Bass Drum Facts For Kids About Parts, Types, And Range

Aryan Khanna
Mar 20, 2023 By Aryan Khanna
Originally Published on Mar 20, 2023
Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam
Bass drum kit with cinnamon and black with gold-plated fittings


The bass drum is often believed to be the soul of a drum kit and can easily be recognized owing to its massive size.

The bass drum instrument is cylindrical, and the diameter of this cylindrical drum is known to be much greater than its depth. The two heads of a bass drum are generally made of plastic or calfskin.

Bass drummers can adjust the tension in a bass drum by tweaking threaded strings or taps. These bass drums are classified as percussion instruments and come in varying sizes.

Multiple musical genres involve extensive use of these bass drums; thus, there are three different types of bass drums. Interestingly, this bass drum is used in some forms of music to mark or keep time.

Several studies and accounts of music professionals have revealed that a bass drum is typically used to maintain the tempo. A bass or kick drum naturally produces a low-pitched sound that particularly highlights the strong beats.

Moreover, the use of bass drums isn't restricted to one particular music genre as it is used for multiple purposes ranging from marching bands to classical music and in a rock drum kit. Scroll down to learn more such fascinating bass drum facts.

Origin And History Of Bass Drums

The bass drum has been a part of the drum kit for ages. Many believe that it was derived from the Turkish instrument davul.

  • The Turkish drums called 'tabl turki' are believed to be the earliest predecessors of bass drums. These drums are cylindrical with two thin heads.
  • These drums were popular during the 1300s and later primarily used as part of military music in Europe during the 1700s.
  • During the 18th century, the military bands of the Ottoman Janissaries began using the davuls and are believed to have been the first ones to do so.
  • Earlier, this Turkish drum was played with a wooden drumstick and a rod. Since it became a part of the orchestra, it was played with mallets covered in felt.
  • With the spread of the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish drum evolved into long drums in the North African regions.
  • Later, the long drum reached European countries like Britain and evolved into a gong drum. It is an instrument that emits a typical pitch with high resonance.
  • Joseph Haydn used this Turkish drum in one of his symphonies. This was the Military Symphony.

Characteristic Features Of Bass Drums

A bass drum or a kick drum is recognizably large and has a typical cylindrical shape.

  • The bass pedal is an integral part of the bass drum set. Contrary to several beliefs, the bass drum pedal technique considerably influences the sound effects produced by the bass drum.
  • The two most popular drum pedal techniques are the heel-up technique and the heel-down technique.
  • While these are the two main techniques, there is also a third technique called the floating stroke.
  • Drummers typically use this technique when they need to produce a strong sound with more speed. It is believed to be a combination of the earlier two techniques.
  • In marching bands, the bottom bass is the largest instrument producing a low sound. Still, it performs its job of maintaining the pulse.
  • In marching bands, the beats are used for giving marching instructions with different beats meaning different commands.
  • For instance, two strokes are used to signal the band to stop marching.

Types And Parts Of A Bass Drum

While this might surprise many, three different types of bass drums are often used today. The one used in an orchestra alongside several other musical instruments differs from the bass drum used in marching bands.

  • The bass drum type that is generally seen in orchestras is called the concert bass drum.
  • The addition of the bass pedal to the drum set significantly impacted the way the orchestra was conducted, as the bass drummers could now play other instruments like cymbals and snare drums.
  • The pitched bass drum is the other type of bass drum generally used in drum corps and marching bands.
  • The pitched bass drum is known to be tuned to a definite pitch and is played in a set of three to six other drums.
  • In the 1800s, a new type of bass drum emerged in England that gained popularity for having only one head. This was open on one side with a narrow shell.

Range And Family Of Bass Drum

The bass drum is part of the percussion family, with the double bass drum being the largest member of this family. At the same time, the range of a bass drum typically depends on its size.

  • In the modern world, the kick drum has become an integral part of almost all music genres.
  • The modern kick drum can be spotted in every drum kit. At the same time, the way these drums are played has also changed significantly with the introduction of drum heads, particular beaters, double kick pedals, and hoops.
  • The bass drum is used mainly in the classical music genre as these drums perform an excellent job in providing single climatic strokes and drum rolls.
  • In classical music, a variety of equipment is used in beating the bass drum beside the usual ones; these include percussion mallets, drumsticks, timpani mallets, and others.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You


See All

Written by Aryan Khanna

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

Aryan Khanna picture

Aryan KhannaBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

A dedicated and hardworking content writer currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Management Studies from St. Xavier's University, Kolkata. Aryan aims to gain corporate exposure and enhance his skills while creating well-researched and engaging content that is SEO-friendly. Aryan is a talented individual who puts in the effort to overcome any obstacle in his way.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Political Science and Sociology

Spandana Kantam picture

Spandana KantamBachelor of Arts specializing in Political Science and Sociology

Spandana holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Acharya Nagarjuna University. She has a passion for writing and enjoys reading crime and thriller novels while listening to RnB music in her free time.

Read full bio >