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A drum kit is normally comprised of the following:
- Bass drum – The largest drum that is struck with a hammer by pressing with one’s foot; typically used to start “bars” with and keep the beat. Often called a kick drum.
- Snare drum – A drum with small cables of metal wires stretched across the bottom to make the loud “tat” sound.
- Tom Toms – Often simply called a “tom,” these are typically two drums across the top of the kit. To the drummer’s left (or right if he/she is right-handed) is the small tom that makes a higher sound; on the other side is the medium or middle tom with a slightly lower sound, depending on the tuning.
- Floor Tom – Typically placed to the right of the drummer, this is a tom that has its own legs or stand and produces a lower note than the other toms (usually the second lowest after the bass drum).
- Hi-hat – Two cymbals, typically of the same size, that are either struck together by using its pedal below or by hitting with a drumstick. This is used to keep the beat, improvise rhythms and keep the accompanying instruments moving. Hi-hats can be played in the open, closed, and in-between positions. The hi-hats are the most important cymbals on the kit. Some drummers have more than one hi-hat setup around their kit.
- Crash Cymbal – A cymbal that makes a loud “crash” sound.
- Ride Cymbal – A large, heavy cymbal that, typically, makes a light, airy sound, named from the fact that the drummer can “ride on it” or keep time on it. The ride is often used during choruses or bridges, because it tends to cut through more aggressively then hi-hats. The bell of the ride cymbal can also be played, giving a pinging sound. The ride cymbal arguably is the second most important cymbal on the kit, next to the hi-hats.