Difference between electric and acoustic


Junior Member
I haven't touched an acoustic in my short time of playing (only about 2-3 years). The noise stops me from getting one. So instead I've been making do with a low end Yamaha electric which has served me well but the more I play the more I want to step it up for an acoustic.

I've read a few different opinions about electric kits, some really bad. What are your thoughts?

Oh, another thing I try and use my electric kit pad as a practice pad but it feels weird - does this sound right or am I over thinking things?

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I have both an electronic and an acoustic kit. The electronic kit is good for developing stick control. And you can use it to learn a lot about how to play a full kit.
Just like a practice pad is used for developing stick control. The difference between practicing on a practice pad and practicing on a snare drum;
very different sounds can be made.

With an electronic kit you miss out on learning the different sounds you can draw out of an acoustic kit. You also miss out on the feel of hitting actual drum heads.
I can play almost twice as fast on an electronic kit as I can on an acoustic kit. The stick rebound on Yamaha hard rubber pads is higher than on regular drum heads.

It's time for you to play on an acoustic drum kit. Maybe start out by just buying a snare drum and practice on that.



Junior Member
Like the difference between making love to a plastic doll or a real woman.

The former can satisfy this basic desire. The latter has challenges on its own. But you will know the difference.

(actually I don't have any experience with plastic dolls. And not a lot of experience with e-drums, so I'm pretty biased here)

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
A mesh pad is what it is. Sort of like a trampoline.

I've used electronic snare pads for teaching a bit as with the young kids we really just learn to bounce and read and we could keep the volume down. Because of it's nature it is also very easy on one's hands even if one's technique isn't too good. It has an advantage with certain very young kids, but with new options available I'm loosing interest. I did use on to good effect on a recruitment tour, but I don't know... I think digital is better for getting different sounds than replacing an acoustic drum kit, with the exceptions of gigs and logistics that require it. Offcourse some music does require it, but that's different story

It will be quite different from a real snare. Closest you'll get to real snare in a pad is probably the good old Remo pads everyone knows from school band.


It has the disadvantage of being a bit loud. I recently got myself an Aquarian Super-Pad, which is very close, a bit less rebound, but pretty quiet. It is intended to be used as a drum mute and comes in all sizes to mute the entire kit, but works as a stand alone pad.


Digital kits are a must in some cases because of sound restraints. Most pros I know have a top of the line digital in their home. For small city apartmets there's no other way. That way they can at least pretend to work on a full kit and practice their material that way. Offcourse, they play their real kit all the time, so this is just a supplement.

Personally, if I could make some sound I'd use an acousic kit with Super pads on top and the new Zildjian Low Volume cymbals.

It depends. It comes down to money too right?

Another issue with digital pads is that they're small and usually not placed in realistic distances, meaning bigger acoustic drums require you to reach a bit more. This can be adjusted if the digital kit's rack allows for it.

An acoustic kit is an acoustic instrument. Like with any other acoustic instrument, it's dynamic and offers a wide palette of sounds depending on how you play it, which also means it takes a lot of work to get a consistent sound and you can tune it in different ways, something which one can't start too early experimenting with.
I have plenty of concerned parents (concerned about the noise) that ask me about this. I tell them that electronic kits are great for beginners, they are great for learning coordination, and the fact that most of them come with built in songs to play along with is also a great practice tool.

The thing electronic kits lack that REALLY bothers me is the nuances that you get with an acoustic kit. Electronic kits will never have the dynamic range of acoustic kits, the hi-hats will NEVER be as good as acoustic hi-hats, rim shots will never be as good etc. It's these little things that I think differentiate a good drummer and a great drummer, and they are hard, if not impossible, to practice on an electronic kit.

Verdict: After a few years of playing you should always try to upgrade to an acoustic if it's a possibility.