How to Hold Drumsticks The Right Way

how-to-hold-drumsticks

It is essential to learn proper form while drumming. It is your foundation of great technique and staying injury-free. Many drummers often skip over the basics of learning how to hold their drumsticks, in favor of learning more advanced techniques. However, this can easily set you up for failure.

In this article, we’re going to explain the basics of how to hold your drumsticks. We go through the different options you have available, and what might be the best for you.

Matched Grip

matched_grip_drummerThe matched grip is a method where you use the same type of grip in both hands. This is very common in modern forms of drumming. It’s very easy to learn and it can have a number of distinct advantages over traditional grip for beginners (However, the traditional grip also has some great advantages).

Although I always suggest the use of a great drum teacher, the matched grip is also a great method for self-learning and correction. The symmetrical nature of this grip allows you to compare stick placement and stroke of both of your hands. You can adapt the placement of your weaker hand to your stronger one.

The matched grip is generally preferred if you require a lot of power out of your drumming. The left hand matched position is great for high volume rebound, strong snare strikes, and rim shots without causing excess shock to your wrist and forearm.

If you play modern genres of music then the matched grip is likely your best bet.

There are three different main versions of the matched grip. It’s very useful to learn to play with each of these as they all have their advantages.

When using the French grip, your palms face each other and your strokes are mainly powered by your fingers. The German matched grip is quite different, where your palms face down and your strokes are powered by your wrist. The American grip uses a combination of both and is very popular because it is a very comfortable and versatile grip.

Here is a great video, which explains how to hold your drumsticks using the American grip:

Here is a very useful video on how to use the French grip. It’s particularly useful to switch to this grip when playing expressive strokes on your ride cymbal.

So that’s almost everything you need to know about the different variations of the matched grip.

Be sure to practice in front of a mirror and keep conscious of maintaining good form.

Traditional Grip

traditional_gripThe traditional grip is something quite different. It’s heavily used in jazz music and drum corps. It is a very interesting grip and particularly allows you to get great subtle strokes on your snare hits at low volumes.

The traditional grip is generally more difficult to learn; therefore you should try to get a good drum teacher to show you how to perform this movement correctly. It requires more correction and subtlety, which can cause injury later on if done incorrectly.

Check out this great video, which shows you how to perform the traditional grip.

Improving your stick technique

The best way to improve your stick technique is by isolating and practicing your movements. A practice pad is a great option for this as they are quiet and can be easily packed into a bag.

The improvements to your rebounds, technique, and rudiments allow you to practice holding your drumsticks through different movements. These are then instantly transferable to playing on a drum kit.

A practice pad forces you to focus on these movements, and I always recommend one as an absolutely essential item for any drummer.

Common problems with holding drumsticks

Holding your drumsticks badly can hurt your drumming in two ways:

Poor drumming efficiency

Poor technique can greatly lower your efficiency and freedom of expression while drumming. Drumsticks should be held using a method that encourages very natural and fluid movements.

Fast stick movements can be much easier to achieve when you get out of the way of your drumstick and allow the stick to naturally rebound. This can be achieved by loosening your grip and slowly learning the motion of your drum strokes using a practice pad.

Preventing chronic injuries

Holding your drumsticks badly can also lead to some serious overuse injuries of your wrist and forearms. The most common issue is caused by holding your sticks too tightly. This inhibits the natural rebound of the drumstick and causes excess shock to be absorbed by your joints.

Wrists are an incredibly complex part of your body. Chronic injuries can be very difficult to treat, therefore you should make every effort to ensure that you are holding your drumsticks correctly.

Choosing the correct stick grip can also help prevent against injuries.

If you’re commonly feeling dull or sharp pains while drumming, you need to stop and examine your stick grip. Otherwise, your doctor might eventually tell you to stop drumming.

Conclusion – Holding Your Drumsticks

Taking the time to properly learn how to hold your drumsticks might be one of the best things you’ve ever done as a drummer.

You should treat your drumming in the same way as if you were learning an exercise in the gym. Always maintain correct form, everything else comes after that. Drumming can cause excess shock to your joints unless it’s done correctly.

I hope the advice and resources on this article were useful.

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The 3 Best Cheap Electric Drum Sets for Beginners – Cut Through the Junk!

electric-drum-sets

The electric drum set market is significantly innovating to simulate the best possible electronic experience of playing drums. Electric drum set manufacturers are also starting to make kits more accessible in price range to a much wider range of people.

