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Guest Blog Post by Drum Helper
Lots of drummers are all too happy to play without much consideration for proper drumming posture. After all, it’s not as much fun to take a sensible and well thought out approach before wailing away at the drums!
However, it is very important. This is because injury prevention is the single best way to ensure you remain healthy, fit and active. Improper posture can cause back injuries, hypertension and poor mobility.
Not only is it important for promoting positive physical health, but also for improving performance. Playing the drums with correct form and posture will allow a drummer to play with greater fluidity and exercise better control behind the drum set.
Being able to play the drums comfortably will translate to how you perform for each rehearsal and performance.
The foundation of correct drumming posture lies with the drum throne and the height it is set at.
Drum Throne Height
This is the most overlooked aspect of maintaining a good drumming posture, and I see far too many drummers sitting at an incorrect height (in correlation to their own frame) whilst playing the drums.
The drum throne is required to be positioned according to a drummer’s own height. This means if you are 6 foot you will position yourself much higher than someone who is only 5 foot 5. Drum thrones have a large range of height adjustment so don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you.
Frequently I see tall drummers sitting far too low down and because their legs are far more extended out and then find themselves having to reach further to play the toms and cymbals within the drum set.
As a general rule, you will want to have your knees sloping downwards at a slight angle. You will want your spine and lower back sitting above your knees. So this means avoiding having a 90-degree angle for your legs.
Being sat at the correct height means you can also comfortably reach all the drum set components whilst conserving energy.
Once the drum throne is a correct height, the pedals will be required to be positioned to exactly where the feet fall naturally. And the batter head of the snare drum should sitting around 1 or 2 inches above the knees.
Invest in a Supportive Drum Throne
Good quality drum thrones offer superior comfort and support to cheaper alternatives. Quality thrones feature high-density foam cushions that support weight evenly and retain its original mass and shape for years without warping, breaking, or become uneven over time.
The base of a good quality drum throne is far more stable compared to cheaper drum thrones and this is vital for good posture. Cheap stools wobble and make a drummer unbalanced and unstable around the pelvis area and this can pose a huge risk to injury.
There are high quality drum thrones available to suit all different levels of budgets. Even if you have a small budget, there are supportive and comfortable options to choose from.
Drum Throne Height Adjustment
Drum thrones across the board will all feature different height adjustment mechanisms to raise and lower the height of the stool accordingly. Here are the various types of height adjustment mechanisms found in drum thrones:
Nut & Bolt-Lock (Avoid)
This is a mechanism exclusively found in insufficient, low quality thrones that are to be avoided at all cost. Every single cheap stool will use this type of height adjustment and you can guarantee it will wobble and break. They provide terrible posture and have very limited height options.
Sliding Tube & Memory Lock:
This type of mechanical height adjustment is fairly straightforward. It’s the same as found in cymbal stands. You are easily able to loosen a clutch that rests underneath the seat and you are able to slide up or down the metal tube to your desired height.
The threaded spindle adjustment is a popular mechanism for drum thrones. It is very simple to use, you are able to adjust the height with a single hand by spinning the seat top either clockwise or anticlockwise depending on if you would like to raise or lower the height. This is the easiest and most popular mechanism offering unlimited height adjustment.
A drum throne and its settings are sadly a very overlooked aspect of drumming that is, in my opinion, essential to allow a drummer to play at his best. And perhaps more importantly minimizing the risk of injury caused by poor posture.
Good drum thrones offer a wide range of adjustment, so I would encourage you to experiment with heights and seeing what works best. I find that more often than not the problems are with drummers sitting too low down as opposed to being higher up.
When raising the height of a drum throne you will also be required to raise the height of the drum set components including snare drum, hi hats and cymbals so you aren’t stooping lower to have to reach them.
I have personally found that sitting higher has improved my playing, allowed me to be more relaxed and has put less stress on my legs and shoulders.
And of course, develop good habits by remembering to sit up straight with your shoulders held back and relax your arms whilst you play.
Gideon Waxman is a London based drummer with over 13 years experience, and is the drummer of metal outfit Familiar Spirit. You can find more of his tips at Drum Helper – a free online resource dedicated to helping drummers achieve more from their playing.