Have A Seat
Often, we spend thousands of dollars on the drums, but skimp when it comes to the seat. I don’t recommend this because it neglects the most important part of the drum set – ourselves! How we sit makes a large and direct impact on how we play and the tone we get from the drums and cymbals. A poor throne makes sitting at balance – and all the goodness that comes with it – impossible.
This is why if you splurge on any item in your drumset, make it your seat. You don’t need to spend a fortune, however. All you really need is something that will hold you up easily and comfortably at the right height and not get in your way. It doesn’t need to be a specially built drum throne. You may find something just right that works for you that isn’t a drum throne, per se. However, drum thrones built for the job are likely going to suit your needs better and cheaper than anything else you can find.
Drum Throne Guide
All in all, you are likely to want a commercially made drum throne, however. Here is what to look for when buying a drum throne.
Job #1 for drum thrones is holding you up. When looking for a drum throne you want something that will hold you up without a hint of a wobble. You should be able to plop down on the thing to bounce up and down on it without fear of it breaking. You will probably want something that is double braced, as this will add considerable strength to the hardware. A tripod design is helpful because this will allow for stability on uneven surfaces. Rubber feet also add to the overall stability.
If you are the only drummer, it may be possible to find a seat that is exactly the right height and leave it there. You might even be able to find a wooden stool or chair that supports you strongly at just the correct height. However, if someone else plays your drums, they will be out of luck. If you want to experiment and try a new seat height, you will need to replace the chair. If you are travelling, some stages may be uneven, requiring adjustment of seat height.
There are 3 main methods of adjusting seat height on drum thrones.
The first is to have a smaller tube fit inside a larger tube. The smaller tube slides in and out to provide extra height. All cymbal and drum stands work like this. The cheapest stands have a cross pin that fits through a limited number of holes. Others have a wingnut that pinches the smaller tube in place. These are better, but all thrones of this type have some looseness between the larger and smaller tubes that creates some degree of wobble. Some thrones have multiple wingnuts that clamp the smaller tube more strongly, but in my opinion there are better options available.
I much prefer the spindle type drum throne. These thrones spin to adjust height, like a screw would spin in to a board. These thrones are much more stable.
Gas adjusting thrones are also available. These have compressed air that pushes the seat up and down automatically. As you might imagine, these seats have a little bounce in them when you sit on them. This provides a little extra shock absorption and can be very comfortable even after many hours of sitting. You may not like this, however, because it means that you may be bouncing up and down slightly as you play. These thrones also tend to be heavier and more difficult to pack around, however. I own the throne pictured and it doesn’t leave my teaching studio for this reason. These thrones also spin easily and don’t have memory locks.
Commercial drum thrones all have some sort of padding. The type of foam used varies widely. Foam can be too soft or too firm, so find one that feels right to you. Many of the higher end thrones use memory foam or even gel.
Thrones come in different shapes. You have two basic choices: round and saddle. Both work great. The advantage of saddle seats is that you can sit in the middle of the seat. If you sit in the middle of round seats, the seat presses against your leg, making operating the pedals harder. saddle seats have a cut out for your legs, allowing you to sit in the center.
The texture of the seat can be important. Commercially designed thrones are all comfortable, but you may have a preference. While most thrones are simple black, you can find thrones in any color and even specially order your own design.
If you travel, you will want a seat that is portable. Most thrones fold up with a tripod base, but not all. The weight of the throne also may make moving it more difficult, so it is something to consider.
Price is of course an issue. You can find cheaper ones, but the best price I’ve seen for a usable throne is around USD $75. If you can afford it, I highly recommend going for a better quality throne.