All You Want to Know About Lars Ulrich’s Drum Kit!

by Madonna

Lars Ulrich, the powerhouse drummer for the legendary band Metallica, has a distinctive drumming style and setup that has evolved significantly throughout his career. His choice of drum kits, cymbals, snare drums, and other accessories reflect his unique approach to drumming and have contributed to the iconic sound of Metallica. This article delves into the specifics of Lars Ulrich’s drum kit, providing a detailed description of its components, the cymbals and drumheads he prefers, the snare drums he uses, and the hardware and accessories that complete his setup. Additionally, we will explore the evolution of his drum kit over the years and the context behind his equipment choices.

Drum Kit Used by Lars Ulrich

Lars Ulrich’s drum kit is known for its robust and versatile setup, capable of delivering the aggressive and powerful sound that Metallica is famous for. Over the years, Ulrich has used various drum kits, with two main models standing out: the Tama Artstar II and the Tama Starclassic Maple.


1. Tama Artstar II

The Tama Artstar II was one of Ulrich’s early choices, especially prominent during the late 1980s and early 1990s. This drum kit is known for its durability and the depth of sound it produces, which is crucial for heavy metal music.


Bass Drums: Typically, Ulrich uses two 24″x16″ bass drums for the deep, resonant sound that underpins Metallica’s music.


Toms: His setup usually includes 10″x8″, 12″x8″, 13″x9″, 14″x11″, and 16″x16″ toms, providing a wide range of tones and pitches.

Floor Toms: Often, he uses two floor toms, sized 18″x16″, adding to the kit’s extensive tonal palette.

2. Tama Starclassic Maple

In more recent years, Lars Ulrich has shifted to the Tama Starclassic Maple series. This drum kit offers a bright, punchy sound with excellent projection, ideal for live performances and studio recordings alike.

Bass Drums: Similar to his Artstar II setup, Ulrich uses two 24″x18″ bass drums with the Starclassic Maple.

Toms: The toms in this setup include 10″x8″, 12″x9″, 13″x10″, 14″x12″, and 16″x16″.

Floor Toms: He typically uses 18″x16″ floor toms.

Both kits are finished with striking custom paint jobs that often reflect the visual themes of Metallica’s albums or tours, adding a visual impact to their live performances.

Cymbals and Drumheads

Lars Ulrich’s choice of cymbals and drumheads is integral to his signature sound. His setup includes a variety of cymbals from different manufacturers, each chosen for its unique tonal qualities.

1. Cymbals

Sabian HH Rock Hats: Ulrich favors these hi-hats for their cutting sound and durability, essential for the fast-paced drumming style in Metallica’s music.

Zildjian K Thin Crashes: These crash cymbals provide a bright, explosive sound that complements the heavy guitar riffs and bass lines.

Zildjian A Custom Rides: Known for their clear, defined sound, these ride cymbals are a staple in Ulrich’s setup.

Zildjian China Trashes: These cymbals add a unique, trashy sound that punctuates his drumming patterns effectively.

2. Drumheads

Lars Ulrich uses Remo drumheads, known for their durability and sound quality.

Remo Clear Pinstripe Batter Heads: These heads are his preferred choice for toms, providing a warm, deep sound with controlled overtones.

Remo Emperor X Coated Snare Heads: Used on his snare drums for their durability and focused sound, essential for heavy hitting.

Snare Drums

The snare drum is a critical component of any drum kit, and Lars Ulrich’s choices in this area reflect his need for both power and precision.

1. Tama Power Metal Bell Brass Snare

This snare drum is known for its loud, cutting sound, making it perfect for metal music. The brass shell provides a bright, aggressive tone with a lot of projection.

2. Tama LU1465BB Signature Snare

Ulrich’s signature snare drum, the Tama LU1465BB, is crafted to his specifications. It features:

Shell Material: Brass, for a powerful and clear sound.

Size: 14″x6.5″, offering a versatile range of tones.

Hardware: Die-cast hoops for added durability and tuning stability.

