Electronic kit equals more practice


Active Member
Last year I bought a decent E kit to play gigs with but what I've found is that now I can practice practically silently (well, enough not to pee off the neighbours) my practice hours have shot up and I'm definitely seeing improvements in my playing. Quite often I find myself practicing late at night, or when I can't sleep, something I couldn't do with just the acoustic. Not the same as an acoustic obviously and some adjustment to technique but not enough to distract from being able to put in some genuine practice time. Have recently been working through the jazz drummers resource obsessively and apart from not annoying everyone with constant repetition I can do it at any time of day or night.
I assume other players find E kits beneficial in this way, or are you a die hard acoustic player, in which case how do you deal with the noise factor?
Well, yes and no.

I had an ekit for about 10 years, and hated it. The size, feel and positioning of the little pads, the feel and action of the hihat controller, and the sound through the drum amp - I just didn't practice any more than necessary, i.e. very little.

I can't play acoustic drums at home, so I then went through a phase with low volume cymbals and various silencer pads and mesh heads. Better, but still not good enough to get me to practice more.

Then I tried an A2E conversion with life sized cymbals, a good controller with sampled drum sounds, a 2 cymbal hihat controller on a real stand, and my custom molded in-ears. I REALLY enjoy playing this kit and now play almost daily, just playing along with mp3s if I have nothing specific to work on. I might even make this my main gigging kit if I worked with a band with a really good PA.

A 77 year old acoustic devotee emerging from the dark ages?
I have my e-kit in the basement and just put the acoustic kit out in the garage yesterday now that winter is over.

Playing on the e-kit is different but with the smaller pads it makes playing the acoustic easier in a way. The skins and cymbals are so much bigger.
I just use my ekit as a big practice pad- I don’t plug it in. After a year of just ekit ,and plugging it in ,and then getting back on an acoustic I noted my cymbal technique had waned. I had made huge advances and was really pleased with myself-but getting back on real cymbals I realized just how much the how and where you strike any cymbal plays in making pleasing sounds and that tight knit comes with practice. I just needed to whack the ekit cymbal pads, but you really cajole sounds out of a real cymbal and that’s when how and where come in.
I think E-kits are pure genius for learning and practice.
Just perfect for playing along to recorded music (perhaps the most important part of learning - imo at least) - and not many drummers can play an acoustic kit at home at all, never mind whenever they want.
My Ekit gets 10x play time compared to my acoustic kit. I have a very understanding family and neighbors aren't much of a concern, but let's face it the repetition gets old for them I'm sure. When I'm just working to build the mechanics of a technique or when I'm playing along to song after song after song, the ekit is the weapon of choice.

Of course moving to the acoustic kit takes some work. Things sound different, the dynamics are different, and the spacing is different, but after a short acclamation period it's all good. I'd love to have a sound isolated studio where I could play acoustic exclusively, but that's not happening until I win the lottery.

I'm fairly new to having an ekit, and, with my low end kit, I'm definitely practicing more. And enjoying my practicing more. Wish I did this years ago.
To me an e-kit is a completely different instrument, which has its place, but it is not equivalent to playing an acoustic kit at all.

It is completely different in a way, similar to acoustic and electric guitar, but unlike the guitars the e-kit, in most cases, is meant to mimic an acoustic kit. So while they are completely different they are often used for the same exact role. This is where the OP has a point regarding practice time.

I agree with you completely that playing edrums is not equal to playing real drums, but they're not so different that practicing on edrums won't benefit your drumming.
The two biggest handicaps, IMO, are the difference in rebound and playing cymbal pads vs real cymbals. So it's pretty important not to go too long on edrums without spending time on your real kit.

When I returned to drumming in my 30s I spent the first 10 years on edrums (converted acoustic drums) because volume was an issue. It allowed me to practice any time of day, so I was usually practicing twice a day for about an hour. Ten years of that pays off. When I finally got back to real drums it took only about a week to get the feel back.
Dynamics are different but coordination is the same. After all, when you say it's 'completely' different, it's not like it's a bassoon!
The reason to me why it is completely different is you cannot get any tone with electronic drums. With an electric guitar for example, you still have a string that is vibrating—it is just an amplified vibration—and you can still affect the tone of your sound by the way you play the instrument.
With e-drums we are dealing strictly with sampled sounds. There are still dynamics (soft and loud), but the way you grip the sticks won’t have any bearing on how the e-kit ends up sounding. On the other hand, if you play acoustic drums with a nice loose grip that allows the sticks to vibrate, the heads and cymbals will be able to vibrate freely and you can really bring out the tone of the instrument by the skill of your technique and touch. You have the ability to access an infinite variation of tone and sound on an acoustic drumset via the way you strike it. This is what really attracts me to the instrument, and makes life worth living.
If I was stranded on a desert island with only a e-kit that would be very depressing. Especially if there wasn’t any electricity…ha ha!
I sold my ekit. I sometime play acoustic drums at night, lightly, Nobody complains.
I'm using low volume cymbals and Black Hole RTom heads. I prefer that setup to my old e-kit, but I still have the same problem. It's great for memorizing songs, but I can't really do anything other than bash. There's just no real "feel" or nuance. That would have been fine during my bashing days, but it kinda sucks now. The only e-kits I've liked are the high-end Roland kits, and those are out of my snack bracket. For that kind of money, it would make more sense to invest in a sound booth than an e-kit.
If there's no other option. I get that sometimes they're necessary. But getting a sound out of a real drum or cymbal is a big deal, it's the basis for touch and technique. Whacking a pad and having a sound engineered on another part of the planet come back at you through a speaker... it kind of violates the contract. Whatever it takes though.
I've had a Roland TD-17KVX for a few years. I bought it to practice in the house whenever I wanted. It DID give me more practice time, but my improvements in playing were slightly lost when going back to the acoustic for rehearsal and gigging. So, I decided to take it to the rehearsal space and bring my acoustic kit home. The biggest drawback of the ekit for me was the flippin' hi-hat, not to mention the layout constraints and goofy sounding drums. The band, however, loved it since it eliminated the volume wars, but I was fed up with playing it. In addition, practicing on the acoustic at home still meant playing in the garage and limiting to reasonable hours in order to keep the neighbors happy. What to do?

One day, I saw a video on YouTube about EFNOTE. After hours and hours of scouring videos and forum posts, I decided to "gamble" and purchase their flagship, the 7X. I had high hopes, but was still nervous... until I set it up and played it. It "feels" like an acoustic kit. It sounds like many one, too. It exceeded my expectations.

The other day, I schlepped it over to the rehearsal studio, plugged it into the PA, and played with the band for about 5 hours. It sounded absolutely incredible! We are a cover band that play a wide variety of genres, and the ability to change kits on the fly to fit the song made everyone smile. I am now considering selling my acoustic, cymbals, and Roland kit to buy an EFNOTE 5 ("bop" size) to keep in the rehearsal space.

No more fiddling with tuning and micing or chopping wood. We have a bar gig in a couple weeks and I'm going to use the 7X for the first time "live," and I cannot wait.