Why I don't play V-Drums

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Check this out if you have 30 seconds:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slo0rndyFag&feature=youtu.be

I had to share this video I shot at a local casino the other day (oddly enough, I was at this casino to see a Tony Bennett concert, who had Count Basie's drummer, Harold Jones playing for him - it was swingin' - but that'll be another discussion). Anyway, what you're seeing is the standard fair cover band in the middle of the casino, and obviously, he's playing V-Drums so the band can have a good mix that doesn't bleed into the ears of the gamblers.

I shot this from behind the drummer, about four feet away. And I walked away disappointed. He was playing so hard that literally, I heard the clicking sounds before I even heard the band. In fact, the clicking is what drew me to them in the first place. I didn't hear any song until I got right where I was! I felt like if he had a real set of drums, he wouldn't know how to play them quietly enough and still get a phat sound (or it would take a few rehearsals for him to get that part of his playing back - if he ever had it).

Yes, I'm aware that the V-drums are probably a requirement for his gig. And many people here would say that "At least he's playing and has a gig playing close-to-drums". But man, to see one of Count Basie's drummers play with Tony Bennett, and then to see and hear this on the way out, it was like a cold shower of the sad reality for most musicians being generally beer salespeople and not trying to disturb the gambling in the casino.

I had V-Drums and realized I wouldn't gig them long ago. Seeing this just confirms it. I want to see real drums if I'm confronted with a band, and I want to see some finesse from the drummer pulling beautiful tones out of his kit. If I'm going to get clicking, the guy better be tap dancing. Thoughts?
 

evolving_machine

Silver Member
Bo, in another post you talked about the Cajon drums. I think you mentioned that you were lucky enough to have enough work where you could use a full set. In my opinion that is very fortunate for you. A lot to do with your skill as a drummer, by the way. I have never played on those Cajon drums, but have gone to gigs where I had only hand drums. The places we played had restrictions, and they would not want full drum sets. I’ve played on the electronic drums with bands, and it is a very weird experience for me.

I think eventually the whole band will be plugged into the same PA system and only the bar tender would have a master volume control for the band. Things have changed over the years since I started playing back in the 1960’s. In some places the band has been reduced to just back ground music and having a live band in a bar is just a novelty like a spinning glass globe in the center of the dance floor.

I wonder how much I would put up with playing an electronic kit, and having the bar tender being able to control the volume of the whole band. Since I make my living doing something else and not a drummer, I guess I may have the luxury of being able to not take a gig like that. But, if drumming is your pay check, you may not have a choice.
 

jornthedrummer

Silver Member
I hit my vdrums harder than acoustic drums. Takes me around an hours playing to destroy the rim rubber on the snare from rimshotting.
I find that the physical part is very important to get into the groove. With acoustic drums I can groove playing much softer.
I also find that unless i play at the max dynamic level, the drums disappears in the mix when I practice with my band. So whats the point of buying expensive vdrums if the dynamics is not useful?
Vdrums are good for quiet practicing, but a lot is lost if they are used for gigging.
I wouldn't gig with them and sound like a karaoke track.
The reality is that not even Thomas Lang, et al can make them sound really good.
But one day I guess technology will catch up and we will all be playing them -)

thx

jorn
 

Duracell

Senior Member
Same old discussion I guess. Even the most high end E-kit doesn't sound like an acoustic, though the top lines are getting pretty close. I use my E-kit for practice and find that I need to get back on an acoustic on a regular basis or else I lose my touch.

That being said. I wonder why this drummer hitting so hard? E-drums have a volume knob. It's one of the benefits. I guess no-one ever told him that " klicky da tap tap " doesn't sound good.
 

Sparkboss

Senior Member
I heard the clicking sounds before I even heard the band. In fact, the clicking is what drew me to them in the first place. I didn't hear any song until I got right where I was!
Hahahahahh. I imagined you floating around like a bug looking for lights
 

toddmc

Gold Member
Absolutely no reason for his guy to be smacking the crap out of his v-drums (but its just the way he's used to playing I guess).
I see you were filming from side on- did it at least sound ok out the front (presumably where the speakers where facing)?
 

Chunky

Silver Member
I always thought the opposite - if anything V-drums encourage you to play softer.
Why? Well, the dynamic levels on them are NEVER right so you're hitting 127 on the midi velocity meter without much effort at all.
Takes alot of tweaking to get tbem to respond a bit more realistically.

I agree I still cringe listening to Thomas Lang playing TD-30's etc, the bass drun sounds awful and he's an outstanding player.

Why these guys don't use a TD-30 with Superior Drummer 2 is beyond me as if you set that up right you could fool many a musician if they closed their eyes.

I also think a modern drummer should strike a balance between learning bith electronic and acoustic drums and give up on the 'there's only one solution' attitude. they require slightly different techniques but, acousitc kits DO NOT fit every situation so why cut yourself or your working opportubities short?

I never hear guitarists go on about how electric guitars don't feel or sound right in comparision to acoustic, they just get on with it and use each to their advantage.
 

Toolate

Platinum Member
I am pretty sure that guy could have played much more gently on his e kit or on an a kit- he was sounding pretty good. I wonder if he couldnt hear himself in his ears? Man that did sound bad though.

