Possible new drummer - ekit vs acoustic/mesh heads/LV cymbals vs acoustic/cymbals/mutes

StefaniB

Member
My background, 40+/F with a musical background (Piano, Bass and Guitar). I can carry basic beats on a kit for a few minutes (yeah I know, big deal). I've been wanting to take up drums for several years but we didn't have the space other than upstairs, which I knew if they went there I would be less inclined to practice. Well my SO and myself cleaned up a room downstairs and that is our music room, so we have room for a drum kit of some sort. I've ordered a practice pad this week to get started.

I'm debating between an e-kit, an acoustic kit with low volume cymbals and mesh heads or acoustic kit with regular cymbals and use mute pads. I know from searching that most will recommend the acoustic kit but I want to make sure that my particular situation is considered. Also, I'm planning to buy new, as I don't want to go around to stranger's places by myself for safety, bad CL experiences and I have covid exposure concerns for a family member living in the house.

I need it to be as quiet as reasonably possible. The music room shares a common wall with the master bedroom. My SO sleeps in later than I do and I would like to be able practice during this time if possible. Also, I still have small children in the house and a lot of times my practice time is after they go to sleep or before they wake up (based on my Piano practicing) but there are no common walls with their rooms. We live in a house in a subdivision, so hopefully there aren't any issues with neighbors.

I have a budget of roughly $1800. I hope to be able to call in and get lower prices. These are what I was thinking about:

E-kit: Roland TD-17KVX ($1800)
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums-percussion/roland-td-17kvx-v-drums-electronic-drum-set/l19777000000000?rNtt=td 17&index=1

Acoustic: Mapex and Zildjian/Remo set up ($900+$300+$350=$1550)
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums-percussion/mapex-armory-series-6-piece-studioease-shell-pack-fast-toms/j04252000008000?rNtt=mapex armory&index=5
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/mapex-mars-series-hp6005-5-piece-hardware-pack/j05178000001000
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums-percussion/zildjian-lv468-low-volume-cymbal-set-with-remo-silent-stroke-heads/j49196000000000

Acoustic v2: Mapex and Zildjian A or Sabian AAX cymbals set up ($900+$300+650=$1850)
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums-percussion/mapex-armory-series-6-piece-studioease-shell-pack-fast-toms/j04252000008000?rNtt=mapex armory&index=5
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/mapex-mars-series-hp6005-5-piece-hardware-pack/j05178000001000
Cymbal set I can get on Reverb for $650ish. I'll still need pads though.

If I go the acoustic route, I read in a review on mesh heads that they put the mesh head on the resonant side, so they can flip it around for regular acoustic tones. Is this reasonable to do? How hard and time consuming is it to switch the heads out and tune them, if say I want to go all out on volume on the weekends?

Also, I'm not married to the Mapex Armory but it seems to be a good set of shells from what I've researched but I'm open to other shells in this price range, such as the Tama Superstar, PDP Concept Maple, Pearl Decade, etc. I just don't want too lower of a quality wood in the shells. I would like a 6 piece kit, so I can go ahead and have matching shells. I want to buy once and be done with the shells.

Musically, I'm interested in metal from early Sabbath up through current progressive metal and 90's grunge. I know I'm not going to be playing Dream Theater or Dragonforce anytime soon, if ever, but I'm interested in the music.

Thanks in advance!
 

jimb

Member
No idea if this will help as we all hv different domestic requirements but I found E kits and mesh heads just don't cut it for me...its a feel thing and the E kit tapping will cut thru walls easy.
If ur handy with a saw, glue, camping mat, cardboard, scissors and tape then this works well. The Gen 16 crashes I will be buried with...their like very quiet 2002's...The L's are ok too for hats and ride.

drums_edited-1.jpg
 
Last edited:

TK-421

Senior Member
My background, 40+/F with a musical background (Piano, Bass and Guitar). I can carry basic beats on a kit for a few minutes (yeah I know, big deal). I've been wanting to take up drums for several years but we didn't have the space other than upstairs, which I knew if they went there I would be less inclined to practice. Well my SO and myself cleaned up a room downstairs and that is our music room, so we have room for a drum kit of some sort. I've ordered a practice pad this week to get started.

I'm debating between an e-kit, an acoustic kit with low volume cymbals and mesh heads or acoustic kit with regular cymbals and use mute pads. I know from searching that most will recommend the acoustic kit but I want to make sure that my particular situation is considered. Also, I'm planning to buy new, as I don't want to go around to stranger's places by myself for safety, bad CL experiences and I have covid exposure concerns for a family member living in the house.

I need it to be as quiet as reasonably possible. The music room shares a common wall with the master bedroom. My SO sleeps in later than I do and I would like to be able practice during this time if possible. Also, I still have small children in the house and a lot of times my practice time is after they go to sleep or before they wake up (based on my Piano practicing) but there are no common walls with their rooms. We live in a house in a subdivision, so hopefully there aren't any issues with neighbors.

