Electronic Drums to Acoustic

NC68

Senior Member
Originally an acoustic kit player for years. Living arrangements and priorities changed so switched to playing a nice e-kit with mesh heads for years. Now that priorities have changed again I have the time to play out and recently purchased an acoustic kit. I have to say its a struggle to make the switch. I could elaborate on the issues but don't want to go on and on. Has anyone else been in this same predicament and how long did it take to start feeling comfortable behind the acoustic kit again? Please tell me there's hope!
 

mxo721

Senior Member
yeh, even worse for me, because I started out on a e-kit, I took a lesson on acoustic, and when i hit the bass drum BOOOOOMM! the volume threw me off..lol. and i just went that's it, so I got a gretsch catalina jazz, now, I play the snare all the time, but the guy I got it from has the drums tuned WAY high, don't like it at all, and im trying to learn to tune it lower, when i get a full day to experiment, I'll get it right...but the feel form the e-drums is way different.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Yes, they are definitely different beasts. I play both regularly, but it is almost like playing a different instrument. Just keep working at the acoustic drums - there is a whole separate skill set involved, with much more control and nuance required.
 

razorx

Platinum Member
Anyone that can play an E-KIt's hi-hats greatly gets major kudos from me. I've messed around on just about every E-Kit that's been at my local guitar center. Mostly the hi-end roland kits. I'm guessing it's takes lots of practice to get right. I've also noticed that with the E-Kits that you can pretty much hit the pad any were and it will sound the same as with an acoustic kit if you hit the head slightest bit off center it's going to sound and feel weird. That also has to be major adjustment for you guys as well.
 

rachard1583

Junior Member
If you're used to playing nothing but acoustics, an electronic drum set might feel a little bit foreign at first. As already noted, electrics have come a long way, and today's electronic drums feel much more like acoustics than those from 20 years ago.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Anyone that can play an E-KIt's hi-hats greatly gets major kudos from me. I've messed around on just about every E-Kit that's been at my local guitar center. Mostly the hi-end roland kits. I'm guessing it's takes lots of practice to get right. I've also noticed that with the E-Kits that you can pretty much hit the pad any were and it will sound the same as with an acoustic kit if you hit the head slightest bit off center it's going to sound and feel weird. That also has to be major adjustment for you guys as well.
You just have to play them enough to realize their idiosyncrasies. As long as you are trying to play them like real hats you'll just drive yourself nuts. They are useful, but not the same, for sure.
 

Rick H.

Senior Member
I started playing on an e-kit but would play on other peoples acoustics now and again and realized how much more i liked acoustics so went out and purchased one then i had both, keeping the electric obviously for playing on off hours. After a while i decided it was time to cut my losses and sell 'em both for a nice intermediate level drum kit. I can't play as often as i used to but i would say it was totally worth it.

Yeah, the head tuning was a problem for me too, but you figure it out

I would say stick with the acoustic. You'll get used to it and in the end will ultimately be worth it
 

Witterings

Silver Member
After a 20 year break I bought and played an e-kit for 5 years before getting an acoustic, I hated the acoustic at 1st, both the sound in comparisson and everything seemed so far away and like I was at full stretch. I also found the sound way too in my face and so really held back and also really put me off.
Took about a week before I felt a bit better and could reach everything and was just starting to feel comfortable but probably a few months until I preferred the sound. Intially I REALLY dampened everything as it seemed so harse and brash in comparision - - E-kits sound much more like a recorded / compressed kit you hear on a record - - but as time's gone on I've lessened the dampening bit by bit and now love to hear them sing.
I now much prefer my acoustic as there's so much more feel to it and have got the sound just right but I have them both set up and move from one to the other without even noticing it.
It's very like getting used to driving one car and the you get in a much bigger car or a van and at 1st it seems really weird, I regularily switch between mine and my wifes car and as I'm used to both it feels totally natural, its' the same with drums.
You should be using earplugs anyway but if not get some as it not only protects your ears but also makes an acoustic kit sound more like a recorded / e-kit which you're probably more familiar with.
Sorry a long winded reply but thought it would address most of the points that you're currently facing.
 

Mike Armstrong

Senior Member
After seeing some videos of modern, quiet, electronic kits in action I was so impressed I bought my first drum kit, a used Roland TD-12, just a year ago. After a couple months of upgrades, adding more cymbals, larger pads and 3rd party sounds to it I realized I really liked messing around on it but I soon yearned for a 'real' looking and playing acoustic kit. It took me a few months to finally finish building a 'drum room' in my garage to handle the loudness of an acoustic kit.

I now play a hybrid kit, half electronic and half acoustic. There are two things on an e-kit that differ so much from an a-kit as far as playability and that's the cymbals and snare. So, in order to make the eventual transition to an a-kit, those are the two e-kit components I wanted swapped out for acoustic. My kit consists of mic'ed acoustic cymbals/hi hat and an acoustic snare. The rack and floor tom are electronic as well as the kick which are triggered thru the TD-12 with Vex Expressions Ltd kits installed. Everything is run through a mixer and into IEM's.

