5 Best Drum Thrones: Beats and Seats
By Mason Hoberg
As musicians, the fundamental aspects of our sound rely not on our instruments but our comfort and level of strain. You’re never going to sound your best if you’re uncomfortable, because in order to play fast or difficult passages on any instrument you are going to need as much flexibility and mobility as possible.
With this in mind, it’s not all that surprising that drummers are willing to spend what at first glance seems to be exorbitant sums on their preferred drum throne. When you’re a high level musician you can’t settle on products that don’t allow you to play to your full potential, so while the initial investment is high most drummers who purchase high-end drum thrones are happy with their purchase. With that in mind, let's explore what makes an option the best drum throne for you.
- Drum Thrones 101: What to Look For In A Drum Throne
- The Top 5 Electronic Drum Sets
Drum Thrones 101: What to Look For In A Drum Throne
First and foremost you’re going to want to focus on comfort before anything else. While there are thrones that have a few more features ( for example, Gibraltar’s Workstation model adds a fastener which allows you to keep your sticks, a towel, and/or a cup holder within easy reach) but while these are a nice addition they aren’t a necessity.
There are two main types of drum throne seats, the first is styled after a bicycle seat and the second is modeled after a bar stool. Your experience with both of these is going to vary based on personal preference, so it’s important that you make an effort to try both styles before you make a final purchase if at all possible.
You’re also going to want to make sure that your throne’s stand has a relatively wide width. This helps to increase overall stability. While most drum thrones aren’t going to topple over while you’re playing the risk does exist with stands that aren’t wide enough. So be sure to avoid taking this risk, because we can’t think of anything more embarrassing than a mid-gig fall off the stage or into your kit.
Lastly, be sure to check the overall reception of your drum throne on different online retailers. This will give you a good idea of the durability of the product as well as clueing you in beforehand to any problems or structural defects that may exist with the model.
While a good drum throne is going to help you be more comfortable while you play it doesn’t mean you have to spend that much. It’s like buying a American Custom Shop Fender for your first guitar. While the increased level of comfort and playability is going to help you advance faster it doesn’t mean that if you start out on a cheaper instrument you’ll never be a good musician.
Really, high-end accessories are only a necessity if you’re a high level musician. If you’re a beginner (not to sound condescending, everyone starts somewhere) you’re not really going to benefit as much from expensive accessories as a more advanced musician would.
The Top 5 Drum Thrones
As always, our recommendations are selected with widespread applicability in mind. While we recognize that more expensive products are generally of a better quality than budget minded alternatives it doesn’t matter how good a particular drum throne is if you can’t afford it. So just try to keep in mind that the best choice for you may not be the best choice for your fellow musicians, and vice versa.
ROC-N-SOC Nitro Throne
Few companies are able to genuinely innovate in their chosen industry. Sure, every company generally has a unique feature or two to differentiate their products from those of their competitors, but not to the point where they could really be called innovative.
Unlike other companies in the industry, Roc-n-soc was the first seat manufacturer in the world to offer a motion throne (a throne that was able to swivel, allowing musicians to have a greater range of motion when playing). They were also the first company to use a sculpted seat, as well as the first to offer colored and embroidered cloth seats. In less than five years the company went on to produce the first successful tri-pod gas-shock throne (similar to an office chair, where the throne has the ability to be either raised or lowered). Even better, the company also offers kits to retro fit existing thrones with either a new seat or a back rest. With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that the ROC-N-SOC Nitro Throne has gone on to become a hit with drummers everywhere.
The most notable feature of this drum throne is the nitrogen gas shock absorber. Rather than a tightening mechanism to lock the height of the seat, the height on this seat is calibrated more like what you’d find on an office chair. The depressing the lever raises the seat, while pulling it up depresses it. This mechanism also gives the seat a bit more bounce, which makes it easier on your back when you’re sitting down and getting off of it.
The height of the seat is adjustable from 18” to 24”. This should be a wide enough range that the majority of people will be able to find a comfortable setting. This seat also doesn’t have as much flex as a softer material, which is a huge plus if you prefer a stiffer playing surface. The seat is also a bicycle design, which some players find a bit more comfortable than the more traditional circle design. The idea behind the bicycle design is that it helps to reduce leg fatigue while playing, though your experience of with this feature is going to vary depending on how you’re built. The seat is made from vinyl, which helps to reduce your potential to slide around while playing aggressively.
This seat is designated as having “heavy bracing.” This type of bracing is similar to the double bracing pattern you find on higher-end seats. This feature is a great addition because it greatly enhances the overall durability of the throne, which considering that this throne is a $169.99 purchase it would be really unfortunate for it not to last for several years.
