5 Fascinating Facts About the Drum Kit

The venerable experts of Bax Music could offer up a thousand-and-one fascinating facts about the drum kit, but since no one has time for that, we’ve hand-picked just five!

#1. Record-Breaking Drumming

Physically speaking, the drum kit is maybe the most labour intensive instrument to play. You’re continuously using all four of your limbs to cover quite a wide area, which might make it even more impressive when you hear that, in 2015, Steve Gaul broke the world record when he played for 134 hours straight – that’s more than five days of drumming with nothing more than a 5 minute break every hour. Just as impressive: in 2018, Pandit Sudarshan Das managed to play a 14 hour long non-stop drum roll.

#2. The Drummer with One Arm

While most drummers will play with both arms and both legs, there are some exceptions. The most well known is almost definitely Rick Allen, the drummer from Def Leppard. In 1984, after drumming with the band for six years, Allen was in a car accident that cost him his left arm. Despite this pretty gigantic drawback, he still stayed with the band and, following an intense period of practising and re-learning how to play with a specially designed electronic pedal that he could trigger sounds with, his drumming got more impressive than ever.

#3. The Drum Kit is Younger than You Think

While drums themselves were played thousands and thousands of years ago, the drum kit as we know it is actually much younger. By around 1850, some percussionists had started playing multiple instruments at once – often with the help of pedals, but it wasn’t until 1909 that the well-known drum brand Ludwig released the first ever commercially produced bass drum pedal and, ten years later, unveiled the hi-hat that we’re now so familiar with. Jazz drummers immediately started experimenting with the new setup and built an array of different combinations of drums and cymbals, finally resulting in the emergence of the modern drum kit during the 1920s.

#4. The Drum Head’s Drumheads

Until not that long ago, drumheads were always made of animal skins. It was only in the 1950s that an alternative material came along and, while some drummers still swear by the ‘warmer sound’ of what’s now referred to as natural drumheads, most drummers prefer to go for synthetic drumheads. They last longer, don’t need tuning as often and are much less sensitive to humidity fluctuations.

#5. An Expensive Kit

Ringo Starr (who you may or may not know, was the drummer for The Beatles) picked up a beautiful and professional, but not particularly special drum kit from Ludwig in 1963 and would go on to play around 200 concerts with it (making Ludwig insanely popular in the process). Paul McCartney borrowed the same kit to play another round of tours during the ‘70s and ‘80s and, when the kit went up for auction in 2015, it went for a gargantuan 2.1 million dollars – and that’s even without the snare drum, which Ringo will never part with.

See also…

» All Drum Kits & Accessories

» 5 Legendary Drum Parts
» The History of the Drum Kit
» 5 Female Drummers You Should Know About
» My Kid Wants a Drum Kit. What Do I Do?
» 3 Easy Ways to Record Your Electronic Drum Kit
» Drum Fills for Beginners
» Drumming Without a Drum Kit: The Options
» How to Drum Faster
» Acoustic vs. Electronic Drum Kits
» The Four Most Important Drum Rhythms
» How do I become a drummer?
» Drum notation 101: Tips & tricks for beginners
» 5 Tips To Keep Drum Noise To A Minimum

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