struck and the opposite head bulges out and snaps back. In other words, providing a way for the air to escape creates a better tone and is easier to play.
The floor tom, tom-toms, and snare drum also have air holes. The larger the volume of the drum, the more air holes there are.

Finally, we address the snare drum. The snare consists of pieces of curled wire that reverberate. The snare is stretched across the bottom head and is held in place by the strainer on both ends. A lever is used to tighten the snare so that it is right up against the bottom head, and when the top head is struck, the snare makes a sharp rasping sound. The bottom head is thinner than the upper head to improve the response of the snare.

Snare drum shells are made out of metal as well as wood, and they have different timbres. Wooden shells have a warmer tone, while metal shells have a brighter tone. The type of wood used also affects the tone, and of the metal drums, brass has a brighter and richer tone than steel, while aluminum is known for its sharp, tight tone. This difference might be difficult to detect on a website, but the difference is unmistakable when listening to them live.The larger drums are typically made of wood, while the snare comes in different materials to suit different tastes.

The birth of the drum

Beating on things to produce a sound, and through that sound express various emotions, is said to have begun in the early stages of human development, where people stomped on the ground or beat their own bodies.
Producing sounds by beating things served not just as accompaniment to dancing but also as a means of communicating with other people over long distances. It has also been used effectively to move the hearts and minds of people, such as in religious ceremonies. A wide variety of percussion instruments were created for these different purposes, and they have been developed and improved over the years.

At the end of the nineteenth century, the snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, and other percussion instruments were first gathered into a "drum kit" that could be played by one person. The man attributed with starting this evolution is said to be a snare drummer named Dee Dee Chandler. Chandler became popular when he devised a way to play the bass drum by stepping on a pedal with his right foot, while at the same time playing the snare drum. Rhythm sections up to that point were made up of several people, but with Chandler's idea, this number could be reduced, which, in the end, was an incredibly important development.

The evolution of the foot pedal

In the early days of the foot pedal, there was one type in which the beater was attached to the top of the bass drum rim (the frame that attaches the skin of the drum, called the head, to the body, called the shell), and another type in which the beater was attached to the bottom of the rim, as they are in today's drum kits. The pedals were made of wood and were not spring loaded, so the beater had to be returned to the ready position using the foot. The spring return mechanism of today's pedals was introduced in 1910. In 1934, ball bearings were added to create a smoother pedal action, and in 1950, the spring was built into the frame, improving the look and allowing for finer adjustment of the foot pedal, improvements that many drummers supported.
The next big improvement was the chain-driven pedal. Near the end of the 1970s, a craftsman at a drum store in New York removed the pedal's drive mechanism and replaced it with gears and a chain taken from a bicycle. Prior to that, there were pedals with metal parts connecting the drive mechanism, and those that used a belt made of nylon or other material. The former were said to have a "quick response," while the latter were said to have a little "play" in them. The chain drive combined the best aspects of these two approaches to create a robust pedal that quickly gained wide acceptance.
The hi-hat taps out 8-beat and 16-beat rhythms clearly, and sets the rhythm of music along with the snare drum and bass drum. However, the emergence of the hi-hat is surprisingly recent, and the hi-hat as we know it today was invented around 1930.
The original hi-hat consisted of two small cymbals attached to two boards, one on top of the other, joined with a hinge. The upper board was attached to the foot with a strap like a sandal, which made it look like a snowshoe, and thus it was called "the snowshoe." When famous jazz drummer Baby Dodds was playing on a Mississippi riverboat, he tapped the floor with his left foot in tempo with the music, and seeing this, an enthusiastic fan fashioned a device that enabled him to clash two cymbals together using a foot pedal, which is said to be the beginning of the development of the hi-hat.

How sound is produced

Striking the head of the drum changes its shape and compresses the air inside the shell. The compressed air presses on the bottom head and changes its shape. Then, these changes are transmitted to the drum shell and reflected back, and this action is repeated, creating a vibration. These vibrations of the top and bottom heads create vibrations in the air, which become sound, and eventually, as the head vibrations are dampened, the sound diminishes.
"Drum tuning" does not mean tuning the drum to a pitch like "C" or "D" but rather to the drum's resonant frequency or a certain tone preferred by the drummer. If the tightness of the head is not uniform, the tone of the drum will change depending on where the drum is struck, and it will be a muddy tone at that. Thus, the drum head must be tightened so as to produce the same tone when struck in different places.
The top head and bottom heads are also tuned to different tensions. If both the top and bottom heads are given the same tension, the sustain of the tone is long, but the volume is low. If this condition is changed, however, the drum becomes louder. In addition, if the bottom head is tighter than the top head, it becomes louder, and the tone rings longer. However, if the bottom head is looser, the tone does not ring so long, and the tone is flatter. The greater the difference in tension between the two heads, the greater the change in tone.

