Many drummers like to place their kits on a mat or rug. You can get special purpose-made drum rugs or you can use an old bit of carpet if you want a cheaper solution. In this article I’ll be discussing the benefits of using a rug, the different types of drum rugs available and what size you’ll need for your kit.
Benefits of Using a Drum Rug
Most drummers like to use a drum rug or mat because it keeps the drums in place, prevents damage to the floor underneath and reduces echo to improve the sound quality.
Keeps the Drums in Place
If you place a drum kit on hard flooring you may notice that it starts to slide away from the drum throne as you continue to use it. This is because the spurs that are attached to the kick drum and sometimes even the frame have nothing to dig into.
Hence, every time you use the kick drum, the kit is likely to slide slightly further away from you which can get pretty annoying!
Drum rugs are made from high-pile fibres which means that the spurs and the frame have something to press into. This means that the drum kit can sink into the rug which helps to prevent it from sliding away due to the extra friction.
Prevents Floor Damage
Okay so reason #1 mainly applies to drum kits which are on hard flooring, but this next reason is important no matter whether you play on carpet already, or a hard surface like laminate.
Drum kits are heavy. For example, a standard 5-piece kit weighs roughly 75 lbs (34 kg).
If you keep your drum kit in the same place constantly, this can have a negative effect on the flooring underneath. Laminate flooring can be easily dented, as can carpeted surfaces.
Think about the last time you moved a sofa that had been sat in the same place for a while. Remember those annoying little circles left on the floor where the legs were? The same thing can happen if you keep your drum kit in the same place for a long time.
Using a drum rug or mat provides a cushion between the flooring and the kit so takes the pressure off the surface underneath. Hence, when you move your drum kit after its been sat for a while on a rug, the floor underneath will be undamaged.
Allows You To Move the Kit Collectively
Another nice little advantage of using a drum rug is that it keeps your kit all in one space so when you come to move it, you don’t need to move each piece one by one.
Instead, you can simply drag the rug to the new location (providing that it’s in the same room or you can fit it through the doorway). This can be very useful if you need to move it out of the way briefly to reorganise a room.
Reduces Echo and Reverb
Finally, drum rugs are great for sound proofing.
If you are playing in a room which has a lot of hard surfaces then you will find that the drums can produce an annoying echo. This is because the sound waves are bouncing off the hard surfaces.
A drum rug helps to dampen this echo effect because the sound waves are not able to vibrate as freely around the room.
This is why many professional recording studios have padded walls and carpeting as it improves the acoustics in the room.
Types of Drum Rugs and Mats
There are many different types of drum rugs available and there are options for all budgets.
Drum mats are typically thinner than drum rugs and hence do not provide quite as much floor protection or soundproofing. However, they are easier to transport because they can be folded up smaller and are lighter. Many drum mats come with weighted corners or rubber underneath to prevent slippages.
Image links to Amazon
Drum rugs are usually a bit thicker and more heavy-duty in comparison to drum mats. This means they are heavy and can be a bit of a pain to transport, but do give the drummer the most benefits in terms of floor protection, slip prevention and echo reduction.
Image links to Amazon
Generic Carpet or Rug
You don’t need to buy a specialised drum rug and can use an old piece of carpet if you want to reduce the cost. Alternatively you can use a standard woven rug from your local hardware store. As long as it is pretty thick and the correct size, then you’ll get most of the same benefits compared to using a drum rug or mat.
The main feature that you will miss out on though is the weighted corners to prevent the rug slipping, however this is rarely an issue when using generic carpets or rugs.
What Not to Use
It’s not a great idea to use a very thin or shaggy rug for your drum kit as this provides very little floor protection and usually will result in slippage. Shaggy rugs are also not very durable so the strands will get torn up quite quickly. Instead, look for a thick rug which has quite firm and dense fibres.
What Size Rug is Needed?
You should choose a drum rug which is slightly larger than the size of your drum kit. Ideally there should be a few inches of space around the kit (and throne) when everything is set up so that it fits comfortably.
A standard 5-piece acoustic drum kit takes up approximately 60″ x 48″ of space so you’ll want to look for a drum rug which is around 70″ x 55″.
Electric drum kits are typically take up around 45″ x 45″ of space and hence a rug which is roughly 50″ x 50″ should be suitable.
It’s best to measure around your drum kit and decide how large your rug can be whilst still fitting into the room properly.