Do you call it a kick drum or bass drum?


Junior Member
Hey everyone,

I always call mine a bass drum in my drumming Youtube videos. But in the last video that I made (hasn't been published yet) I called it a "kick drum".

As far as I know the terms are interchangeable, but I'm curious as to what you all think.

Do you call it a kick drum or a bass drum? or both?

Do you think that youtube viewers will hate on me for calling it a kick drum instead of a bass drum?

Thanks in advance for your opinion.

The Old Hyde

I think kick is a studio thing so if the engineer call for the bass, he means guitar, not kick drum.


Silver Member
When I first started playing, many years ago, I never heard the term "Kick drum." Always called it a "bass drum." Lately, I hear others calling it a "kick drum" and have started using the term, like I pick up an accent when I am in a different part of the country. I do realize that the term "kick drum" is also an old term, but I just never heard it called that when I was younger.

I have called the "hanging tom" an "over-head tom" for as long as I can remember, and only because it was what others around me have called it. A few times on this web site, others have commented that they never heard of that phrase when I used that.

I think "bass drum" is the older term because the drum comes from the marching bands positioning the bass drum on the floor and either kicking it with their foot or using a foot pedal.

Many drummers are using their floor tom as a bass drum, with some hardware and adjustments, while some drummers are hanging a concert bass drum on a stand and are using it like a floor tom with sticks. So in this case, I can see how the term "kick-drum" is more accurate when describing the "bass drum."


Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Bass being the lowest voice, so bass drum. I also grew up with tenor toms and not rack toms.


Senior Member
Do you think that youtube viewers will hate on me for calling it a kick drum instead of a bass drum?
Youtube viewers will hate on you no matter what you do, so don't worry about it.

I've always said "bass" drum, but I've heard a lot of folks say "kick" so I think it's pretty widely accepted. Maybe it's just me, but I've noticed folks who say "kick" tend to be non-drummers such as sound men or other band members. But again, neither is wrong and either way people will know what you're talking about.


Staff member
Depends on wether I'm playing drums or calling a sound check on the desk. Even if I'm doing sound, I tend towards bass drum.

As for Hyde's studio origin thing, he's probably correct, but I think it's a written thing rather than verbal. Back in the day, we'd assign channels with a chinagraph pencil. As space was tight, "kick" not only offered distinction from the bass guitar, it's also shorter than bass drum.


Platinum Member
I often use both in the same sentence! When I've been in a studio environment (especially mixing) I'll habitually label it as 'kick' - just to avoid confusion with the bass guitar. Outside of that, I just mix and match with no rhyme or reason.


Platinum Member
Bass drum for me please.

Urban myth: orchestra bass drums were kicked,ergo the term,kick drums.Truth: no they weren't kicked,but played with a beater,till footpedals came along.Some orchestras,had 3 drummers,1played the snare,1 played the bass,and 1 played what ever else needed to be played like Chinese toms,cymbals,blocks,triangle,ect.

The term kick drum,was derived buy studio engineers,some time in the 70's,not drummers.

Show me a single drum catalog,before that time,that used the term"kick" drum.

Toms were always toms,tom toms,or mounted tom .I've seen high tom,next high tom,rack tom(derived from 80's drum racks),flying tom,upper tom,suspended tom,tenor tom(which is a marching drum only)fly out tom,legless tom,timbale tom(you can be one or the other,not both),hovering tom,bass tom,

Mounted and floor tom for me.")

Steve B


Platinum Member
I use both terms interchangeably. But there's something about calling it a "kick" that annoys me. Annoys me in the same way that the word "hit" annoys me. There's nothing inherently wrong with those words, and they are accurate to an extent, but I feel they have a connotation that reduces what we do to something less than it is. Like a cave man just wailing on something. I hate when people call it a "drum kit," too, for similar reasons.

Anyway, I complain about these things but I use them myself, so I guess I should shut up about them.


Platinum Member
I grew up calling it a bass drum. But so many people use the term kick drum that I have picked it up and use it sometimes.

Still prefer bass drum, though.


Senior Member
I use both terms. The one that gets my funny bone going is the term ride tom. I don't know why? It's just funny to me.


Senior Member
I always thought of kick drum as a UK term and bass drum as US. But I haven't a clue why.

My youngest daughter is 28 and pretty damn hip. She calls it a kick drum, so - now - so do I.


Junior Member
LOL so it definitely looks like there are mixed opinions! I'll leave the video as is because people will know what I am talking about when I say "kick drum". And as the user said, people on Youtube will hate me no matter what! LOL!

Thanks for all of the opinions! I'll stick to "bass drum" in the future though!


Senior Member
I got to thinking; if I was having a conversation with someone who took issue of my referencing a bass drum as a kick drum, I'd probably just walk away from such pretention.