How Many Types Of Drums Are There?

What kind of drum kit should I get? The drums are a very diverse musical instrument.

There are so many options out there to choose from, each having its own advantages and disadvantages which divide them.

Types Of Drums

Some will be suited to the music you want to make and the kind of player you want to be and some won’t. How do you differentiate between them and choose the right drums for you?

Drumming has become a hobby for millions of people around the globe, and it is also a great career for serious musicians.

Whether you want to play along to your favorite songs, simply enjoy the sound of your own beats, or become a professional drummer, you’ll need a good set of drums.

In this article, we will discuss the different types of drums you can get, and help you decide which one is right for you! 

So… Exactly How Many Types Of Drums Are There?

There are a plethora of drums out there in the world! They can typically be sorted into these groups:

– Drum sets 

– Frame drums 

– Marching band drums 

– Hand drums 

– African drums

The Different Types Of Drums 

Drum Sets 

Drum Sets

Acoustic drum kits are one of the most popular drum kits out there.

A drum set is made up of two main components – the bass drum (or kick) and the snare drum, 1 hi-hat cymbal, 1 crash cymbal, a ride cymbal, a cowbell, and a tom-tom.

The bass and snare drum are usually played together, with the snare being struck on top of the bass drum. This gives a unique timbre to the overall sound of the drum kit.

Drum sets are often used by bands, but they’re also popular among solo artists and individuals who just like playing their own beats.

A double bass drum setup is more common than a single bass drum setup. A double bass drum setup is when both the bass drum and the snare drum are mounted on the same stand.

In a single bass drum setup, only the bass drum is mounted on the stand.

Drum sets are common in all types of music, including jazz and rock music, as well as other genres such as hip hop, blues, country, folk, reggae, etc. 

Bass Drum 

Bass Drum

A bass drum is the lowest pitched drum in a drum kit. It’s usually tuned at 40-60 Hz, although some bass drummers tune theirs higher at 80-120 Hz.

Bass drums come in various sizes, ranging from small to large, though they are usually the largest drum in a drum kit. Larger bass drums tend to produce a deeper tone.

Snare Drums

Snare Drums

A snare drum is a type of drum that produces a high-pitched, rattling sound. Snare drums are typically tuned at 300-500 Hz, although some snare drummers tune theirs lower at 200-300 Hz.

Snares are usually mounted on stands above the bass drum. Snares can be used to create a variety of different percussive sounds, depending on how hard or soft they are hit.



Cymbals are instruments that are typically used in percussion ensembles. They are used to add variety to a band’s sound. Cymbals come in many shapes and sizes.

Some include bells, chimes, crashes, hi-hats, ride cymbals, and tom-toms. Each type of cymbal has its own unique purpose. For example, bell cymbals are used to accentuate the beat.

Chime cymbals are used when creating melodies. Crash cymbals are used for adding impact to a song.

Hi-hat cymbals are used as accents to the rhythm section. Ride cymbals are used during fills. Tom-tom cymbals are used in jazz music

Different Types Of Drum Kits 

Let’s look at some examples of different drum kits!

Rock Drum Kits – These are one of the most common types of drum kits.

They consist of a bass drum, a rack tom, a floor tom, a snare drum, a high hat cymbal, a crash cymbal, and a ride cymbal – what people usually think of when they picture a drum kit. 

Jazz Drum Kits – Jazz drum kits have a similar structure to rock drum kits, except that they don’t include a rack tom. Instead, they use an open-back design.

Jazz drum kits will have large cymbals, and they are typically tuned high in order to achieve a resonating tone. These are small kits and are very easy to travel and tour with. 

Metal Drum Kits – Metal drum kits have a much larger frame than standard drum kits. They are also heavier, making them ideal for marching bands.

Metal drum kits come with a lot of extra hardware, including stands, pedals, and cymbals. They tend to be louder than regular drum kits. 

Traditional Chinese Drum Kit – Traditional Chinese drum kits are designed to mimic traditional Chinese instruments.

They feature a long body, a round head, and a straight stick. They are typically tuned low in order to create a softer, mellower sound. 

Electronic Drums 

Electronic Drums

An electronic drum kit is a type of drum kit that uses electronics instead of acoustic drums.

Electronic drums are commonly used in pop/rock music, although they are becoming increasingly popular in other styles of music as well.

An example of an electronic drum kit would also be a drum machine or a drum computer. 

A drum machine is a device that can play back recorded drum tracks. It has been around since the 1970s, and it was originally used primarily for recording purposes.

However, today, drum machines are widely used in live performances. Some drum machines even allow you to record your own drum parts.

There are many different models available, ranging from simple ones that cost less than $100 to complex models that cost thousands of dollars. 



Congas are Cuban drums that are very tall and typically come in groups of around 2-3. Generally, congas come in three different sizes: 

– Quinto, which is the smallest conga. 

– Conga/ tres do, which is the middle size of the conga. 

-Tumba, is a large type of conga. 

Congas are generally played in unison, although sometimes they are played separately.

You will typically hear a conga in the background during salsa dancing, Latin music, Reggae music, Afro-Cuban music, and even pop music use congas.

Additionally, congas are commonly used in marching bands. Congas will typically create a war, deep bass tone. Because they are so tall, you will need to stand up to play them.

Congas get their name from “La Conga”, which is a drum used traditionally in Cuban carnivals. 

The Bongos 

The Bongos

Bongos are an Afro-Cuban type of drum that is usually played with the congas. Like congas, bongos are also made in various sizes, but they are usually small. 

