What Drum Kit Does Dave Grohl Use? Revealed!

by Madonna

Dave Grohl is a name synonymous with rock music, particularly as a drummer with an iconic style and a profound impact on the genre. Throughout his illustrious career, which began with Nirvana and continued with various projects, Grohl’s drum kits have been as much a part of his identity as his powerful playing. This article explores the evolution of Dave Grohl’s drum kits, delving into the specifics of the brands, models, and unique features he has favored over the years. It also highlights his current drum kit, the cymbals and accessories he uses, and notable performances that have cemented his status as a drumming legend.

Dave Grohl’s Drum Kit History

Dave Grohl’s drumming career skyrocketed when he joined Nirvana in 1990. Before Nirvana, Grohl played with several bands, but it was his work with Nirvana that catapulted him to fame. As the drummer for Nirvana, Grohl’s aggressive yet precise style became a defining element of the band’s sound. His powerful drumming on tracks like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Lithium” showcased his ability to blend intensity with musicality.


After the tragic end of Nirvana with Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994, Grohl didn’t step away from music. Instead, he founded the Foo Fighters, initially as a one-man project, and then as a full band. Although Grohl transitioned to the role of a frontman and guitarist, his drumming prowess remained in demand. He has played drums for various projects, including Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, and numerous others, demonstrating his versatility and enduring passion for drumming.


Grohl’s drum kits have evolved significantly throughout his career. During his early days with Nirvana, he favored more straightforward, durable setups that could withstand the rigors of grunge music. As his career progressed and he ventured into different musical territories, his drum kits became more sophisticated, reflecting his growing expertise and the diverse demands of his projects.


Drum Kits Used by Dave Grohl

1. Drum Kits Used with Nirvana

In his Nirvana days, Grohl’s primary drum kit was a Tama Granstar. The Granstar series was known for its robust construction and powerful sound, perfectly suited to Nirvana’s intense performances. Grohl’s kit typically included a 22-inch bass drum, 12 and 13-inch rack toms, a 16-inch floor tom, and a 14-inch snare drum. His choice of cymbals during this period was predominantly Zildjian, with a mix of crash, ride, and hi-hat cymbals that added to the raw, energetic sound of the band.

2. Drum Kits Used with Foo Fighters

With the formation of Foo Fighters, Grohl’s drum setup saw an evolution. Although he primarily played guitar and sang in the Foo Fighters, his recordings often featured his drumming. For live performances when he occasionally returned to the drum kit, Grohl favored DW (Drum Workshop) drums. The DW kits are renowned for their exceptional build quality and rich, dynamic sound, which complements the Foo Fighters’ versatile rock style.

His DW kits typically included a 24-inch bass drum, 13 and 14-inch rack toms, a 16 and 18-inch floor toms, and a 14-inch snare drum. Grohl’s preference for larger drums helped produce a powerful, resonant sound that filled arenas. His cymbals during this era were mainly from the Zildjian A Custom series, chosen for their bright and cutting tones that could pierce through the mix.

3. Drum Kits for Other Projects

Grohl’s work with Queens of the Stone Age on the “Songs for the Deaf” album showcased another facet of his drumming style. For this project, he used a combination of Tama and DW drums, blending the robust nature of Tama with the finesse of DW. This hybrid setup allowed Grohl to deliver the album’s distinctive, hard-hitting sound.

For Them Crooked Vultures, Grohl leaned heavily on DW drums again. The project required a kit that could handle complex rhythms and dynamic changes, and DW’s versatility fit the bill. His kit configuration for Them Crooked Vultures was similar to his Foo Fighters setup, with slight adjustments to tom and cymbal sizes to suit the band’s unique sound.

Current Drum Kit Used by Dave Grohl

1. Primary Drum Kit

As of his most recent projects, Dave Grohl’s primary drum kit is a DW Collector’s Series. The DW Collector’s Series is known for its high-quality craftsmanship and customization options, making it a favorite among professional drummers. Grohl’s current setup includes a 24-inch bass drum, 10, 12, and 13-inch rack toms, 16 and 18-inch floor toms, and a 14-inch snare drum. The shells are typically made of maple, which provides a warm, resonant tone with excellent projection.

