The Role of a Drum Technician: What Does a Drum Tech Do?

What Does a Drum Tech Do

The concept of a drum technician has been around for a while, and drummers who work as one make a world of difference in a big touring setup. 

In this short guide, I’ll explain exactly what a drum technician is. I’ll break down what their roles are, and I’ll offer a few insights into how helpful a drum tech can be. 

If you have any burning drum tech questions, they’ll all be answered here! 

What is a Drum Technician?

A drum technician is essentially a hands-on assistant for a drummer who is touring with a big act. The drum technician performs a number of roles to offload the amount of work that the drummer has to do. 

A good drum technician will allow the drummer to arrive at a sound check, test the drum kit out, and play the gig. The drummer doesn’t need to worry about any of the logistics, which include maintaining gear, setting up and packing down, and tuning. 

Drum techs are the unsung heroes of the touring world, as many of the biggest bands in the world wouldn’t be running as smoothly on stage without them. 

Who Uses Drum Technicians?

Who uses a drum technician

You’ll mostly see drummers who play with big artists use drum techs. The larger the scale of a show, the more a drum tech is needed. 

You’ll rarely see drum technicians working with drummers who play in smaller venues, as they won’t really be needed in that sort of setting.

Basically, the more famous a drummer is, the more likely they are to have a drum tech that sorts all their gear out for shows. 

I heard Mike Portnoy mention on his Drumeo appearance how he’s been working with the same drum tech for years. Someone like Mike Portnoy would definitely need one, considering he plays on massive drum setups in front of thousands of people. 

Roles of a Drum Technician

Ordering Gear

Most professional drummers who utilize drum techs are endorsed by different drum and cymbal companies. One of the roles of a drum tech is to communicate with the artist relations manager of each company to ensure that the drummer gets all the gear he needs. 

When a band tours different places, the drum tech will source the gear from whichever town the band is performing in. 

They’ll also order gear to keep with them in tour buses. This role also involves maintaining all the inventory. The drum tech needs to know exactly what they have and what they may need. 

Setting Up Gear

This is another huge role of a drum tech. It’s their job to set the drum set up before the drummer gets on stage. 

The drum tech will know exactly what configuration the drummer likes, and he’ll make sure that it’s the same setup on every new stage the band performs on. 

Drum techs often map this all out so that the setup is very quick. They’re the ones who unload the drum gear and put it all together. 

This also involves tuning the drums and getting new drumheads if necessary. I’ve heard that with some very high-tier bands, the drum techs will replace all the heads before every single show. 

If there is anything missing, it’s the drum tech’s job to sort it out. 

Sound Checking

Roles of a Drum Technician - sound checking

Drum techs are typically pretty good drummers themselves. So, they’ll do a preliminary sound check on the kit before the drummer arrives.

The drummer will need to do their own sound check, as the sound engineer will need to get a feel for how they sound, but the preliminary sound check from the tech will make things go a lot quicker and smoother. 

This is where they can test lines and make sure that everything is working. He can also play the drum set to ensure that it’s set up how the main drummer likes it. 

Being Hands-On During Shows

If you’ve ever been in the gigging world, you know that a lot can go wrong on stage. For drummers, a drum tech will be standing just off stage to put out any fires that may ignite. 

If a cymbal cracks, the drum tech will be there to replace it as quickly as possible. If a line cuts out, the drum tech will communicate with the drummer and then relay that to the sound engineer. 

I saw a video a while ago of Clay Aeschliman playing with Polyphia. His click track stopped working, so his drum tech tapped out the tempo on his leg as he finished playing the rest of the song. It was a crazy site to see, but it showed just how important drum technicians are in big gigging environments. 

Packing Up Gear

Packing Up Gear

The last thing that drum techs are responsible for is packing up all of the drum gear after the show. While this seems quite standard, the trick is to pack everything efficiently so that it’s all quick to set up again. 

So, every drum tech has an elaborate system where they load gear in the most optimized way for whatever band they’re touring with. 

Arriving at a venue and setting up for a gig is always a rushed experience, so the drum tech needs to ensure that all the drum gear is set and ready to go. 

They’ll often mark out spots on a drum rug to ensure that the stands are all placed in the perfect position. When they pack everything down, those marked spots will still be there for the next show. 


I’ve always loved the idea of having a drum technician. I also think that becoming a drum tech is a fantastic way for drummers to tour without having the stress of actually playing. You may not be the best drummer in the world, but you can still tour with one of the best bands in the world to help their drummer out. 

As I said earlier, drum technicians are the unsung heroes of the music industry, and there are so many out there that have contributed a lot to the success of top artists.

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