Bass drum hoops come in several sizes and styles. Primarily, they are either wooden or metal. Wooden bass drum hoops are generally made from maple or birch. Metal hoops are either die-cast or flanged. Hoops affect the sound of the drum, and the type of hoop a drummer chooses is largely a matter of individual taste.
Sometimes called rims, drum hoops serve the primary purpose of holding the drumhead in place, providing even tension for tuning and protecting the body of the drum. Aside from their functionality, they also affect the sound of the drum through the type of resonance they provide. The main types of bass drum hoops — namely, die-cast, flanged, and wooden — each have different characteristics. Drummers find advantages and disadvantages to each.
Wooden hoops are typically made from maple or birch. Many musicians favor maple because of its resonance, believing that it gives the drum a rich, well-rounded sound. Hoops manufactured from wood tend to be thicker and more rigid than metal hoops. Quite a few drummers consider this an advantage because the drumhead is held with more tension, which in turn, helps with tuning.
Musicians seeking the least expensive and most practical drum hoops tend toward the metal variety. These hoops are generally steel, brass, or chrome plated and add a visually appealing look to the drum. The most popular types of metal hoops are flanged, meaning that there are several bends in the metal, usually three, through which a screw or rod is inserted, allowing the musician to adjust the rim itself. Flanged bass drum hoops are typically thinner than the other types. This makes them more flexible, but the drum might consequently be harder to tune.
Some musicians find that the cheaper flanged hoops lack durability and give the drum a brash sound rather than a warm, rich tone. As a result, drummers sometimes opt for die-cast bass drum hoops. Manufactures create these types of hoops by casting the metal, usually steel or brass, into a specifically sized mold. The resulting hoop is generally thicker and sturdier than the flanged variety and therefore creates more tension on the head, thus making tuning easier. A good number of musicians also claim that the thicker metal lends itself to better resonance, giving the drum a fuller sound.
For the most part, choosing the right hoop comes down to the drummer’s individual preference. Most musicians try several different styles before finding one that best suits their needs. Unless a music store specializes in drums, most carry only a limited number of bass drum hoops. Still, shoppers can find a large selection for sale online.