Alternating between metal & rubber...

KJIB

Member
After having some lessons on a real drum kit I decided that I wanted to change some of the rubber items from my electronic kit because they just do not feel as good, to me. I can't afford to do this to the whole kit in one go. So, I changed my hi-hat first to a metal one a few months ago. Now, when I do a lesson on my kit where I switch between the hat & ride at the same BPM, the ride "feels" much slower and to make sure I stay in time I have to put in noticeably more effort.

One thing that I have tried is changing between different stick weights. It does alter the perception I think:-
  • With heavier sticks possibly needing more effort to maintain the beat yet perhaps having a smaller percentage difference (over a lighter stick).
  • I also tried wood vs nylon tips, there's another difference (but more subtle I think).
  • I only have one pair of sticks where nothing of them is wood (brand AHEAD, 7A) and I find it hard to decided with these. Ramble warning: I suspect it depends on the frequency of the beat because they don't seem to bounce with the same overall effect (e.g. if you vary frequency, strike surface and input effort then the results are subtly different to how the wooden sticks feel as you change these things).
  • I've played a few hours a day for most of this year but have only had 4 hours proper lessons. So, all of the above could just indicate bad stick technique, on the other hand I have obviously had time to experiment and I have also tried changing how I hold the sticks and that makes very little difference. The significant factor is basically metal vs rubber.
Note; I'm seeing what I'm actually playing on the computer so I know where I'm in time or off, (as well as having a metronome going).

This makes sense to me as I guess the rubber burns off more of the bounce from the stick. Anyway, even though I've been playing like this for a few months now, I still find it hard to get use to. Anyone else notice this (and any tips on reducing the effect, other than ordering a metal ride too)?
 

iCe

Senior Member
There are a couple of factors here that you already have pointed out, but what basically is the difference between acoustic and electric.
I started drumming on an acoustic set and almost 8 years ago i bought an electric kit. There is a big difference in feel!

When you say you got a metal cymbal, you have a practice cymbal (low volume with holes)? It could be what you're describing is an setting in your brain/module of your electronic set and that there is a delay when you hit the ride pad. Should be a setting somewhere where you can change the sensitivity and perhaps that needs to be adjusted so it triggers faster. A 'real' cymbal responds/feels directly and much more natural than processed electric sound in my experience.

Regarding sticks... all personal preference. Sticks do make a difference sound and feel wise. Over the years I've played ranging from 7A (thin, lightweight and small) to 2B (big, thick and heavy) and every size reacts different to playing. I concur that with a heavy stick playing is easier: when i used the 2B's i noticed it took me considerably less effort to control them and let gravity and physics do their stuff. Downside was that due to the huge amount of kinetic energy my drums chocked and didn't sound as nice and full anymore, so i went back to maple 5B's.

On electronic kits i don't think that there is any huge difference between wood or nylon tipped sticks. The pad/cymbal registers a hit and triggers a sound, although nylon tips are harder than wood and think a nylon tip would deliver more power and therefor a more powerful trigger, but that shouldn't be too much.

And finally: i hate rubber pads and plastic/rubber cymbals! They feel nowhere near the real thing. I have a converted kit set up at home; real sized drums with mesh heads + triggers, Zildjian low volume cymbals equipped with triggers and use my old Alesis DM10 brain for all the sounds. It's a huge improvement over the standard DM10 kit i got and feels much more natural. Only the real expensive Roland models come near the real thing, but for like half of that price you have a solid kit with real cymbals etc. My conversion is nice and i'd run Superior Drummer 3 on my pc, but i need to change the module because there is lag/latency issues: if i hit anything, there is a subtle delay that is really awkward. Screws up my timing as well, so if you mean with playing on your computer that you use a DAW or something like that, it could be the issue as well.
 

KJIB

Member
Thanks for your reply iCe.

Yes, it's a "quiet" hi-hat with holes, like the Zildjian Gen 16 but it is Jobecky so almost identical (electronics wise) to the Roland hi-hat it replaces but with just some minor tweaks to the parameters in the Roland module (TD-25) so I do not think there's any difference in latency. When I switched from the rubber hi-hat I think that I noticed the perceived BMP difference pretty much straight away.

I'm not using DAW although I do use computer based lessons that monitor the MIDI and display what it sees happening on that verses what it is telling me to play. The laptop seems very responsive so I don't think there's any significant latency here (and both cymbals come in on the same MIDI etc. so any latency should be identical).

I like the sound of your set up with Superior Drummer 3 etc. I am thinking of trying out an eDrumin module (then add some more if the 1st is OK so I can put the whole kit through them). Then I will be ready to replace my TD-25. I will save up for "real" feel snare, base, toms & crash so I can flog the whole rubber Roland, (not that it's bad, just it feels nicer to play on something better approximating the feel of a real kit, to me).

I have a new 20" metal quiet ride that's turned up today, (YAY). Still waiting for the stand and I don't think it will sit well where the Roland ride goes, (DANG). So, hopefully, I will be able to find out soon if it's just me or does the difference go away. I'll post how I get on with it.
 

KJIB

Member
OK, I now have a metal "quite" electronic 20" ride instead of the rubber Roland. I can say for deffo' that it feels much better and all the extra effort I needed to keep the sticks at the desired BPM has totally gone. If anything the ride is noticeably less effort than the hi-hat now (but I guess the bigger ride returns more of the drum stick energy or something like that). Anyway, I can recommend the switch from rubber to metal although until you change one item or switch between acoustic & electronic (rubber) you'll probably not notice it.
 

SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
There's a difference in feel on acoustic cymbals too. Generally hi hats are slower than rides, and take a little more effort to play a given bpm. You really only notice it when playing near your max tempo, and not in your "average" tempo range.
 

KJIB

Member
There's a difference in feel on acoustic cymbals too. Generally hi hats are slower than rides, and take a little more effort to play a given bpm. You really only notice it when playing near your max tempo, and not in your "average" tempo range.
Being fairly new to this, just about any tempo is near my max :D
 
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