What’s The Right Throne Height?
Hi JohnI wanted to reach out to you after hearing your podcast with Nick Ruffini at Drummers Resource. It was an awesome podcast – thank you for doing it. I’ve got the book on order :-)For many years I’ve been a “sloucher” when I play and have suffered with intermittent lower back pain (L4/L5) as a result.I wanted to ask you about throne height. Is there an optimal throne height to help balance and posture?What I do find is that when I sit lower then playing the kick drum “heel-up” becomes more of an effort than if I sit higher. Watching some of my peers – Tony Royster Jr for example – some seem to sit really high, but yet there are many that don’t too.I’ve tried all sorts of positions – high and low. I even installed a protractor app on my smartphone to see what the angle of my leg was on and off the pedals!!!!My current throne is a Tama 1st Chair saddle with back rest.I’d be really interested to read your thoughts on throne height.Many thanks in advance for your time.Best WishesJulian
The short answer is that you can sit well at any height – even on the floor. Doctors generally recommend a 145 degree angle between the upper and lower leg. Doctors recommend this because it is neutral position for your leg, and what position it often goes into when sleeping. Think fetal position. In addition to the pull of the muscles, there is also a connective tissue capsule around the hips that is neutral at this position.
For drummers, this is very high. While it is possible to sit well at any height, drummers have to use their feet, and not every height is equal for pedal use. Most drummers end up sitting such that their upper leg and lower leg make a 100 degree angle. This means that the hip joint is just above the knee joint in space. For finding this seat height, I use the “rule of knee.” I’ll measure the height of the throne as I set up to my knee joint. If the top of the throne is just above my kneecap, then I’m about right.
Additionally, if you sat lower than this your muscles would be in a less-than-effective position. Most of the work in playing the bass drum is not done by the muscles that deliver force into the pedals but by the muscles that lift the leg off the ground. When you sit very low, these muscles are farther out of position and require more energy to use.
This information is for your information only. It is not intended to be medical advice and should not be taken as such. The idea here is that the more you know, the healthier and more effective you will be. While there are common injuries and causes, there is no way that I can know about your particular situation, so if you suspect you have a problem that requires medical attention, please see a reputable doctor who is knowledgeable about your problem.