Should I start out with electronic drums?

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
im 21 and im working on a container ship as a Deck Apprentice, i started out with a bass guitar 2 years ago and it was always my dream to learn to play drumms, but i never had the space and money to buy a decent drumm set, now i have the space and the money (space for electric drumms) i want to play with my old band as a drummer once i'm home(im 4 months on the ship and then i'm free for 2 months) is there a big difference between electric and acoustic drumms, will i be able to get a feel and learn decently to play on electric drumms, my budget is 1500$(for the electric drumms)
Yes - there is a big difference. Without even talking about the merits of electronic drums, there are all kinds of nuance and technique that you will be able to learn better and hear on real acoustic drums. If your goal is to be able to play real drums with real live musicians in the future, then I would stick to the plan of getting a real drum set to play.

However, your situation almost dictates that you can't have an acoustic drumset on a ship, so the only thing you could do while at-sea if you didn't get an electronic drumset would be to get some kind of pad drumset, or one of those Pearl Rhythm Traveler kits with the mesh heads so you can play something more like a drum than a pad - but it doesn't produce any sound at all.

For the money, I don't know if I can recommend an electronic kit to get started on. It's not like the difference between electric guitar and acoustic guitar, the difference I feel is bigger than that. Whatever it is you envision yourself doing as you become a better player, than that is what I think you should pursue. Good luck!
 

ncc

Silver Member
some thoughts: With acoustics you get the feel of playing drums, you can easily control stage volume, and you feel can control the dynamics just by the way you play. You can learn controlled rim shots and change tone just by where you strike the head. With electronics you still have totally rely on a sound system for stage performances and it is more difficult to control stage volume without a sound engineer. However if you learn on electronics there are a of of different tones you can get from different sound libraries, but you will probably learn a different style of playing than if you started with acoustics. I know you can set up and tear down electronics a lot faster and they are a lot lighter. ;-) For practice, the newest electronics (like the Pearls) are a combination, that allow you to practice at a lower volume. In music stores you will always see folks sitting at electronics, but it is not often you see big shows with just electronics. So pros and cons to both. Bottom line, whatever you feel most comfortable with it always the right solution.
 
Regardless of dynamics, I just don't like the feel of the pads on an electronic kit. They don't interest me so I wouldn't know if you can change them for softer ones, but in my experience they've always given too much rebound, feeling harder than a tight snare or even practice pad. Might just be me, I'm too used to the feel of brushes and multi-rods, hardly ever use sticks these days.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Re: Should I start out with electric drums?

Should you start with electronic drums? NO. In fact, if I were you, I wouldn't use electronic drums at all. Here's why. If you want to use electronic drums, you need to use a computer to set it up. So you spend maybe 1 hour setting it up. But then there's a problem. The sound through the speakers are flakey. So then you spend another half an hour fixing that. So you fix that, and you start using the electronic drums again. But then there's another problem. Now, the samples aren't triggering when you hit the pad. So then you spend half an hour fixing that.

See what I mean? Although electronic pads are more convienient, meaning it replaces percussion that would take up a lot of stage area, it's basically better to not bother with electronic drums. They don't give you the same feel as the acoustic percussion, and half of the time, they don't work.
That's completely misguided with the utmost of respect.

You DON'T need a computer to set them up.

They take around half an hour to set up from scratch...mine are set up these days from scratch in under 5 minutes.

Even fairly cheap E Drums (of which I have one) are quite reliable these days.

It isn't "better to not bother"...it's better to use them than not if acoustic are not practical.

And finally, I play my cheap Alesis every evening with very rare exceptions (at least an hours) and have done for over a year now. I had a problem with the bass drum pad, which I opened up, and repaired. It took me probably an hour. Compare to my acoustic kit. Cracked my ride cymbal three months back. £150 of outlay and a visit to a drum shop.

I think it's unfair to mislead the OP based on personal dislike of something.

I would still rather play my acoustics but electric are nowhere near as bad as you've outlined.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Regardless of dynamics, I just don't like the feel of the pads on an electronic kit. They don't interest me so I wouldn't know if you can change them for softer ones, but in my experience they've always given too much rebound, feeling harder than a tight snare or even practice pad. Might just be me, I'm too used to the feel of brushes and multi-rods, hardly ever use sticks these days.
Try mylar (sp?) or mesh drum heads....

Mine are mylar...not absolutely the same feel but not a million miles away.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Re: Should I start out with electric drums?

So, would learning on an electronic kit limit development as a drummer?

From a guitar players perspective, I started with electric guitar. Doing this has limited my chops on acoustic to a certain degree. I can play sloppier on electric and still sound good, where I have to be a little more precise on acoustic. Does the same apply to drums?
In my experience the difference in feel and techique between e-drums and a-drums is not nearly as great as electric / acoustic guitar. As long as it's a realistically set up kit, quality heads, etc, not just rows of little rubber pads.
 

