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When it comes to finding proper posture behind the drumset, you might be thinking “just sit straight, dummy!” While drumming ergonomics is pretty simple, it isn’t always easy. A straight back is just one piece of the puzzle — good posture largely comes from how you set up the drumset.
If you have to hunch over, lean too far back, or sit too low or high in order to reach something, it can cause strain and injury. And to be honest, it’s just not fun. Everyone’s body is different, so here’s a basic guide to make sure you’re set up to play in the most comfortable way possible.
Proper drumming posture starts with your initial throne height. I’m 6’3”, which means I’m going to position myself higher than someone who’s 5’5”.
Start by sitting on the throne and placing your feet on the ground. Let them fall naturally. Your legs should angle downwards slightly. Many drummers find that an angle around 90 degrees is the most comfortable, but if you feel it’s hard on your knees then you can try a slightly wider angle. Set up your hi-hat and bass drum pedals (or double pedal) so they match your feet’s position.
Put your feet on the pedals. Make sure they aren’t twisting in an awkward direction. You don’t want your left foot and hi-hat pulled too far in, or your right foot angled too far out — it’ll force your body to contort. You want to be able to access everything without feeling any kind of discomfort.
Imagine driving a car. Think of your pedals like the gas and brake. You need to be able to reach them comfortably without moving in a way that constricts you.
Now, sit up straight. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a motorcycle style seat or a round throne. If you have a backrest, don’t rely on it. Sometimes I’ll use one when I’m recording so I can relax in between takes, but the best posture and control actually comes when you sit on the edge of your seat.
Once you have your throne, hi-hat, and pedal(s) in place, you can start to position the other pieces of the drumset around you.
If you were driving a car, your snare drum would be your steering wheel. With a wheel that’s too far to the left or right, it’s going to be hard to drive. Position your snare where it’s comfortable, ideally at an equal distance between your feet.
Remember, don’t get ahead of yourself and start positioning toms and cymbals before you put the main pieces in place. Build the entire kit around the three components of your ‘car’: the bass drum, hi-hat, and snare.
With everything in place and a straight back, you should be able to play comfortably for a long time without ever getting injured.