Types of Drums: The Complete Guide

If you were a fan of these musical instruments, chances are, you’ve gathered a bit of knowledge about what makes up a drum it. The world of percussions and drums is gigantic, and it’s an extremely interesting base for exploration. The list of types of drums is long and diverse, and this piece describes each and every one.

Apart from educating you on the topic, the point of this article is to capture your interest, and hopefully encourage you to leave your shell and add newer sounds to your drumming journey.

You can also read: How to Play the Snare Drum?

Types of Drum Sets

Let’s start with all the drum sets that are available in the market.

Acoustic Drum Set

You probably already know about these drum sets. Even if you’re not sure about the exact names, you’ve seen them being used on various occasions. But there are tons of differentiations in configuration and size.

  • Rock/Power: These sets usually include 12”, 13”, and 16” toms, as well as a 22” x 18” bass drum. The size of the snare might vary, but it generally ranges between 5 ½” or 6” x 14”. They produce a deeper, more voluminous tone due to their bigger sizes.
  • Fusion: Generally, these sets are sized 10”, 12”, or 14” toms, paired with a bass of 20” or 22” 18”. Although they’re not as “powerful” or “loud” as their rock-theme counterparts, they still allow a conveniently quicker play thanks to their heightened response.
  • Jazz drums: Jazz drums are naturally light and quick, with toms the same diameters as fusion toms. However, the depths are shallower and the drums are smaller in size, typically 18” x 14”.

Some of the best-known brands include Yamaha, Pearl, Gretsch, Sonor, Ludwig, Mapex, Tama, Crush, DW, Pacific, and OCDP. You can also choose between several configuration variants.

  • Electronic and Virtual Drum Kits: Electronic drum sets open you up to a world with indefinite sonic options. They have only gotten more advanced over the years. You get a vast range of sounds with sample. In addition, you can tap into percussion and more. In range, these kits are available from very basic to advanced. They are also compatible with interactive apps and software to provide everything, starting tutorials to sound packs.
  • Triggers: It would be wrong to mention types of drums and not include the power of triggering, which lets you experience the resonance and feel on your acoustic kit coupled with that of V-kit by including triggers. These triggers touch the drums’ head and transmit signals to the brain (module) to put in some sonic capabilities. They can be especially useful in live applications or recording to clarify and enhance your sound, or to include backing tracks.
  • Auxiliary Drum Sets: These drums aren’t for the faint of heart as they will include elements from the entire spectrum: bells, triangles, blocks, chimes, drums, and much more. Auxiliary drum sets can be used by both bands and soloists, often paired with another drum set.

Types of Hand Drums

Like the name suggests, you use your hands to play hand drums. With that said, some pair well with tippers or mallets. These diverse additions come from all around the world; each kind of hand drum exudes a unique patter and requires a different playing technique.

  • Bongos: Bongo drums come with Afro-Cuba origins, are small in size, and often played to the beats of the congas. Bilinguals have an advantage when pronouncing their names are concerned. The larger drum is referred to as the “hembra” while the smaller one is called “macho.”
  • Congs: These Cuban long drums are played in a combined set of 2 or 3. They are available in three sizes: small – quinto, medium – congra/tres dos, and large – tumba.
  • Tabla: These Indian drums can be played with the heels of your hands coupled with the fingertips. Tablas are small drums made of wood, while the metal drum, dagga, is their larger counterpart.

Frame Drums

Frame drums are a pretty big family, with sub-types of drums from all over the globe.

  • Pandeiro: Pandeiro is a Brazilian instrument you have to play with your palms, fingers, and thumbs on the head, paired with the thumbs/fingers on its platinelas, or, jingles.
  • Bodhran: This Celtic/Irish frame drum is hand-playable, or it can be played with a bunch of different beaters – called tippers. Bondhran drums might or might not allow tuning.
  • Tambourine: These bear many resemblances to the pandeiro and reign from various regions. Tambourines features small jingles termed as zils. People might just be limiting the range of this type of drum.

A tambourine may or may not be tunable, and may or may not have heads. They can have single to double rows of zils.

  • Goblet Drums: Goblet drums derive their names from their particular shape. A dabuka, a drum hailing from the Middle East, is an example.

African Drums

Last but not the least, let’s talk about African drums.

  • Djembe: Rooted in West Africa, the djembe is one of the most popular hand drums. Traditionally, it was rope-tuned but has now become available in westernized, mechanically tuned versions as well. They might feature shaved or unshaved goatskin heads, or synthetic heads.
  • Udu: Udu, a clay-based drum comes from Nigeria. Variations of these drums might feature one or two chambers.

To play this one, use your fingers or its body, or strike the bigger hole using your palm.

  • Talking Drum: Place the talking drum under your arm and pinch the rope alongside hitting the drum. You can use a striker to change the pitch.

A few more African drums to look into include the bendir, dunun, bougarabou, and junjung.

Final Thoughts

We have covered multiple types of drums, but interestingly enough, we have only managed to scratch the surface of the wonderful land of percussion instruments. There’s something made to fit the taste of every aspiring musician; from hand drums to drum sets. Which one is your personal favorite?

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