Rules of thumb for setting hihat spring tension?


Active Member
Is there anything in particular you're aiming for when setting the tension, or just set it where it feels good?

My hi-hat stand has a threaded collar down near the base that moves up and down when you turn it. It has a long adjustment range -- probably a couple inches -- and feels quite a bit different across the range. Set near the top there's more tension holding the hats open and the pedal resists you more. Set it lower and the hats close easier and the pedal feels looser.

I'm hoping to figure out how to keep time with the hats by doing a left leg bounce and it occurred to me that the spring tension might be in the mix. I've mostly ignored this adjustment until now. In the archives there's lots of talk about BD pedal tension but almost none about the hats.

Wondering if there are rules of thumb or preferences out there. Like maybe tighter is better for heel up and looser is better for heel down? Or maybe set it as loose as you can get away with?

Or is the norm to just set it near the middle of the range and forget it...
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Gold Member
low side of medium
i like
least interference of spring the better more control the foot tells what to do not the spring.
Just want the spring to not be 'behind' your foot motion but not 'ahead' of it either
It wasn't spmething I gave much thought to either. Up till the day I started working on chick-ing constant time under fills and other stuff when both hands are busy doing something else.

I noticed a big difference in feel when going from my 15"Agops (heavy-ish) to some 14" Dream Bliss (much lighter). So I had to get acquainted with the tension adjuster on the stand.

There's a fine balance to be struck between a fast open and an easy and clean close. This means means something different for each player and varies with technique (heel mostly up or down) and cymbal weight.
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Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Unless you're doing some fancy hat footwork, all you're doing is stepping on a pedal to bring the cymbals together. Set it however it feels good for you.

John Q. Drummer

Active Member
No rule of thumb, all personal preference mostly based on playing style, experience and what size hi hat cymbals you use. For myself and my playing style, I’ve discovered that I prefer a tighter spring tension. If it’s too loose, that throws me off big time. It’s like the top cymbal takes too long to get back to its resting position over the bottom cymbal. I usually set the distance between the two cymbals to be about an inch to an inch and a half at maximum.

I have two Yamaha HS-740A hi hat stands. (I keep one as a back up that I use for home practice.) I think it has 9-10 spring tension settings you set by rotating that black plastic collar right above the foot plate. As long as I’m in one of the higher/tighter settings, I’m fine. If it is less than that, I can definitely tell. That sluggish feeling is tough for me to adapt to.

My hi hat spring tension is probably similar to the bass pedal tension, but that is by accident. The pedals do different things so I can mentally get over playing a much looser bass drum pedal. (Which I did for years.)


"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
The rule of the big toe applies here.

If you hover your foot parallel to the floor, over the pedal , you should be able to push the hi hat down with just your big toe

For anyone thinking I'm just making that up...good on you


Platinum Member
Kick pedal tension means a lot more to me than hi hat. Mine is set light medium but I never messed with it and it feels fine.