Electronic Drum Sets – History and Information

Philip Electronic Drums 2 Comments

The drums most people know are made of wood shells and plastic heads; when you hit them with a stick, they produce a thud that sounds just like a drum hit with a stick. (What else would you expect?) In today’s high-tech world, however, pretty much anything you can do acoustically can also be done electronically, using digital recording and playback techniques. The merger of digital electronics with acoustic drums is the electronic drum – something both a little more and a little less than a traditional drum set.

Drum Set History

Electronic drum sets have been here since the late 1970s. Those early electronic kits include arm-damaging hard rubber pads and produced synthesized bloops and bleeps that sounded more like the movie Star Trek than anything ever produced by an acoustic drum. The novelty of synthesized sounds soon wore off, to be supplanted by digitally recorded sounds – so called samples of traditional acoustic sounds. Today’s electronic drum sets utilize digital samples of big-sounding acoustic drums insert into a memory chip and triggered by the striking of an external pad. When you beat the drum, the sound of the cymbal or sampled drum is created, just as if you were performing the original acoustic kit.

That’s in theory, of course. In reality, samples sounds never sound completely the same to their acoustic counterpart, and playing on a rubber pad isn’t quite the same as playing on a real drum. Still, electronic drum sets provide a wider variety of sounds than you can produce with a single acoustic kit, and they let you play loud through an amplifier or soft through a set of headphones. They are also a lot more solid than acoustic drums, making them perfect for the gigging musician who hates to lug around a bunch of heavy wood drums.

Should you replace your acoustic drums with an electronic kit – or supplement it with electronic drum sets? On the plus side, electronic drums can reproduce any sound imaginable (including non-drum sounds) and enable you to quickly and easily change the sound of your kit to suit a particular song. They are also easy to haul around, set up, and tear down, which might appeal to some working drummers.

On the minus side, no matter how good they are, electronic drums never sound or feel quite like a good set of acoustic drums. The good ones are also a little more expensive than a comparable acoustic kit – and they require some amount of technical competency to work.

So, should you go electronic? My advice for beginning drummers is not to worry about electronic drums – and certainly don’t replace your acoustic set with an electronic kit. As you move into the semi-pro and professional ranges, then you might want to consider augmenting your traditional drums with some electronics. Even then, however, it isn’t truly necessary; most pro drummers get by just fine with their all-acoustic kit.

Electronic drum sets are played in the same manner as a traditional drum set with the musician hitting the pads to produce a solid rhythmic beat. For more information, please visit: Drum sets for kids

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