Let’s just face it guys, No matter how great guitarist, singer or bassist you are, or even if you are that Andy McKee type percussive guitar player; you cannot avoid drums in your music... Regardless of genres you play, you always need drums. It can be for live, rehearsal or studio recording; a drum set is a must. But why this fantastic instrument is so rare to find nearby? Why do musicians shy away to buy this awesome instrument?
The answer is, these bad boys are bulky, consume a lot of space, and are so loud that can wake up the dead! They are expensive, fragile and have to be handled with care; its sound is easily affected by environment and temperature changes etc. No wonder there are a very few people who are ready to take such a responsibility. But what if I told you that you don’t have do anything out of these things and still achieve that drum sound and can potentially get it better in wide variety and in luxurious quality. We are living in technological age guys! It’s no wonder make you familiar with Electric drums! Or e-Drums or whatever you wanna go for...
See, I am not a drummer; hence I am not a Drum purist. I am a producer, so I will definitely look for the best options you can have in the instrument with little or (preferably) no fuss at all, available in the market; alright? So don’t “OH YOU DONT KNOW (any generic feature) OF AN ACOUSTIC DRUM SET” to me. Because when a producer researches about the instrument, He does it all. Well, he might skip a few, if it doesn’t affect its music production. Like for example, “I want beech shell sound”; nope I’d definitely skip that feature because I am looking for interesting drum beat that will go along my music and not the tone which I can always EQ in post-production. But if it’s something like you need gravity roll or blast beats in one of your songs; I definitely won’t rely on the electric snare that comes with the e-Drums (not saying that e-Drums cannot handle these techniques; I just don’t prefer to).
Hence there are always Pros and cons of counterpart s when looked in detail... So let’s just dive into these things right away!
- E-Drums- It’s just a ‘Thwak’ when you hit an e-Drum, no matter what you hit. Ideal for drummers living in apartments, especially if you practice at late night or early morning. Your neighbours can hear a light thud but defiantly won’t lodge an F.I.R. However, they are not sensitive to how hard the drummer is playing (high-end models excluded).
- A- Drums- its sensitive to how hard the drummer is playing but it’s always loud no matter what. It can affect the player’s hearing ability overtime. (Always wear ear plugs.)
- E-Drums- Drum tuning is out of the question and always has studio quality drum preset sounds.
- A-Drums- If you have a tight budget, don’t expect quality. All the factors including workmanship, shell material, head material etc comes into picture when you opt for an acoustic instrument; ask any random Pianist in your vicinity to confirm this thing.
- E-Drums- One cable, hook it in your PC and you are done!
- A-Drums- You need 2 condensers for ambience and cymbals, 5 drum mics (1 for snare, 1 for hi tom, 1 for low tom, 1 for floor tom and 1 for Hats) and 1 for bass drum. Wait we are not done yet, one 10 channelled mixer and finally 1 interface!
- E-Drums-It has the ability to practice along to music from an mp3 player and mix the volume levels of both the set and the music. With a good mix it can seem like the drums are a seamless part of whatever band is being played along to. Drummer can practice almost anywhere and at anytime due to its low sound levels. Continual practice on the electric set can make an acoustic set feel foreign. This will depend on quality of the electric drum set and how close it mimics the feel of an acoustic set.
- A-Drums-Acoustics sets are used more in public events. The drummer will be more prepared for this by practicing on an acoustic set. Requires a sound studio and microphones for a quality recording.
- E-Drums- You get an array of drum presets, so you fit in any band of any genre. It’s portable like a key! Well maybe not like a key, but definitely portable and compact when compared with Acoustic set. But it requires sound systems.
- A-Drums- Audience enjoys the power and looks that an acoustic set brings to the stage. Band members will always be able to hear the timing given by the drummer even if the sound system malfunctions. However other band members need amplification when jamming with acoustic drums. One puny acoustic guitar would be shred into pieces without amplification.
- E-Drums- Depending on the quality of electric drum set parts can last a very long time and may never need replacing during its entire life. Replacing heads or other parts is usually very expensive or impossible if the company of the set does not offer it. It is best to go with a well-established company such as Yamaha or Roland if you want to find parts.
- A-Drums- Acoustic drum heads are less expensive and easier to find then electric. Can change the look, feel, and sound of the set depending on what parts you purchase. Drum heads should be replaced often to maintain quality sound.
The biggest motive why drummers more often prefer acoustic sets over electric is they each feel very different. While the electric drum set technology has come leaps and bound in the last 20 years it has still not reached a level where the drummer can feel like he is playing the same instrument whether it is acoustic or electric. Despite this; the electric set has many redeeming qualities. It gives complete control over volume, which has always hindered the ability of drummers to practice when and where they desire. It also allows for quality studio recording with minimal equipment, and the ability to choose from hundreds of different sounds is also a huge plus.
For beginning drum students trying to decide between an acoustic or electric set I would recommend that they evaluate their situation first. Ask yourself if volume levels are going to affect your ability to practice. If not I would go with an acoustic set. If you are eventually planning on recording or don’t want to tick off the neighbours I would highly recommend an electric drum set. Just remember to get experience on an acoustic set when the opportunities present themselves so you are versatile on both.