However, this can come at a cost. Manufacturers can cut too many corners or features in order to get the lowest possible price. The worst of these can be in the form of bad build quality and defects.

This article is specifically directed at those that want to get a good experience out of a cheap electric drum set. Cheap does not have to mean poor quality.

These electric drum sets are great for beginners or for more advanced players that are looking for a quiet practice option.

Our Pick of the 3 Best Cheap Electric Drum Sets

EDITOR'S CHOICE - Great value kit with mesh drum pads, rubber kick tower pad and pedal included
Compact and quiet electric drum set with beaterless kick pedal
Compact set with beaterless kick pedal and very high quality snare mesh head

1) The Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit

This kit is a slight upgrade from the very popular Alesis Nitro Kit. It includes mesh heads, with the exception of the kick drum pad. Mesh heads simulate real drum heads very nicely. These contain material stretched over a rim with an internal trigger that recognises the drum hits.

Why is this kit cheap? Mesh heads on a budget electric drum set is quite a new development in the industry. These are usually reserved for much more expensive kits. The drum pads are smaller than high-end ones, but they are still quite playable.

The drum module is the same as the original Alesis Nitro. It’s quite a good one for an inexpensive set, though it doesn’t have the features of a high-end one.

Main benefits: Mesh heads, full kick pad, nice adjustability, very good value.

Learn more about the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit.

2) Yamaha’s entry-level set – DTX400K

Yamaha is one of the biggest names in the world of electric drumming. This is certainly not the best kit in the world but it is not bad for its price range.

It is a very compact set that can be easily packed away. I am not a big fan of foot-switch style electric beater-less kick pedals but they are much quieter than using regular kick pedals. You can also replace this pad with a kick tower and pedal later on if you want.

This kit contains all the essential elements you need. However, if you don’t have a pair of headphones and drumsticks then you will need to purchase them separately!

Main benefits: Great brand, quiet kick pedal, compact, very cheap.

3) Roland’s entry-level set – TD-1KV

Before people start complaining about this part, Roland have a slightly cheaper version of this (the TD-1K), but the KV version contains a very high quality mesh snare that I would class as essential to this electric drum set.

Roland is not known for cheap electronic drum sets. They’re a very high quality manufacturer that charges a premium price for their products. This kit is still slightly expensive for what you get, but it’s a very good one.

The mesh snare head is absolutely fantastic. The snare drum is arguably the most important element of your set for expression, therefore prioritising this one for the best drum pad is a good idea. You might think it’s a strange idea to combine both mesh and rubber heads, but this is commonly done for v-drums and they’re very playable.

This electric drum set also includes a pedal for the hi-hat and a beater-less pedal for the kick (you can replace the pedal with a kick tower and pedal if you want). If you are looking for something very compact and quiet, then this could be a great option. If you have more space and freedom to make a little more noise then you could consider other options.

Read more about the TD-1KV set.

Main benefits: Great brand, quiet kick pedal, mesh snare head, compact.

Common questions about these cheap electric drum sets

Does everything come included?

The only things you will need for any of the above electric drum sets are headphones and drumsticks. Check out our guides on these if you’re looking for the best ones.

I would also recommend getting a decent drum throne if you are planning to play on these for a large length of time. Bad posture while drumming can lead to serious back problems.

Can kids play these electric sets?

In general, kids should be able to play on these kits if they are over 7 years of age (or tall for their age!). Check out our guide on kids electronic drum sets for more information. There are alternative options for younger kids.

Can I learn to play drums on these?

Absolutely! If acoustic drum sets are not an option then electric kits are the next best thing. You can learn many of the important elements of drumming such as drum beats, technique, co-ordination, and rudiments while using an electric drum set.

This experience can be very easily transferrable to other music instruments or full drum kits later on. Also, electronic drums are constantly increasing in the scene of major music genres. Drummers often use some form of electronic drums on stage along with their regular setup.

Can I play double bass on these electric drum sets?

Out of the box, you’re not going to get a great double bass drumming experience. For example, you can set the DTX400 to ‘double bass drum mode’, but it won’t really replicate the experience of the beaters hitting the pads very well.

The good thing is that you can replace the beaterless pedals with a large enough kick tower to accommodate double bass drum pedals.