This throne is just as well made as any other at this price tier. This isn’t a product that you’re going to have to worry about when you’re practicing or performing, and so long as you take proper care of it you won’t have to worry about it being damaged during travel either.
While this throne can be used by people with a smaller frame, it is most likely going to be more comfortable for people of an average or larger build. The throne sits a bit higher than other products, and the seat itself is reported to be a bit wider than your average throne.
Every review on the site also praises the company for providing a long lasting throne, with some reviewers claiming that they’ve owned the throne for more than a decade. So while it’s always possible to receive a lemon when you purchase a product (which is why you should always make sure that you’re buying from a retailer with a generous return policy), it’s not likely to happen in this scenario.
The ROC-N-SOC Nitro Throne is a great option for any drummer looking for a high quality drum throne, and considering the company’s dedication to providing a quality product you can rest assured that this throne will last you for years.
Pork Pie Round Drum Throne
Formed in 1987, Pork Pie Percussion was founded by Bill Detamore. Bill Detamore was a hobbyist musician who starter manufacturing drums for his own enjoyment. Shortly after he launched his products his business quickly evolved into a full service drum company.
Though the company was initially started as a boutique producer of shells and kits, as of now the company fulfills a wide variety of different functions. While they still do produce custom kits, they also give drummers the ability to hot rod their existing drum sets. The company also manufactures a wide range of accessories and hardware for drummers.
Some notable drummers who use Pork Pie products include, but are not limited to: Robin Diaz (the drummer for Daughtry), Walter Earl (drums for Duff McKagan), Billy Freeman (Dustin Lynch and Kacey Musgraves), Tony Jones (an occasional drummer for Bob Dylan), and Matt Tecu (the drummer for Jakob Dylan as well as others).
Considering the company’s dedication to quality it’s no surprise that the Pork Pie Round Drum Throne is as high-quality a product as it is. The Pork Pie Round Drum Throne is made from an ultra-heavy high density foam. This foam coupled with the depth of the thrones seat provides a surface that is both comfortable and firm enough to provide a great playing surface.
To give you an idea of how this seat is going to feel while you’re playing, the design of the seat replicates the feel of a plush bar stool. Depending on your preference you may or may not find this throne to relieve fatigue in your back while you’re playing, though it is undoubtedly a well-made surface.
The diameter of the cushion is 14.5”, which so long as you’re of an average build you should find that the seat is wide enough to be comfortable without being overly large. The height of the cushion is roughly 6”. One thing to note about this seat is that because it’s so plush it does sink roughly an inch or two when you sit on it, so you’re going to have to set this throne a bit higher than you would with a similar product. The way this cushion sinks may provide extra comfort to some of you (one review recounts how this cushion is great if you happen to have a bonier tail bone, because the way the cushion sinks alleviates pressure on that part of your body) but your experience is going to vary depending on your preferences and your body.
Lastly, this throne is also double braced. The good thing about double bracing the legs of a throne is that in addition to making the design more durable overall it also helps to ensure that the braces can withstand more abuse before they bend. This helps keep the throne straighter, which in turn will help you improve your posture and flexibility while you play.
The covering on the throne is widely reported as being incredibly durable. While the fabric on most drum thrones isn’t going to wear away overnight, cheaper thrones do have a tendency to crack or split when consistently subjected to rapid changes in temperature or humidity. This isn’t going to affect you if you generally play at home, but if you find yourself traveling or playing gigs consistently you’re really going to benefit from having a throne made of a better material.
One possible con of this throne is that it’s generally reported to be a relatively high throne, which may be a bit inconvenient if you’re shorter or you prefer playing lower to the ground. Your experience with this is obviously going to depend on your height and your preferences.
While this throne is a bit more expensive, you should keep in mind that if you go with this product you are paying a premium for quality. This throne is also going to be more expensive because it’s manufactured in the U.S.
Though the Pork Pie Round Throne may be a bit more expensive than other thrones that are available, it is a high-quality product that is worth the investment. The only thing that prospective buyers of this throne will have to keep in mind is that the Pork Pie Round Throne is a bit on the high side.
Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider Drum Throne
Founded in 1965 by Hoshino Gakki, Tama Drums is a wonderful example of what Asian manufacturers of musical instruments have the potential to do in the right circumstances. Tama Drums has quickly risen to prominence as one of the best mid-tier producers of drums and percussion accessories, and has cemented a legacy as a company with a dedication to providing a great product at a price that’s hard to beat.
