28th Oct 2014

Who Invented the Drum Set?

Today’s drum set is a modern evolution of technology, style and sound, regardless of the drums, cymbals and percussion instruments used. A drum set is typically comprised of a snare drum, bass drum, tom toms and cymbals, allowing for rhythm to take on its own vibe through the creativity of the drummer. It is this creativity that was the inspiration for the invention of the drum set, as drummers began to strive to play more complicated rhythms on more than one drum. Once drums were less about battles and communicating over long distances, they became sources of creativity, rhythm and music. Therefore, multiple people were no longer needed to play a variety of drums, particularly when used for entertainment in clubs and concerts.


The U.S. is considered the birthplace of the drum set, with contributions related to both the jazz movement of the early 1900s in the South and the turn from parade music to indoor venues with limited space. Drum sets allowed the drummer to play all the drums and cymbals at one time. Once the drum pedal was invented, drumming became even less dependent on multiple musicians, as one person could play with each hand and foot, as necessary. Most people consider Gene Krupa as the “inventor” of the drum set, as well as the world’s first drumming superstar, especially considering his contributions in both hardware and cymbal definition and ability to shake up a crowd with his brilliant drumming.

Since today’s drum sets are so varied with the different drums, cymbal and accent percussion instruments, it can even be said that each drummer invents his or her own drum set. As a reflection of the spirit of drumming and the nature of rhythm as a form of expression, it only stands to reason that drum sets are still being invented.