The Alesis Nitro kick tower could technically fit double bass drum pedals if the beaters are close enough together. It won’t provide the best possible experience, but it might be suitable for your needs.

Check out our article on double bass electronic drum sets for more information on how to upgrade your kit. The article also includes information on electric drum sets that come with compatibility for double kick pedals right out of the box.

Conclusion – What is the Best Cheap Electric Drum Set?

We hope that some light has been shed on the topic of cheap electric drum sets. Remember, inexpensive does not have to mean bad quality. All of the drum sets in this article are good choices as long as you are satisfied that their features will suit your needs.

If you’re on a budget, we believe that the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit is the best choice for both features and quality. If you’re on the lookout for electric drum sets with more features, then check out our article on the best electronic drum sets to learn more.

best_electronic_drum_sets

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6 Cool Kickstarter Campaigns for Drummers

live drums - kickstarter

Are you looking out for some cool new innovative drumming products? Kickstarter is a great place to check these out. In this article, we’ve listed 6 cool Kickstarter projects related to drumming.

Some of these are now past their funding deadlines, but it’s still cool to get a glimpse of the type of drumming innovations that the public are backing.

1) Backbeater

All profits from this product are to be donated to music charities around the world. Very inspiring!

Having a metronome by your side during your studio rehearsals and live gigs will dramatically improve your drumming performance. Being able to follow the tempo without any glitches is the number one job for a drummer. This is often ignored by beginners.

You need to form a solid foundation of timing and technique as a drummer. Although there are many metronomes available on the market, the Backbeater is a lot more innovative.

This is where Backbeater comes on stage. It is a combination hardware, with an accompanied mobile app, that can be easily used by all generations of drummers.

Before you download the Backbeater metronome app, you should get their special kit. It contains a Nootle mobile mount that needs to be attached to the hi-hat stand, as well as the Wiretap audio splitter so that you can use headphones while playing the drums. Finally and most importantly, you also get the Backbeater sensor, which monitors the tempo and sends the data to the mobile phone and the app.

As for the app, the middle part of the interface displays the number of beats per minute (BPM). Then there’s the circle around the BPM display, in which a dot shows your stroke accuracy in real time.

There’s also an option to launch your pre-recorded setlist and play the songs from that list, as well as use the arrows on the screen to switch between the songs.

2) Oddball

Wherever there’s a sound, there’s also the potential to create music. Oddball is a product that speaks best in favor of this statement.

It’s literally a bouncing ball that creates beats as it touches the ground or any other surface. This drum machine comes in two parts: the sound-producing ball and the mobile app. The outer part of the ball is made of rubber. The central part contains the sensor, which is the heart of the entire product.

As you bounce the ball, the contact-sensitive sensor produces the beats. The harder you bounce the ball, the heavier the sound and vice versa: the lighter you bounce, the subtler beat you get.

These beats are then sent to the mobile phone and emitted through the headphones or the mobile speaker. Logically, you can also connect your mobile to a Bluetooth speaker, or any other, non-integrated speakers.

Oddball is a great choice for different generations. If you’re a professional drummer or a music producer, you can use it to produce and record more creative sounds. Amateur music enthusiasts can experiment with this beat-generating device to discover their music affinities. Finally, it’s a nice gift for little children, both as a toy and as a ticket to the world of percussions.

It’s also available in different colors, which adds to its overall design impression.

3) LIVE Series Cajon

The Cajon is one of the most popular all-in-one drums. It can either be an acoustic or an electronic Cajon and it’s most often played along the guitar.

Unlike the typical Cajons you can find on the market, the LIVE Series Cajon introduces some add-ons that make the entire playing experience smoother and more exciting.

One of the most important advancements brought by this Cajon is the 5-tier snare lock. This special feature enables Cajon players to change the sound during live sessions as they’re playing it. The five-tier handle is here to help you choose from five different sounds.

As for the sound itself, the LIVE Series Cajon is made to produce deep, warm bass sounds. This feature is possible thanks to the bass pedal system. Simply put, there’s a pedal at the back of this Cajon, which triggers the bass beater inside the drum. By pressing the pedal with your heel, you produce the sound of a bass drum.

Logically, the snare sound is produced by hitting the front of this Cajon, but this Cajon goes the extra mile in producing a high-resonating, jangling sound.

In case you want to play a gig without changing the sound of the Cajon, the handle and the pedal can easily be removed.