I have a budget of roughly $1800. I hope to be able to call in and get lower prices. These are what I was thinking about:

E-kit: Roland TD-17KVX ($1800)
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums-percussion/roland-td-17kvx-v-drums-electronic-drum-set/l19777000000000?rNtt=td 17&index=1

Acoustic: Mapex and Zildjian/Remo set up ($900+$300+$350=$1550)
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums-percussion/mapex-armory-series-6-piece-studioease-shell-pack-fast-toms/j04252000008000?rNtt=mapex armory&index=5
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/mapex-mars-series-hp6005-5-piece-hardware-pack/j05178000001000
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums-percussion/zildjian-lv468-low-volume-cymbal-set-with-remo-silent-stroke-heads/j49196000000000

Acoustic v2: Mapex and Zildjian A or Sabian AAX cymbals set up ($900+$300+650=$1850)
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums-percussion/mapex-armory-series-6-piece-studioease-shell-pack-fast-toms/j04252000008000?rNtt=mapex armory&index=5
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/mapex-mars-series-hp6005-5-piece-hardware-pack/j05178000001000
Cymbal set I can get on Reverb for $650ish. I'll still need pads though.

If I go the acoustic route, I read in a review on mesh heads that they put the mesh head on the resonant side, so they can flip it around for regular acoustic tones. Is this reasonable to do? How hard and time consuming is it to switch the heads out and tune them, if say I want to go all out on volume on the weekends?

Also, I'm not married to the Mapex Armory but it seems to be a good set of shells from what I've researched but I'm open to other shells in this price range, such as the Tama Superstar, PDP Concept Maple, Pearl Decade, etc. I just don't want too lower of a quality wood in the shells. I would like a 6 piece kit, so I can go ahead and have matching shells. I want to buy once and be done with the shells.

Musically, I'm interested in metal from early Sabbath up through current progressive metal and 90's grunge. I know I'm not going to be playing Dream Theater or Dragonforce anytime soon, if ever, but I'm interested in the music.

Thanks in advance!
Personally, I'm a big fan of Remo SilentStroke heads and Zildjian L80 cymbals for low volume practicing—with a few caveats, which I'll get to in a bit. So your second option I think is the best. In fact, I've been playing a low volume setup like this in my apartment for about 5 years now, and so far zero complaints from neighbors. Granted, I live on the bottom floor, so no neighbors below me hearing me wail away on my double bass pedal. And for the record, I also have a studio with a full-volume kit set up, but it's nice to also be able to play at home.

As far as your Mapex Armory kit choice, while I think that's a fine kit, a 6-piece may be a bit much for someone just starting out. You could save over $200 by going with this Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5-piece kit and hardware pack.


This is a very nice sounding kit, with the added bonus that Yamaha makes the absolute best hardware in the business, and their 700-series hardware hits the sweet spot of functionality and stability at a reasonable price and weight.

But as you mentioned, if you're dead set on a 6-piece kit, you could just go with the Mapex. Though I'd recommend starting off setting it up as a 4-piece kit initially, then adding more pieces as you become more comfortable/proficient behind the kit.

And now for my caveats about the SilentStroke/L80 setup. My biggest complaint is how the snare drum sounds and feels with the SilentStroke. I tried a SilentStroke on two different snares, and both had this annoying buzzing sound that doesn't occur with a normal head. Plus I hated how bouncy it felt playing with the Silent Strokes. So I eventually bought an RTOM Black Hole, which fits over the snare batter head. For this, it's better to use a normal head instead of a mesh head on the snare. I like this MUCH more, as it sounds and feels better. A little dead feeling to be honest, but I'll take that over a bouncy trampoline feeling any day. And since that L80/SilentStroke pack comes with a 14" head (which is intended for a snare), you can use that on the 14" floor tom if you go with the Mapex kit.


That said, I think the SilentStrokes are fine for the toms and bass drum. HOWEVER, for the bass drum, I absolutely recommend installing a bass drum patch to help preserve the mesh head, AND putting a pillow inside the bass drum to limit the bouncy feeling (I normally play my bass drums wide open, but it just felt too bouncy that way with the mesh head).

Another recommendation are these rubber hoop protectors for the toms (and the snare if you stick with the mesh head instead of the Black Hole). Otherwise, accidental rim hits will be MUCH louder than drum hits since the mesh heads cut the volume so drastically.


Finally, since I live in an apartment, I really want to minimize the volume as much as possible. So instead of playing with sticks, I play with multi-rods, which cut down the cymbal volume even more. However, most multi-rods have thinner dowels that can get stuck in those tiny holes in the L80 cymbals, and snap off. So I use the Vater Splashstick Rock model, which uses thicker dowels. Vic Firth makes a similar model, but I like the feel of these more.


