A typical drum kit consists of a crash cymbal, the hi-hat, the bass drum, the floor tom, toms and snare drum. Additional components are the rototom, the china cymbal, the octoban, swish cymbals, tambourine, wood block and many more.
The Standard Sizes: Rock and Fusion
Most drum kits include the two toms, the bass, snare drum and floor tom. The dimensions of the kits are based on the individuals components. In the United States and other countries, the standard drum kit size refers to the “rock size”. These include a 14” snare drum, 22” bass drum, 16” floor tom and mounted toms (12”and 13”).
Fusion is another drum kit setup which uses different components and dimensions. They include 10” and 12” mounted toms, a 20” bass drum, a 14” floor tom and the 14” snare drum. Note that in some cases the bass drum used is 22”.
How Drum Kit Dimensions are Expressed
Whether it’s tom, bass or snare, their dimensions are usually expressed by diameter x depth. For example a snare drum measuring 14 x 5.5” refers to the formula mentioned above. However, some manufacturers reverse the formula (depth x diameter). In this case the drum kit size will read as 5.5 x 14”. If you’re going to buy kits, you need to examine the specifications.
Dimensions of a 5 Piece Rock Kit
This configuration is usually known as “2 up 1 down”. In most cases, one rack tom measures 12 x 9” and the other 13 x 10”. The bass drum measures 22 x 18”, the floor tom 16 x 16” and the snare drum 14 x 5.5”.
The depths for fusion drum kits are also fairly standardized. For the 20” bass drum it is 16”; for the 10” rack tom it is 8” and 9” for the 12” rack tom. For the 14” floor tom it’s also 14”. For the 14” drum it is 5.5”.
Keep in mind the drum kit size will change if the configuration is altered. For example, some fusion drum kits employ two floor toms and just one rack tom. This can affect the dimensions, not to mention the sound.
The space needed for the set will vary. However, a 5.5 drum riser will be able to hold a 4 piece kit with a couple of crash cymbals. A hi hat and china cymbals can also fit in.
The sizes of the cymbals vary. Some are as small as 8” and go up to 14”, 18” up to 20”. The hi tom can measure 13 x 10”.
Tone and Sound
The bigger the drums, the greater the volume and sound. This comes at the expense of mobility. The only way to find the right compromise is to experiment with various drum kits.
If you’re just learning, going for the starter drum kit size will be sufficient. Eventually you can upgrade it as your skill level goes up.