Top 10 Things Every Serious Drummer Should Have

A drum set on carpet

Full drum kit setups are fairly large. There are several things involved in playing the drums, and drummers tend to get accustomed to using all of them quite regularly. With that being said, there are a few specific things that every drummer needs to have in order to feel comfortable playing the drums in any situation.

Drummers need drum gear, tools for practicing, headphones for listening, tools for practicing, and several items that make playing gigs a bit easier. All of these things are fairly vital in a drumming setup. A drummer could survive without a few of them, but it would be ideal to have all of them at all times.

Here is a detailed list of things every drummer should have.

1. A Drum Kit!

The most important thing every drummer needs is a drum kit to play on. Having a drum kit will allow you to practice and improve your skills. You’ll also be able to use it when you play gigs with different bands.

If noise is an issue, you could get an electronic drum kit instead of an acoustic one. Whichever type of drum kit you choose to use, make sure that it’s one that you love.

The cool thing about drum kits is that you can upgrade them steadily over time, buying new cymbals or drums here and there to improve the overall quality of the set.

2. Drum & Cymbal Bags

If you’re planning on playing gigs or traveling with your drum set, you’ll need to have a set of drum and cymbal bags to store everything in. The transportation bags will keep the drums safe when you’re moving them.

You can either get soft bags or hard cases. Hard cases are the heavy-duty option, providing more sturdy protection. They’re more difficult to move around, though.

Bags and cases are also great protectors of dust if you plan on storing your drums. They’ll keep the dirt and grime away, as well as stop the metal on the drums from corroding.

3. Several Pairs Of Drumsticks

You can’t be a drummer without a pair of drumsticks to drum with. Sticks are one of the most personal aspects of being a drummer. There are so many different types of sticks that vary in size, weight, and feel. Choosing your favorite kind of drumsticks is a process that all drummers go through.

You should have a stick bag where you keep multiple pairs of your favorite sticks. The stick bag should also have some specialty sticks such as mallets and brushes.

4. Spare Hi-Hat Clutches

A hi-hat clutch is a tool that connects a top hi-hat cymbal to the rod on the hi-hat stand. Every hi-hat stand comes with one of these. However, they tend to break or get stripped quite often. So, every drummer should have a spare hi-hat clutch with them in case that ever happens.

This is especially true if you play many gigs. Some venues will have a drum kit already set up for you to play. It’s quite common for the hi-hat clutches on house kits to be unreliable. So, it’s always good to bring your own.

5. A Few Drum Keys

Drum keys allow you to tune the drums. You also need them to adjust some drum hardware. A drum key is one of the most important things a drummer should own. You’re going to find yourself getting stuck if you don’t have one.

They have a bit of a reputation for going missing. So, it’s always a good idea to have multiple drum keys lying around. Thankfully, they’re quite cheap.

One of the best ways to ensure your drum key doesn’t go missing is to attach it to your keychain.

6. A Drum Rug / Carpet

Drum rugs are one of those things that drummers often forget to bring, only to realize how much they need it when they’re playing a gig.

When a drum kit isn’t placed on top of some sort of carpet, the bass drum tends to move forward every time you kick it. So, you need to place your kit on top of a rug every time you play a gig so that doesn’t happen.

Some drummers like to map out all their hardware placements on a drum rug, making it easier to get the same setup at every gig.

7. Headphones or In-Ear Monitors

A good pair of headphones or in-ear monitors is something every drummer needs to play along with music. If you’re going for a set of headphones, make sure that they have a closed-back design. The closed-back design will block out a fair amount of sound, allowing you to hear the music clearly without having the drum sound be overpowering.

In-ear monitors, on the other hand, always do a fantastic job of blocking out sound. Sometimes they block out a bit too much, though. You should have a pair of in-ears if you play gigs frequently. They’re the industry-standard thing to use to monitor all the sound on the stage when you’re playing.

Using a set of headphones on stage for monitoring will look a little too bulky.

8. A Metronome

Practicing with a metronome is a vital thing every drummer should be doing. The metronome will help you work on your timekeeping abilities. It’s also a great tool for increasing speed on particular drum parts.

You could either have a physical metronome or download an app on a smartphone. It’s often a better idea to have a physical one as the smartphone has the potential to be very distracting when you’re practicing.

9. Some Earplugs

Many drummers realize this too late in life, but you need to protect your hearing at all costs. It doesn’t come back once it’s damaged! Since drums are so loud, you should be wearing earplugs every time you play.

You could either get a few cheap pairs of factory earplugs or some custom-molded ones. Headphones and in-ear monitors also work well as ear protection. 

Just make sure you’re always wearing something to protect your ears when playing. Drum kits produce a higher decibel level than what is deemed to be safe and normal for the ears to take in.

10. A Practice Pad (Or Two)

Having a practice pad will allow you to work on your hand technique. It will also allow you to bang out hand patterns and rudiments when you don’t have access to a drum kit at that time. Every drummer should have one of these as they’re a very important practice tool.

You can play on a practice pad while sitting in front of the TV, making it very easy to pull out and work on your hands. Playing on a pad becomes therapeutic to many drummers the more they play on them.

You should get a few different ones as practice pads differ in size and feel.


If you get your hands on all of the listed things above, you will be a drummer who is equipped for every possible situation you find yourself in. Drum gear will allow you to play while extra hardware will make playing gigs easier.

Try your best to get your hands on each one of these items. Some are a bit more important than others, so get those ones first. You’ll thank yourself for it!