You've taken a few online drum lessons, or perhaps connected with a local drum teacher in your area. Now you are ready to take the exciting step of buying your very first drum set. We have previously discussed at length the features and benefits of both electronic and acoustic drums, and this updated article highlights five ways that modern electronic drums are transforming the learning experience for beginner drummers.
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Significantly reduced volume - a real plus for home, workspace and apartment living.
So many people miss out on learning drums because they are worried about the volume. Since most beginner drummers play at home, the fear of disrupting family life and annoying the neighbors often kills off the hobby before it even gets started. Acoustic drums are loud - there's no getting around it. Using sound dampening pads is effective, but can be uninspiring. Let's be real - we just want to rock out and have fun, and we need to hear what we are playing. Electronic drums have solved this problem. You can either plug-in a set of headphones, or play at low volume on a speaker or monitor system. In the interest of being objective, it's important to be aware that, even when using headphones, people in the next room, or perhaps in adjoining apartments might still be able to hear the sound of the drum sticks hitting the plastic pads, or the bass drum beater hitting the kick drum post. Some manufacturers have attempted to solve this problem by fitting mesh drum heads to their products, and those are well worth checking out. If your electric set is in a house or a private workspace, this is less of an issue, but worth bearing in mind if you live in an apartment, or shared living space.
Now available at more realistic price points.
Electronic drum sets have been available since the 1980's, and were initially the preserve of the studio and touring musician. Although cutting-edge technology for the time, they were extremely cumbersome, limited in functionality, and very expensive. Electronic drums for the hobbyist market started to flourish in the late 1990's, but again the price tag deterred many buyers. Today, with more and more manufacturers developing their own electronic products, the technology tried, tested and readily available, and with lower manufacturing costs; beginner and hobbyist drummers can now set themselves up at home with a basic model for under $500 - something that was unthinkable just ten years ago.
Mix-in songs and play along!
One of the best features of electronic drums is the ability to plug-in your smartphone and play along to your favorite tracks. This is a critical part of having fun when learning, and something that has traditionally been a challenge with acoustic drums. Most electronic modules have separate drum set and mix-in volume controls, so you can perfectly balance your drums with music. You can play along to your favorite bands, or check-out some of the ever expanding volumes of drum-less tracks available online and on music streaming services. (Drum-less tracks are songs that have the drum part purposely muted, so you can play along and hear just your drumming, and not the original drum track).
Fun onboard functions and useful tools.
Most electronic drum modules come with multiple drum set sounds, and it's a lot of fun changing your preferences and experimenting with different ideas. Drum, cymbal and percussion samples, as well as special effects are readily available, and on more advanced models, customizable. Just about every set has an onboard metronome (sometimes referred to as a "click"), which is a critical function in developing good time keeping, and checking your progress.
Digital drums in a digital age.
We live in a digital world with smartphones, widely available internet connectivity, apps, and recording software. Manufacturers are embracing these opportunities. Yamaha, for example, have released a training app to accompany their entry level models, with other prominent drum companies coming up with their own offerings. Recording software is also becoming more accessible to hobbyists, and connecting your drums to a computer has never been easier. Many electronic drum modules have onboard training functions, and some have a record function, so you can play back your beats and check on your progress.
If you have any questions relating to this article, please feel free to email [email protected].