Finally, the aluminum framing makes the LIVE Series Cajon one of the most durable and lightest cajons on the market.

4) Switch Kick Bass Drum Beater

Drummers are among the most innovative musicians. They often create a sound or a beat pattern that sounds different from anything else. Such creativity often leads to conceiving new products and drumming accessories. The Switch Kick Bass Drum Beater is one of such devices.

Conceived by drummer Kevin Smith and manufactured by Drum Concepts Studio, this set is meant to help drummers change the sound of the drum bass as they’re playing it. Thanks to this bass drum set, you can adjust the settings without interrupting the playing flow.

In order to get the preferred sound, you can turn the head of the beater on the plastic or felt side. What you can also do is replace this beater with the bomber beater or the brush beater, depending on the desired sound you want to produce on your bass drum. The latest innovation coming from this bass drum manufacture is the sonic beater. This drumming addition has a hollow body, which ensures a more resonate sound of the bass drum.

The metal axis in the middle of these beaters is made of stainless steel. This material is a guarantee of endurance and top-notch sound.

5) The Guitar Drum

Closely related to the Cajon, the electric drum is a substitution for a Cajon.

This innovation is a small, nicely shaped board that’s attached to the guitar body, usually above the hole. When you’re playing the guitar, you can hit the guitar-drum with the palm of your hand, to produce the sound of the Cajon.

The board, i.e. the drum is easily attached to the guitar. The kit comes with mounting tape, which is used to stick the drum to the guitar without causing any damage to the instrument.

You can choose from several types of wood for the drum, such as mango, koa, or poplar.

One of the greatest benefits of this guitar add-on is the fact that you don’t have to carry both your guitar and Cajon to your gigs. The guitar-drum will serve your Cajon needs well, and what’s more, it won’t take much space in your car.

6) Drumfigurator 93

A mobile software app, Drumfigurator is supposed to help drummers improve their practice sessions and configure their drum sets.

Some of the features that the final product will contain are creating, saving and sharing your own setup for a drum set or percussion kit.

The app in its current state enables its users to set up a drum kit, as well to adjust some details, and share these settings and design with other users of the app.

When and if Drumfigurator becomes a fully completed drumming app, its users will also be able to add images to their drum designs.

Starting other KickStarter Projects for Drummers

Kickstarter remains one of the most popular places for musical innovators to place their products and ask for public support.

There will certainly be more interesting projects on this website in the time ahead. Every music enthusiast should follow such news and expand their artistic horizons. What’s more, if you have any similar ideas for innovative musical solutions, feel free to start a campaign on Kickstarter and see how people perceive your ideas.

The projects we’ve presented in this article can serve as an inspiration for new musical innovators to share their visions with the online audience.

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The 5 Best Electronic Drum Modules – Including Drum Brains and Trigger Modules

The Pearl Mimic Pro Drum Module

A central part of your electric drum kit is the drum module. Thanks to advancements in these devices, the times of awkward, clunky sounding electronic drums have passed.

Today, more and more drummers are turning to electronic drum kits, realizing all the benefits that these instruments have.

First of all, electronic drum modules are excellent recording tool. Most of these products offer such amazing sound quality, which mimics acoustic drum sets, as well as offering sounds that are simply not possible on them.

Some modules feature more than 60 kits integrated, with sounds that have been recorded in some of the world’s finest studios, by famous sound engineers. Basically, all modern modules come with amazing sound libraries, and most of them also feature SD card or similar slots, so you can also import your own sounds and make this device even better.

Thanks to the amazing sound quality, as well as to great flexibility that allows numerous trigger inputs, these modules are also an excellent thing for live performances. While practicing on such versatile instrument, you will have more chances to expand your musical expression and improve you playing in total.

Note: Our list also includes a couple of trigger modules, which are a great tool to electrify your acoustic drum kit and get additional features that would be of a great help in both recordings and live performances.

The Best Electronic Drum Modules

Very well respected, high-end drum-brain from Pearl
The drum brain from Roland's flagship v-drums set
Very high quality Yamaha drum brain
Very affordable and popular drum trigger module

Pearl Mimic Pro Drum Module

When two top-class companies pull their best sources, you can expect nothing less than one of the finest electronic drum modules around. This Pearl drum module is powered by the newest drum library of the famous producer and software expert Steven Slate. So, besides Pearl’s recognizable quality, you can count on drum sounds that have been recorded in some of the most famous studios around. This module comes with 60 drum kits in total, which perfectly mimic the original sound.

