hihat position: the glitch

moxman

Silver Member
Do you ever catch a stick tip under the hihat cymbals when you're playing - and usually not looking? It happens rarely, but when it does it drives me crazy..it breaks the groove and if a mic is close by it's usually followed by some colorful words..

The remedy is making sure the hat position is correct for you ergonomic situation. In mine it's usually the cymbals (when looking down from the top) are edge aligned within an inch or two of the rim of the snare.. and the height of the cymbals is roughly a few inches above the height of my elbow (in playing position).

The glitch is the hat slips when you're not looking.. and suddenly your reach is too close to the edge.. and then .. the colorful words!

Does anyone have any other methods for getting the optimum hihat position?
(and assume a good drum mat so the damn thing doesn't move!)
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I've always tried to make sure everything is positioned consistently, so that I could play with my eyes closed and not miss anything. That's why a rack is crucial on tour, so that 5-6 nights a week, I don't have to worry about how my gear is arranged. And to make sure nothing gets 'accidentally' adjusted on tear-down, any wing nuts that must stay set have been replaced by hex nuts.

But there's still an important variable, and just an inch in any direction can make a big difference: throne position!

On our, I have marks where my throne feet go, so that's never a concern. But on local gigs, I spend more time positioning the throne than any other piece of the kit.

Still, I occasionally miss hitting something or catch a stick on the hat or a cymbal nearby the one I intended to hit. No matter how perfectly the kit is set up, you still have to pay attention!

Bermuda
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I like my hihat quite close to the snare and much more in front of me than most drummers. I'm reminded of this whenever I play someone else's kit.
My ideal hihat is by the 10 o'clock position of the snare, and the edge of the hat is pretty much over the edge of the snare. I just prefer the feel of it next to the tom, rather than 'around the corner'. My feet are in similar positions either side of the snare, legs at 45 degrees.
Obviously I don't use a double pedal - there's no room for the 2nd pedal.
 

Bull

Gold Member
But there's still an important variable, and just an inch in any direction can make a big difference: throne position!

On our, I have marks where my throne feet go, so that's never a concern. But on local gigs, I spend more time positioning the throne than any other piece of the kit.

Bermuda
This!!! Throne positioning and height can screw up everything else!

As long as my hats are the correct height,I can deal with small variables in the placement.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
But on local gigs, I spend more time positioning the throne than any other piece of the kit.


Bermuda
This! The throne position determines everything for me. I've gone entire sets never getting the throne right, and feeling uncomfortable all night. I'll have to admit, though, that I've never had a stick get stuck in my hi hat. Am I just lucky?

GeeDeeEmm
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
I like my hihat quite close to the snare and much more in front of me than most drummers. I'm reminded of this whenever I play someone else's kit.
My ideal hihat is by the 10 o'clock position of the snare, and the edge of the hat is pretty much over the edge of the snare. I just prefer the feel of it next to the tom, rather than 'around the corner'. My feet are in similar positions either side of the snare, legs at 45 degrees.
Obviously I don't use a double pedal - there's no room for the 2nd pedal.
I used to set up my hi-hat like that and I played that way for years. When you play without having to crossover your arms though, it's very hard to sit in on another kit and play crossed over. I really struggled at jams and festivals with the house kits. Sometimes you just can't adjust a house kit that way and it's makes playing difficult. I was at a master class with Carl Albrecht and he talked about setting your kit up in a very generic way so that you are better able to sit in on other kits. I finally went back to playing crossed over and it's made playing house kits easier. You can however fit in a double pedal. Just put the bass pedal on the outside of your hi-hat.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I can't say I've ever really run into this before, but then again, I mostly play sticks on my ride cymbals, not the HH.

I will say that like others, the majority of my setup time if figuring out where to put the throne. The throne being off by an inch might mean one leg is going to get more tired, one arm is going to get worn out, and/or I won't be comfortable moving around the kit.
 

paravil

Senior Member
and the height of the cymbals is roughly a few inches above the height of my elbow (in playing position).
It could be that your hi hats are positioned too high. Of course "too high" is different for everyone, but setting them up lower might be worth trying. When playing the hi hat, my right arm is down and my forearm is level. I'm not reaching up to play them. This also makes them more accessible to my left hand for accents and whatnot.
 

moxman

Silver Member
It could be that your hi hats are positioned too high. Of course "too high" is different for everyone, but setting them up lower might be worth trying. When playing the hi hat, my right arm is down and my forearm is level. I'm not reaching up to play them. This also makes them more accessible to my left hand for accents and whatnot.
That's possible.. I've been trying them lower lately. It does seem to be a bit less of a stretch and more in line with the arc of the stick.

I like the description of positioning by clock hands. I used to play the 10-11 oclock position with the hats wrt the snare position.. (and double kick pedal on the outside of the HH) makes it great for extended whacking of the snare as your hands don't cross... but man - if you miss and hit your right hand.. EEEYowee! For that reason I tend to play open handed if I need to.. in some cases; simple patterns are not a problem but intricate funky grooves lead me back to standard crossover with the hands.
Now i position the hats at around the 9 oclock position

throne height - yes.. very important. I usually go for a height where my thighs are parallel to the floor and lower legs at a slight angle.. maybe100degrees..
Whenever I set up I go in this order;
throne, snare, (kick, hats). I sit down and let my hands hang down at my sides, then bring them up and place the sticks on the snare in playing position - check. then pedal check for position of kick and hats.. and finally the hats position with the snare (height and location). After I'm sure everything is in the right position.. the toms and cymbals just fall into place.
I mark all the hardware positions on the metal tubes with a sharpie...
- at the end of the night I can tear down most of my kit while still sitting on my throne!
 
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