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Drums are a fun instrument to play but not always a fun instrument to store. Even small kits will take up considerable space when storing them, so it is essential to minimize that space footprint.
If you are lucky enough to have multiple kits or several snare drums, it becomes even more important to allocate storage space efficiently.
From a practical standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense to keep your drums separated when moving or storing them, so this brings us to the question of whether you can stack drums on each other.
Yes, it is fine to stack drums on each other and it should do little if any, damage to the shell, heads, or hardware. Stacking your drums on top of each other when moving them around or storing them, even for long periods of time, won’t usually be an issue.
Of course, there are some nuances to stacking drums, so let’s look a bit deeper into this question below.
Is It OK To Store Drums Stacked?
The simple answer here is yes, it is okay to stack your drums when you are storing them, even for extended periods. However, a few things need to be considered when stacking drums.
In my home office/recording studio, I keep my kit set up all the time because I use it so frequently that I don’t want to mess with tearing down and setting up all the time. Thankfully, this room isn’t used for anything else, so I can do this, but I have been in many situations where it is not always possible to do this, so storing and stacking drums are necessary.
Further, as my collection of gear continues to grow, I will eventually reach a point where I will have to keep some of my equipment stacked for long periods of time, as I currently sometimes do with my snare drums. I do not have the space to keep multiple drums separate from one another.
I consistently switch out the snares I use, so they usually only stay stacked for a week or so, which means I never worry about any damage to them from being stacked. However, even if I were to stack them for months at a time, I wouldn’t be concerned.
Ideally, if you are stacking your drums for extended durations, investing in cases for them is a good idea. I get it, spending hundreds of dollars on cases isn’t the most exciting way to spend your money, but it is worth the investment.
I went through this same conflict, but I am glad I invested in them, and I would argue they are essential for the gigging musician.
Soft and hard cases are available for storing and transporting your drums. Hard cases will provide more protection, but they are also more expensive than soft cases.
I invested in a set of Gator brand soft cases, and they have worked great for me.
While stacking your drums typically will not cause much damage to them, leaving them unprotected in the open can have unintended consequences.
First, leaving your drums sitting out will leave them more exposed to the elements, which could wear the finish and hardware down faster. Second, they might be more damaged if someone were to bump into them and knock them over or hit them with something than if they were in a protective case.
Another concern when stacking drums is hitting the rims and hardware on the other drums, which could cause dings and scratches to the hardware and finish.
This is my biggest concern with my snare drums since they are all 14”, so I am extra careful when stacking them on top of one another. I don’t always keep them stacked, but having two snare drums side-by-side takes up a lot of room on my shelving.
Damage to the rims and lugs can potentially happen when stacking drums on top of each other, especially for drums of the same size. The chance of damage to the rims and lugs will increase with more drums stacked on top of them.
The other issue that might occur from stacking drums is that it could damage the drum heads. The added weight of the drums that are stacked on top can cause the heads to stretch and potentially become detuned.
However, it is not a bad idea to take some of the tension out of the heads by loosening the lugs if you stack them for prolonged periods, so they will be detuned regardless.
Another note regarding detuning is that drums will become detuned due to climate changes regardless of whether they are stacked. As a general rule, I tune my drums before any gig or recording session anyways, so their potentially becoming detuned when stored is a non-issue for me.
Further, we must remember that drum heads are designed to be hit hard tens of thousands of times (if not more), which means they are resilient, and some constant pressure of a few stacked drums should not cause much of an issue.
I have seen it recommended to stack drums with the resonant head up, so the head that you are striking (batter head) doesn’t become warped over time. While I think this advice is fine, I haven’t personally experienced any issues either way.
I will note that I always keep a spare snare head (and drum) as well as an extra kick head with me for every gig, and I have spare heads for my toms ready to go as well because you never know when disaster may strike, and you hit or kick through a head. It is good practice always to have spare drum heads, so if one were damaged during storage, this wouldn’t be an issue.
How High Can You Stack Drums?
In theory, you can stack drums as high as the space allows, but that would not be the best idea.
In general, stacking drums isn’t going to cause damage; however, if you stack a lot of drums on each other, the lower drums will be more likely to have their heads warped and have an increased potential for the hardware and rims to be bent and damaged.
Another issue is that the higher your drum tower becomes, the less stable it will be, meaning an otherwise harmless nudge or leap of a curious cat could turn into a disaster as your drums tumble to the ground.
Generally, I only stack three to five drums on top of one another. This ensures that the overall weight of the stack isn’t a concern, and the lower height makes it less likely for the drums to be toppled over.
If you do plan to stack your drums, start with the largest drum on the ground and work your way up. If nothing else, this will create the most stable drum tower possible to reduce the chances of anything knocking it over.
Overall, drums are resilient. They typically handle different climates better than guitars and can be stacked and stored without as much thought as some other instruments.
This doesn’t mean that you should be careless in how you store and take care of your drums but be assured that stacking them (as long as you follow the tips above) typically won’t cause serious or lasting damage to them.
In closing, I want to re-state that if you can purchase cases for your drums, do so, especially if you plan to store them for a long time or frequently play shows with them.
The cases will certainly help protect them, increase their longevity, and bring peace of mind that your drums are protected and well taken care of.
Hi everyone! I have been involved with music most of my life, beginning in grade school with the trumpet. I am a largely self-taught multi-instrumentalist (drums, guitar, bass, and starting the piano and violin). I currently play drums in two bands and write and produce many genres of music in my home recording studio. I am also an avid guitar and drum collector.