Jazz Drummers vs. Rock Drummers: Can You Spot These Differences?

Jazz Drummers vs. Rock Drummers Can You Spot These Differences

What’s the difference in drum kit for jazz drummers vs rock drummers? If you are interested in this topic, you have come to the right place! So, dig deeper to find out now!

Jazz Drummers vs. Rock Drummers: Comparison Table

The key difference between rock drums kits and jazz drums kits is that the latter set is comparatively smaller than the other.

Moreover, the number of cymbals and drums also varies in each set. Such as, the jazz drum set typically comes with the snare drum, a small bass drum,  a floor tom, and one or two rack toms.

Let’s look at our comparison for a better understanding!


Rock Drum Kits

Jazz Drum Kits

  • The vintage design element is absent.
  • Jazz drum kits have a vintage, sleek design in most cases.
Kit Size
  • Larger than the jazz kit.
  • Smaller than the rock drum kit.
Number of Floor Toms
  • The rock drum kit typically has more than four-floor toms.
  • The jazz kit only includes a floor tom.
Size of Bass Drums
  • Bass drums in the rock kit feature wider diameters, usually from 20 to 22 inches.
  • Bass drums in the jazz kit are smaller and typically range from 18 to 20 inches in diameter.
Thickness of Shells
  • The rock drum kit features thicker shells, producing more punchy tunes.
  • The Jazz drum kit features thinner shells, producing more rounded tunes.
  • The rock drum kit is tuned to a low pitch level.
  • The jazz drum kit is tuned to a high pitch level.
  • The drum features two-ply clear heads.
  • The drum has a single-ply-covered head.
  • Use cymbals that are low pitched.
  • Use the high-pitched cymbal, and the ride cymbal is a must-have.
  • The rock kit is quite expensive because of its additional components.
  • The jazz kit is affordably priced.
Sound Produced
  • The sound is quite loud
  • The sound is more mellow.

Compare Drum Kit For Jazz Drumming vs Rock Drumming

Rock Drum Kits Overview

The rock drum kit contributed significantly to the formation and development of the Rock n’ roll genre. Thanks to the success of this music genre, pop culture experienced a mighty musical revolution in the 1940s and 1950s.

This music genre also had a significant impact on the popularity of the usage of guitars and drums.

The drum kit, popular in rock production, is larger and consists of more additional components and accessories than the standard drum kit.

The bass drums in rock kits are significantly larger, up to 24-inches in diameter. Initially, an original rock drum set only utilized a bass and snare drum.

Yet, over time, musicians have tailored this configuration based on individual needs and requirements.

In most cases, the rock kit uses more cymbals and floor toms than the standard drum kit. In addition, the instruments included in rock drum kits are typically tuned lower than usual.

Jazz Drum Kits Overview

The jazz drum kit has evolved over many decades before becoming an essential element of vintage jazz tunes in most cases.

As an uncompromising music style, jazz has been globally from 1910 onwards.

The jazz drum kit is distinctive in components and size. For example, the bass drums in the jazz kit are smaller than the rock drum kit, with the diameter reduced to about 18-inches.

In addition, it includes the 14-inches snare drum, offering the proper tone control to musicians or drummers.

The jazz drum set comes with one 14-inch floor tom and one 12-inches rack tom.

These drums are typically tuned to a high pitch level for producing a more great jazz soundscape.

Moreover, the cymbal in this kit is 22 inches and is considered a must-have for any jazz drum set. The fact is that improvisation is an essential factor of this genre, so the musician is good at improvising tunes on those drum kits.

Jazz Drums vs Rock Drums: The Main Difference

#1 Size

The first difference between the two drum kits is their relative size. The jazz drum kit is typically smaller than its rock counterpart.

It comes with a bass drum smaller than the rock drum kit in most cases.

For example, the jazz drum kit’s bass drum is usually 18-to 22-inches in diameter.

Meanwhile, the bass drum in rock kits is typically somewhere from 22-and 24-inch in diameter.

#2. Design And  Style

The jazz drum sets also differ from rock drum kits in design and style. The jazz set is considered more vintage-looking and sleeker than its rock counterpart.

#3. Thickness

The drum shells’ thickness is also a factor in the difference between the two.

Jazz drum kits should feature thinner shells since jazz tunes need more rounded percussion. On the other hand, rock drum sets come with thicker drum shells, producing more punchy tunes.

#4. Head

Most jazz drums have single-ply-covered heads, while rock drums typically come with two-ply clear heads.

#5. Components and Accessories

The jazz drum set usually consists of one snare drum,  one small bass drum, one-floor tom, and one or two rack toms.

On the flip side, the rock drum set comes with all those components with the chance of utilizing more floor toms. The fact is that a rock drum kit generally has more than four-floor toms.

#6. Other

  • The jazz drum kit tends to be tuned to a higher pitch level than most rock drum sets.
  • The rock drum kit is louder than the standard jazz drum set.
  • The jazz kits are considered sleeker and more vintage-looking than their rock counterpart.


Is Jazz Drumming Harder Than Rock

If you pursue Jazz drumming, you will end up with a wider musical vocabulary than Rock music. It’s a vast genre with various sub-styles that may take decades to master.

What Makes a Good Jazz Drummer?

Jazz drummers are all about listening and having a musical conversation with their band. You need to get proficient with reading music, learn rudiments, and practice a concert snare drum.

Is Jazz Drumming Harder Than Metal Drumming?

Yes. The most complicated style of drumming to learn is jazz.

What Does a Jazz Drummer Do?

Jazz drumming is the art of playing percussion in jazz styles.

What Makes Jazz Drumming Different?

In jazz, you need dynamics as a drummer.

In other genres, like rock, you can survive without excellent dynamics.

Yet, in jazz, you will not sound good if you do not possess good hand technique and dynamics around your kit.

Can You Play Jazz on Rock Drums?

Playing jazz like a rock drummer is as bad as playing rock like a jazz drummer.

Are Drums Important in Jazz?

The short answer is yes. The drum kit is essential to jazz drummers.

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