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View Full Version : Proper way to sit, throne height ?


Spiney
03-14-2010, 09:09 AM
Hi, I'm 49 and have been playing off and on since age 7. I never really thought about how /I set up my kit, I just did what felt right for me. But lately I feel like I'm not getting the most advantage for control over my Bass drum pedal and HH, and also I get cramping in my hip.
I have a bad back, having had 3 back surgeries and 1 neck surgery so I bought the best throne I could get. A Roc n Soc cycle type seat with a back. Any suggestions as to where your knees should be in reference to your hips or waist, and the best layout for single bass ,HH with snare in the middle. Thanks much in advance, Dave

alparrott
03-14-2010, 09:47 AM
You should be sitting so that your knees form nearly a 90 degree angle, no more, no less, and your back should be generally straight. Set up your drums so that you don't have to lean towards the drums. See if that helps.

Dedworx
03-14-2010, 10:30 AM
Hi, I'm 49 and have been playing off and on since age 7. I never really thought about how /I set up my kit, I just did what felt right for me. But lately I feel like I'm not getting the most advantage for control over my Bass drum pedal and HH, and also I get cramping in my hip.
I have a bad back, having had 3 back surgeries and 1 neck surgery so I bought the best throne I could get. A Roc n Soc cycle type seat with a back. Any suggestions as to where your knees should be in reference to your hips or waist, and the best layout for single bass ,HH with snare in the middle. Thanks much in advance, Dave


its good to sit at least a 90 degree angle, but it does vary. overtime i've raised my seat so im a little bit higher than 90 degrees and that works for me.

in terms of pedal placement. sit at your stool with your snare in front of you and place each foot comfortably on either side of the drum - thats where you want your pedals to be basically. so when your feet are on the pedals its a comfortable sitting position.

Drums101
03-14-2010, 06:08 PM
You should be sitting so that your knees form nearly a 90 degree angle, no more, no less, and your back should be generally straight. Set up your drums so that you don't have to lean towards the drums. See if that helps.

Yeah that's about right. When your foot is on the hi hat pedal and your legs is 90 degrees, it's the correct height.

Dom Daviault
03-14-2010, 07:33 PM
The best way to choose your throne height is to sit and place your legs to create an angle of 90 degrees. This offers you a better control and a better body posture. Personally, the angle that my legs create is a little larger; about 95 - 100 degrees. The next step is to accustomed yourself to keep your back and your neck as straight as possible not to develop any joint problem or backache.

bobdadruma
03-14-2010, 08:20 PM
I also have back and knee troubles from age.
I also use a backrest throne. I sit slightly higher than 90 degrees. The top of my thigh at my hip is about three inches higher than the top of my knee.
I find that it takes stress off of my back, hips, and knees if I sit a bit high.
My snare almost touches the front of my motorcycle seat. I keep my snare high enough so that rim shots are easy. I angle my snare down away from my body.
I keep every drum and cymbal in reach so that I can always have my lumbar region on the backrest.
I keep my toms slightly high and kind of flat so that I don't have to reach down that far to hit them.
Experiment with your throne height until you are comfortable.
I sat on another drummers kit with a low throne a few weeks ago. I was having pain in my knees and my back after only about twenty mins of playing.

Spinozalove
03-14-2010, 11:01 PM
I also have back and knee troubles from age.
I also use a backrest throne. I sit slightly higher than 90 degrees. The top of my thigh at my hip is about three inches higher than the top of my knee.
I find that it takes stress off of my back, hips, and knees if I sit a bit high.

Same for me. I have a dodgy right knee and if I don't sit a bit higher it gives me pain. 90 degrees is too low for me.

bobdadruma
03-17-2010, 01:57 AM
Same for me. I have a dodgy right knee and if I don't sit a bit higher it gives me pain. 90 degrees is too low for me.Sitting high also gives you a better stage presence. You appear to be more dominate to the audience. I look at my band pics and I compare them to pics of drummers that sit low. I look as if I am more in charge.

I also can see the members of my band and the audience much better. This helps me a great deal to play better. I feel more a part of the band when I sit high.
If you are at a meeting or a social event with other people, and they are standing, You wouldn't sit when you spoke with the other people there! It's almost the same thing.

Spiney
03-17-2010, 06:11 AM
Thank you for all of the great tips and answers. I plan on arriving early to practice and work on improving my throne / drum placement. Spiney-Dave

Pocket-full-of-gold
03-17-2010, 06:43 AM
I plan on arriving early to practice and work on improving my throne / drum placement. Spiney-Dave

That's your best option Spiney. IMO, legs at 90 deg is a great starting point. But it's not for everybody. The most important aspect about seat height is YOUR comfort. Some guys like to sit a little higher (Ringo) and some guys like a little lower (Tommy Lee). Both established drummers, yet different set ups.

