Transitioning from acoustic to an electric drum set brings with it a particular learning curve. Fortunately, electric drum technology has improved dramatically since their earliest predecessors. Not only do quality instruments, such as Roland electric drums, sound as good as acoustic drums, they have been designed to feel just like them too.
Perhaps you are making a permanent switch from acoustic to electric drums. Maybe you simply want to expand your options and be able to work with both. Either way, it’s a lot of money to spend only to discover within weeks or months that your new set isn’t what you hoped it would be.
Instead, you can smooth the transition from acoustic and choose an electric drum set that sounds and feels amazing with these five tips:
- Choose the right heads. The right kind of drum heads can make all of the difference when it comes to playing electric versus acoustic drums. Some feel more like acoustic heads than others.
- Choose the right pedals. The same goes for pedals. Pedals that are softer or harder than what you’re used to can be problematic. Choose an electric drum set with good pedals. Alternatively, if you are drawn to a particular set but don’t like the pedals it comes with, find out if you can switch them with an after-market pedal.
- Decide what kind of sound is most important to you before you begin shopping. It’s easy to get dazzled by the sheer number of sound kits that are available with electric drums. Many Roland electric drums, for example, come with hundreds of different sounds and effects options, with the capability to add more sound components if desired.
Sometimes the price can increase dramatically from one kit to another one that is similar in style and quality simply due to the sound kit. In the store, the effects probably sound stunning, and you can probably imagine yourself having fun experimenting with different ones.
However, you may not really need several hundred sound effects, depending on what your instrument is mainly going to be used for. For instance, an electric drum set that will be used mainly for practice or personal pleasure doesn’t necessarily need several hundred sound options. This is especially true if those extra sounds come at a significant extra cost.
A great alternative would be to purchase an electric drum set that is capable of taking on after-market expansions. Many models, including Roland drum sets, have add-on kits available. This way, you can start out with a more basic kit. As you grow in skill and experience, or your playing needs change, you can add new sound kits later on, when you really need them.
- Ask for reviews and recommendations. Research is important, and you can do this by surfing the Internet or reading industry publications like music magazines.
However, you’ll probably get the most constructive and reliable information from other drummers. Players who have had firsthand experience with a particular set or sets will have intimate familiarity with that product. He or she will probably be full of pointers and wise advice, much of which you may not be able to find in a book or on the Web.
- Try before you buy. You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it. The same principle should apply to an electric drum set.
Spend a significant amount of time playing each model you are considering buying. Many music stores have practice rooms available for this very reason. Try out several kits, and spend a good 15 to 30 minutes at a time playing each one.
Don’t plan to buy on your first day out, either. Try several different sets on a Saturday afternoon. Then, spend the next week reliving your jam sessions in your mind, determining what you liked and didn’t like about each one. Then go back for at least one more afternoon “jam session” before you make a final decision.
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