Drum racks are hardly new. They’ve existed for almost 100 years and started on wheels. The modern rack was pioneered by Paul “Jamo” Jamieson, best known as Jeff Porcaro’s drum tech. That early rack had square crossbars so that the clamps couldn’t slip and it evolved into Pearl’s first rack. Today, several companies offer racks with highly versatile configurations. But are racks really necessary?

It’s a favorite discussion among drummers, and the answer is, it depends. However, here’s a good rule of thumb to follow: If the rack takes up less space and weight than the stands it replaces, it might be a good idea. Conversely, if it’s heavier and takes up more space than the stands, it’s probably a liability.


There are some clear advantages to using a rack, such as the convenience of quick setup and teardown, consistent placement of toms, cymbals, etc., and easy addition of hardware without changing the rack’s footprint. A rack also gives a drummer the ability to place a cymbal or cowbell in a spot that might be difficult with a floor stand.

There are also gigs where, logistically, a rack is essential. For example, my touring rack has 15 clamps that hold cymbals, toms, percussion, a sample pad, and mikes. It would be virtually impossible to get that many floor stands placed around the kit on an eight-foot-wide riser. Instead, the rack sits on four straight legs, with a compact footprint, and there’s room to spare.

Which rack is right for you? There are round bars, curved bars, square bars, and hex bars, as well as assorted leg, clamp, and mounting-arm options. If you’re really racking your brain and don’t know which setup might work for you, fret not. You can always buy a basic rack and add extra pieces to it later if your needs change.