Selecting The Right Drum Throne
By Dendy Jarrett |
We've all done it — forgotten our drum thrones and had to sit on folding chairs or non-drum-throne stools. Agonizing! Especially agonizing after the adrenalin rush that comes the moment you realize you forgot your throne! Having this happen can be an eye opener in the importance a proper throne plays in your playing.
IT'S JUST A SEAT?
Never think that. Outside of drumming, my other passion is Over-landing (taking a built truck off the beaten path and camping remotely). I realized on a long trek the importance the right seat can make in minimizing fatigue. At the end of a 10-hour drive, a great seat can make all the difference in the rest of your trip!
Same with drumming! You need a seat that will minimize strain and stress on your legs, back, joints, knees, buttocks, and even your brain.
When I first started drumming, the only seat options (for the most part) was a thin seat at the top of a long post that had two shorter legs that folded forward. You were basically sitting atop a pole. Or, you had the option of a case throne (think old school) where the seat was on top of a tubular case for holding hardware. The thought of comfort or longevity of playing was absent in the planning and design of these early thrones.
The options today are plentiful. There are some factors and forethought that you need to weigh before choosing a throne.
And speaking of weight — that would be one of the first things: How much do you weigh? You need to make sure any throne you are considering has a weight capacity that exceeds your weight class. Thrones are generally rated to a weight capacity.
How tall are you? It matters! One of the things you have to determine is what the right sitting position is for you. I tend to sit low with my knees slightly (ever so) elevated, but, as I grow older, I have moved up my sitting height slightly to a parallel thigh position because of said age! I learned to sit in that low position watching Chet McCracken and Keith Knudson drum for the Doobie Brothers. And, on the other hand, you have folks like Chester Thompson who plays in an almost standing position on his throne (I exaggerate, but it isn’t far from that). You have to find the right balance for you. You have to determine where comfort, play-ability, and stature intersect. The most important aspect of height is making sure the throne you land on will go low enough or high enough to facilitate the balance you need.
Round seat, cycle seat, square seat, split seat, and the list could go on. You need to determine what works best for you. Most cycle seat models were fashioned after an old Harley Davidson seat, and this works for my liking. Seat testing requires you sit on thrones and even play on them for a while before you can really know if one works for you. You need to determine if they leave you finding it difficult to stand up after sitting and playing. Do they leave you stiff and sore in your joints? Did the seat leave you feeling fresh, or did it numb your backside? How about your thighs? Did they go to sleep and tingle from the shape of the seat, or were you feeling good when you finished playing? Some prefer firmer foam, while others like softer foam. The opinions on seats are about as wide as the numbers of derrieres upon which we sit. All of these things are major factors that need to be considered in choosing the right seat.
You’ll have choices: four leg, three leg, flat bottom, double braced, or single. The main determination is what feels stable for you. I’ve had a throne tumble on me more than once, and it isn’t fun. Many of the factors listed above will determine what works best for you, not to mention the portability aspect, which we’ll discuss below.
Manual or Automatic:
Do you want to manually adjust the height of the throne or have it be automatic (pneumatic)? This comes down to personal choice, ease and comfort. I use a pneumatic throne. I like the soft cushion that the “air ride” gives me. But it adds weight to the throne. Sometimes choice comes down to trade-offs.
Back or No Back:
Again, this comes down to what serves you best. I play with no back on my throne unless I am playing timpani, and then I prefer a back.
Much of this can also be determined by your posture (which I’ll mention below). One of the things you should also determine is this: are you one of those drummers (like me) who “moves” when you play (as in moves to the music or the cadence of the music)? If so, a back is likely to cramp your style. A good option is to purchase a throne that will accept a back which give the option to use it or not.
Size and weight of the throne are factors, as is how compact it will become when it is ready to be transported or stored. For me, I give up portability because the throne that serves me best isn’t very compact. You’ll have to make the same consideration and possible concessions based on your choice. There are some great new throne soft bags that work well with Saddle Thrones for those that choose these larger formats.
CONCLUSION — Take A Seat
So … don’t let it be a foregone conclusion that all thrones are created equal. They aren’t. In many cases, you get what you pay for. A throne surely should not be an afterthought item in your gear line up.
If you want to get the most benefit out of a throne, play with proper posture (we’ll take up proper posture in a future article). The drummer who uses the quintessential posture (in my opinion) is Max Weinberg. You’ll never see him slouching or using improper posture.
If you use proper posture, you’ll maximize the benefits of picking the right throne.
Pick the right drum throne. After all, we're drummers! Why do you think it's called a throne?
Video of various types of throne seats and colors:
Video of Throne Bag:
To purchase a throne or make comparisons, go to:
Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Director of Communities for Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.