We don’t want to work – we want to bang on the drums all day! Come along and follow the beat as we discover 22 fun facts about drums!
Drums have been around for a long time. We’re talking about thousands of years. The earliest discovered drums come from way back in 5500 BC, making drums the first instruments that humans ever created!
All you needed was a hollow container covered with animal skin to create the drum beat we are so familiar with today. In fact, the drum beat is the first sound we hear: our mother’s heartbeat.
You can say we’re naturally predisposed to love the beat of a drum. So let’s take a journey through musical history with these fun facts about drums.
Is it just us, or do you also think the drummer is the coolest person in the band? They get to sit in the back all mysterious, and lose themselves in the hypnotic tempo of the drum, and be the gel that keeps the band on beat.
In fact, drumming is beneficial to our health as well. Not only is the activity of drumming a calorie burner, it also improves memory, focus and hand-eye coordination. Win win win.
We’ll also get into some pretty intense drumming records. The longest drumming session. The largest drum. The loudest drums. We promise you these drum facts will not disappoint! Let’s dive in shall we?
22 Fun Facts About Drums
1. An impressive drum set
Here is one of the most mind-boggling drum facts right off the bat. Mark Temperato has created the largest ever drum set with over 813 pieces.
The building of it took over 36 years and it takes 15 hours to set it up. Look up this behemoth drum set in action on YouTube, you won’t be disappointed!
2. What about the standard drum set?
While 813 pieces is an impressive feat, the drum set we’re used to seeing consists of three different drum types. The floor tom, the snare drum, and the bass drum. And you can’t forget about the cymbals!
3. The drum workout
If you are someone who hates running, try drumming as your daily workout instead. An hour of drumming will burn between 400-600 calories.
That’s more than hiking or weightlifting. There are other health benefits to drumming too, including memory retention and lowering blood pressure.
4. The drum worth millions
It was a simple drum set bought in 1967. However, the person who bought the drums was none other than Sir Ringo Starr.
The Beatles drummer played over 200 shows on these particular drums, and in 2015 they sold for $2.1 million at auction making them the most expensive drums of all time!
5. Not just for hippies
The bongo drums were invented in Cuba in the late 19th century and used in salsa music. The two drums are usually covered in calf skin. The smaller drum is called the macho (male) and the larger drum, the hembra (female).
6. Drum warfare
Drums were used extensively by warring nations to lead troops into battle.
Before radio communication drum beats were also used to send coded messages to troops further afield. Drums played an especially important role in Medieval and Renaissance Europe.
7. A communication tool
Even before being used in war, many tribes in Africa used drums to communicate. The ability of the drum to mimic some African languages allowed tribes to send intricate messages to others in a chain of sound.
So drums were the original telephone! That has to be one of the coolest facts about drums.
8. The one-armed drummer
Rick Allen of the legendary rock band Def Leppard lost his arm in a car accident during the height of the band’s popularity.
Instead of letting the amputation derail his career, Allen created a specially designed drum kit and continued to be one of the greatest rock and roll drummers of all time.
9. Who is the greatest drummer?
While these ranking lists are often disputed, Rolling Stone magazine has ranked the best drummers of all time. The top 3? Ginger Baker of the band Cream, Keith Moon of the band The Who, and at the number one position, John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. Who do you think is the greatest drummer of all time?
10. The oldest drum
The alligator drum is the oldest drum ever discovered. Believed to be dated as far back as 5500 BC, this drum found in China had a clay base and an alligator skin top. It is thought to have been used during Neolithic rituals.
11. The world’s oldest drummer
Looking for awesome drum facts? Look no further than Viola Smith. Viola was one of the first ever professional female drummers working in orchestras and swing bands starting in the 1920s.
In 2019, at the age of 107, Viola was still drumming in a band. Viola sadly passed away in 2020, but what a legend.
12. Drummers who also sing
Can you imagine the coordination it must take to drum and sing at the same time? Well some of the biggest rock legends did just that! There is Phil Collins of Genesis, Levon Helm of The Band, and Don Henley of The Eagles.
Also, the late Taylor Hawkins from Foo Fighters had a great voice – we all miss you Taylor!
13. The drum has stayed the same
The basic components of the drum have never really changed in thousands of years. The idea of a skin or membrane stretched over the top of a hollow base to create reverberation to make sound has endured. No wonder the drum is the oldest and most classic instrument of all time.
14. Can you believe this drum session?
Kunto Hartono of Indonesia is the holder of a very impressive drumming world record. From December 27th, 2011 to January 1st, 2012 Hartono played a continuous drum session.
That’s over 122 hours of straight drumming! We hope he didn’t get too many splinters and blisters from his drumsticks!
15. Drum theories
While we know the oldest drum discovered dates back to before 5000 BC, there is still some debate about what the first drums were used for.
Was it to chase away predators? Was it to inspire speed and intensity during hunting? Or was it used to celebrate joyous events? We don’t know, but what theory do you believe?
16. Monkeys play the drums too
The macaque species of monkey is known to drum objects in a rhythmic way in order to show social dominance. Drumming has developed as a form of social communication for macaques just as it has for humans.
17. The multicultural world of drums
Drumming is a part of every culture in the world, so this is one of the coolest drum facts out there. In 20129 in Stirling, Australia, 100 drummers from 77 different nationalities came together for the world’s largest multicultural drum circle. The effort was recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records.
18. The heartbeat of a drum
The first sound we hear in the womb is that of our mother’s heartbeat. Once we are born, the sound of a drum can work in mysterious ways on the heart.
Listening to a fast drumbeat will quicken the heart. A slow melodic drumbeat will slow it down.
19. The largest drum
Simcheon-Meon, South Korea is home to the largest drum. The drum’s measurements are truly awe-inspiring with a diameter of over 18ft, and a total weight of 7 tons. Established in 2011, visitors can go and gong the drum for themselves with its massive drumstick.
20. Cue the hand cramps
This is one of the drum facts that might leave you a little blurry eyed. Siddarth Nagarajan holds the record for the most drum beats per minute with a seemingly impossible 2,109 beats per minute. That’s 35 beats per second – how crazy is that!?
21. Different wood, different sound
It should come as no surprise, especially if you read our article on flutes, that different materials create different sounds. For drums made of maple, the sound is softer and more resonant. With drums made of birch and oak, the sound is louder and has less reverb.
22. Put in your ear plugs
Okay, let’s go out with a bang! The loudest drumbeat ever recorded was struck by Col Hatchman of the band The Dirty Skanks with a measurement of 137.2 decibels.
To put that in context, a noise of 140 decibels is considered the human pain threshold. Ouch!
What other fun facts about drums are out there? We’re sure to have missed a few, so tell us your favorite drum facts in the comments below!