Live to Drum - Drum to Live!

Sound Proof Drum Riser

Here is my variation of the tennis ball drum riser, stage, platform or whatever you want to call it.

I made a few slight modifications with the other drum risers that I found online, then I gave a tweak here and pull there.

The tennis balls absorb the energy the impact of the kick drum and hi hats, as well as the other stands. I use a snare stand and a bigger Roland V-drum pad (PD-120) so there is even more energy being transferred through the snare stand as well as the pedals.

I found that this riser reduced the impact and resulting sound through the floor significantly. (I don’t have any exact measurements, didn’t think of it.)

Total cost of the riser was approx. $80  CDN

Hole making drill bit thing.
Drill bit for making holes

Tools needed:

  • Drill
  • 18mm drill bit
  • Measuring tape
  • Black Marker
  • 1 3/4″ hole making drill-bit type thing. (size is important here, there is no “average” size here, it’s 1 3/4″ or its just not enough girth)
  • Wire cutters or a very sharp sword (strongly recommend the wire cutters here. far less blood, far more fingers)

Materials needed:

  • 2 x big sheets of wood. ($19.95 a sheet)
    – I used the cheap stuff used for siding and flooring. Use what ever you like, just make sure it’s around 3/4″ thick (it sets the balls nicely without being too deep).
    – Measure out the size of the mat you use for your drums and use that size, or figure out your own dimensions, just make sure big enough to support your drums and stands ONLY. (i used 72″x34″, and realized afterwards I could have made it a touch shorter….meh… you live and you learn.)
    – IMPORTANT: The drum thrown is NOT placed on the tennis ball drum platform. If it is placed on the platform there is too far much action and the balls will be under way too much pressure. They won’t absorb as much of the shock, and then you find out that the whole freakin’ process useless and you have to start over with new dimensions.
  • Tennis balls – good ones (approx. $20 CDN)
    – Figure out a nice pattern for your platform. Amount of balls needed will depend on the size of your riser. I used 16 in my pattern, doubling up in pedal and snare area.
    – Spend the money and buy good ones, don’t be a super cheapskate
    – Dollar store balls are dollar store balls for a reason. They can’t handle the action and will crack under pressure.
  • Cable Ties (approx. $8 CDN)
    – I got excited and got great big ones, like the cops use. No need. They are wayyyyyy to long, but they still work. You can use about 18″ and be fine. I used 4, use as many as you like. (Save the extras cable ties for your kids next birthday party, they might come in handy) You could probably get away without using any….unless you live in an earthquake prone area, then yeah, tie the crap out of it.
  • Impact floor mats sold for workers to stand on. (approx. $20 CDN)
  • 4 drywall or wood screws (approx. FREE. Just use the screws in the wall or support beam. They are just used temporarily so just put them back when you are done)
  • Felt floor pads with adhesive (approx. $5 CDN)
  • Hand full of small nails (approx. FREE! I found them in my friend Derek’s tool box. See if you have a friend with small nails in their box too!)


Step 1:

Acquire 2 x big sheets of wood. I considered using the top of the kitchen table for one sheet, but was quickly swayed against that idea by my wife. So I ended up buying both sheets of wood at the local hardware store.

Drill both pieces together with the 4 screws. One in each corner. This keeps the boards in place so you are sure that the holes line up perfectly afterwards and reduces the measuring needed in half. (Great idea Derek!)

drill 2 boards together
drill the 2 boards together

Step 2:

Use the measuring tape and marker to map out where you want your balls to go.

Be careful where you put your balls. There are many variations and patterns you can use, just make sure that the ball support is evenly distributed. Try to keep and about a foot in between balls.

The pattern I used here doubles up the area where the pedals and snare stand are placed for extra support.

base of the drum riser marked out for ball placement
base of the drum riser marked out for ball placement

Step 3:

Use the 1 3/4″ hole making drill bit thing and drill holes into the spots where the balls will be placed.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to move the kitchen table chairs appropriately when you get to the holes at the ends. I’m betting your wife would’t be too stoked about an advanced-potty-training-chair either.


tennis ball holes drilled in the drum risers
tennis ball holes drilled into both sheets of wood
its hammer time!
its hammer time!

Step 4:

Drill the holes for the cable ties. I used 2 ties at either end of the drum riser and it works great.

IMPORTANT: Take this moment to involve the kids. This stuff is going to be all covered up anyways, so let the little critters at it!

Drill some extra 18mm holes (just watch out for the tennis balls), hammer some nails into it, remove the nails, draw some blue prints for a world dominating robot, doodle some sponge bob portraits, whatever…… just make it FUN!

let the kids drill some extra holes for the hell of it
let the kids drill some extra holes for the hell of it

Step 5:

Remove the screws from each of the corners. Put the screws back where you found them, especially if you borrowed from a load bearing wall or support beam. * Do this now.

Now place the felt circles on the bottom of the bottom board that you will use for the drum riser. Make sure they are evenly spaced and cover the entire area of the platform.

felt pads
felt pads

Step 6:

Place the base sheet where you are going to set up your v-drums. Make sure the felt side is down. Balls go on top.

base of the drum riser
bottom of the drum riser


Step 7:

Fill all the holes with your balls.

fill those holes
fill those holes, every last one!

Step 8:

Set the top sheet of the drum platform on top of the tennis balls. The holes will line up perfectly if you did it right.

Top of the drum riser in place on top of the tennis balls
Top of the drum riser in place on top of the tennis balls

Step 9:

Use the cable ties to secure the sheets of wood together. Trim the ends of the cables when they are set up.

cable ties keep em together
cable ties keep em together

Step 10:

Cover the top of the drum riser with the shock absorbent floor mats. Cut them to fit if needed. If the kids have already gotten bored and have moved to electronic entertainment, you could possibly use your awesome samurai sword for this. If they are still reasonably close to you (physically, emotionally it really doesn’t matter), probably just use some scissors….

You can use adhesive spray if you have it, or small nails to keep the mats in place.

If you nail it, try to set the head as deep as possible into the mat. If you don’t it might poke you later.

shock absorbent floor mats
shock absorbent floor mats
placing the shock absorbing floor mats
placing the shock absorbing floor mats

Step 11:

Place your drum mat on top. If you don’t currently use a drum mat, what is your problem? Get one!

You can fold the over lapping part of the mat so there is no exposed wood on the front of the mat. Use small nails to tack it into place if you like.

drum floor mat
drum floor mat

Step 12:

Set up your electronic drums on your newly built tennis ball drum riser that absorbs shock and reduces noise!

The drum throne will be off the riser and should be plenty close enough to the kit to play it like normal. All you have to do is adjust the height of the throne up a bit to account for the height of the drum platform.

Roland V-Drums on custom Tennis Ball Drum Stage
Roland V-Drums on custom Tennis Ball Drum Platform

Step 13:


I hope this helps you get some extra drum time, without creating an angry wife or inviting an eviction notice.