Much like drum and cymbal placement, it's about comfort.....what works for you (providing YOU are comfortable) is the best outcome.

toddy
03-17-2010, 12:05 PM
yeah i sit slightly higher than 90 degrees too. if i sit any lower then when i'm playing double bass (i.e. 16ths at 220+) then my legs and lower back start to hurt for some reason. i have a tendency to slouch if i don't sit up high. by sitting higher my body feels really centered and fluid. i'm using my ankles to play ofcourse, not moving my legs at all.

imo it should be each to their own, if you want to sit low then sit low, if you want to form right angles then do it, if you want to sit and tap the pedals with the tips of your toes then do that. but, make sure that you try and keep your back as straight as possible. it will not only help keep your back in good check, but it will also allow you to breath properly and to extend your arms properly.

Naigewron
03-17-2010, 12:13 PM
Sitting high also gives you a better stage presence. You appear to be more dominate to the audience. I look at my band pics and I compare them to pics of drummers that sit low. I look as if I am more in charge.

Hmm, I often get the opposite. When the drummer sits high, his kit looks smaller and not as imposing, and he almost appears to be playing a kit that's too small for him.

I've lowered my throne a LOT over the last couple of years, to where my throne now is almost as low as it will go. I find that sitting lower gives me more power and stability on the kick and hihat pedal, and I also don't have problems with hihat and snare stands that won't go high enough (which was a problem when I sat high up, since I'm pretty tall).

You can get an impression of how low I sit in this youtube video (especially from around 1:40 to 2:20):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXKt_mdB8VY

K.Howden
03-17-2010, 09:36 PM
I tend to mine at a height so that when I lift my legs to pedal the hi-hats and bass drum my leg does not exceed a right angle to my groin.

I'd say to anyone who sits crazily high that it can and will cause injury; why I did it is beyond me! but I'd been putting my seat really quite excessivley high the past month and I'm really paying for it now. My hip is tender as anything and I've strained most of my left flank from the ribs down to the hip to the point where the only time it doesn't feel uncomfortable is when I'm alseep...

It's affected me badly, as I have a very busy shedule at BIMM during the week with practical lessons everyday and various rehersal plus a gig at The Concorde II in Brighton tommoro night...but there's no choice in the matter I can't just stop playing or I will fall behind big time on lessons and other commitments, suffice to say it's going to take the injury a lot longer to remedy itself.

The big lesson here is that although you might not feel the physical effects straight away, it can and will come back to bite you. Some people sit higher than some and others lower and that's fine but just know where the excesses are, or you'll pay for like I currently am.

With that in mind hope everyone's in good health and keeping well!

Kev

bobdadruma
03-18-2010, 12:19 AM
Hmm, I often get the opposite. When the drummer sits high, his kit looks smaller and not as imposing, and he almost appears to be playing a kit that's too small for him.

I've lowered my throne a LOT over the last couple of years, to where my throne now is almost as low as it will go. I find that sitting lower gives me more power and stability on the kick and hihat pedal, and I also don't have problems with hihat and snare stands that won't go high enough (which was a problem when I sat high up, since I'm pretty tall).

You can get an impression of how low I sit in this youtube video (especially from around 1:40 to 2:20):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXKt_mdB8VYIf I sat that low I wouldn't be able to walk away from the kit after playing! Your knees are higher than your snare!
My knees and lower back would simply give out.
I do notice that many drummers who are taller than me sit lower than me. (Im 5' 11')
Ahh, To be young and made of rubber again!

MisterMixelpix
03-18-2010, 12:56 AM
You should be sitting so that your knees form nearly a 90 degree angle, no more, no less, and your back should be generally straight. Set up your drums so that you don't have to lean towards the drums. See if that helps.

That's a good starting point, but to say you should be EXACTLY 90 degrees, well. I think a lot of drummers might disagree with you there.

toddbishop
03-18-2010, 01:38 AM
People are all over the place- I've seen pictures of Roy Haynes, Buddy Rich, and Tony Williams sitting really high; Vinnie Colauita used to get the lowest throne he could (at the time, the cheapest Tama), and then chop it to go even lower. I think he messed up his back that way though. You can't go too wrong keeping the top of your thigh parallel to the floor. I wouldn't mess with going lower than that.

LinearDrummer
03-18-2010, 01:55 AM
Its very personal and some of which has to do with body types.

-short legs and long upper torso tend to sit low
-long legs and short arms might be higher

I have long legs and long arms with a short torso and had to share a drum seat in my college band with a guy that was built completely opposite of me. We alternated songs during live shows and it was a complete disaster in the beginning!

I like the feeing that I'm on top of the drums...can't stand sitting low.