SgtThump

Platinum Member
Re: Should I start out with electric drums?

Normally I would not correct anyone on spelling or nomenclature but since the OP seems very keen on drumming, that I thought it prudent to to be honest with him about the minor corrections in his post. I don't feel I was rude or condescending. I was trying to be helpful.
I do realize it looked like I was jumping down your throat, but I swear I didn't mean it at you PERSONALLY. I just hate that and was kinda grouchy when I posted. ;)
 

SgtThump

Platinum Member
I lived in an apartment and my choices were 1) not play drums at all at home or 2) play a crappy feeling e-kit. I chose the latter and it was fun. I didn't particularly like much about that e-kit, but it's better than not being able to play.
 

Skyking

Senior Member
After restarting my career with an E kit as a hobby drummer I think an e kit is a great idea especially if noise is a factor and you can afford it. But if I were to do it again I'd start with an inexpensive used e kit. If not start with a set of rubber pads. When I started back on an e-kit and no matter how bad I sounded it was all between me and my headphones. I had no shame and I could practice whenever I wanted. You will have more fun with the e kit and as a beginner you can learn a lot with it. All that stuff about wasting time setting up will also be true of your acoustic kit but there's nothing I liked better than wasting time with my drums electronic or not.

However, at some point, even the best e kit probably won't be enough. It can't deliver the satisfaction or nuances of an acoustic set. They're not good for gigging either. At that point, unless you are on a boat, you'll be ready to take the next step and you'll want a good acoustic set. So, save the big bucks for the acoustic set. Set some jack aside for lessons too as it's money well spent. Spend wisely, think good quality used, don't fall for marketing hype like the birch vs.maple blah blah and never ever buy cheap cymbals. You are on the right track by first asking advice from these guys. It's the journey that really counts, not the destination. There is no right or wrong here. Good luck and have fun!
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
They're not good for gigging either. At that point, unless you are on a boat, you'll be ready to take the next step and you'll want a good acoustic set.
Based on...?

I have let someone sit in with my E kit at a gig and they sounded like drums to me.

Also, in my personal experience, a full 90% of drums at gigs sound bad. Usually they are simply way too loud. But, based on that, I wouldn't conclude that A's are not good for gigging. It's simply operator error.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Re: Should I start out with electric drums?

Should you start with electronic drums? NO. In fact, if I were you, I wouldn't use electronic drums at all. Here's why. If you want to use electronic drums, you need to use a computer to set it up. So you spend maybe 1 hour setting it up. But then there's a problem. The sound through the speakers are flakey. So then you spend another half an hour fixing that. So you fix that, and you start using the electronic drums again. But then there's another problem. Now, the samples aren't triggering when you hit the pad. So then you spend half an hour fixing that.

See what I mean? Although electronic pads are more convienient, meaning it replaces percussion that would take up a lot of stage area, it's basically better to not bother with electronic drums. They don't give you the same feel as the acoustic percussion, and half of the time, they don't work.
Not my experience of electric drums

An hour to set them up...I've played them ever since. No adjustments made, ever, in two years. Apart from one slight repair (a wire issue) which took an hour.

Compared to my acoustic drums experience, my e drums have been an absolute walk in the park.
 

Friedmett

Senior Member
It depends on the sound and what kind of space you got for having a drum kit at all.

If you can get away with an E kit then go ahead. Sure the basic skills will be the same playing wise. Setup and tear down no problem.

But with electronic musical devices comes a false feeling of how good your skills are and if you believe that you can get into trouble later. Being a guitarist too I can recall plugging into a digital amp with thousands of options for sound and the playing enhanced to another degree of WOV!! Am I that good?? Now I do know where my weak skills are and that was that trying that amp.

I knew what drums I wanted since 1994 or so and the world as it was just had to make room for it.

When it was found and arrived around 2003 it was a learning curve from then on. Getting hardware, figure out how to tune it, clean it, new skins on all drums etc.

Now it is down to practise and still I know where the weak skills are and what to do but the drum kit sounds awesome despite its age being 1987. An acustic kit takes more but to me it is way more interesting. Still I knew what kit I wanted and did not want to settle for less.
 

moxman

Silver Member
If you're on a ship for a long stretch.. take a pair of sticks and get a decent practice pad ( a stand is good!) and some books. The classic Stick Control is so old you can download a PDF for free.. the pad will make about as much noise as an e-kit (with headphones on).

I have a strong bias towards acoustic kits.. okay I've never liked any e-kit I've ever played - so there! I also have one of expensive mesh TD-10s that has been collecting dust for years. Okay for a cheap demo, but it still sucks.. One of my bands gave me a recording of one of their past performances.. and I noticed the drummer was pretty good but... his hihat timing was off here and there.. then I noticed all the toms and snare hits sounded the same.. ah yes.. he was playing an e-kit live! It sucked all around..close but no cigar!It just didn't sound tight or authentic to the music..
 
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