Need suggestions for using midi to play mallet parts

Mezto

Member
I'm a small-time drummer that frequently plays in the pit for local musical theater. I would like to be able to cover some mallet parts, as well as timpani, but don't have the room in the pit, let alone the instruments themselves! I've used a Roland SPD-20 for a number of years to play hand percussion, sound effects and some timpani but it doesn't lend itself to mallet parts even though all the mallet sounds you could ever want are in there.

I suppose the easiest answer would be to buy a keyboard with built-in Mallet instruments. There are dozens of them out there available used. But most are too big to fit into a compact pit setup. And the smaller ones are more toys than instruments, with crappy sounds.

So I started looking at midi keyboard controllers. I like the compact size and the onboard drum pads and i'm guessing I could assign various hand percussion like tambourine and triangle as needed to those pads? That would Save me hauling the spd20.

After a few days of research I'm leaning towards getting a 25 key midi controller with onboard drum pads, connecting via USB to either a tablet or laptop with appropriate software, and connecting that to my keyboard amp I already have.

So am I on the right track? Have any of my fellow drummers done this? Any pros or cons to my thoughts? Any advice for a 53 year old MIDI beginner like myself? Im not looking to do recording or production, just live performance. And I don't need top of the line gear since I only play one or two shows a year for very little to no pay.
 

electrodrummer

Senior Member
"it doesn't lend itself to mallet parts " .... yet a keyboard does?
So, explain the issue and we'll see what's a good compromise.

Most pit people I know use a Mutli12, and optionally a MalletKat (latter not cheap)
 

Mezto

Member
"it doesn't lend itself to mallet parts " .... yet a keyboard does?
So, explain the issue and we'll see what's a good compromise.

Most pit people I know use a Mutli12, and optionally a MalletKat (latter not cheap)
Well I'd love to have a MalletKat but not going to happen for the reasons I listed above.

If I select a mallet instrument on the SPD20 I'm looking at eight black pads with eight notes. Where's C? Where's B flat? What happens when I need to play outside the range of those eight notes. Etc... plus I lose access to whatever auxilliary instruments I need for that song. I usually have to combine drum and percussion books for a show and can have close to 20 different patches without even trying to add in mallet patches for xylo, glock, vibes, marimba, chimes. Maybe I'm missing something but it seems the much easier option would be to use an actual 2-3 octave keyboard to play the mallet parts as needed.

To me the Akai Mini Play is very attractive. Compact two octave, onboard sounds, midi in case I want to expand, has drum pads that I assume I could assign sounds to. Im just asking if there are other reasonable options that my newbie self hasn't come across yet.
 
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Mezto

Member
I don't think I'm using the right terminology. I'm looking for a piano keyboard/synthsizer/midi controller that I can use to cover mallet parts. Not a full size electronic mallet instrument that you use mallets on. Sorry if I wasn't clear. That's on me.
 

Nick74

Junior Member
Any midi keyboard will fit. I would consider a powerful midi-edit-host like Bidule. With this ingenious modular program you really can bend midi the way you like...
 

MustangMick

Senior Member
I use this method to play Tuned Percussion parts for shows with a DTX Multi12 (you should be able to MIDI into your SPD20 in a similar way)
Alesis 25 key controller has MIDI and USB ports.


Cheers
Mick
 

Mezto

Member
I use this method to play Tuned Percussion parts for shows with a DTX Multi12 (you should be able to MIDI into your SPD20 in a similar way)
Alesis 25 key controller has MIDI and USB ports.


Cheers
Mick
Thanks Mick! Im going to check out that video. One question: are you able to assign specific sounds like triangle or claves to each drum pad?
 

MustangMick

Senior Member
Thanks Mick! Im going to check out that video. One question: are you able to assign specific sounds like triangle or claves to each drum pad?
I put Percussion sounds on the pads and for example, Glockenspiel on the Alesis keyboard.
Mick
 
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