How to Set Up a Gretsch Drum Set

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Most drum sets can be set up relatively quickly, but drummers may find themselves tinkering with the arrangement for hours trying to find the perfect setup. There really is no right or wrong to set up a Gretsch set; the proper way to set up your set will depend on the types of drums and cymbals you have, your style of drumming, your size and your personal preferences. The following instructions will walk you through the steps of setting up a traditional five-piece Gretsch kit with a right-handed configuration, and you'll find some tips to help you modify these instructions to fit your needs.

  • Find a large open area in which to set up your Gretsch drum set. Even the smallest drum sets need a space 5 feet wide and 3 feet deep, but larger kits can require up to twice as much room. If you have a carpet you want to place under your drum set, center it in this area. Carpets help drum set components stay in place and protect the floor underneath the kit.

  • Place your drum stool in the rear center of where you want to set up your drums.

  • Sit in the stool and assume a natural, comfortable playing position. Note where your right foot is, and place the bass drum pedal there.

  • Move the bass drum into place against the pedal and set up the kickstands on each side. Connect the pedal to the rim of the bass drum by tightening the wing nut on the pedal.

  • Bring the hi-hat cymbal over to the stool and take a seat again. Assume your natural playing position, then move the hi-hat cymbal over so the pedal is where your left foot goes.

  • Unfold the legs of your snare drum stand and tighten the wing nut to lock them in place. Set the snare drum into the stand and set it between the bass drum and hi-hat cymbal. Sit on the stool and adjust the snare so it fits comfortably between your legs.

  • Bring your floor tom over to the set and place it on the right side of your right thigh. Adjust it so that you can comfortably strike it by bringing your right hand down just at your right side.

  • Mount your two tom-toms onto your bass drum by sliding each drum's arm through a hole on the top of the bass drum. From the playing position, the smaller tom-tom should be on your left. When each tom-tom is in place, tighten the wing nut next to the hole on the bass drum.

  • Loosen the wing nut on the ride cymbal stand and adjust the height so the cymbal sits just slightly higher than the top of your mounted tom-toms, then tighten the wing nut. Place the stand between the rightmost mounted tom-tom and the floor tom, and slightly farther away from the stool than the drums. Adjust it from a sitting position so you can easily reach the cymbal and both toms.

  • Place your primary crash cymbal stand between the hi-hat cymbal and the leftmost tom-tom, but slightly farther from the stool than the drums. Adjust the height and angle so you can comfortably hit the cymbal from a sitting position.

  • Sit on the stool and make any necessary adjustments to heights, angles or positions. Your basic components are now completely set up.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're left-handed, you can set up any Gretsch drum set just like this, but inverted. Many left-handed drummers use an inverted setup, but many others are just as comfortable using a right-handed setup. Most larger sets, when purchased as complete sets, come with detailed setup instructions for optimal arrangements. If you have a unique assortment of drums and aren't sure how to set them up, make a list of your components or take some pictures of your set and take them around to local music shops. Drummers who work in these stores may be happy to take some time to help you troubleshoot your arrangement, and they might be able to suggest new stands or equipment that would help you achieve a better setup.

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