The module comes with the fantastic 7-inch touchscreen interface, which is extremely transparent and offers pretty simple navigation, which ensures so-much-appreciated easiness of use. Also, the software is extremely fast, which is crucial for the user’s convenience. Additionally, there is a 120 GB SSD, as well as SD/USB connectivity, so you can store all of your favorite samples.

Another novelty is an advanced sensor technology, which reduces false triggering to a minimum. These sensors are extremely responsive, so you have plenty of room to adjust the velocity. Since there are 16 ins and outs, this module can work well even with the largest kits. You can monitor your playing, and also record a dry signal without FX. Of course, there is also MIDI connectivity. A 12V DC power supply is also included.

Roland V-Drums TD-50 Drum Sound Module

The latest version of the famous module series comes with a bunch of improvements. While the overall layout might look unchanged, the software is completely new. The new Prismatic Sound Modeling engine brings an amazingly realistic drum sound, characterized by beautiful colors and great dynamics.

The first thing that you’ll notice on TD-50 is a bunch controls. Most players will appreciate all those onboard knobs for EQ, reverb, compression, saturation etc. With these controls, creating natural ambiance seems almost effortless.

The core of this module is the new Prismatic Sound Modeling engine, which besides amazing sound offers plenty of modeling options. You can set thickness and overtones of each drum shell, and thickness and size of each cymbal. Additionally, there are 30 built-in effects, like saturation, compression etc.

This module also allows you to import any kind of library via SDHC card. Once you upload the library, you can start editing your kits. Thanks to the Snapshot feature, you can A/B before and after. If you don’t like what you’ve made, just scrap it and start over again.

When it comes to ins and outs, you can send the signal through either balanced stereo XLR outs, or unbalanced ¼ stereo outs. MIDI in/out is also included, while USB port is a perfect feature for home recording since you won’t need an audio interface.

Yamaha DTX900 Electronic Drum Module

The DTX900 relies on Yamaha’s proven 64-tone polyphonic tone generator, which offers pretty good sound dynamics. This unit offers 50 drum kits with natural sound. Besides good audio quality, it comes with very user-friendly design, in Yamaha’s traditional layout, with plenty of analog controls.

Of course, this module is designed primarily for live performances, but it can serve as an excellent practice unit, especially if we consider a built-in music sequencer. Basically, there are numerous preset songs. You have full control of these pieces, so you can mute pretty much every part of the song, including rhythm part, bass or any other part. So, play with instruments you want and work on your skills. Additionally, there are Rhythm Gate and Groove Check features, as well as an onboard metronome. Definitely, great tools to improve your technique.

All in all, you can count on thousands of drum sounds, 50 presets and 50 user kits, two USB ports (Type A and Type B), 2-track real-time recording, MIDI in and out and many other features for the price that is significantly lower compared to key competitors.

Yamaha DTX502 Electronic Drum Trigger Module

This trigger module looks like a pretty capable alternative to expensive sound modules. For a very affordable price, you can successfully hybridize your drum kit with this trigger module. It is a new, upgraded version of the previous DTX500 module and it comes with a bunch of novelties.

The new model delivers almost twice wave ROM and 250 additional sounds. With such large offer, it definitely can make great sounds when connected to pads. It comes with hi-quality drum and cymbal sounds that are designed by top-class VST developers. With 691 sound and 50 kits in total, DTX502 is ready to take your playing to the next level.

It can be used successfully both for practice and live performances. Easiness of use is one of the strongest points. The trigger’s design is very simple and consists of only several buttons, one data wheel and a small LCD screen. It is good to know that you can import MIDI files, while USB connectivity definitely makes things much easier.

Roland TM-2 Trigger Module

In many cases, the best way is to keep things simple. The TM-2 trigger module is a compact and extremely intuitive device, which seems like a perfect tool for all those who need an affordable and easy-to-use unit.

It comes with a very simple design, with only a few buttons but with a strong interface that offers numerous sounds.There are more than 100 professional sounds in total, which are designed for layering with acoustic drums as well. Moreover, there is an SD card slot, so you can use your own sounds too.

It offers several onboard effects, including reverb, flanger, and delay. MIDI conversion is included too, and the great thing about this device is that you can connect to any other controller. Speaking of connectivity, TM-2 works with both acoustic drum triggers and drum pads.