These snares are essential to achieving the sharp, punchy snare sound that characterizes Metallica’s music.

SEE ALSO: A Comprehensive Guide About Mastering Blues Drumming

Hardware and Accessories

Lars Ulrich’s drum setup includes a range of hardware and accessories that ensure stability, precision, and comfort during performances.

1. Pedals

Tama Iron Cobra Power Glide Pedals: These double bass drum pedals are known for their smooth action and power, crucial for Ulrich’s fast, intricate bass drum patterns.

2. Stands and Mounts

Tama Roadpro Series: These stands are built to withstand the rigors of touring, offering stability and adjustability for Ulrich’s extensive cymbal and tom setup.

3. Drum Throne

Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider: This drum throne provides comfort and support, essential for Ulrich’s dynamic playing style.

Evolution of the Kit

Lars Ulrich’s drum kit has evolved significantly over the years, reflecting changes in his playing style and the demands of Metallica’s music.

1. Early Years

In the early years, Ulrich’s setup was relatively simple, using basic configurations that allowed him to focus on developing his technique and style. The Tama Artstar II was prominent during this period, providing a solid foundation for his drumming.

2. 1990s and Beyond

As Metallica’s music became more complex and the band started playing larger venues, Ulrich’s drum kit expanded. He began incorporating more toms and cymbals, and his switch to the Tama Starclassic Maple kit marked a significant upgrade in terms of sound quality and versatility.

3. Recent Years

In recent years, Ulrich’s kit has remained consistent in terms of its core components, but he continues to make adjustments to his cymbals and hardware to suit the evolving sound of Metallica. The incorporation of electronic elements and triggers is also notable, allowing for a blend of acoustic and electronic sounds in live performances.

Lars Ulrich’s Style

Lars Ulrich’s drumming style is characterized by its speed, precision, and power. He is known for his aggressive double bass drum patterns, intricate fills, and the ability to maintain high energy levels throughout lengthy performances. His choice of equipment is driven by the need for durability, sound quality, and versatility.

Ulrich’s drumming is influenced by a variety of genres, including hard rock, punk, and classical music. His ability to blend these influences into a cohesive style has made him one of the most influential drummers in heavy metal.

The equipment Ulrich chooses is a reflection of his need for reliability and the ability to deliver a consistent performance night after night. Brands like Tama, Zildjian, Sabian, and Remo are known for their quality and have become integral to his setup.

Where to Buy

For drummers looking to emulate Lars Ulrich’s setup, many of the components he uses are available from major musical instrument retailers.

Drum Kits: Tama Artstar II and Tama Starclassic Maple kits can be found at retailers such as Guitar Center, Sweetwater, and Musician’s Friend.

Cymbals: Zildjian and Sabian cymbals are widely available at the same retailers, as well as specialized stores like Cymbalfusion.

Drumheads: Remo drumheads are stocked by most major music stores, including online options like Amazon and Sweetwater.

Snare Drums: The Tama Power Metal Bell Brass Snare and Tama LU1465BB Signature Snare can be purchased through Tama dealers and larger music retailers.

Hardware and Accessories: Tama Iron Cobra Pedals and Tama Roadpro Series stands are available from various music equipment suppliers.

Custom and Limited Editions: For those interested in custom or limited edition pieces, checking with authorized Tama dealers or visiting the official Tama website can provide information on availability and purchasing options.


Lars Ulrich’s drum kit is a meticulously chosen collection of high-quality instruments and accessories that allow him to deliver the powerful and precise performances Metallica is known for. From the robust Tama drum kits to the carefully selected cymbals and drumheads, each component plays a crucial role in creating his distinctive sound. As Ulrich’s playing style and the band’s music have evolved, so too has his drum setup, reflecting his commitment to excellence and innovation in drumming. Whether you’re a seasoned drummer or an aspiring musician, understanding the intricacies of Lars Ulrich’s drum kit can provide valuable insights into achieving a professional and impactful drumming style.


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