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Old 09-20-2012, 10:39 AM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Default New development - old tools.....

Dilemma time folks, and I could use possibly some reinforcement.

Back in 1998, as I was still in my 'electronics' phase (I had a MIDI studio and was into it since 1987) I got heavily into playing the Zendrum (see photo). In fact, for the next six years that's all I played. People wanted that more than real drums. My thinking back then was that since electronic drumming is so different from acoustic drumming, why does the instrument need to resemble and be played like a drumset? This led to me being a solo MIDI act where I'd be out entertaining people as my own band and actually making a pretty good living.

But I suffered an epiphany and realized that I spent most of my life getting good on real drums. I was missing playing with other musicians and felt my life was completely unbalanced because of MIDI. So I dumped it all and went back to playing the real thing, and I've been happy ever since.

However, people from that dark past have since surfaced in the last couple of days and they were suggesting that maybe I bring out the ol' Zendrum and get back on the horse again. Part of me is thinking that I do miss entertaining, and perhaps this time around I can strike a better balance since I've been playing drums enough lately. These people are even suggesting that I do it with a band this time. This could be a happy little accident waiting to happen. If I balance it out enough, especially since I now do work with that brass band, maybe I won't feel the unbalance.

It's a considerable investment to do it again, but it's not anything I can't do. It's an eye-catcher and like all things electronic, sound guys love it. Perhaps my debate is just how much more work do I really think I can take on? Back in '98 I didn't have a full-time career as a soundman and certainly didn't own my own home then. I just keep thinking this time around it would be different, and I won't know how different unless I try it. Would you?
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  #2  
Old 09-20-2012, 10:43 AM
wy yung
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

Hi Bo.
I have no idea what you should do. I ask what do you want to do?

Whatever you want to do is the right decision for you.

Good luck and keep us informed.
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

My memories of those days was a lot of tedious mucking about for a few minutes of music. Do you have the time to do all the sequencing and programing that you'd need in order to perform? I think that back then there was a sort of thrill in getting all these gadgets to work and produce music. That part might not be as much fun as it used to. Just my $.02
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

Bo, move away from the electronics- don't go over to the dark side, feel the acoustic force!

Seriously, do what makes YOU happy. In this equation, we don't matter! Only you can determine where the balance in your life lies and whether this is what the future holds for you. You are older and wiser now and perhaps are better equiped to see where that balance point is for you now.

If you try it and it doesn't work, you can always stop again!

Whatever you decide, best of luck to you.
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Old 09-22-2012, 06:01 AM
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

Thanks everyone for the input. I've been mulling over the idea since I posted and I haven't moved on anything yet. I've been doing research and making a list of what I would need to get back into it. And with an additional $2700 spent for a new Zendrum, new sound source, some bits and pieces to bring my PA system up-to-date, that would be it money-wise.

But I did look into the time and ambition it would take for me to create new music to play (I have tons of older MIDI files ready to go now that I used to do, so performing right off the bat is not a problem), and for some reason I'm not looking forward to creating stuff over a hot computer like I used to when I was in my 20s. Back in the 80s and 90s it was like magic to get all that stuff to work together and I did it so well, I was even teaching others how to do it too. Nowadays that thrill is gone. Recording yourself in GarageBand and then cranking it out to the iPod, although much easier then when I was running actual synth modules and MOTU's Performer, now seems a little cheesy. And I recall how cheesy some of my early stuff I posted here sounded with the help of Grae and Andy and others...

So right now, I don't know. If I play Zendrum with a band, I'm in the same position as if I wanted to play real drums with a band. So other than having the computer-music generation-thingy I'd be adding another instrument that needs an income to justify it's existence.

I think I've always had this yearning to be a good stand-alone musician. When I was a kid, I wanted to play piano as well as Dave Frishberg and be able to entertain a room. And that didn't really happen. I tried it with a guitar, but you lack the bass end as a street performer (and I sucked at it anyway). The Zen provided the illusion that I was doing that so long as the computer/iPod played the near-perfect music, and I just sang and played the zen. But I think there was a reason why I stopped doing it, but I miss it. And knowing that colleagues of mine thought it was cool and that I should still do it, presents me with a crossroads.

I think I'm happy just being the best drummer I can be. Why can't I be happy with just that all the time? Grrr...
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Old 09-22-2012, 06:16 AM
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

Always great to hear from you, Bo.

My understanding of the situation is limited, but I'll throw some advice out there since you asked for it : )

If the digital gear doesn't grab your attention, it's going to be difficult to gain momentum with it. However, if there isn't much time investment required (for example, you already have tunes to play), it would probably be cool to give it another shot. This is especially true if you can make some money doing it!

