E drums replacing acoustic question:A Contrition


Platinum Member
The dated sound of Top 40 music of the 1980s pretty much guaranteed that acoustic drums will always win the battle. Funny that a few of the more dated records were by drummers no less - Don Henley's "Building the Perfect Beast" and Phil Collins "No Jacket Required". Circa 1985.


Senior Member
I think my original question also included the word "entirely" and Bermuda addressed that part of it in his response.


Silver Member
I like the idea of a hybrid kit for many kinds of music. For jazz, it's acoustic all the way for me. (never heard great nuanced brushes on a e-snare for example).

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Did electric guitars or pianos replace their acoustic counterparts?

For what I do/play, E's sound better because there is tighter/easier control over the overall sound/mix.

After one year into my E-xperiment, I may never play the A's again. Maybe I have a bad ear but, they sound like drums to me. And, I know for a fact that they sound like drums to the average music listener.

Anon La Ply

The dated sound of Top 40 music of the 1980s pretty much guaranteed that acoustic drums will always win the battle.
It depends. It was pretty obvious with the rise of rock that e-drums would be initially used to create big sounds - dzzshhh d-d-d-dzzshh! After that little foray ran its course people backed off and in stadium bands e-drums have been used to supplement acoustic kits, as per Bermuda's post - players like Bill Bruford and the Professor leading the way.

Now it's a matter of re-imagining - there are many cool patches that don't go boom dzzshh. It's hard to know what is being played (or not) between treated acoustic kits, e-drums and drum machines. To most, it doesn't matter either because current fashion leans towards Fantastic Plastic.

I'm fascinated by the way human animals are being driven to dance by ruthlessly unflagging machines, driving their flesh-and-blood minions to the point where they need stimulants to stay with it. It's almost sci fi.

Musicians get tired - they need breaks and have to go home, and they also have a tendency to mix things up with ballads whereas machines can hammer our dance beats for as long as a DJ's supply of Red Bull holds out. Not judging, just observing our evolution towards cyborgism.

I know this somewhat removed from e-drums but the big mover seems to be programmed drums. My hunch is that full e-drum kits are an evolutionary cul-de-sac (aside from their popularity as quiet practice kits) and that the trend will be towards contemporary sequenced drums, retro acoustic drums and smaller triggering units rather than large drumkits.

My nephew and his mates completely don't care what creates the sound when it comes to recordings. One thing I've noticed they do care about is production - they seem to be turned off by "dirty" old production sounds of the 60s and 70s in much the same way as kids disliked the 30s and 40s recordings in the 60s and 70s.


Senior Member
I agree with what Bermuda said about the continuing advances being made in how close the synthesis/sampling is coming to replicating the sound of acoustic drums. It's the same thing as how close the Nord keyboards come to sounding like a Hammond B3 through a Leslie cabinet, or how close modeling guitars and amps are getting to the originals.

That's actually the basis for my earlier post on being able to have so many types of kits available at the push of a button. If you listen to a good digital synthesizer next to a grand piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Hammond B3, mellotron, clavinet, harpsichord, and Mini Moog/Prophet 5 analog synthesizers, you will be able to tell the real things from the digital syntesizer, but the synthesizer sounds close enough that it's worth the very negligible difference not to carry all those other big, heavy keyboards to a gig.

Same thing with guitar modeling. There isn't room on a small club stage for a Gibson Les Paul through a Marshall stack, Fender Strat through a Fender Twin Reverb, Rickenbacker 12-string through a Vox amp, and Paul Reed Smith through a Mesa Boogie amp, but one can get all those sounds through one modeling guitar through one modeling amp.

I don't see a reason drummers shouldn't have the same sonic options if they like sounding close to the original sounds on the songs they cover. Bop, Motown, 60' and 70's rock, metal, modern R&B and hip hop all have different sounding drums, so it's a convenience to be able to replicate those sounds with one digital set, as opposed to carrying 6 kits to a gig. I'm just talking hypothetically, of course, I know no one would actually do that.

At the same time, there's something to be said about just having a really good sounding set of acoustic drums and not worrying about replicating the sound so much as the feel of the songs you're covering. I like hearing groups give songs their own twist, the way good jazz musicians can use a lead sheet and play a song they've never heard before, so it all comes down to personal preference, just like anything else in life.


Gold Member
I love my E Drums......they have totally transformed my life as a drummer by enabling me to rehearse at home. I really cannot speak highly enough of them.

I also love my crappy Sonor 503 kit I use for live gigs.....which, despite being old, battered, probably badly tuned, and probably really unhip, still rock the motherfucking house down when I hit em...hahaha