A little known fact about Tama drums is that the company actually launched under the name of “Star Drums.” Hoshino (the family name of the company’s founder Hoshino Gakki) loosely translates to “star field”, so the name was a way to allow the company to compete in American markets without losing its tie to Japan. The drums were actually manufactured in the same factory as Ibanez guitars and amplifiers, and while Ibanez eventually moved to another factory Star Drums continued to be manufactured in the plant for some time afterward.
It wasn’t until 1979 that Star Drums relaunched the company as Tama Drums. Hoshino relaunched the company after a decision to focus on making high-quality drums and hardware (the previously produced drums weren’t bad, they were just aimed at beginners and intermediate drummers). Tama Drums are actually a reference to Hoshino’s wife Tama. Tama actually means jewel in Japanese.
A fun fact about the Tama Drums company is that together with Drum Workshop they were part of a join attempt to absorb the bankrupt Camco Drum Company. Drum Workshop got the Camco tooling and manufacturing equiopment while Tama received the patents and rights to the Camco Name. Tama actually produced drums under the Camco name as an attempt to produce drums for professional musicians while using their Tama brand to appeal to beginners and intermediate players. However, professionals actually began using Tama drums because they were incredibly well made while remaining very affordable.
When you look at the company’s long and storied history, it’s no surprise that the Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider Drum Throne is one of the best options available for the drummer looking for a great throne that doesn’t skimp on quality materials and features.
The most notable feature of the Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider Drum Throne is the Ergo-Rider seat, which is a custom seat patter that combines the comfort of a traditional round seat with the support a saddle or bike patterned seat. In addition to the custom shape, the Ergo-Rider seat also features two seat indentations and a 20mm upper insert of soft form to encourage productive and healthy posture when playing. The front cutaway also allows drummers to play completely unimpeded and with a full range of motion with their thighs. The newly designed cloth top also features a special material the prevents perspiration from collecting while you’re playing.
The stand also has a lot of mechanical additions which help to ensure its stability. The seat lock is a design which utilizes a two-piece locking hinge color which offers a superior seat to throne connection. The throne is also designed to shorten the distance of the center throne pipe to the floor, which in turn lowers the center of gravity. The throne also features a hydraulic height mechanism, which makes raising and lowering the throne a much simpler process.
The Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider Drum Throne is a professional quality drum throne, so it stands to reason that it would feature a superior level of quality and stability. This isn’t a throne that’s going to give you any issues through normal use. In normal situations this throne should last for at least a decade, if not two or three.
There are two cons with this throne however. The first is that it’s a bit heavy, which while that results in a more stable throne it is inconvenient when you’re traveling with the throne. The second is that it’s a bit pricey, with other functional (though definitely not as well made) thrones being available for half the price. However, the throne is undoubtedly a quality addition to any drummer’s collection of equipment.
While the Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider Drum Throne may be a bit expensive, there are no compromises made in regards to quality. It’s a perfect fit for the drummer looking for a high-quality and comfortable throne for use in their home.
Gibraltar 6608 Heavy Drum Throne
A leading manufacturer of hardware and accessories for percussionists, Gibraltar has secured a legacy as one of the most prolific producers of the various products that drummers everywhere need to play to their full potential. The company produces a wide variety of products including, but not limited to: drum hardware, drum pedals, drum thrones, hi hat stands, percussion stands, practice pads, racks and clamps, as well as a wide variety of accessories.
The amount of professional musicians who have partnered with the company are too numerous to name, but some of the more notable musicians include Rex Hardy, Taylor Hawkins, Shay Godwin, Steve Gillis, and Christian Finger.
With the company’s history and track record in mind it’s no surprise that the Gibraltar 6608 Heavy Drum Throne offers an excellent value to any drummer, from the professional to the hobbyist.
The Gibraltar 6608 Heavy Drum Throne is made from top grade foam for maximum comfort. The quality of the foam is what makes this drum throne, because it offers both support and a comfortable seat. Believe it or not an uncomfortable drum throne can be incredibly limiting to your playing. If it’s too soft it limits your mobility, and if it’s too hard for your taste it’s most likely going to result in a sore back. The seat is also vinyl covered, which will help keep you from sliding around while you’re playing. Lastly, the seat is also styled after a motorcycle seat. This is neither a pro nor a con, but it should help to give you an idea as to the dimensions of the seat and how it’s going to feel.
The stand adjusts from 18 to 24 inches, so as long as you’re a relatively average height you should be able to find a comfortable setting. The throne also features a memory lock, which makes it easier to return to your preferred setting after you tear down the stand for storage or to transport it.
Another notable feature of the stand is that it’s double braced, which is an important addition if you’re a more aggressive drummer. Double bracing the seat will help to ensure that the braces don’t bend or break from overuse. This will help keep your throne in good shape for as long as you choose to use it, and the braces will also help to keep the throne level.
