Home drum All Types of Drums You’d Like to Know!

All Types of Drums You’d Like to Know!

by Madonna

Drums have been an integral part of human culture for thousands of years, serving as both musical instruments and ceremonial tools. Their rhythmic beats have accompanied celebrations, rituals, and gatherings across diverse cultures worldwide. From ancient times to modern music genres, drums continue to hold a significant place in the world of music.

Types of Drums

Drums come in a myriad of shapes, sizes, and materials, each with its own distinct sound and cultural significance. They can be categorized based on their shape, usage, and the materials from which they are made.


Cylindrical Drums: Cylindrical drums, such as the snare drum and bass drum, are among the most common types. They have a straight, cylindrical shape and are often used in contemporary music genres like rock, pop, and jazz.

Barrel Drums: These drums, such as the taiko drum of Japan, have a wide, cylindrical body with heads at both ends. They produce deep, resonant sounds and are often used in traditional and ceremonial music.

Conga Drums: Congas are tall, narrow drums with a slightly tapered shape. Originating from Afro-Cuban music, they are played in sets of two or more and produce rich, complex tones.

Waisted Drums: Waisted drums, like the djembe from West Africa, have a narrow waist and a wider top and bottom. They are played with the hands and are known for their versatile sounds and expressive capabilities.

Goblet Drums: Goblet drums, also known as doumbeks or darbukas, have a goblet-shaped body with a single head. They are commonly found in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean music and are played with the hands.

Bowl Drums: Bowl drums, such as the Tibetan singing bowl, have a bowl-shaped body and are often used in meditation and healing practices. They produce soothing, resonant tones when struck or rubbed.


Modern Drum Sets: Modern drum sets typically include a combination of cylindrical drums, such as the bass drum, snare drum, and tom-toms, along with cymbals and other percussion instruments. They are used in various genres of popular music and provide the rhythmic foundation for bands and ensembles.

Orchestral Drums: Orchestral drums encompass a wide range of drums used in classical music orchestras, including timpani, bass drums, snare drums, and tambourines. They are played with precision and are essential for adding depth and dynamics to orchestral compositions.

Traditional/Cultural Drums: Traditional drums vary greatly depending on the culture and region they originate from. They are often used in rituals, ceremonies, and cultural celebrations, playing a vital role in preserving cultural heritage and identity.


Drums Made from Animal Skin: Historically, many drums were made using animal skin stretched over a wooden or metal frame. Animal skins such as goat, cow, or buffalo hide are still commonly used for drumheads due to their durability and unique tonal qualities.

Drums Made from Wood: Wooden drums are crafted from various types of wood, including maple, oak, birch, and mahogany. These drums produce warm, resonant tones and are favored for their natural aesthetics and craftsmanship.

Drums Made from Synthetic Materials: With advancements in technology, drums made from synthetic materials such as plastic or fiberglass have become increasingly popular. These drums offer durability, consistency, and a wide range of sound possibilities.

Detailed Introductions for Drums

Snare Drum: The snare drum is a versatile cylindrical drum with a set of wires, or “snares,” stretched across the bottom head. It produces a sharp, crisp sound when struck with drumsticks or brushes and is commonly used in marching bands, orchestras, and drum kits.

Bass Drum: The bass drum, also known as the kick drum, is a large cylindrical drum that produces deep, low-frequency tones. It provides the foundational beat in many musical genres, including rock, jazz, and electronic music, and is played with a foot pedal or mallet.

Taiko Drum: The taiko drum is a traditional Japanese barrel drum with a wide, cylindrical body and heads at both ends. It comes in various sizes and shapes and is played with wooden sticks called bachi. Taiko drums are used in festivals, ceremonies, and theatrical performances.

Djembe: The djembe is a West African waisted drum made from a single piece of carved wood with a goat skin head. It produces a wide range of tones, from deep bass to high-pitched slaps, and is played with bare hands. Djembes are used in drum circles, dance classes, and performances worldwide.

Conga Drum: The conga drum is a tall, narrow drum with a single head, originating from Afro-Cuban music. It produces resonant, melodic tones and is played with the hands using various techniques, including open tones, slaps, and muffled tones. Congas are commonly used in salsa, jazz, and Latin music.

