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Help on staying relaxed and throne height/drum positioning

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  • Help on staying relaxed and throne height/drum positioning

    I've been having some trouble with pain in my shoulders and arms. I'm certain it has to do with having too much tension in my body when practicing so..any tips for getting that tension out and keeping relaxed? My drum teacher (we're on break for the summer) told me I need to work on keeping my shoulders relaxed and try to sit up straight. It tends to be easier said than done. I think, for the most part, I'm not tensing my shoulders up as much but I'm still getting pain.

    Also, any advice on throne height? I know some drummers like to sit really low but others sit up higher. I've tried raising my throne but I'm not really sure if it's helped or not.

    Part of me feels that if I could get the throne height (and height/positioning of my drums for that matter) right for me, then I'd probably be well on my way to solving the tension in my body. I'm just not sure how to proceed in finding what's right for me.

  • #2
    2Box DrumIt Five, TDW-20BK , additional Kit Toys & Roland cymbals, 2Box, Pearl and Sonor pedals


    • #3
      a good throne is money well spent. comfort is very important as well as posture. set at hight to where your legs are about 90 degrees give or take alittle so that you dont have to fight to keep your balance. it is agood idea to set the kit so that you dont have to reach for anything beyond the length of you arm. try placing the ride so that you dont have to rotate the shoulder back too far to reach it. practice a proper sticking technique. it is all in the fingers and wrist. hope this helps
      Pearl Mimic pro, A to E 7 piece Pearl Decade maple, ddrum Deccabons, Ddrum DDTi, UFO X-bar triggers, Real feel heads, Gibraltar rack, VH13, PD105 side snare, Roc-N-Soc,Tama Iron Cobra, Iron cobra high hat stand, Cobra clutch, Pearl throne thumper, Roland and Kit Toys cymbals, Roland KC 500, Promark


      • #4
        Hey 8bitrevolution - it's time to move to 32 bit.

        A couple of suggestions....

        1/ sit on your throne with your feet in a comfortable position on the pedals
        - with your knees bent at a slightly more open angle than 90degrees to start
        - Do the heel/toe action on your kick pedal and adjust the throne (up or down) to get the most comfortable movement of your ankle
        - For most drummers this appears to be with the upper legs sloping downwards only a few degrees
        With this position you aren't having to expend too much energy lifting your whole leg up and down

        2/ Set your kit so you can rotate your body in a series of concentric arcs to reach the various kit parts
        - the cymbals arc will be the furthest out and your arms should never be straight
        - the hihat/snare/toms arc will be the closest to you and you shouldn't be cramped

        3/ Play with your eyes closed to see where your natural action falls - this will allow you to position the kit parts in subtly better spots

        4/ Allow yourself to smile whilst you are playing ....sounds a bit silly, but it is a great relaxer


        • #5
          Lots of beer helps you relax I used to sit high and found my back got sore so I dropped the hight and now sit with my upper legs parallel to the floor. A comfortable seat is very important also...
          My Kit


          • #6
            Thanks for all the tips.

            From reading over these, it appears I'm doing a few things right. I think my throne height is probably where I need it to be but a new throne with a bicycle style seat sounds real appealing - it feels like my butt's where it should be but that my legs could stand to slope down a little bit. So based off everyone's recommendations, it sounds like a Roc-N-Soc Nitro is the ticket.

            I've already placed my ride in the center of my kit. It's something my first drum teacher did and it immediately made sense to me.

            In the next few days I'm going to try and take M_C_M and Hercules advice and drink a lot of beer and try to set up some concentric circles.


            • #7
              Drinks help but they negatvely impact your groove!
              As stated, make sure that everythings is within easy reach. It should feel very natural to reach your cymbals, drums and pedals. You should not have to over extend to do so. Not sure how long you have been playing, but some people tend to tense up since playing drums is a new experience. If so just try to relax and know that you will make mistakes and that is Ok -- it is critical to improving your playing.

              Think of this, in jazz there are no mistakes, just new parts - NEP


              • #8
                This is just and observation I have noticed with new drummers that may not apply to yourself. I have seen a lot of drummers that dont know how to set a kit up the right way and tend to have things set a weird heights and angles and the learn to play with the kit set like that. You can see some of the awkward ways they have to play in order for the sticks to reach the right thing and this can cause issues with pains and not being able to advance as well as they should.

                A kit should be set up around the player and not the other way round. Maybe the first thing to do is just sit on your stool and get a height that is comfortable. Playing heal up or down will affect whats comfortable or not. Make sure the snare is set to a height that lets your shoulders stay down with no weird twists or bends when the stick is in the striking position, and so on for the rest of the kit. Some people have an idea of what a kit should be set up like and straying from that type of set up would be wrong but its not if its more comfortable for the player.