2. Modifications and Custom Features

Grohl’s current DW kit features custom finishes and hardware. One notable aspect is the custom artwork on his bass drum head, often featuring the Foo Fighters’ logo or other personalized designs. The hardware includes DW’s advanced pedal systems and tom mounts, which offer enhanced stability and adjustability.

Cymbals and Accessories

1. Cymbals

Dave Grohl’s cymbal setup is predominantly from Zildjian, a brand he has remained loyal to throughout his career. His current cymbal selection includes:

Hi-Hats: 15-inch Zildjian A Custom Mastersound

Crash Cymbals: 18 and 19-inch Zildjian A Custom

Ride Cymbal: 22-inch Zildjian A Custom Ping Ride

China Cymbal: 20-inch Zildjian A Custom China

These cymbals are chosen for their bright, explosive sound that complements Grohl’s powerful drumming style.

2. Snare Drums

Grohl’s snare drums are an integral part of his sound. His current choice is the DW Collector’s Series snare, often in a 14×6.5 size. This snare provides a sharp, penetrating attack with a warm body, perfect for cutting through the mix in both studio recordings and live performances.

3. Hardware and Other Accessories

Grohl’s hardware setup includes DW 9000 series stands and pedals, known for their durability and smooth operation. His drum throne is also from DW, providing the necessary support and comfort for extended playing sessions. Additionally, he uses Remo drumheads, which offer consistent tone and durability.

SEE ALSO: What is a Bongo Drum?

Notable Performances

1. MTV Unplugged in New York (1993)

One of Dave Grohl’s most memorable performances was Nirvana’s “MTV Unplugged in New York” session in 1993. For this acoustic set, Grohl’s drum kit was pared down to suit the intimate setting. He used a Ludwig kit with a smaller bass drum and toms, along with brushes and mallets for a softer, more nuanced sound. This performance showcased Grohl’s versatility and ability to adapt his drumming to different musical contexts.

2. Live Earth (2007)

Foo Fighters’ performance at Live Earth in 2007 is another standout moment. Grohl played drums for part of the set, using his DW Collector’s Series kit. The performance was energetic and powerful, with Grohl’s drumming driving the band’s dynamic sound. His use of larger drums and Zildjian cymbals was evident, contributing to the overall impact of the show.

3. Queens of the Stone Age at the Grammys (2003)

Grohl’s appearance with Queens of the Stone Age at the 2003 Grammy Awards highlighted his versatility as a drummer. Using a Tama kit with DW hardware, Grohl delivered a performance that was both technically proficient and intensely powerful. The hybrid kit setup allowed him to produce a unique sound that complemented the band’s hard rock style.

4. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction (2014)

When Nirvana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, Grohl’s performance on the drums was a nostalgic moment for fans. He used a vintage Ludwig kit similar to his setup during the early Nirvana years. This performance not only paid homage to his roots but also demonstrated his enduring passion and skill as a drummer.

5. Foo Fighters’ 25th Anniversary Tour (2020)

The Foo Fighters’ 25th Anniversary Tour in 2020 featured Grohl returning to the drum kit for several songs. His current DW Collector’s Series kit was prominently featured, showcasing its robust sound and Grohl’s powerful playing. The tour highlighted his dual role as a frontman and drummer, reinforcing his multifaceted talent.


Dave Grohl’s drum kits have played a significant role in shaping his sound and career. From the raw, powerful setups of his Nirvana days to the sophisticated configurations of his current projects, Grohl’s drum kits have evolved to meet the demands of his music. His preference for DW drums, Zildjian cymbals, and customized hardware reflects his commitment to quality and his desire to push the boundaries of his drumming.

Whether in the studio or on stage, Grohl’s drum kits are a testament to his enduring influence in the world of rock music. His ability to adapt his setup to different musical contexts and his meticulous attention to detail have made him one of the most respected drummers of his generation. As Grohl continues to create and perform, his drum kits will undoubtedly remain an integral part of his musical journey, inspiring drummers around the world.


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