An important thing to note about this throne is that it’s not an ideal choice for those of you who are significantly taller than average. A review by “Bender” on Amazon praises the stool for being tall enough for someone his height (according to his review he measures in at 6’7”) and sturdy enough to support his weight (350 pounds). However he does say that the seat is just barely tall enough, so if you’re of a similar height (or if you’re even taller) you may want to consider purchasing a different throne.
This throne is reported as being relatively stiff and unyielding, which depending on your preferences may or may not be a good thing. It’s generally reported to be a good middle ground, but some users do report that the seat is a bit too hard for their tastes.
This throne is reported as being incredibly durable for its price. Even the few negative reviews do praise the stool as feeling stable and sturdy. All of the hardware on the throne is reported as being high quality, which is a plus if you find yourself constantly adjusting or transporting your throne. The only con with the throne is that the memory lock does have to be adjusted with a drum key, which is a bit more cumbersome than the adjustment mechanism you’d find on other thrones. However, this does result in a more stable locking mechanism, so your experience with the memory lock is going to vary based on what you prefer.
Lastly, this throne is very fairly priced when compared to similar products. For the included features and quality the throne is a pretty good bargain all things considered. While the Gibraltar 6608 Heavy Drum Throne may not be to everyone’s taste, for the right drummer it does present a very good value.
Drum Workshop DWCP3100 Throne
Drum Workshop was founded in 1972. The company was originally a teaching studio, where the company’s founder Don Lombardi would offer private drum lessons and the occasional drumming focused workshop. However, though the company was a moderate success they were still struggling to pay all of the costs associated with operating the facility.
To increase revenue and offset production costs Lombardi and his student John Good (Good was a student at the time, but he’s gone on to become the Senior Executive Vice President of the company) began to produce a small drum equipment sales operation. The first product this arm of the company produced was a height-adjustable trap seat, designed by Lombardi.
The demand for the company’s early products was so great that they eventually went on to focus exclusively on producing hardware and accessories for percussionists. Some of the notable products offered by the company include the aforementioned height-adjustable trap seat, the 5000 series nylon strap bass drum pedal, a double bass pedal, as well as a rotating-base and cable remote hi-hat stands. The first endorser of Drum Workshop products was actually Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, and the company has gone on to be endorsed by musicians such as: Chad Smith, Aaron Spears, Thomas Pridgen, Dave Grohl, Nick Mason, Neil Peart, Daniel Adair, Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett and Steve Jocz.
With the company’s history and its diverse array of sponsored musicians in mind, it’s no surprise that the Drum Workshop DWCP3100 Drum Throne is a stellar drum throne that offers a superb value to any musician.
The most important thing to know about this throne is that while it’s simple and utilitarian it is made of high quality materials. There’s no gas cylinder for height adjustments, no screw height adjustments, and just a basic (yet comfortable) round seat. This is not a throne for those of you who are looking for a molded seat or a variety of different features, it’s intended for those of you looking for a comfortable, plain, and affordable option.
Because the throne doesn’t have a lot of extra hardware it does travel and store much easier, which makes it a great fit for those of you who travel to and from gigs consistently. It’s also a very light throne, which is great if you have physical issues that are aggravated by lugging around heavy pieces of equipment.
The throne features a 13” diameter and a 3” vinyl covered seat. This is fairly standard for the industry, so if you find that the average drum throne’s seat is comfortable the seat on the Drum Workshop DWCOP3100 should function adequately for your needs.
The throne is also double braced. Double bracing a drum throne is almost a required feature at this price point, and it does a lot to increase the overall durability of a throne. It also helps to ensure that the throne stays level, which is important to maintain a consistent feel and technique while playing.
Out of the product’s 34 reviews the one part of this throne that is mentioned over and over again is that it’s incredibly sturdy. The throne is currently sitting at a 4.4 star total rating on Amazon, with 94% of the total reviews being a 4 star rating or higher.
For any product with more than two or three reviews a 4 star or greater total review speaks volumes about the overall quality of the throne. Judging by the overall reception of the throne you can rest assured that it’s not going to let you down when you need it, and that so long as you don’t expose it to excessive abuse it should function for several years.
In case you have a larger frame, according to user testimonials this throne is able to handle people who weigh more than 200 pounds without any sign of strain or a decrease in stability. The throne is also reported as being comfortable to use for drummers up to 6’3”, so unless you’re incredibly tall you should be able to find a height setting that functions well for your needs and playing style.
The Drum Workshop DWCP3100 Throne presents a great option for the drummer looking for a lightweight and affordable throne.