Doumbek: The doumbek, also known as the darbuka, is a goblet-shaped drum with a single head, commonly found in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean music. It produces sharp, percussive sounds and is played with the hands using techniques such as finger rolls, snaps, and rolls. Doumbeks are used in solo performances, ensembles, and belly dancing.

Timpani: Timpani, or kettle drums, are large orchestral drums with a hemispherical shape and a tensioned drumhead. They produce deep, resonant tones and are tuned to specific pitches using foot-operated pedals. Timpani are essential in classical orchestras and are used to add color, texture, and rhythm to symphonic compositions.

Tabla: The tabla is a pair of Indian drums consisting of a small, cylindrical drum called the dayan and a larger, barrel-shaped drum called the bayan. They are played together using fingers and palms and produce intricate rhythms and melodies. Tabla drums are used in classical Indian music, folk music, and fusion genres.

Singing Bowl: The singing bowl is a bowl-shaped drum made from metal alloys, such as bronze or brass. It produces resonant, harmonic tones when struck or rubbed with a mallet, and its vibrations are used in meditation, sound healing, and relaxation practices. Singing bowls originate from Tibetan Buddhist rituals and are now popular worldwide for their calming effects.

Playing Techniques

Playing techniques vary depending on the type of drum and the musical style being performed. Here are some common techniques used for different types of drums:

Drumsticks: Drumsticks are commonly used to play cylindrical drums such as the snare drum, bass drum, and tom-toms. They are held in the hands and used to strike the drumheads with varying degrees of force and velocity to produce different dynamics and articulations.

Hands: Many drums, such as the djembe, conga, and doumbek, are played with the hands using techniques such as open tones, slaps, and finger rolls. Players use their palms, fingers, and fingertips to produce a wide range of sounds and rhythms.

Mallets: Mallets are used to play drums with softer, more delicate tones, such as the timpani and tabla. They are typically made of wood, plastic, or felt and are used to strike the drumheads with precision and control to produce specific pitches and dynamics.

Maintenance and Care

Proper maintenance and care are essential for preserving the sound quality and longevity of drums. Here are some tips for maintaining and caring for drums:

Keep Them Clean: Regularly wipe down drum shells, hardware, and drumheads with a soft, damp cloth to remove dust, dirt, and debris. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the drum’s finish and hardware.

Tune Them Regularly: Periodically check and tune the drumheads to ensure they are at the correct tension and pitch. Use a drum key to adjust the tension rods evenly and avoid over-tightening, which can cause damage to the drumheads and shells.

Store Them Properly: When not in use, store drums in a cool, dry environment away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Use padded drum bags or cases to protect drums from scratches, dents, and other damage during transport and storage.

Replace Worn Parts: Monitor the condition of drumheads, drumsticks, and other accessories, and replace them as needed to maintain optimal performance and sound quality. Inspect hardware, such as tension rods, lugs, and hoops, for signs of wear or damage and replace them if necessary.

Buying Guide

When purchasing drums, consider the following factors to ensure you choose the right instrument for your needs:

Size: Choose drums that are appropriate for your playing style, skill level, and musical preferences. Consider the size and weight of the drums, as well as the space available for storage and transport.

Material: Select drums made from high-quality materials that offer durability, resonance, and aesthetics. Consider factors such as the type of wood, thickness of drumheads, and construction quality.

Intended Use: Determine the intended use of the drums, whether for practice, performance, recording, or education. Choose drums that are suitable for your musical goals and budget.

Budget: Set a budget for purchasing drums and accessories and explore options within your price range. Consider the overall value of the drums, including their quality, features, and included accessories.


In conclusion, drums come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, each with its own unique characteristics and cultural significance. Whether used in contemporary music genres, orchestral compositions, or traditional rituals, drums continue to captivate audiences and inspire musicians around the world with their rhythmic energy and expressive potential. By understanding the different types of drums, their playing techniques, and maintenance requirements, drummers can enhance their skills, expand their musical repertoire, and enjoy the timeless art of drumming.

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