advice for cheap alternative to drum pads

drummanic58

Active member
I used to have a drum kit but sold it years ago. I took lessons for 5 years. I got back into it over COVID. I still have my sticks but no kit and I don't think I can afford a practice pad right now. I have been just playing with my sticks like I would on a drum set but with just the air. I know that doing that is completely different than being on a kit but is that something that could screw up my playing in the long run? Also, does anyone have suggestions for cheap alternatives to drum pads?
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
Practice rudiments on pillows.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
Any pillow. I have no idea what Dave Grohl does but people have been playing on pillows long before he was born.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
Sure. Do what the street guys in NYC do and play on several of them.
 

Paul Blood

Junior Member
There are rubber tips you can put on sticks so can drum on table tops and whatnot. You can play on all sorts of surfaces with brushes or multi rods too!
 

J-W

Well-known member
So take a page out of Dave Grohl's book.

No. Use the whole book.

I have been just playing with my sticks like I would on a drum set but with just the air. I know that doing that is completely different than being on a kit but is that something that could screw up my playing in the long run?

I'll probably get lambasted for this, but I say no. Like you said, it won't directly translate to the drum kit, but air drumming can help develop limb independence and the bouncing your feet off of the floor can help strengthen them as well.
Another method to strengthen your hands, quietly without a pad, is to hold the stick backward/upside down but still hold onto the butt of the stick so the shoulder hits your forearms.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member

philrudd

Senior Member
Edge of the bed, the arm of a cushioned chair, a rolled up towel wrapped around my knee, an old throne seat, a pillow, a folded-up jacket...all things I've used for practice. I really wouldn't put too much thought into it.
 

sumdrumguy

Senior Member
Lots of great suggestions.

Basically any flat surface can be used for pad work. A folded towel, t-shirt, or bed sheet, on either a table or a kitchen counter. The layer of fabric will tame the sound; make things a little quieter. Important if you live with other people. It will also tame the rebound, and get your forearms, wrists, and fingers working.

Old phone books (yellow pages, etc.) make great interim practice pads. Stick some tape across the pages, and have at it! Recyle, or use for fire starter, when you are done.
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
I used to have a drum kit but sold it years ago. I took lessons for 5 years. I got back into it over COVID. I still have my sticks but no kit and I don't think I can afford a practice pad right now. I have been just playing with my sticks like I would on a drum set but with just the air. I know that doing that is completely different than being on a kit but is that something that could screw up my playing in the long run? Also, does anyone have suggestions for cheap alternatives to drum pads?

Wait until you see the prices of the drum heads 5 years later... ☹ Glad I only have a 4 piece kit otherwise I would need to hide behind chapter 11, or whatever.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
Wait until you see the prices of the drum heads 5 years later... ☹ Glad I only have a 4 piece kit otherwise I would need to hide behind chapter 11, or whatever.

I know what you mean. I recently got a 7 piece kit. Just new batter heads set me back over $100.
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
I know what you mean. I recently got a 7 piece kit. Just new batter heads set me back over $100.

It's going to cost me close to 85$ for 1 snare reso, 1 x 12" tom reso and 1 x 14" tom reso. I went to see the pads the other day, it was 72 worthless Canadian dollars for a basic Prologix pad, not even that impressive.

We are heading towards the wall.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
I've been through a few pads, and I still think the Remo pads with drum head material on them are best for teaching you how to play a snare drum. But my favorite pad, when I can't use the snare drum for noise's sake, is a crappy old snare that I muffled the living hell out of. Still bounces like a drum, not a neoprene thingy.

But hey, anything you're willing to put the time in on to actually practice is good. When we were kids we were cool with hitting anything and everything in arm's reach, I don't see why that has to change now. Legend has it then Kenny Washington would make his students play on a glass of water (on the water itself) to improve their touch.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Not all as convenient or have the exact same sound or volume you may want, but there are plenty of things that can replicate the feel and rebound of a decent pad.

Mouse pads are mentioned and you can adjust by putting different things between the pad and the hard surface you put it on.

Cork trivets from the dollar store.

The red and blue wrestling mats feel really good.

They're obviously pretty loud, but the regular plastic buckets that many streeet drummers use feel not too bad.

For low rebound, a phone book. Actually, that's all many conservatory students here used to have at home in the old days.
 
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