Setting up your drum throne height correctly has major benefits on your playing and overall health. With drums being such a physical instrument, the way you sit can impact how well you play.
I learned the hard way how important ergonomics are, and having an ideal throne height can save you from years of back problems.
Here’s a quick guide on how to set an ideal drum throne height. I’ll explain all the how to do it, as well as why you need to do it in a certain way.
- Foot Technique
- Drum and Cymbal Height
- How High Should Your Drum Throne Be?
- Advantages of a Higher Drum Throne Height
- How to Adjust the Height of a Drum Throne
- Tips for Setting Drum Throne Height
- Experimentation is Important
One key element that establishes how high to set your throne is what bass drum technique you use.
If you prefer playing heel down, you don’t need to raise your throne as high. If you keep your heel up, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable with more height.
I’m a drummer who believes you should always keep your throne on the higher side, but having it too high will make playing with your heel down feel a bit uncomfortable.
With your heel up, more height will stop you from needing to lift your thigh up and down, and you can utilize gravity to get easy notes in.
Drum and Cymbal Height
Another aspect of establishing your setup is considering how high you want all your drums and cymbals to be raised.
However, I recommend setting your drum throne, snare drum, and bass drum up first. It’s more important to get those set up ergonomically before worrying about the other drums.
You can then set your drums and cymbals up based on how high you have your drum throne positioned.
Everything should be easily reachable, and having your drum throne positioned high will make that easier to achieve.
How High Should Your Drum Throne Be?
By now you would’ve realized that my big recommendation is to set your drum throne high. But just how high should you be setting it up?
The best way to establish the correct drum throne height is by looking at the angle of your leg that plays the bass drum. If your leg is resting at a 90-degree angle, it means that your drum throne is too low. Your thigh should always be slanting down so that you don’t need to lift your entire leg to play the bass drum.
The same thing applies to your other leg that will be playing the hi-hat pedal.
If your leg is at any angle more than 90 degrees, you should be good. However, there’s also the potential to sit too high. If you’re almost standing while on your drum throne, that’s probably too high.
Most thrones don’t go that high, though, so that’s less of a worry. While there’s no set perfect drum throne height, these are all just things you should keep in mind.
Advantages of a Higher Drum Throne Height
- Improved Posture: Sitting higher on the drum throne promotes an upright and neutral spine alignment, which in turn reduces the risk of lower back strain.
- Reduced Leg Fatigue: Sitting too low naturally pushes the thigh higher, putting more stress on the thighs and causing leg fatigue, particularly during extended playing sessions.
- Enhanced Blood Flow: The elevated seating position helps maintain healthy leg circulation, preventing numbness or discomfort in the legs and enhancing overall comfort.
- Improved Reach: A higher throne allows for easier access to higher or more distant components of the drum set, facilitating more comfortable and less strenuous playing without overreaching.
- Better Visual Perspective: Sitting at a higher vantage point provides a superior view of the entire drum kit and the stage, enhancing coordination and awareness during performances.
How to Adjust the Height of a Drum Throne
Every drum throne has two points of adjustment. The first is at the legs, and the second is at the main height adjustment mechanism.
When you set the legs up, make sure that they’re open enough to create a stable base. Just don’t open them too far apart, as that will drop the overall height of the drum throne.
The middle of a drum throne will have one of several height adjustment designs. These include hydraulic mechanisms, spindle mechanisms, and standard wingnut pieces.
With all these designs, you loosen something to raise the height and then tighten that thing to lock the height in place.
Tips for Setting Drum Throne Height
Check Your Posture
Having good posture is essential to preventing drumming injuries. So, you should make sure that your throne height ensures that you’re sitting straight.
It’s a good idea to play drums in front of a mirror to keep checking yourself. If you don’t have a mirror, you can record yourself playing.
When I used to do this, I’d have great posture for the first few minutes and then my back would start to round as time went on. So, constantly check yourself!
If your back keeps rounding, it may be because you’re sitting too high.
Get a Good Drum Throne
If you have a cheap drum throne, constantly adjusting the height will be very frustrating. I’ve used so many cheap drum thrones that made it very difficult to get the right height.
This made me realize that owning a high-end drum throne is one of the best investments you can make as a drummer.
It will ensure that you feel comfortable when you play, and it will be easy to adjust so that your posture is good.
After using good drum thrones for years, sitting on a cheap one feels similar to sitting on a cardboard box.
Focus on What Muscles You’re Using When Playing
Playing drums is all about utilizing your muscles in the most optimal way to create endurance and comfort.
Focus on what muscles your legs are using when thinking about throne height. If you’re constantly using your hip flexors to lift your legs to play the pedals, it means your drum throne is positioned far too low. This will also hurt your lower back.
If your arms are getting sore from lifting them to play cymbals, you may need to lower your cymbals. You may also need to raise the drum throne a bit higher.
Experimentation is Important
My final tip for getting an ideal throne height is to keep trying different things. You should always be sitting high, but how high depends entirely on your preferences and playing style.
Some drummers love to position their toms at flat angles. They need to have their drum thrones higher than usual so that playing those toms feels comfortable.
Other drummers prefer angled toms and low cymbals. They’d need to sit a bit lower to make that setup feel comfortable.
Setting up a drum throne seems like a relatively small part of establishing a drum kit setup, but it’s arguably the most important.
If you’re feeling comfortable on your throne, playing the drums will feel a lot better. You’ll also be able to play certain pedal techniques a lot easier!