I hope this has been helpful. And don't forget, take lessons if you can and be sure to work on rudiments on a practice pad!
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Rather than bog yourself down with equipment decisions that will only distract from the development of technique, why not limit yourself to a practice pad for six months or so? You can concentrate on rudiments and develop skills that far too many drummers ignore. Transitioning to a kit will be much easier if you get your hands in shape first.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I guess I sort of agree with the practice pad idea. Since you're a grown up you probably understand why.

Get a couple of lessons from someone who can show you the basics of technique and for variation rent a practice room with a kit once in a while.

During this time do your research on what you want and look for good deals.
 

StefaniB

Member
Personally, I'm a big fan of Remo SilentStroke heads and Zildjian L80 cymbals for low volume practicing—with a few caveats, which I'll get to in a bit. So your second option I think is the best. In fact, I've been playing a low volume setup like this in my apartment for about 5 years now, and so far zero complaints from neighbors. Granted, I live on the bottom floor, so no neighbors below me hearing me wail away on my double bass pedal. And for the record, I also have a studio with a full-volume kit set up, but it's nice to also be able to play at home.

As far as your Mapex Armory kit choice, while I think that's a fine kit, a 6-piece may be a bit much for someone just starting out. You could save over $200 by going with this Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5-piece kit and hardware pack.


This is a very nice sounding kit, with the added bonus that Yamaha makes the absolute best hardware in the business, and their 700-series hardware hits the sweet spot of functionality and stability at a reasonable price and weight.

But as you mentioned, if you're dead set on a 6-piece kit, you could just go with the Mapex. Though I'd recommend starting off setting it up as a 4-piece kit initially, then adding more pieces as you become more comfortable/proficient behind the kit.

And now for my caveats about the SilentStroke/L80 setup. My biggest complaint is how the snare drum sounds and feels with the SilentStroke. I tried a SilentStroke on two different snares, and both had this annoying buzzing sound that doesn't occur with a normal head. Plus I hated how bouncy it felt playing with the Silent Strokes. So I eventually bought an RTOM Black Hole, which fits over the snare batter head. For this, it's better to use a normal head instead of a mesh head on the snare. I like this MUCH more, as it sounds and feels better. A little dead feeling to be honest, but I'll take that over a bouncy trampoline feeling any day. And since that L80/SilentStroke pack comes with a 14" head (which is intended for a snare), you can use that on the 14" floor tom if you go with the Mapex kit.


That said, I think the SilentStrokes are fine for the toms and bass drum. HOWEVER, for the bass drum, I absolutely recommend installing a bass drum patch to help preserve the mesh head, AND putting a pillow inside the bass drum to limit the bouncy feeling (I normally play my bass drums wide open, but it just felt too bouncy that way with the mesh head).

Another recommendation are these rubber hoop protectors for the toms (and the snare if you stick with the mesh head instead of the Black Hole). Otherwise, accidental rim hits will be MUCH louder than drum hits since the mesh heads cut the volume so drastically.


Finally, since I live in an apartment, I really want to minimize the volume as much as possible. So instead of playing with sticks, I play with multi-rods, which cut down the cymbal volume even more. However, most multi-rods have thinner dowels that can get stuck in those tiny holes in the L80 cymbals, and snap off. So I use the Vater Splashstick Rock model, which uses thicker dowels. Vic Firth makes a similar model, but I like the feel of these more.


I hope this has been helpful. And don't forget, take lessons if you can and be sure to work on rudiments on a practice pad!
Thanks for your detailed reply!!!

I've looked at the Yamaha SC and it would be fine. I was just looking at the 6 & 7 piece kits just thinking down the road of wanting to play metal and not having to hunt for discontinued colors for more toms, etc. I was thinking get it all at once for not a ton more money and be done with it. I was actually thinking of setting up a kit without any toms to start. Just bass drum, snare, HH, ride and crash.

I've seen the RTOM and was thinking about them but they aren't cheap but I like the idea of being able to pull them off quickly and use the regular heads.

I remember a friend/drummer who used rods. Thanks for that tip as well.

The practice pad should be here tomorrow with a rudiment chart. I plan to start with that.
 

StefaniB

Member
No idea if this will help as we all hv different domestic requirements but I found E kits and mesh heads just don't cut it for me...its a feel thing and the E kit tapping will cut thru walls easy.
If ur handy with a saw and some glue, cardboard scissors and tape then this works well. The Gen 16 crashes I will be buried with...their like very quiet 2002's....and I find if I play the entire thing softly it still feels real.

View attachment 95822
I'm handy with tools, etc. I like the idea.
 

