Drummers of the Forum: Advice Needed

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  • Drummers of the Forum: Advice Needed
  • Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Subscriber

    As stated on another thread some time ago, my 13 year-old has (much to my delight), taken to music and the drums in particular.

    Because our house is small, there is no way we’d able to house a proper drum kit, but I would be happy to get him an electronic kit for practice at home, and am thinking about doing so for Christmas.

    I was thinking about something like this.

    Are kits like this any use? Would you suggest alternatives? What should I be looking for? Can you offer any advice?

    prawny
    Member

    I’ve not got any experience of that particular kit, but from my experience of the lower end Yamaha electronic kits I can’t imagine they’d be that good.

    I’ve got the bottomest of the range Yamaha one and it’s serviceable, but not brilliant and sometimes frustrating, I think it was about £400, would your budget stretch that far? The Alesis ones are also well regarded, but I’ve never played one of them.

    The basic Roland one sounds good, but for learning I think you’re better off with one that uses a proper bass drum pedal and pad. The other type are silent, but I think getting used to a proper pedal from the off is a good thing.

    john_drummer
    Member

    That doesn’t look particularly good to me as the pads are not in a particularly “standard” layout and it doesn’t like like you can adjust them

    I used to have an Alesis DM6 Pro kit. Ok if you don’t mind the pads not feeling like an acoustic kit. The bass pad being connected to the floor transmits every hit directly into the floor. Ok if you’re on concrete or in a detached house, not so good if you have neighbours attached to you.

    I understand the higher end mesh pads a) feel more like regular drums but b) cost a fair bit more.
    Do you have access to a garage/shed?

    nickhit3
    Member

    so.. oddly enough I learned on a high end Roland electric at a music school. It was great but had mesh heads and probably cost about 2k- so thats out of the question, but hopefully illustrates the level a music school or teacher might expect of an electric kit for learning. I’m self taught on acoustic and honestly- id spend the time getting him into lessons with a good teacher and/or booking regular rehearsal room time once a week etc. he will 100% get more out of it. Learning the ergonomics/set up/tuning/dynamics of an acoustic set is not possible with anything less. Even if its a beat up rehearsal room kit.

    Domestic electric kits are generally poor learning tools (imho) unless you’re reasonable proficient.And as other mention they ARE noisy. much more so than you’d imagine ESPECIALLY if not on a ground floor! The ergonomics are significantly different to acoustic kits and this is vital to understand I feel. The nature of the two is very different. In the same way you couldn’t really teach someone to ride a motorcycle (safely) if you handed them a only a bicycle. Crude analogy but i hope you see what I’m getting at.

    A good seat/throne, snare stand and pad for rudiments is important too if you want to buy something for home use. FWIW I don’t particularly subscribe to the ”must do rudiments” school but he’ll be a better drummer for longer if he does trust me!

    So looking for acoustic time- taught or otherwise- on an acousitc kit somewhere in town would be great for him. He’ll get more out of it i’d hope than on a sub par cramped electronic kit that might end up a costly clothes hanger..

    looking for space in a domestic setting for any time with an acoustic drum kit just isn’t feasible these days with the noise. Garages etc just are terrible for that. And, If he takes to it, he’s going to spend hundreds of hours in rehearsal rooms so the freedom that gives a drummer learning to control that instrument which has no volume control is unrivalled i think. Something to consider.

    johndoh
    Member

    We got a junior acoustic set for our daughter (8) as it takes a much smaller footprint. I am 5’8” and don’t find it too small so perhaps you could look at one of those for the real drum experience (we avoided an electronic set for all the above reasons).

    (And it only cost us £120 sourced via her drum teacher – he checked it out and set it up for us too)

    Jakester
    Member

    Echoing what has already been said, I wouldn’t spend the money on a cheap e-kit. A decent practice pad setup would be a better investment, such as this:

    https://www.thomann.de/gb/dw_go_anywhere_practice_kit.htm

    Or at the cheaper end, a snare stand, largish practice pad and kick pedal pad would do it.

    prawny
    Member

    johndoh – Member
    We got a junior acoustic set for our daughter (8) as it takes a much smaller footprint. I am 5’8” and don’t find it too small so perhaps you could look at one of those for the real drum experience (we avoided an electronic set for all the above reasons).