Its up to the drummer to set his level of intensity during a sound check and then try to play close to that during the gig so the sound men can have something to rely on and not be consstantly adjusting for him. I think he started out way too hard and never looked back.
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
I never hear guitarists go on about how electric guitars don't feel or sound right in comparision to acoustic, they just get on with it and use each to their advantage.
That's because they're not playing a computer modeled software instrument via an elaborate MIDI controller. Electric guitar is much like a Hammond organ or a Rhodes piano -- an electronic instrument in its own right.
 

Flareless

Member
I have to play a set of V-Drums with one of the bands I jam with. It's a nice Roland set.

I absolutely HATE them. I find after an hour of playing them my hands, which are decaying with age, hurt tremendously. Then they're sore for the rest of the day.

Conversely I jam with another band on an acoustic set. We practice 3.5 hours and I go home without any pain.

Yesterday I was playing the V-Drums and the band was cranked up louder than usual. All I could hear was my stick striking the pads. A mix fix corrected this issue but if the band volume creeps all you can do is hit the drums harder and wish there was a mix engineer at the board.

I think V-Drums have their place but personally I prefer acoustic.
 

Chunky

Silver Member
That's because they're not playing a computer modeled software instrument via an elaborate MIDI controller. Electric guitar is much like a Hammond organ or a Rhodes piano -- an electronic instrument in its own right.
?! There's probably more computer modelling in modern guitar equipment andbmore commonly used than in drums.

And does that matter? Point is, they feel different and are used to suit certain situations
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
When I play my e-drums the first thing that I notice if the loss of feeling.
I don't feel the snare, bass drum, and ride tom in my chest when I attack them.
I don't feel the vibration of the ride and hat in my feet from the vibrations that the stands send through the floor. I don't feel the vibration through the sticks from the snare and cymbals.
It is depravation of the senses. A form of torture.
 

Sparkboss

Senior Member
When I play my e-drums the first thing that I notice if the loss of feeling.
I don't feel the snare, bass drum, and ride tom in my chest when I attack them.
I don't feel the vibration of the ride and hat in my feet from the vibrations that the stands send through the floor. I don't feel the vibration through the sticks from the snare and cymbals.
It is depravation of the senses. A form of torture.
Same here.... Same here.

Certain kits that have the mesh heads make me feel a little more natural, but I definitely feel like I'm missing something major, something that makes me feel passionate about my groove
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Horrible!

I'd never knowingly encourage a reduction in gig opportunities, but TBH, I'd rather listed to piped music than endure such a hideous performance. It's such a watering down & uber contol of the environment. To me, that's intolerable, & that's as a punter. As a player, I'd rather slam by gentleman's vegetables repeatedly in a revolving door than do that gig.

Even worse, the drummer looks to be a handy player, vocalist has a great voice, etc.
 

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
I played V-drums for many years at church, and was so glad when we went back to accoustic. I'm pretty good with electronics in general, but I could never get them to sound the way I wanted. We also had technical problems way too often, including triggers that would intermittently go bad. And I used to favor certain toms or cymbals that sounded better than others, which I had to unlearn when going back to accoustic.
 

radman

Senior Member
Funny you mention Count Basie in the OP. Imagine what Papa Jo - one of the lightest of all players - would say if he ever saw that?

That guy needs to play acoustic to save his arms and wrists. wow
 

Highway Child

Senior Member
Looking at the guy in Bo's video playing so hard (those backbeats!) I wonder if he can hear the e-kit properly?

I use an e-kit at home for practice, including playing along to tracks e.g. to learn wedding gig request songs. I never gig with it though.

Not having a decent monitor I use headphones and a bad balance between track and kit can make me hit over-hard, even if the overall volume is not loud. Changing to non-isolation headphones helped because I could hear the sound of stick on pad more.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
When I play my e-drums the first thing that I notice if the loss of feeling.
I don't feel the snare, bass drum, and ride tom in my chest when I attack them.
I don't feel the vibration of the ride and hat in my feet from the vibrations that the stands send through the floor. I don't feel the vibration through the sticks from the snare and cymbals.
It is depravation of the senses. A form of torture.


My thoughts - exactly. I use multi-pads instead of an e-kit, but the result is the same.
 

topgun2021

Gold Member
My church has Roland V-drum E-kit. Absolutely love to play it. I can turn the brain off and noodle to my heart's content on the pads when people are playing. I don't have to worry much about the mix. I can edit trigger sounds to fill my needs without having to bring another piece of equipment.

The only negative is that sometimes the hi hat pads are not lined up and it is a pain to control the sizzle sound.
 

StickIt

Senior Member
Having played, but never gigged an E-Kit, I guess I don't really have the personal experience to comment on the mix/volume levels during a show....But, I don't remember having to hit that hard to cut through in a jam/practice situation. That looked scary.

I know that they have their place, but I don't like playing them. I wouldn't gig an E-kit. Is that closed-minded of me? Maybe. I also don't make the bulk of my money gigging, so I don't feel the need to play something that I really just don't want to.

As artists, we have the choice of what tools we utilize in expressing ourselves to whomever is listening/watching...so it's a personal decision. I'm sure that the kit could have been mixed better, because (although he was playing quite well IMO) that looked and sounded atrocious to me. And if mixed properly, it might have sounded a whole lot better. I hope this guy realizes the wear-and-tear that he's causing himself before it's too late...
 
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