StefaniB

Member
Rather than bog yourself down with equipment decisions that will only distract from the development of technique, why not limit yourself to a practice pad for six months or so? You can concentrate on rudiments and develop skills that far too many drummers ignore. Transitioning to a kit will be much easier if you get your hands in shape first.
The practice pad should be here tomorrow with a rudiment chart. I plan to start with that but wow I would never have thought to stay with just that for six months. Should I work on my feet as well??? I'm being serious with my question.
 

StefaniB

Member
I guess I sort of agree with the practice pad idea. Since you're a grown up you probably understand why.

Get a couple of lessons from someone who can show you the basics of technique and for variation rent a practice room with a kit once in a while.

During this time do your research on what you want and look for good deals.
Thanks for your reply! The practice pad should be here tomorrow with a rudiment chart. I plan to start with that. Definitely some more things to think about.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
The practice pad should be here tomorrow with a rudiment chart. I plan to start with that but wow I would never have thought to stay with just that for six months. Should I work on my feet as well??? I'm being serious with my question.
The point is debatable, but I'm an advocate of hand isolation early on. Four-limb independence is much easier to achieve when two-limb independence precedes it. An incremental approach has always made more sense to me. I worked on nothing but my hands throughout my first year-and-a-half as a drummer. I'm very glad my instructor enforced that format. Some may find that regimen extreme. Teaching philosophies are divergent, which should come as no surprise.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Thanks for your reply! The practice pad should be here tomorrow with a rudiment chart. I plan to start with that. Definitely some more things to think about.
It's sort of where I started. I was a teacher and had to start teaching drums. I was 32. I had access to kits where I worked and after I while I borrowed some pieces from storage that I took home and dampened in some primitive way so I could start on a bit on coordination work.

You definetly want a throne and stand for your pad.
 

jimb

Member
Dont get too carried away doing practise pad rudiments...sure learn a paradidle or so...but what about ur feet? I found it very weird when I sat at a kit for the first time....those rudiments went south real quick once I started using my feet.....its like I had to start all over again.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Dont get too carried away doing practise pad rudiments...sure learn a paradidle or so...but what about ur feet? I found it very weird when I sat at a kit for the first time....those rudiments went south real quick once I started using my feet.....its like I had to start all over again.
It’s kinda like marching. You get your parts down, then go out and try to walk around and realize you can’t do either.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
It’s kinda like marching. You get your parts down, then go out and try to walk around and realize you can’t do either.
Dumb question... Doesn't everyone else intuitively tap a foot ostinato when practicing rudiments on a pad? Whether it be a walk or 4-on-the-floor or something else like Samba?
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
The practice pad should be here tomorrow with a rudiment chart. I plan to start with that but wow I would never have thought to stay with just that for six months. Should I work on my feet as well??? I'm being serious with my question.
Yes, practice patterns with your feet. You wont necessarily be doing rudiments with your feet, but as a metal drummer you will be doing all kinds of weird starts and stops with your feet as well as hands. The more control you have over your limbs, the better.

They make a pad for foot pedals also. You might consider starting with pads all around. Then you can work on hands and feet using actual gear.

gibraltar_double_pedal__lazer_bass_drum_practice_pad_1451038891_c99bbc59.jpg

Some folks make their own:
738c3002d5a8513c027e0da401a01a52.jpg
 

bonerpizza

Silver Member
It depends on what your goals are and what your financial situation looks like. I practice on a Roland TD-25 electronic kit and I've got my Tama Starclassic kit ready to go in the event that I have a gig.

I've tried the quiet cymbals and silent stroke heads for practice and the Roland for me is 100x better. I like that I get quality sounds out of the Roland, with the quiet heads and cymbals it was lacking, the Roland doesn't 100% feel like real drums but there's not a huge difference.

good luck!
 

JDFaulky

Member
Noise issues aside, I will say that transitioning from playing an acoustic kit to an e-kit is far easier than going the other way around. I learned how to play drums on e-kits for the same noise and space concerns you mentioned. When I finally was in a spot financially (and space available) to get a real acoustic kit, I sorta had to re-learn some things in order to play properly on the acoustic kit (primarily with cymbal work, tuning, etc). I wouldn't have had that problem if I went from acoustic to e-kit. I have a huge preference over acoustic kits though so this may just be me.

If you learn on an acoustic kit you can move over to an e-kit with little to no effort, so I would suggest going the acoustic route and use some dampening/silent methods. Just seems more beneficial for learning to play drums in my opinion. I wish I started on acoustic. Practice pad for now is a smart move though. Gotta develop those hands and speed.
 

jimb

Member
Dumb question... Doesn't everyone else intuitively tap a foot ostinato when practicing rudiments on a pad? Whether it be a walk or 4-on-the-floor or something else like Samba?
True but I found the actual mechanical ergonomic angles of pedals and stands relative to the toms and cymbals kind of disorienting....took me a year to get it and now feels completely natural.
 
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