    This is a good point, I’m looking at getting one of these for us now my kids are learning. My LMS has a nice beebop kit in, can’t remember the make now but it was a decent enough maple kit for less than £300. Obviously you have to add cymbals then, so budget an additional £1500 😆

    johndoh
    Member

    Just checked and the max height recommendation for a junior kit is 5ft – this might rule one out.

    nickhit3
    Member

    We got a junior acoustic set for our daughter (8) as it takes a much smaller footprint. I am 5’8” and don’t find it too small so perhaps you could look at one of those for the real drum experience (we avoided an electronic set for all the above reasons).

    (And it only cost us £120 sourced via her drum teacher – he checked it out and set it up for us too)

    not sure that would work for the OP given the noise, however it is a reasonable starting point to get experience with the set up and feel of acoustic. You can get dampening pads for the heads of most regular kits to turn any acoustic into a practice kit if it must be played with consideration for others.

    If i may add to my point above, I genuinely don’t think I would have carried on if my formative experience at home had been on an electric kit. I never had anything beyond a pad, a metronome and some sticks at home to keep the hands loose and i managed to become a gigging, writing and recording drummer for several years. I came to it later than many so not a precisely similar situation to yours SaxonRider, but it was moments with living and breathing drums in a room with a teacher and later my peers that it really clicked. A good teacher (qualified or otherwise) with a guitar and room with an acoustic kit is what i suspect will fuel his hunger to learn the instrument- even if its just 30/60 mins a week to begin will be so important. I wish id done more lessons not fewer looking back!

    Electric kits come into their own when you are perhaps putting songs together at a much later stage- or for composition ideas. As a pure practice tool? not so much, and they’re so often marketed as such which is wrong imo. Drums are an ensemble instrument, you need to learn to control a drum kit around others and i think you’d handicap yourself learning those foundations on electric- you cant rely on a volume knob or headphones in real life, and if and when Jr picks up a playing buddy or two and finds an acoustic kit in front of him, he’ll make enemies not friends. 😉 Alot of YouTube drum lesson content is often in lesson form on electric kits but its no coincidence its often fairly advanced playing that is being transcribed, dissected, or discussed- it assumes a good command of the instrument before you could easily transfer an electric lesson to an acoustic set. It also makes the life of the teacher easier for recording purposes.. going in cold as a beginner to an electric kit might be fun, but it would hamper the progression.

    lastly and most importantly, DON’T AVOID HEARING PROTECTION. There are brilliant inexpensive ear buds that will last and protect the little guys ears. Next to a vocalist, id argue the drummers hearing is the most important in any band- you’re constantly adjusting and listening to the whole band all the time and you cant do that if its all at 900db and you cant hear anything above yourself to begin with. My dad who was a drummer before me, drilled that into me and im so glad i did. He suffers with tinnitus after years gigging in the 60s and 70’s and its no joke.

    hope some of that helps!

    Jakester
    Member

    Another option is something like this:

    http://www.musicradar.com/reviews/drums/dixon-jet-set-plus-630362

    I thought for the right person it’d probably cover a multitude of bases – for example, you could add a module and trigger off the mesh heads if you needed silent practice, but it would still be giggable for the smaller player.

    john_drummer
    Member

    Re electronic kits, i’m With nickhit3.

    I said I had an Alesis kit.

    “Had” being the operative word. I think I used it 4 times, not once in a solo practice s session

    mssansserif
    Member

    I’ll buck the trend, I’ve got an electric kit and have had 3 over the last 12ish years. They do vary and for something close to realistic you want mesh heads but for the ability to just plug in an iPod and “play along” is great. They aren’t silent but way more neighbour and housemate friendly than a real kit.

    Look second hand for a roland mesh kit if you can stretch to it. Swapping to a real kit take a lil bit of readjustment but if you can play one you can play both.

    *edit* just had a look, now must be a bad time to buy prices seem high, Xmas demand already?

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