Double bass drum kits are probably best known for the heavy sound they lend to rock and metal. But besides providing heavy metal-inspired drum rolls, they can also liven up beats and fill in all kinds of music, from Latin to jazz. In return for their versatility, double bass drum kits take some getting used to. Adding a whole new drum takes space away from other drums and cymbals. At the same time, you must learn to use other parts of your kit differently, because both feet are occupied by the bass drum pedals. For these reasons, it’s important to know how to position the double bass drums strategically.
Setting Up a Double Bass Drum Kit
Set up the two bass drums in front of the drum throne. Sit on the throne and spread your knees so your legs are in a V shape. Position a drum in front of each knee and place the pedals where your feet will fall naturally in this position. You can choose to space the bass drums evenly in front of you, or place one drum directly in front of you with the other off to the left and angled 45 degrees or so away from you.
Place the snare drum in its stand and position it comfortably between your legs, behind the bass drums.
Put the hi-hat cymbal in its stand and position it to the left of the leftmost bass drum.
Set up the tom-toms. Place the floor tom on your right side, close to the right bass drum. Choose from three methods for setting up mounted toms. Method 1: Mount two toms on each bass drum using your hardware. Method 2: Mount one tom on each bass drum and mount up to two additional toms on a stand in between the bass drums. Method 3: Mount as many toms as you want on a rack placed in front of the kit.
Attach your other desired cymbals to their stands. Position the ride cymbal beyond the left-mounted toms, making sure it is within your reach. Place crash cymbals beyond the right toms.
Test out the kit and make any necessary adjustments. For example, you may wish to substitute one of the toms for a cymbal you often use, yet have difficulty reaching with the double bass drums. Shift the drums and cymbals around until they feel comfortable. Keep in mind that all drummers are different; there is no right way to set up a drum kit. Find the positioning that is most comfortable for you.
You can purchase a double bass pedal to achieve the sound of a double bass kit without the need for two drums. However, you will still need to use both feet to operate the pedal’s two beaters. Because the hi-hat will be harder to reach, it might be easier to play open-handed (rather than crossing your arms, you will play the hi-hat with your left hand and the snare with your right). Alternatively, you could purchase a remote hi-hat pedal, which allows you to bring the hi-hat cymbal closer. If you find the hi-hat pedal hard to operate with a double bass setup, consider using a drop clutch. The clutch attaches to the top of the cymbal and keeps the hi-hat closed when both your feet are occupied by the bass drums. You can engage or disengage the clutch with your sticks.