If you've always wanted to be a drummer but never had the money for a nice set, or want to test out the experience before you commit, making a homemade drum set may be the best alternative. Or maybe you have children, and just want a fun activity to enjoy together! Either way, making a drum set out of household materials is a worthwhile endeavor.
Before you start gathering materials, it's good to know what type of drums are available to make, and how they tend to sound.
- Snare: This is what you'll typically see in a marching band or drumline. It has a sharp sound that comes from beaded metal strands attached to the bottom side of the drum.
- Bass: The large drum placed at the bottom of a set. Bass drums make loud and very low thudding sounds.
- Toms: There are usually two of these in a drum set, sitting on top of the bass drum. They sound like much higher pitched bass drums, reminiscent of konga or bongo drums. The smaller of the two corresponds to a higher note than the larger tom.
- Floor Tom: typically set on the floor next to the drummer, the floor tom is simply a larger and therefore lower note than normal toms but still higher than the bass drum.
- Cymbals: These are the large metal rings situated on either side of the set that make the crisp or crashing metal sound.
Plastic buckets are perhaps my favorite objects for making a homemade drum set. Not only are they easy to find and naturally have the cylindrical shape of drums, but the different sizes and materials can create a huge range of awesome sounds!
What You Can Use:
Many household objects can immitate the sound of both drums and cymbals, offering a wide variety of materials to make a drum set out of. I find that large plastic buckets, the kind you can find at any hardware store, make excellent toms. You can experiment with the sizes to find what sounds good to you. For the snare, paint cans work well as they add that metallic sound to contrast the plastic toms. Pots and pans are never bad choices either. They will create sharper tones to contrast with your buckets and cans. Honestly, this is all you need! The rims of the cans and buckets you assemble sound a lot like cymbals, and as for the bass, nothing's better for that deep thud than good old solid ground. Cheap drum sticks are available at most music stores, so there's no need to fashion any. But if you really want to make it all homemade, any roughly stick-shaped object can used.
How to Make the Set
- First, assemble your buckets and cans.
- Grab a good seat or sturdy bucket to sit on. This will be your drum throne.
- Arrange your buckets and cans around your throne any way you want. Make sure your makeshift drums are all within reach so that you can easily hit whichever one you choose.
- Time to play! Grab your sticks and start messing around. Experiment with the set-up and find whatever works for you. It's all about having fun!
Check Out This Street Performer and His Bucket Drums!
Eiddwen from Wales on November 22, 2012:
Very useful and interesting, Here's to so many more hubs for us both to share on here.
mwilliams66 from Left Coast, USA on August 22, 2012:
What a fun project to do with a child. I too was a lover of banging on pots and pans as a child. You hub has fantastic ideas for taking the pot and pan set to another level.
Voting up, useful and sharing. Great job Btryon!
KDuBarry03 on August 22, 2012:
Very informative! Yes, buckets make great percussion instruments and can definitely be improved on to make the sound more unique. Great hub; just tweeted and pinned!
John Taylor from Angola, IN on August 22, 2012:
Great advice! I played on pots and pans with wooden spoons until I got my first toy drum set at the age of 3. After that I also used Quaker Oats cans, coffee cans, boxes and anything else I could find. I even used several wire hangers tied together for my cymbals! Still playing but on real drums. Excellent way to see if your kids are really serious before you spend the money. I will be a drummer forever. Great hub!