On the other hand, I don't think you should give up the acoustic drums. That's a really terrible feeling which I wouldn't even wish upon my worst enemy.

Either way, things will work out and you'll be playing music.

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  #7  
Old 10-13-2012, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

I thought I'd resurrect this thread from a month ago. Since then, I've continued to play with the idea of getting back into my electronic mind-set, and with all the things that have been happening in my life as of late, I think I'm going to move forward and go with the Zendrum. Of course, I need to upgrade other things as well, but that's all been figured into the budget. I'm looking at a few used Roland TD-10 modules to pick from - I owned a V-Drum kit based around the TD-10 module some years ago and really liked the sounds in it. It would definitely be a step up from the old R5 or R8 rhythm composers I used back in the 90s. Upgrading my speakers to 15's from 12s would complete the package giving me enough low end.

No, I will not be giving up playing acoustic drums, but I realize I may have more playing opportunities with the Zendrum coming up, just because of what it is. And it gives me a chance to step out front and be a real front man which I hadn't done in ten years. I'm looking forward to it now and will probably start ordering everything this coming Wednesday.

As much as I like the physicality of playing acoustic drums, this past weekend has reminded me how physical it really is and I realize as I get older, I notice some muscles just rebel against what I'm doing (shoulder aches and pains, hand issues, etc.,...), so getting into something where I'm mainly using my hands and fingers in a much lighter way might be a good thing too. Stay tuned ;)
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Old 10-14-2012, 11:23 AM
ohiodrummer1964 ohiodrummer1964 is offline
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

I think if you have the time to do both the acoustic and electric and have fun with both then there's nothing wrong with doing both, and especially if you can make some money, as someone else pointed out.

It's funny, I worked as a salesman at a music store during the time period you referenced and kept up on the trade magazines, but somehow don't recall the Zendrum. I think it looks cool, and just checked out their website.

Just when I thought I was over my G.A.S.! Oh well.............
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Old 10-14-2012, 12:05 PM
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

I'd do it. It sounds like you still have some fire to do it, and it's not an issue of the cost of the equipment. If it was a matter of scheduling and finding time that you'd otherwise fit with your family, that's another matter, but it doesn't sound like that's the case.

I have no idea what the Zendrum is, so I hope I haven't just recommended that you join some weird cult or something....

p.s. you used the "M" word.
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:46 PM
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyhanson View Post
I'd do it. It sounds like you still have some fire to do it, and it's not an issue of the cost of the equipment. If it was a matter of scheduling and finding time that you'd otherwise fit with your family, that's another matter, but it doesn't sound like that's the case.

I have no idea what the Zendrum is, so I hope I haven't just recommended that you join some weird cult or something....

p.s. you used the "M" word.
M word? Whats that?

.................................................. ...........
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  #11  
Old 10-14-2012, 11:45 PM
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
(I had a MIDI studio and.....
Bad memories with that stuff. MIDI and I weren't meant to share the earth.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyhanson View Post
Bad memories with that stuff. MIDI and I weren't meant to share the earth.
Ah! Sorry for the flashback! I got into it in 1986 and got so good at it I taught a couple of classes to help newbies. It's funny how it takes a backseat to digital audio recording now because its still a pretty powerful tool.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:46 AM
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

So the question is MIDI based or acoustic? How do you combine the two?
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:22 AM
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

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Originally Posted by aaajn View Post
So the question is MIDI based or acoustic? How do you combine the two?
I think of MIDI as that member in the band that plays in perfect time. The rest of us play around that (or I do) and it gives the illusion the band is bigger than it is. Of course, it's not spontaneous (although it can be if you sequence things right as Rush used to do, being able to call up certain 'chunks' of sequences in any order via footpedals) but, for the majority of venues that just want to hear songs, it's perfect. Think of it as a cross between a band and a DJ.
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:26 AM
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inneedofgrace inneedofgrace is offline
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

Are there any videos out there of someone playing this electronic device? I have to admit I have never seen one played before.
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Old 10-16-2012, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: New development - old tools.....

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Originally Posted by inneedofgrace View Post
Are there any videos out there of someone playing this electronic device? I have to admit I have never seen one played before.
Here ya' go, try this one. It's the company's promo video they put out in the late 90s. There are a few people playing them on YouTube but alot of it doesn't look as smooth as I'd like. Some performers look a little awkward, so I can recommend this video a little better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwrofi5B5oA

Also, I've begun my collection process. Just picked up my sound module, a Roland TD-10 with the expansion board installed. So I'll be triggering V-Drum sounds to start. The excitement is slowly ramping up.
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