Investing in a drum set is a big decision to make so you want to make sure you get one that’s perfect for you. Once you’ve decided this is your instrument of choice, the first dilemma you will be confronted with is picking between electronic and classic or acoustic drums. The type of music you want to place, the location in which you will be playing and the amount of space you have will all influence your decision.
Traditional vs electronic drums
But first, let’s distinguish between the two types of drum sets. As professional drummer and drum educator Simon DasGupta explains, acoustic drums are the traditional set wood shells and metal cymbals. Snare drums would have metal shells. On the other hand, electronic drums are pads, with rubber, plastic, or mesh drumheads. A small box called a sound module produces the sound and you can hear it through a headset or an amplifier.
Advantages and disadvantages of acoustic drums
The traditional drum kit is of course the most realistic in terms of sound and feel. Acoustic sets allow you to better perform drum rolls, buzz rolls, cymbal swells, hi-hat technique and cross stick. The superior stands of acoustic kits also allow for a greater range of adjustment. You are therefore able to get the angle and height that’s perfect for you.
It should be noted that acoustic drum kits are naturally loud and this can be a problem for neighbours or even the people you live with. Silencer pads will lower the volume drastically but the feel and sound will also be significantly diminished. Your housemates will thank you but you may not enjoy your jam session as much. Traditional drums will need head replacements occasionally and this can be quite costly. They also need to be tuned and you may need to get a professional to do the job. You should also bear in mind that acoustic drum kits can be heavy and they take up a lot of space.
Advantages and disadvantages of electric drums
Electric drums have a number of built-in tools which are perfect for beginners. These include metronomes and drum kit sounds which are ideal for experimenting with style and sound. If you’re in the market, check out an electronic drums buying guide to help you make the best decision. Contrary to traditional drums, you can turn down the volume or practise quietly with headphones or ear phones. This may be what you need if you have noise-sensitive housemates or neighbours. It is also worth noting that you will never have to tune an electronic drum kit and they generally take up less space than their traditional counterparts.
On the downside, electric drums don’t feel or sound the same as acoustic ones, despite advances in technology. Maintenance can also be expensive since the kits eventually need replacement parts. You should pay attention to the fact that some electric drum kits can’t be fully adjusted in terms of height and positioning and may therefore be uncomfortable to use.
As you can see, there are both electronic and acoustic drum sets have their selling points and drawbacks. Ultimately, you’ll have the choose the one that’s best based on your circumstances and musical needs.