Drummers: What's with the second high-hat?

Something “odd” I’ve been noticing lately while watching various music videos on YouTube: I’m noticing that a lot of drummers have a second high-hat mounted in the vicinity of their ride cymbal, in addition to the high-hat in the traditional location.

Is there a particular reason for having the second high-hat? I suppose it’s significant that most (but not all) of the drummers I’ve seen using the second hat also happen to use two kick drums, but since I’m not a drummer myself I’m not picking up on the purpose.

Twin kick drums are more or less only useful to play blast beats - using you two feet to produce ungodly fast bass drumming that sounds like a panzer attack is in progress.

No idea about the second hi-hat however, presumably to do the same thing albeit with cymbals ? Seems to me that’s what the sticks are there for, but I’m no drummer either.

Cymbals are not all alike…some are heavier than others, cymbals can be made to pruduce certain qualities, etc. The second hi hat is probably a contrast to the other one. Mash on one, finesse on the other, y’know?

I haven’t noticed this, but as an amateur drummer, I could make a guess. It allows you to play an open-handed drumming style song but you continue to play the HH with your right hand, like you’re used to. Watch the drummer on journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” for example. He taps the HH with his left hand through out the song and intersperses snare and tom hits with his right hand. This is tricky if you’re not used to it.

With a HH on the right, you can play more like you’re used to. Right hand keeps tapping, left hand does the punctuation snare/tom hits.

You can also do that with a single bass drum with two pedals, making a lot less kit to lug around. But of course, the sound is different (even if the two bass drums are identical, which is typical).

I’ve never noticed an additional hihat. It might just be that drummers want two different hihat sounds, but that’s pure speculation, and wouldn’t answer if the two have the same cymbals. In the latter case it might be for proximity.

I’m also just a guy who likes to screw around on the drums, but the reasons for two or more high hats would be the ones given: either for the sticking (to keep an open style of playing vs. cross handed) and/or for variations in sound (like you might have a 10" micro hat on one and a 13" hi hat on the other.)

Having only known one drummer well in my life, but having seen the kind of kits he dreamed of building, I have to suggest the possibility that it may also be this.

Live sound engineer here,

IME the second Hi-hat is usually closed or rarely on a cable mechanism connected to another pedal. It allows the drummer to grab quick Hi-hat beats while working the floor tom side of the kit, IOW s/he doesn’t have to stretch open to play a few notes on the HH. The hi-hat is often critical for song timing as the band will often trigger off of it. These are generally seen on large drum kits.

Capt Kirk

What Cap’n Kirk said made sense to me. Also I was wondering is it a full HH or just a crash the same size as a HH mounted parallel to the floor?

Yeah, here’s an example of the cable set-up. Like you said, if you’re doing the hi-hat closed not connected to a pedal, then you usually end up using one of these X-hat mounts.

If you’re asking what I think you’re asking, it’s a full hi-hat (two cymbals.) It’s not really a hi-hat if there’s only one cymbal. Then you’ve got something like a small crash or splash.

So I found a picture of Neil Peart and he has two aux Hi-hats, directly over his right shoulder is one that is set slightly open(possibly on a pedal) and over his left, between the ride and china cymbals(skinny silver mic is pointing towards it, this one is closed. Oddly it seems his primary Hi-hat is electronic, as are his snare, kick, the six toms with shallow shell and no bottom head and all of his front cymbals.


Capt Kirk

ETA a hi-hat is a slpash/crash unless there are two cymbals.


Um ok. Random Rush trivia question…what other songs use bells besides “Closer to the Heart”?

Well, of course if the two drums aren’t identical, then the purpose of having both of them is much simpler, viz : this one goes boom, but this one goes boom. And *that *one goes to 11 :).

Yes, that’s exactly right.

Actually, his “primary” stuff is all acoustic. His setup is basically two kits set up back-to-back in a circle. The photo you linked shows Neil sitting behind the electronic portion of the kit, and the high-hat you see over his right shoulder is actually his “primary” hat.

Here’s his current setup in action:

Xanadu, for one.

For me, the more cool shit I have piled around me, the less likely you are to notice that I can’t keep time and am a shitty drummer. :smiley:

And since Xanadu was already put out there, I’ll guess “By-Tor”. Gotta be some bells in there somewhere.

Thanks for posting this, I have to admit that last night I was feeling a little confused as in “NP is mostly playing electronic drums?”. I think I just accepted it under the category of “Drummers do weird stuff” , well, because they do.


Capt Kirk

Didn’t *Passage to Bangkok *have bells as well?