The kit sounds great. I get enough of an acoustic feel from the cymbals and snare and I've adjusted the head tension on the kick and tom pads enough to simulate the feel of acoustics as close as I can. Even so, I still feel and hear a big enough of a difference when messing around on a full acoustic kit (at my local GC) that I know, dynamically speaking, I just can't play an acoustic kit as easily or as well as I had the e-kit. I realized I don't have the subtle finger/wrist abilities it takes to manipulate the dynamics of acoustic drums because on the e-pads it just is'nt a requirement as much. My first drum lessons with a drum teacher are coming up and I'm actually worried that when it comes to playing his a-kit it's gonna be obvious I have been playing on e-pads.

What I really like about the e-kit is all the different sounds available, from techno to afro-cuban to rock, that can be easily dialed in at the push of a button, pretty fun stuff actually. The 3rd party sounds available are excellent and allow your kit to sound like some of the most rare and expensive kits in the world or sound exactly like a kit from your favorite band using a drumless track to play to.

It's an acoustic kit I want to get good at playing, there is no substitute for it. I originally planned to sell my e-kit to buy an a-kit but it's so much fun to mess around on sometimes that I might just keep it.
 
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Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
They do feel a little different, that's for sure. My real kit is the reason I play drums. But e-kits are such a useful tool, especially these days now they're so good. Not all the nuances of hi-hats etc are fully captured with e-kits. For me, that's not really the point.

I have an e-kit at home for practice just because of the volume control. The extra practice I do on the e-kit has transformed my playing. (I have also gigged with it at a small venue where the real drums would have overpowered the room)

I like the analogy of driving two different cars. That's a great way of describing it.
 

supermac

Senior Member
I practice at home most night son a Roland TDK 9 kit and gig about once a month on my accoustic kit.

The switch-over is always quite tough - and it takes me a good few numbers before I feel at home on the accoustic.

The main differences are feel, and especially sound - as the e kit has a perfect balanced studio sound, while the accoustic kit, no matter how well it has tuned, has the usual rings and buzzes.

However, it's a price worth paying as my playing has improved big-style now I can practice every day.
 

Pachikara-Tharakan

Silver Member
I always have the wild idea of installing the e pads under the heads of the acoustic kit , at times when get frustrated not getting the sound that i love after long boring hours of tuning.
 
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inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
The biggest difference for me was the sound and volume. With an e-kit, someone else was mixing the volume for me, so I could hit away and not worry about it. I know that the advanced e-kits do allow you to make louder sounds by striking the pads harder, but certainly not to the extent of an acoustic.

The cymbals are a big difference, as an e-kit is consistent in its sound, where as an acoustic cymbal sounds totally different depending on where and how you strike it. When I first went back to acoustic it felt like I was just clanking all the cymbals and they sounded very harsh. Fortunately, what sounded like clanking to me sounded fairly good to the audience. Acoustics tend to sound different to a drummer from behind the kit then they do projecting out to other listeners.

The e-kit always sounded more subdued and sterlie to me, so it took a lot of getting used to the warm, brash sounds of the acoustic drums and cymbals. I felt like I was overplaying when I first transitioned back.
 

drrhythm42

Junior Member
I actually use both as a working drummer. Depending on the venue size and the type of music. I mostly use the e-kit for small club dates where there is no drum miking the e-kit gives the audience the sound they expect to hear from the record. With the cover band I play with 3 nights a week we do such a wide variety of music that the e-kit really makes my job easier. Switching patches for certain song and sometimes in the same song. For instance: We do two Santana Songs; Black Magic Woman and O ye Como Va. The e-kit allows me to preset 2 latin kits to make the songs sound more authentic. For larger venue when drums will be miked, I use my a-kit augmented with electronic pads (Mostly for the Santana songs that we do and get requested almost every night.) They are just 2 different tools. Always use the right tools for the job at hand.

I have spent enough time practicing on both that I can switch back and forth with to any issues.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
I always have the wild idea of installing the e pads under the heads of the acoustic kit , .
It's not wild. It's done all the time.

The only E to A difference I experience is volume. I can hit the E kit hard and turn the volume down. I forget how piercingly loud a real snare drum is :). You just have to work the edges to quiet it down a bit.
 

FreDrummer

Silver Member
Old thread, I know...but I'm with drrhythm on this one. Acoustic drums are LOUD! You can only do so much to "play to the room." My band plays classic rock. A tom (or snare) struck softly vs. struck hard sounds different -- besides the obvious difference in volume. So, I take the e-kit to small venues -- thankfully, the smallest places we play still allow me to use real cymbals with the e-kit.

Like drrhythm, my e-kit is not configured "exactly" (height and spacing-wise) like my acoustic kits, but I have no problems switching back and forth. (Come to think of it, my two acoustic kits aren't, either, as one is a 22" BD and the other is a 24". That's just "part of drumming").
 

Otto

Platinum Member
I did much the same in the latter 90's.

Took me about a year to get truly comfortable again on an acoustic set.
 
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