                The more comfortable you are the less pain you will have and the better you will play. Just sit behind your kit and see if changes can be made to give you more comfort.

                *Free TD-12 & TD-20 Kits*....*Free SPD-s Kits & Effects*


                • #9
                  Thats great advise on setting up. I put my seat in the middle of the room then add the kick, then the snare and so on. Nothing takes the fun out of it more than being uncomfortable. Getting through that third set of songs in pain and just wanting to pack up and go home knowing theres another hour to go. I've been there before...
                  My Kit


                  • #10
                    I've been playing for a little over a year but yeah, I still consider myself new to drumming.

                    My kit was, essentially, set up by the guy at the music store since I ended up buying the display model. I've done some tweaks to the positioning but could probably stand to do some more.

                    When my teacher first pointed out to me that I was tensing my shoulders up, I would try to make sure while practicing to mentally remind myself to drop them back to a relaxed position. At first, I could feel quite a difference from where they'd end up naturally and where they should have been relaxed but lately, it seems there isn't much tension to release.

                    I actually had no problems with tension in my body, or at least it adversely affecting me to a point that I noticed, until I learned the closed roll. I think, when applying a bit of tension to my fulcrum, I inadvertently tighten up my entire arm/shoulder. Any suggestions for avoiding that?

                    I should mention though - I don't think I have anything so far away that I'm really reaching. My ride allows me to extend my arm a little bit but definitely not anything uncomfortable. If anything, I actually feel a bit more cramped.

                    Also, any suggestion on what would be a good angle for the toms/snare? I tend to angle toms 1 and 2 (rack toms if you will) a bit more steeply towards myself (but nothing drastic) since they're up higher than the snare and tom 3 (floor tom) are a bit more flat with a slight angle.
                    Last edited by 8bitrevolution; 06-12-08, 02:26 PM.


                    • #11
                      I'm experiencing just the opposite. For years I've had a nagging tension pain in my left shoulder blade muscle area, that is only relieved with a heat pad and deep tissue massage. But I just realized a few weeks ago that the pain is considerably reduced, and virtually non-existant most of the time now, and the only thing I'm doing differently is drumming regularly.

                      That being said, I do have some trouble in my lower back which is an area that I've never had problems with before. I know I have terrible posture so I'll be looking for a better throne with back support as a future upgrade.

                      Sabre's Album


                      • #12
                        Things I do to help keep me relaxed (especially as I have been playing for only 3 weeks but with 18 years of guitar):

                        1. Stretch (comes from working out mentality). A good stretch helps you prepare yourself for the drum session.

                        2. Smile. Drums are supposed to be fun. If you are tense, you are trying way too hard and concentrating too hard. You will never flow/groove on the instrument if you are bunched up thinking too hard. Close your eyes a few times when you practice, helps you learn your kit position without even thinking about it. You will naturally relax more.

                        3. Familiarity. If you have a song you know you can play in your sleep.. play that first when you sit at the kit. No effort required, good warmup and really puts you in the mood for the things that will challenge you.

                        Half the battle is to relax and flow. Concentration is obviously good but you should be prepared to sacrifice a little bit of flair for the groove/vibe. You will always end up hitting that killer roll/groove you are striving so hard for but give it time and it will happen naturally
                        TD9KX w/KD-120 kick, VH-11 HH, PD-125 snare, CY-8 crash, Gibralter double pedal :cool:


                        • #13
                          Yesterday I had the pleasure of getting to lug my acoustic kit out of my apartment and to a friend's house for a jam session. We played for about 3 hours split into two sessions and I didn't feel one ounce of tension. I set my kit up like so:

                          I think this follows the concentric arcs method. As people have suggested, I set the throne up first, then the kick and built it all up from there. The ride cymbal ended up getting moved around as I played and I still haven't found the perfect spot for it yet.

                          I also made sure to do stretching before we played and that seemed to help, too. Now if I can just play my electric set while remaining that relaxed, I'll be in good shape.

                          Thanks for everyone's suggestions - they've been really beneficial.


                          • #14
                            I noticed during my Friday night gig that I was doing something wrong that might help you relax too. During difficult parts of certain tunes, my breathing would become so short that I was almost holding my breath. I was taking really short breaths in through my nose when the groove gets tough. Saturday night I forced myself to keep breathing at a relaxed pace. It helped A LOT! Good luck.

                            By the way, is that a Roland throne with an "A" set? Weird. Hehe.


                            • #15
                              Rule number one,

                              Set throne height and position in respect to your pedals. You got to be positioned right to be comfortable on these and take into account which way you play them, heel up or heel down or a combination of both. Spend a fews hours getting this right.

                              After that everthing else should be positioned in the same way.