Types of Drums

There are many different types of drums. Most of them can be categorized into a few basic group types, acoustic, electric or world drums.


These types include all the drums you see in a standard set. They are made of different types of wood (maple, birch, poplar)or steel(snares) and come in various sizes. They include the bass, snare and tom drums.

Bass Drums are the foundation of a beat. It is the low sound that drives the beat and gives a song the feeling of a rhythm.

The Snare Drum produces a crisp, high-pitch sound that cuts through every other piece of the kit. It is the main component of a beat. If someone is "off-beat" they aren't playing the snare in time.

Toms are mainly used as fills. They make great transitions for tempo changes or they can help round out a beat and make it sound more full. Learn more about acoustic sets and Cheap Drum Sets.


These are actually pads that represent acoustical drums. In an Electronic Drum Set the pads may all be the same size, or they may be built to the specific size of the instrument types that they relate to. For example, tom pads may imitate the sizes of an Acoustic Drum Set at 10, 12 and 14 inches in diameter.

These pads can be made to imitate almost any sound. There is no "snare" or "tom". There is only a pad that produces a sound when you hit it. So you can arrange your set in any configuration.

World Instruments

World percussion includes the broadest range of drum types and could be subdivided into numerous categories itself. Latin, Cuban, African, Native American and other ethnic percussive instruments all get lumped into this category. Below you'll find a few basic types of drums found around the world. Click a picture to learn more about each one.

Don't forget to check out the Free Drum Lessons if you want to learn How to Play the Drums. You can also find helpful hint, tips, and tricks on my Drumming Techniques page.

Learn About Other Types of Drums on the Homepage.

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