your electric drum set options

The electric drum set is often used as an alternative to an acoustic drum kit. A full digital drum set will have a module that contains all of the drum sounds, or samples, that can be selected. There is also an array of drum pads or triggers that can be arranged and played just like a drum set. This will include a foot pedal with a built in trigger, or a bass drum pad that a regular bass drum pedal can be attached to, a "High hat" foot switch or pedal that will determine whether the high hat is open or closed, (this changes the sound of the high hat when struck with sticks), or it can be played with the foot. There are usually cymbal pads that can be played like a regular cymbal and programed with cymbal sounds.

There are some advantages and disadvantages to playing an electric drum set;

  • + They can be much quieter when you're playing in an apartment or small or venues where the noise of a full drum set would be too much. You can even practice with headphones or at night.
  • + A small electric drum set will usually take up less space than a similarly sized acoustic set.
  • + They can be mixed into the PA system, eliminating your need for a bunch of drum mikes and a bigger mixing board when playing live.
  • + You can program any sound you want to be played from any pad, from a cowbell to a belch. The possibilities are endless. This means your drums can sound amazing without having to worry about tuning them and such.
  • - Digital drums don't have the same "feel" as acoustic drums. The better pads or triggers will be dynamic, meaning the more soft or hard you strike the pad, the more loud or quiet the sound produced is. The best drum pads will look like shallow acoustic drums and have drumheads that feel like the real thing.
  • - The range of sounds you can get out of a cymbal pad programed with a 'ride cymbal' sound will always be less than an actual ride cymbal because you can change where on a real cymbal you strike as well as the angle you strike it at, or even the part of the drumstick you hit it with. These all allow for a more realistic cymbal sound from an acoustic drum set. High end electric drum sets may have triggers that you can mount realistic "quiet cymbals" on that feel just like the real thing.  
  • + The "feel" of a digital drum set usually won't be as big of a deal for the inexperienced drummer as it would for an experienced player of acoustic set. They can be great for a beginner to learn on.
  • The more realistic of a playing experience on a digital drum set, the more it will cost you. The best kits are quite expensive.
  • - You will always need power to play an electric drum set, more so if you need an amp or PA for other people to hear them.

If you are new to drumming, an electronic drum set for beginners may be the way to go.

If you're already an experienced player, you may be looking for the best electronic drum set you can get for your money.

If you just want a little kids electric drum set for you young one to bang around on, check out the popular Paxcess electronic drum set.

Variations of the electric drum set

One way the electric drum set can be used, is when combined with some acoustic drums and/or regular cymbals. This is called a hybrid drum set and is increasingly popular with todays music because of the wide variety of sounds and samples that can be played on digital drum, making it easier to reproduce 'studio' recordings when playing live.

Another variation is an acoustic drum set that is rigged with triggers so that you have the sound variety of an electric drum set with the playability of an acoustic set. What you lose of course is the quietness of pads and the portability of a digital set.

If you're looking for a portable electronic drum set, an electronic tabletop drum set might be what you need. Some of these can even be carried in a back pack or a duffle bag. Some of these even have built in speakers or are battery powered.


for more on the history of the electronic drum set, click here.

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