Hi Hat Height

Kuromaku

Well-known member
Random question of the day - do you play your hats cranked up high like Travis Barker or down low like Brian Blade? (I mean literal height of the cymbals, not style or tone or whatnot.)
 

SpazApproved

Active member
First of all, I love your Yamaha Maple Custom snare in your avatar.

Secondly, I can't stand my hi-hat cranked up like Barker... Mine is at a super comfortable height from my arm at a relaxed position depending how high I sit on the kit I'm on... hopefully that makes sense. So I'm not reaching up or reaching down.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Traditional grip player here. Ergonomically speaking, I've found the hihat height - in relation to seat height - has to be such that it is comfortable to play your dominant hand (for me, RH) on the hat and your right shoulder feels comfortable with it. The other consideration is the relative distance of the hihat to the snare, which itself is in relation to the seat height. That's the definition of catch-22, so there's some negotiation between the two. Life is never simple.

It also depends on style. If I allowed myself to play heavier styles I probably wouldn't get cramped like I do trying to play a 16th groove with one hand in some of the contemporary stuff I play.

Other factors include the density of the drum kit itself. As you add toms, especially for traditional grip players, placement of the hihat gets affected.
 

Kuromaku

Well-known member
To provide some context, I'm dealing with crowding. In orbit around the hats are:
  • 8" tom
  • 17" crash
  • Coming soon, side snare
  • 10" stack
The 10" stack is the reason that I've had to raise the hats a bit. I've tried them all around the kit and like them most nestled right under my hi-hat. The problem is that when I use the stack like aux hats, there isn't enough clearance with my other stick. So I've raised the stack to just a little lower than where I used to have my hi-hat, so now the hats are 3"-4" higher than where they used to be.
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
Random question of the day - do you play your hats cranked up high like Travis Barker or down low like Brian Blade? (I mean literal height of the cymbals, not style or tone or whatnot.)

I don't know about the question (I asked myself the same thing about 35 minutes ago) but I sure like the 2 drummers very much!
 

BGDurham

Well-known member
My hi-hat is 4.5 inches above my snare height. I switched to open-handed playing recently and the hi-hat can now be relatively low.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
This very second, my bottom hi hat cymbal happens to be standing between 34 to 35 inches from the floor, which happens to be 7" above my snare.

I am happiest with my top hi hat cymbal adjusted so that when it's wide open, it's got about an inch and 3/4 gap, with the bottom cymbal tilted at 12 degrees. Not 10 degrees. Not 11degrees. 12 degrees, OK? :p I like the capability of riding either the top or bottom hi hat cymbal without it touching it's opposite cymbal. Unless I want it to of course, then I can vary the amount of slosh precisely, according to my gosh darn flippin mood, see?
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Like some others have said, I keep mine high enough to play it right handed, and low enough to play it left handed. I want access to the whole hat, too - the bow, the bell, the edge. I don't mind the feel of playing the hats up high, but it becomes a one-trick pony then. You're playing the edge only. That won't do, for me.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Mine is low like Brian Blade. I think Travis Baker plays with a lot of wasted motion.
However the wasted motion looks good on stage.
Be efficient and keep everything within easy reach.
Or be exciting and visual, keep everything just a tiny bit beyond easy reach.

.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
I play mostly traditional grip. That said, I first set my seat height which generally has my thighs parallel to the ground. That means I'm sit fairly low. I then set up my snare to a height that allows me to play comfortably with my arms resting close in to my body. One measure I typically use is that I don't want my right hand to hit my thigh when I'm playing a rimshot. Once I have the snare set, then the rest follows from that. My hi hat needs to be high enough to allow me some room for my left hand to operate underneath my right arm. If I knew how to play open handed, that wouldn't be as much of a concern. I just don't want my left hand hitting my right and knocking it so it messes with what I'm doing on my hi hat. But I don't want it so high that I have to reach. I'd say my hi hat ends up being at a height equal to where my right hand stick would be if it was straight from and as an extention of my forearm which is then parallel to the ground and at a right angle to my upper arm, all in a comfortable manner. That generally works well for me. As some of you know I recently purchased a new to me drum kit. So as I was setting it up for the first time I used the above approach and it ended up being perfect. This was even though my second throne that will go with this new kit is higher than the one I normall play. They are close but enough of a height difference that I notice. But it turned out to be a good thing because the bass drum is 22" as opposed to my other kit which is 20". In addition, the larger mounted tom is 11" deep by 13" diameter. So with the deeper toms and the bigger bass drum I can't put the toms as low as they would be on the other kit. The adjustments I made ended up being perfect and it felt right the first time I sat behind them without much tweaking. I've blathered on long enough.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I play mine high enough to play with my right hand and low enough to play with my left hand.
Like some others have said, I keep mine high enough to play it right handed, and low enough to play it left handed. I want access to the whole hat, too - the bow, the bell, the edge. I don't mind the feel of playing the hats up high, but it becomes a one-trick pony then. You're playing the edge only. That won't do, for me.
Count me in. Gotta get both hands on it easily. It needs to he low enough to do doubles and buzzes on, but high enough to not hit my hands with the sticks when cross sticked.
 

Kuromaku

Well-known member
Since we're in the weeds here, I'll go ahead and provide my update as the OP.

I guess we all signed up to be part time structural engineers when we decided to pick up the sticks... So I was able to clamp my stack where it comes in ABOVE the hi-hat and below the crash. This allows me to have the hats at a normal/low level and still gives me access to the stack on that side of my kit. It also provides some "undercarriage" space for when the side snare finally gets delivered.
 

Superman

Gold Member
Mine is low like Brian Blade. I think Travis Baker plays with a lot of wasted motion.
However the wasted motion looks good on stage.
.

I could never keep my kit the way Travis Barker does. His hi hat is high, his mounted tom is flat. But he's a sick drummer and it works for him. I keep my hi hats where I can use both hands. Setting up drums is a lot of 'what works for you'.

I keep my ride cymbal really low, right above my floor tom. I've had other drummers say they couldn't keep it like that. And that's fine, it isn't their kit.
 

wraub

Well-known member
I believe my high hats may be the lowest here- looking at pics, definitely lower and closer than Mr. Blades'.
It's an ergonomic thing for me- I can do 16ths, flams, etc on the hats with minimal reach or effort.
It may not be right, but it's right for me-for now. I can see them doing totally different things if I can ever afford good cable hats.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Mine is determined by height of my snare. I've just recently raised my snare height and it didn't take but a minute before I had to adjust my hats up to same relative position to snare. Then I noted the clutch not grabbing the rod and sticking well-so I know why I lowered my snare in the first place LOL. The rod is all chewed up so screw isn't setting well I think- I'm going to take my drill and tap a dent for screw to catch.
 

mrfingers

Senior Member
Playing trad it’s a distance from the snare thing: too close and I cut my left hands on the hats going up to the high tom, too low I can’t cross with my left to play the snare.
 

MrBeats503

Member
I play mine fairly high. The reason is for looks and it also just feels right for the styles I’m playing (hard rock/heavy metal). If you play a lot of intricate hi hat stuff then you might want them lower, otherwise you’ll get used to the height difference and it will start to feel normal. I am always playing on the edge of the hi hat as someone else noted. Anything else simply wouldn’t cut through with the music I’m playing.
 
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