I studied with a top $ Pro and the one thing he taugtht me was regardless of the seating height I choose, always sit at the end of the throne and being the heel up player that I am my legs will push me back into a balanced position....it really helped.

my 2 cents...hope I explained that clearly...

toddy
03-18-2010, 02:11 AM
I have long legs and long arms with a short torso and had to share a drum seat in my college band with a guy that was built completely opposite of me. We alternated songs during live shows and it was a complete disaster in the beginning!

I like the feeing that I'm on top of the drums...can't stand sitting low.

I studied with a top $ Pro and the one thing he taugtht me was regardless of the seating height I choose, always sit at the end of the throne and being the heel up player that I am my legs will push me back into a balanced position....it really helped.

my 2 cents...hope I explained that clearly...

LOL! that sounds crazy. this is really good advice though. and i agree, i too like to sit above the drums, this way i can have the toms very flat, i find it really easy to roll down. i don't have my cymbals very high, only slightly higher than the toms. i think as long as you aren't damaging yourself then there is some leeway in this matter.

LinearDrummer
03-18-2010, 07:45 AM
LOL! that sounds crazy. this is really good advice though. and i agree, i too like to sit above the drums, this way i can have the toms very flat, i find it really easy to roll down. i don't have my cymbals very high, only slightly higher than the toms. i think as long as you aren't damaging yourself then there is some leeway in this matter.

Lol yeah I'm built like a spider and he was built like a chicken....not a good mix!
Coulda have used a hydrolic throne back then...

toddy
03-18-2010, 07:48 AM
hahaha! ahh a hydraulic throne.. what i wouldn't give. i really need to get a roc n soc with a backrest or a nice tama.
although saying that i do force myself to sit up right anyway, and it feels pretty good so far. its a shame i already spent all my $$$ on some mics.. there's always next month right.. ;)

thedrumninja
03-18-2010, 07:35 PM
Hey dude,

If your hip is cramping up it could be that you are sitting too low. Your hip flexors have to work overtime to hold your leg up when you play the pedals. They'll be under too much strain and over time adaptively shorten - common in drummers, office workers etc.

Any physio will tell you that tight hip flexors can ultimately lead to a bad back so if seat height is the issue then raise it up so your hips are slightly above your knee. When you lift your leg up to play it should form roughly a 90-120 degree angle with your hip. Don't always copy the pros either. They're not physios and are one of the worst populations on earth for bad backs and general bad health habits -- but that's another story!

You might also want to stretch out your hip flexors and hamstrings after you finish playing.

Hope this helps!

Crazy8s
06-20-2010, 12:01 AM
Sorry if I am redundant here...

I am 6'1" and I use a roc-n-soc hydraulic throne with a backrest too. The o.p. made a great choice in getting the backrest, though you don't want to use it as a crutch for your posture.

I generally use the backrest if I am going into long double bass patterns. It helps my upper body balance while my legs are moving. It saves energy that you can use in your playing, too, instead of using that energy for balancing your body. It also relieves pressure on your bum and lower back, which is important as we get older.

As far as height goes, my legs form about 110 degrees of angle. I've tried the whole range the hydraulic throne will allow, and because of my foot technique the highest setting possible works well for me. I play generally heels up, but I do a great deal of heel-toe technique. My heels are only about an inch above the pedal board. Sitting high gives me the best leverage over my feet and excellent control and stamina. A little less raw power though, compared to a 90 degree angle. There is always a trade-off.

Another benefit of sitting high is the ability to see and be seen. I don't like to hide behind my drums. I want to interact with the group and the audience, and simply just show off me! Why? Because I wanna be seein' the hawt booty dancing on the dancefloor while I am up there making 'em do it! Knowadimsayin? :)

Hope this helps! Peace.

K

Skulmoski
06-20-2010, 05:21 AM
Here is something that might help: Knee Pain: Treatment And Prevention. It addresses proper thone height.

http://www.drummagazine.com/features/post/knee-pain-treatment-and-prevention/

GJS

Spiney
06-20-2010, 07:21 AM
Hi, I'm the OP. Thanks for the replies. I have set my throne higher, but I'm going to try even a bit higher and see how that feels. I too play BD heel up but like a previous poster only slightly up, maybe an inch or so. I try to play heel down but it just feels very uncomfortable.

I have the Roc n Soc w/ back at my playing drums and a Tama seat w/o a back at home for my practice e-kit. I have a bad back the result of a hang glider crash and 4 follow up surgeries. I have 4 levels fused with plates and screws in my lower back. I really feel it when I sit on the Tama throne. I hope someday to replace that with another RnS. Spiney

Spiney
06-21-2010, 08:18 AM
I tried raising the throne a bit more tonight at practice. It helped with playing the kick and really relieved cramps in my hip joint. But I need to make some adjustments for the first time I got my sticks caught under the HH cymbal while playing a few times. It made for some embarrassing missed beats. Thankfully it was only practice. Spiney

yesdog
06-21-2010, 04:23 PM
I sit with my legs slightly over 90 degrees. One thing I have been doing lately is sit ups and concentrating on proper poster. I some times tend to slouch back and start to get lower back pain. I found it cheaper to do sit ups and lower back exercises than to get a throne with a back rest. I played out over the weekend and my back was straight and no pain. I think proper poster is just as if not more important than height. Throne height is a personal thing.
Wrong poster will cause more damage than throne height.

bob2loud
06-26-2010, 04:05 AM
I'm old and grumpy and have a tendency to slouch during slow songs or ones that bore me, especially during four hour gigs. I use a Tama saddle with backrest more to remind me to sit up straight than for support. When I'm funkin' & groovin' and having fun I never touch the backrest. Sometimes not even the seat.

