Electronic drum kits have been around since the 1980s. However, it is only in recent years that they have become a really feasible purchase consideration for the serious drummer as an alternative to an acoustic set. Early versions were difficult to use, cumbersome and completely different to that of a standard traditional acoustic drum set to the extent that drummers found it difficult to fully develop their skills.
However, with new developments made to mimic the feel of the traditional set, electronic drum kits are becoming more and more popular, particularly amongst beginners.
Why Purchase an Electronic Drum kit?
The primary reason to choose an electronic kit over an acoustic one is that of noise. An acoustic set creates a great deal of noise, despite additional deadening options that are available, whereas it is possible to play almost silently with an electronic kit once headphones have been plugged into the set's sound module. The only noise will be that of the sticks hitting the pads, and this is a huge plus point for drummers living in close proximity to other people. At the same time, there is no compromise on either the rebound or the feel of the drums.
Electronic drum kits have a built-in sound module which is capable of producing different sounds, unlike a traditional kit. The sound module makes it possible to switch between playing a jazz kit, heavy rock kit and other sounds with just the flick of a switch. Some electronic drums even allow the user to upload sounds of their own. Electronic drum kits are also smaller than standard sized acoustic sets. Not only does this make them much more portable, but also practical and suitable for smaller locations.
Electronic drum kits are incredibly versatile since sounds can be altered to fit into a variety of different musical styles, which is a rare luxury in musical instruments. For experienced users, they can also be very useful in live gigs due to their size and the above-mentioned versatiliy.
How Electronic Drum kits work
The drums and cymbal pads are connected by triggers to the central electronic unit, or brain. Triggers are sensors that detect when they are struck and make to appropriate sound in response. The pads and mesh heads on the drums themselves can either by single trigger, meaning they make only one noise no matter where they are struck, or dual trigger, which means that a slightly different noise is made according to where they are hit. The relay between the trigger and the central unit is so quick on modern systems that it is almost instantaneous.
Some beginner kits also have a built-in metronome, which teaches the user how to follow the beat and may have preset drum patterns that the beginner can learn. This is a great way to learn about rhythm and helps keep the player in time when tackling tricky syncopated rhythms.
Rubber Pads or Mesh Heads
The inner covers for the drum pads that influence the sound are usually either rubber pads or mesh heads, and the two are very different although one may not have an advantage over the other.
Rubber pads are the original type made for electronic kits. They are cheaper than mesh heads, are more compact, consistent across all the drum sizes, and these days they offer much better rebound than the pads used during the early days of electronic drum kits in the 1980s.
Mesh heads, on the other hand, are a more recent development. They are more realistic, like those of a traditional acoustic drum kit, they are also more sensitive and dual trigger, and can also be tuned so the rebound can suit the user. However, they are more expensive.
In order for an electronic drum kit to produce sound, the brain of the system needs to be connected to an amplifier. Due to the nature of this instrument, a specific type of amplifier is required. Most manufacturers of electronic drums produce amplifiers to match, usually known as drum monitor systems. The majority of these are wedge shaped in design and sit underneath the kit facing the drummer so they are able to hear the notes they are playing better.
Electronic Drum Kits for Beginners
The opinion still circulates that beginners should not use electronic drum kits to develop their skills. However, this is based mostly on the poor quality of models in the 1980s, and modern units are so advanced that this is no longer the case.
There are several makes and models of electronic drum kit currently available on the market, some aimed at beginners, some for more experienced users, some for both. When considering a purchase, always carry out sufficient research into the type required, and especially look at user reviews as these will give an indication of how other purchasers have found the equipment.
Roland, Yamaha, and Alesis are all big names in electronic drum kits, and even second-hand ones are particularly good for both beginners and those with a bit more experience. Basic sets are perfect for younger drummers, particularly those that are compact so more suited to older children. A basic set is suitable for roughly the first five years of practice, until the user has made a decision about whether or not the drums are suitable for them. This way, money is saved from being wasted up front.
How Much to Spend?
Electronic kits are generally more expensive than the equivalent acoustic kit as they have more features that can be used in conjunction with learning to play the drums, as a beginner.
The amount of money to spend on an electronic kit varies according to the needs of the user and the budget available. However, always aim for the highest possible quality within the budget available as higher quality kits, with good reviews from other users, will last longer and give greater value for money.
If cared for correctly, should it be decided that an electronic drum kit is not the required musical instrument, they have great sell-on value and second-hand electronic kits are often sold on. Also, should the user wish to spend more money on a more sophisticated piece of equipment, the basic model can be sold on.
How to Buy an Electronic Drum Kit on eBay
In order to purchase an electronic drum kit, firstly head to the homepage. From here, using the links on the left hand side of the page, select All categories and from the drop down options then select Musical Instruments. This will then load the musical instruments category. From all the possible selections, go to the Percussion category and select drums from the possible options. This will load all the listings in that category. Electronic drums kits is an option that can be selected from this. From here, listings according to type, brand, price and other related categories can be selected to narrow down the possible options to which is desired.
Alternatively, the search engine on the eBay homepage can be used to identify more specifically the exact requirements of a potential kit.
With recent developments in technology, electronic drum kits are a viable option for both beginners wishing to learn how to play the drums, without affecting their neighbours, and for those who are more experienced but lacking in space within the house. The reputation of electronic drum kits is improving all the time and as a set they are becoming more and more popular.
When purchasing an electronic drum kit, always carry out sufficient research into the make and model that is required, through recommendations and user reviews. The type and amount of money spent on an electronic drum kit will vary according to the requirements of the purchaser, but the best quality one available should always be considered.