It is also important to tune the drums to one another. For example, if the tom-toms are close in tone, the sound will be unclear, and so these drums are generally tuned to different tones. Percussion instruments do not have the clarity of pitch found in the wind and stringed instruments, but the more drums there are, the more important tuning is to creating a smooth, pleasing sound. Several tom-toms are sometimes tuned to a musical scale and used to play a melody.
The tone, sustain, and projection of a drum is affected by the shape of the shell.
The primary role of the drum is to resonate with the vibration of the head. The larger the volume of the resonating body, the lower the characteristic frequency, and the easier it is to resonate in the lower frequency band, while the smaller the volume, the easier it is to resonate in the higher frequency band. In other words, the larger the diameter, or the deeper the shell, the thicker and heavier the tone, and the smaller or shallower the shell, the brighter and lighter the tone.
Drummers select drums with certain diameters or depths to match the style of music they perform, and they tune the drum heads to their liking to express a rainbow of tonal qualities in their music.

The basic position

Place the right foot on the bass drum pedal and the left foot on the hi-hat pedal. Each hand holds a stick, and the left hand plays the snare drum, while the right hand is used to strike the hi-hat. This is the basic position. The foundation of the rhythm is created by the snare and the bass drum, and the hi-hat rides on top of this as filler.
Drum music also uses five-line staves, with cymbals indicated with an "X" and drums indicated with a dot. However, there is no clear standard for associating the lines on the staff with a particular drum tone, and so the drum played for a given note varies with each person. The configuration of a drum kit also varies from person to person, and so each person looks at the score and decides for themselves which notes correspond to which drums. When the rhythm pattern changes and the score only contains the instruction "fill in," the drummer must improvise a fill. More roughly composed work might have only the term "bossa nova" and a squiggly line, at which point the drummer is supposed to play whatever bossa nova rhythm he knows.

The basics of tuning

Proper use of the tuning bolts is very important. First, tighten all bolts by hand as much as possible, and then use the tuning key to tighten a bolt and the bolt opposite to it, then moving to the next bolt. For drums with ten bolts, they would be tightened in the following order, which has the benefit of avoiding wrinkles, ensuring that the head is evenly tightened, to produce a uniform tone from all areas of its surface.

Choosing drumsticks

To choose the right drumsticks for you, take the thinnest stick and wave it around, then take the fattest and wave it around. Now, try gradually thinner sticks, and take the fattest one that is also easy to wave. This is a good way to choose drumsticks.
The fatter the stick, the heavier and louder it sounds. If you feel that the tone of your current drumsticks lacks punch, try fatter drumsticks. The model number of the standard size drumstick at Yamaha is 7A.

The tip at the end of the stick is the part that comes into direct contact with the cymbal and so has a major impact on the tone.
There are two broad categories for tips: round tips (photo 1, right) and diamond tips (photo 2, top and center). Round tips strike the drum with the same surface area regardless of the angle of the stick, so the same sound is produced each time. Beginners do not usually have a steady stroke, so a round tip helps to smooth out their sound.
In contrast, with diamond tips, drummers can create different nuances by altering the angle of the stick and thus the surface area of the stick tip that contacts the drum head. For example, striking a cymbal with the tip of the stick produces a slightly lighter tone. Acoustic jazz and similar musical genres demand a more delicate and varied expression, which the diamond-tip drumstick provides.
In addition to the shape of the tip, the material it is made of also affects the tone.
Recently, there are even tips made of plastic (photo 1, top and center). Plastic is harder than wood, so the attack is stronger, and it produces a harder, cleaner tone. You could even say that it is more suitable for rock music. Sometimes drummers turn the drumsticks around and play with the other end (photo 2, bottom). The larger, heavier portion of the stick strikes the head, making a thicker, bigger sound. Sometimes, they reverse only the stick in the left hand, which plays the snare. Please have a listen.

The proper way to play the drums is to increase power to the stick at the moment of impact, rather than gripping the stick with a strong grip the entire time. That is why drumsticks often suddenly and unexpectedly fly out of the drummer's hand during a performance. Even professional drummers can be seen losing drumsticks in the middle of a concert. Thus, the best we can do is to try not to lose the drumsticks.

In fact, there are several ingeniously simple tools to help keep drumsticks in your hands where they should be. We discuss two of them below.
The most popular product is grip tape, like that used on the handle of a tennis racket. Grip tape conforms to the shape of your hand immediately, and it only needs to be wrapped around the shaft, so it is very easy to use.

Drumstick wax is another way to prevent slippage. Products such as Zildjian's Drumstick Wax are solid waxes that come in cans and are rubbed onto the shaft of the drumstick. It is very easy to use and very effective.

Choosing a practice pad

There are a bewildering number of different practice pads available at the local music store, which could be a bit daunting for the novice.
There are three broad categories of practice pad based on their shape: those with stands, those with a pad only, and all others. Of these three, those with stands are the best. Why are these best? Those with stands can be played while sitting in a seat so that you can move your feet as if playing a hi-hat and bass drum, which is ideal. This type of practice pad has an attractive price as well.

The most popular practice pad with stand is the Yamaha Training Pad TS01S, which has a rubber batter head. The stand and pad do not require any assembly, and you can start practicing on a firm foundation immediately. It is relatively inexpensive, but it is sturdy and has a good feel, and it is one of the most widely-used practice pads of its kind.