Since I play heel up for some songs and down for others I sit so my thigh is pitched down only slightly toward the knee. Heel-up it's horizontal for power and speed and heel-down it doesn't cramp up from stretching backwards.

Steve Jordan uses a backrest but sets up his kit flat and he's leaning forward constantly to reach his rack tom and cymbals. Hurts me just watching him but he's brilliant so I guess there's really no "proper" set up.

zambizzi
06-26-2010, 04:40 AM
I've found that where I sit determines which muscles are moving and supporting my balance, while I play.

If I sit too close, I don't feel like I can get a constant motion going with my feet - it feels restricted. It also feels like my thighs are working too hard, which wastes a lot of energy.

If I sit too low, my back seems to work harder at keeping me upright - it's harder to just sit up and relax and it wears me down faster.

If I sit too high, I feel like I can play faster and sit up easier...but my balance is affected negatively and I can't control my movements around the kit as well.

So, I sit slightly further back so that the balls of my feet touch just above the center of the pedals and with my thighs sloped slightly downward.

Jivi
06-27-2010, 03:21 AM
Mike Mangini mentioned that you should sit with your legs at 90 degrees when your knees are raised at their maximum height. So however high you lift your foot when playing the bass drum or hi-hat, that should be where your leg forms a 90 degree angle.

dbummer
07-01-2010, 01:41 AM
Its true what most threads will tell you: sit as you feel comfortable.

but just a quick guide:


Your back should be kept straight while playing. For this you should be only a couple of inches away from your drumkit, otherwise to play the parts further from you, you will need to extend your arms a lot which after some point of time will become tiring and you will have to lean.

Try and sit at a height where you knees form a little more than a 90 degree angle. This is extremely helpful for deathmetal drumming and going really fast. What it does is allows you to maintain your balance whether your using your feet or your thighs to play the bass by for forcing your limbs away and not right beneath you.

and ofcourse the hands/arms, for these dont let them stick to your sides. free them and give them space for movement this will ofcourse require training but will greatly benefit in the loing run.

BillBachman
07-01-2010, 05:49 AM
I like Mangini's theory on it where your legs never go above parallel to the ground while your leg is as high as it'll go when playing. I then like the snare as low is it can go so long as I can still hit a rimshot while my left leg is as high as it'll ever need to go.

Davo-London
07-01-2010, 02:57 PM
No-one's mentioned the perch as such on the throne. I understand that you should sit forward so that your back is straight but also that your upper thigh movement is unimpeaded. This is why you see saddle type thrones to minimise thigh contact. If you are perched rather than slouched into the seat it is easier to maintain a straight back.

However, having spent a week at a drum camp my back is aching! So much for my contribution!

Davo

Phil Brodermann
07-26-2010, 05:49 PM
I've had this dilemma for a while; I like sitting on top of the drums, with my toms flat, and to be able to play on top of all the cymbals (Keith Carlock style) but I like the balance and power of sitting low.

I've been sitting as low as my throne goes for about a year now (my legs parallel to the floor. I think i'll try sitting high for a bit now :)

This is a great thread :)

Zickosdrummer
08-01-2010, 12:10 AM
I have a hydorollic throne with a back. I think it is a Gibraltor. I was in the hospiltal for a long time and I figured when I got back to playing I was going to spend a little and treat myself to some comfort. I plaly at about a 95 degree angle and I can play for hours like that. I have sat at other kit that were less than 90 degarees, and I would much rather be playing downhill than uphill. To me, it feels like I have more control of the kit.

JoeLackey
08-31-2010, 05:41 AM
This should answer all of you're concerns:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiKA7OeASG4

Naigewron
08-31-2010, 09:30 AM
This should answer all of you're concerns:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiKA7OeASG4

That didn't really make much sense at all. Good for Thomas that he found what's working for him, but the "medical" part of his explanation wasn't really very coherent.

Zickosdrummer
09-01-2010, 03:58 AM
This should answer all of you're concerns:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiKA7OeASG4

I agree with him 135%. I have sat at other peoples kits and, when the throne was too low it made me feel like I was playing "up hill". I would much rather be slightly "over" my kit as it makes me feel I have more control.