Monday, February 04, 2008

Electronic Drums Suck!

When I was nine years old I learned to play the drums. I played drums until I graduated from high school and moved away. After that, I didn't play much. I did learn to play the guitar since then.

In my final year in the Sault something was awoken in me. I wanted to play drums again. My church in Ottawa had drums. Soon I would be there, hopefully playing them.

When I got to Ottawa I noticed the nice set of drums was replaced by a set of electronic drums. I played them a few times and decided I would stick to the guitar. That which had awoken in me, the deep desire to drum, had to be put on hold. Electronic drums didn't help fill the desire. It made the desire stronger. Now when I hear acoustic drums, they sound so much better than they did before. I appreciate them more now than I have before. And it makes me wish even more that we had them at our church.

This year our youth pastor has decided to have a youth-oriented service called "1Worship" at our church. I was asked to play the drums. I readily accepted on the condition they provide me with a set of drums.

"We have drums."

"No you don't. You have a drum machine that's too stupid to be able to play a beat on it's own. It needs to be told every time it's supposed to make a sound. Get me real drums and just try and keep me off of them."

Eventually I went to a 1Worship service. It actually hurt more to hear the band without a drummer than it hurt to play the "drums." So I temporarily volunteered.

Every time I hit the "drums" my hatred of them grows stronger. The sound guy loves them because he can turn down the volume.

Here are some pros and cons of having electric drums instead of acoustics.

Reasons why acoustics are better:
  • Deeper, richer sounds. Especially in the toms.
  • Different sticks sound different. Brushes, hot-rods, thin sticks, thick sticks, mallets, etc. all have a different sound on acoustics. To electrics, a stick is a stick is a stick. Brushes are useless.
  • Easier to set up - no electronic gadgets to set up.
  • Better feel when playing.
  • You can create more sounds much more easily.
  • You can actually do cymbal rolls.
  • You can do actual drum rolls.
  • You don't actually need to have the sound guy there for a practice.
  • Little technical expertise is needed to set them up or play them.
  • Much much cheaper. A bottom-of-the-line electronic kit is priced about the same as a mid-level to top-level acoustic kit.
  • If a wire is damaged on a set of electronic drums, you loose the whole drum or cymbal. This is not an issue with acoustic drums.
  • How you play acoustic drums is how you sound. On our electric "drums" when you hit a crash cymbal for a loud crash-cymbal sound, the sound is there for about a 10th of a second, then it cuts out. How lame is that? It ruins the whole feel of the song. Mind you, that may just be a flaw of our particular set.

Advantages of electronic "drums":
  • The sound guy can turn down the volume on the drums without having to tell you to play quieter.

Yes, I admit it. Those lists may be a bit biased.


Mr D. Stix said...

There are drum machines, and there are drum machines. Maybe you need a better drum machine.

Go to -> One Man Band -> Video -> "Slap Leather" to see a fine drum machine,

Andrew said...

mmmmm. Former president, James Taylor.

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