Small bongos are usually around 30cm long, while medium bongos are about 40cm long. Big bongos are around 50cm long. 

You’ll find bongos used in traditional African music, as well as in Caribbean music. They will create a very high-pitched tone.

The bongos can be played in two ways. First, they can be mounted to a stand and played while you stand. Second, you can sit down and hold them in your legs to play. 



A tabla is a type of drum that originated in India. There are two drums – one that produces a tenor tone, and another that produces a bass tone.

These drums are used in many genres of music, such as Indian classical music, Hindustani classical music, and Pakistani folk music. 

The tenor drum is called a mridangam, and it’s the smaller of the two drums. It has a flat bottom and a curved top. This type of drum is often used when playing solo or in duets. 

The bass drum is called a dholak, and it’s the bigger of the two drums. This type of drum has a rounded bottom and a pointed top.

This type of instrument is usually used when playing in ensembles. 

Tablas are typically held between the knees of the player, who sits cross-legged on the floor. Tablas are typically played with your fingers and palms.

But there are many playing techniques that will bring out different sounds. For example, you may tap the edge of the drum with your fingertips, or strike the side of the drum with your palm. 



Djembes are a type of hand drum that originated in West Africa. They’re similar to the djembé (also spelled jembé) found in Mali and Senegal.

These types of drums are tuned with rope and covered with animal skin.

They have a wooden body and are played by striking the head with your hands. They will produce deep tones if hit in the center, and attacking tones if hit on the edge.

To play the Djembe drums, you need to hold them between your legs, but you can choose between standing and sitting.

Djembes are commonly used in traditional African music and are also heard frequently in drum circles. 

While Djembe drums are usually rope-tuned, some companies will use lugs to tune them. Lugs are metal rings that are placed over the end of the drumhead.

When these rings are tightened, they change the pitch of the drum. 



Timpani drums are an extremely important part of the orchestra. These types of drums are huge and are typically used in groups of 2-4.

A unique part of timps is that when played, they create beautiful, melodic tones. 

However, timpani drums are known to be quite difficult to tune. Because they make melodic sounds, they need to be tuned to the key of the specific song that they’re being played in.

To tune a timpani drum, the timpani player will need to press on the pedals found underneath them. As they do this, the pedal will raise or lower depending on how much pressure is applied.

If done correctly, the pedal will go up and down at the same time as the notes from the song.

Timpani players must be able to read music well enough to know what note needs to be pressed for each beat in order to get the desired sound. 

Hang Drums 

Hang Drums

These drums are also called hand pan drums and are made of steel and have a hanging mechanism. There are three main types of hang drums: single-hung, double-hung, and triple hung.

Single-hung drums have one hanging rod attached to the drum. Double-hung drums have two rods, while triple-hung drums have three rods.

Hang drums are generally played using sticks, but you can tap them with your fingers if you want to produce a certain tone. 

One disadvantage of a hand drum is that it is not very versatile. Hang drums only have one scale, which means you will need to have a plethora of them if you want to make a song with different keys.

However, one huge advantage of a hang drum is its sound. Hang drums sound beautiful! They produce an ethereal sound that is great to listen to.

And, the drum could not be easier to play! Simply place it on your lap and tap! 

Frame Drums 

Frame Drums

Frame drums are another type of hand drum. They are made out of wood and have a frame around them – hence, the name!

Frame drums are often used in marching bands and are extremely fun to play.

Although frame drums are fun and easy to play, they are not very versatile. You cannot easily alter their pitch or volume.

However,  they are good for beginners because they are fairly simple to learn. 

Bodhran Drum 

Bodhran Drum

 The Bodhran Drum is Irish in origin and is a type of frame drum. It is made out of wood and has a frame around it.

Like most frame drums, the bodhran is played by striking the drum head with a stick. The bodhran is a common instrument in Irish folk music. 

Because it’s a frame drum, it isn’t very loud. It produces a mellow, low-pitched sound that is perfect for playing Irish songs. It is also fairly easy to play.

All you have to do is hit the drum head with a wooden stick. 

Marching Snare Drum 

Marching Snare Drum

Marching snares have stronger skin than the normal snare drum. They have Kevlar, which makes them strong and durable.

They are used by drummers who want to make loud, bold sounds! Additionally, they are excellent for playing drum rolls.

Marching Bass Drum 

Marching Bass Drum

Marching bass drums are similar to marching snares. They are made of Kevlar and are used by drummers to create loud, booming sounds.

Marching bass drums are usually used in rock and pop music.



Steel pans are similar to frame drums except that they are made out of metal instead of wood. Steelpans come from the Caribbean and are extremely versatile instruments.

Steel pans are usually used by percussionists who perform in marching bands. They are also used in jazz bands and other musical groups.

Additionally, steelpans have become the iconic sound of the Caribbean, being one of the most recognizable drum sounds around! 

Steel drums are often sampled in popular tracks of many different music styles. They have been used by some of the most popular musicians, including John Lennon, Taylor Swift, and The Killers. 

The Cajon 

The Cajon

A Cajon is a small box-shaped drum from Peru that is typically played with hands, drumsticks, or brushes. The Cajon will sound different depending on where it is struck.

It is an extremely popular drum to play during live, acoustic performances, and you typically sit on it to play it. The cajun is easy to transport around so it is perfect for gigs.

Final Thoughts 

Drums can be found everywhere in various shapes, sizes, and styles. There are many different ways to play drums, and each style has its own unique origins and set of advantages and disadvantages.

Choose the right drum for your needs and you’ll be playing like a pro in no time!