A real drum kit Metal


Junior Member
For all those who wonder what is made of a drum kit exclusively for the big Metal, here is my personal opinion with my 29 years of experience and my 3 years of training Hard Rock / Metal between the age of 12 to 15 years.

There is a lot of similleness between the Metal and the Classic. Their common point, melodic music and in the Metal, it's not just the guitars that have to fill this role but the drum too.

Have seen a lot of big metal bands drummers that last, some over 30-35 years of career and have noticed that many do not necessarily have a drum kit adapted for Metal.

The Maple, the Walnut is very fashionable since a good end with drums kits reduced to the minimum. 4-5 pieces and a minimum of cymbals. There are two types of drum kits: Rhythmic and Melodic. Regarding the Metal, the melodic is the most suitable. No obligation to have a Nicko McBrain for this.

Me, I play on a 9 pieces for a long time and the number of cymbals they need (8 + Hi-Hat) to be 100% melodic. But a good 7 pieces is enough.

I'm predicting birch as wood. It gives a strong attack and a tone in the Mid & High that passes through the big saturated guitars. 24x18 '' like Bass Drum is perfect. This size gives a good balance between the bass and the '' click '', which is dearly sought after in all Metal drummers. But the 22 '' is as good and can not hide the drummers by counting the Deep Toms. For Toms, X-Deep or XL-Deep Toms of 12x11 '' to 15x14 '' are approved for their power and their serious tones. I suggest rather 10x10 '', 12x11 '', 14x13 '' & 16x15 '' for Toms because the 2x2 '' difference between each Toms gives a much better tone difference between each. More efficient and audible in a Toms fills or intro. In addition, it widened the palette of tones with a 10 '' at the beginning and a 16 '' at the end instead of 12, 13, 14 & 15 ''. For the Floors, 18 '' are enough. An 18x16 '' and an 18x18 '', the latter with different drumheads like Powerstroke 3, in beater as in resonant.

For drumheads, in Remo like Pinstripe (Dark) in beater and Coated Ambassador (long sustain) are a good choice for Toms and Floors. For the regulars of Evans, they have their equivalent. There is also the hydraulic drumhead which can be a good choice to maximize the bass on a birch drum kit.

Snare is the most delicate to choose. This is one of the most used shells with the Bass Drum. Wood, Metal, Bronze, Bell Brass. I never say no to a good Snare Bell Brass of 3mm and 14x6.5 ''. It's enough as depth for a Bell Brass because it's powerful by nature. There is birch, a 14x8 '' to stay in the 100% birch like drum kit. Drumheads are also tricky to choose.

Regarding the cymbals, there is the job because there are many on the market and all the prices. It does not exactly have cymbals created for Metal but as Zildjian does in their catalogs, they indicate those that have the best potential for Metal. There are people who prefer the Zildjian, others Sabian, Piaste, Meinl (who have been in fashion for a few years), etc. I have opted for Sabian because they have a lower tone with their Zildjian equivalents. Sabian AAX = Zildjian A Custom. There was an old Zildjian series, the Brilliant Avedis, which were excellent cymbals for Big Rock and even Metal. A setup with Medium and Rock models was an excellent choice. Strongly used in the 80's & 90's. For a melodic drum kit, a base of 4 Crashes is the minimum, 5 if you can. Because with 4 Crashes, you can follow and focus on any notes or power chord. A 22 '' Medium Ride for those who love big sound or a Ping Ride for those who like a softer sound. A China of 19-20 '' or two China of 18 & 20 ''. The Zildjian Oriental China Trash is perfect for Metal and also makes China suitable for their catalogs but that's what I have after trying a dozen models, the Zildjian Oriental gave me complete satisfaction. And the right Hi-Hat that suits you. I suggest Medium (medium top, heavy bottom), Rock (heavy top / extra heavy bottom) or Heavy (heavy top, heavy bottom). Zildjian Z Custom Dyno 14 '' Beat (Extra Heavy Weight Top & Bottom) is excellent. They tend to sizzle alone or give them just 1-2mm space between each and it's much better with sustain in Hi-Hat.

Give your opinion and personal experience on this topic.


Platinum Member
Rules are meant to be broken. The kit does not matter, it's what the drummer does with it. Oh yeah, I'm a metal drummer of 27+ years.


Platinum Member
What's makes a rhythmic kit a rhythmic kit and a melodic kit a melodic kit?
Perhaps the melodic kit has studied some theory, or taken guitar lessons!

I will agree that Zildjian Oriental chinas are great for metal, but they aren't the be all end all by any means. That's about it though. The rest is all opinion based, regardless of the aforementioned 3 years of studying metal.


Silver Member
Played Hardcore Punk & Metal for 35 years now. Knackers to rules. It's what sounds best to you & the music. (Have used twin China's in the past though so agree with that.)


Senior Member
What's makes a rhythmic kit a rhythmic kit and a melodic kit a melodic kit?
I take this to mean melodies, ie notes played as notes. More drums = more notes.

FWIW I like a lot of musice but planned my current setup around metal. For tom heads I have Evans Black Chrome and Aquarian Performance II.


Silver Member
I'm sure there a lot of drums that have been used for great metal albums and many of them did not follow any kind of formula.

Your approach is interesting though, thanks for sharing.