Conventional wisdom versus the actual snare height and seating position of top drummers

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funkutron

Guest
You know, I think the navel-height thing probably came about because most people's elbows are at about navel height. So, you can have your elbows bent at 90 degrees and not have to reach up or down.

I don't think most people are real strict about any of this stuff, though.

The odd thing to me is, I see drummers with snares so low they can't possibly play rimshots without hitting their thighs. And they look all stoop-shouldered. It just doesn't look comfortable to me. It makes no sense in my mind. Other than that, I say play whatever is comfy.
Stoop shouldered is not good. Serious back issues can arise.
 

Ahchv

Active member
I was searching the forum about snare height and seating position (knees in relation to hips) because I felt that maybe I've sat too high all along. The conventional wisdom on the forum is the snare should be around the navel or so and the knees should be parallel with the hips.

So I decided to look on YouTube to see how some of the top (or at least well-known) drummers play. Here are screenshots from some of the videos. If you search the drummers' names, these videos will be appear in the first page of results:

Tony Royster: knees below the hips. Snare well below the navel.


Questlow: knees below the hips. Snare well below the navel.


Benny Greb: knees parallel with hips. Snare well below the navel.


Neil Peart: knees parallel with hips. Snare up high.


Steve Jordan: tough to find vids of him from the side but from what I've seen, his knees are below the hips and the snare is below the navel.


Jo Jo Mayer: knees below the hips. Snare higher but does seem to be below the navel.


Mike Johnston: knees parallel with hips. Snare below the navel.


Dave Weckl: knees parallel with hips mostly in vids I've seen but can be lower. Snare below the navel.


Steve Gadd: knees are mostly parallel in vids I've seen of him. Snare is probably higher than his navel and tilted.


Luke Holland (representing the younger YouTube celebrity drum crowd; plus I personally think he is a terrific drummer): knees parallel. Snare well below the navel.


Seems to me that most drummers play with the snare at about crotch level rather than navel level. The knee/hip thing varies but it's probably a good thing back-pain-wise to keep them parallel if you can.
Thank you!!! I was looking for this information and this was exactly what I needed.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It's a basic starting point, but the idea is simply that it's natural and your legs don't get in the way.

We're all made differently.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
It's a basic starting point, but the idea is simply that it's natural and your legs don't get in the way.

We're all made differently.
Yeah. I cant imagine sitting in on a short person's kit.

I put my ReelFeel pad on my knees while using it. My snare sits in the same relative height.
 

dboomer

Senior Member
True that! His snare is so angled that he hits it with his wrist still turned pretty high up. Another recipe for injury.
Can you expand on this?

Photos I can find show his snare angled up at about 20°. That looks like the natural position you would hold sticks (if using French grip) using so I’m thinking every time you hit the drum you are not hitting with an extended wrist.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Look at the stark contrast in how Steve Smith has changed his posture, seat and drum height as both age and technique have advanced...

 
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pbm2112

Senior Member
This reminds me of how when I started out I sat as high as the seat would go simply because I wanted to look like Stewart Copeland behind the kit and set the toms flat like he did. I didn’t realise he’s a lot taller than me - jeez, it was really hard work! Ringo sat high too which looked very cool to me (and used a 20” bass drum because he felt he was too short). I’ve come down a bit but I still think I might sit too high, but some habits are hard to break (I’m feeling like a 60 year old punk still trying to grease his three strands of hair into a lame mohawk : )
 

thebarak

Senior Member
There some good videos regarding:
(a) throne height, leading to
(b) hats and kick pedal placement, and then
(c) snare height and tilt, then onto the
(d) ride cymbal position, and lastly
(e) the rest of the kit.

Drummers and doctors together explain why getting this right avoids pain later on.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
I agree with @Jeremy Bender . Another one to look at the drastic change in position over the years is Vinnie. He started out practically sitting on the floor with his knees angled upward.....drastically. And look at him now.

Vinnie was a low rider back in the day : drums


Vinnie Colaiuta music @ All About Jazz
 

thebarak

Senior Member
I agree with @Jeremy Bender . Another one to look at the drastic change in position over the years is Vinnie. He started out practically sitting on the floor with his knees angled upward.....drastically. And look at him now.

Vinnie was a low rider back in the day : drums


Vinnie Colaiuta music @ All About Jazz
That is so low. I don't know how he could have started off down there and still become one of the best. Amazing picture.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
That is so low. I don't know how he could have started off down there and still become one of the best. Amazing picture.
He was already one of the best back then. He did some of his most insane drumming back then with Frank. The three Joe's Garage albums have some insane playing on them. What I just noticed was how small that bass drum is. I never noticed that before.......until now.
 

KOJAK76

Member
Interesting and informative. You put up all those pictures of great drummers and they are clearly all doing something different with how they set up the drums, how they sit ETC... You got Neil in there and others are doing something else. I love this. It shows us all a pathway to creativity and there is no right or wrong way. Thanks for the post it made me think and great pictures!!!
 
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