It is compatible with BT-1 Bar Trigger Pad, KT-10 Kick Trigger Pedal, V-Pads, and V-Cymbals. A lack of editing options is probably the only bigger drawback of this unit, though many would say we shouldn’t be asking for more, considering the price tag. An AC adapter is included, though the unit can be powered with four AA batteries as well.

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How to Record Electronic Drums to Your Computer

recording electronic drum set
I’ve recorded electronic drums many times using different techniques for both professional productions and practice sessions.

There is a lot of junk information out there about how to do this. For example, I’ve read a guide online stating that you need to buy an external amplifier in order to record your e-drums, claiming that this is what “creates the sounds”, which is completely wrong.

In this article, I’m going to tell you in simple terms how to record from your electronic drum set to your computer.

One of the biggest benefits of electronic drums over acoustic kits is their ability to be quickly and easily recorded with minimal hassle.

You have a few options available to do this, though you don’t have to choose only one. I recommend using a combination of audio and MIDI as it can give you the most freedom to change and play around with your tracks later.

Start by reading our infographic below. We’ll dive deeper into these steps after.

how to record electronic drum infographic
Feel free to share or re-post this infographic. Though please point back to this page when doing so.

Option 1) Recording the audio output directly from your drum module via USB

All of the pads and cymbals on your electronic drum set are routed to your drum module (or drum brain as it’s also referred to). The drum module is actually what creates the sounds, as the pads and cymbals are just used to trigger these.

Check your drum module. Some pretty modest modules such as the Roland TD-11 actually act as their very own audio interface. This means that you can simply connect your drum module to your computer via a USB cable, install the necessary drivers, and away you go.

To do this, follow the steps in Option 2, but skip the parts about the audio interface and audio cables.

Option 2) Recording the audio output from your drum module via an audio interface

If your drum module does not have the ability to transfer audio via USB to your computer then follow the steps below.

Drum modules generally include a headphone output so you can easily monitor your practice and performance, but they also generally feature audio outputs that you can used for recording and live performances.

What you will need

The items you will need for this are a computer, recording software (free software will do fine), an audio interface, and audio cables.

1) A computer (Windows, Max, Linux)

You do not need anything fancy to record audio to a computer. A very average computer should do fine, just make sure that it meets the system requirements for the audio interface that you’re planning to buy.

2) Recording software on your computer

You can use either free audio software such as Audacity (Windows/Mac/Linux) or Garageband (Mac). You might already have one of these already installed on your computer.

If you have a professional DAW (Digital audio workstations) such as Logic, Cubase, Ableton Live, etc, then these will all work great.

There are also a bunch of good free DAWs to choose from.

3) An audio interface

An audio interface is required to transmit the audio outputs from your electronic drum kit to a digital signal that can be interpreted to your computer.

Audio interfaces usually connect to your computer by USB. Drivers for these are usually very easy to install. The audio signal from the audio interface can then be easily recognized and recorded to your software.

Before buying an audio interface, ensure that it is compatible with your computer’s specific operating system version (e.g. Windows 8.1) and that it meets any other system requirements of the audio interface.

I recommend investing a bit of money in a decent audio interface. Very low budget ones can break easily or cause annoying static sounds in your recording.

I use the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio interface and it works really nicely for me. It’s not the best or highest budget one around, but it’s a very decent one for the price. It records very nicely and has 2 inputs and 4 outputs. It also includes midi inputs and outputs which can be really useful (more on that later).

If you have a lower budget you can also consider the Focusrite 2i2. Though it only has 2 outputs and does not have midi in and out. If you’re just planning to use your interface for basic purposes such as recording your electronic drums then the 2i2 would suit your needs.

4) Audio cables

Check the output connections on the back of your drum modules. The below directions are general instructions that should work for the majority of situations. However, if you’re in doubt then check the manual of your drum module or look at the manufacturers website for more information.

If you see two 1/4 phone jack outputs (like that ones you plug into a guitar or other electronic instrument) for Left and Right then get two 1/4 inch TS (tip-sleeve) cables and connect both of these from your module to your interface.

If your drum module only has one single stereo output then you should use a TRS (tip-ring-sleeve) cable as these cables can support stereo signals, whereas TS signals only support mono signals.

Additionally, if your module only has one 1/8 inch output (the same size as earphone slots on your phone or laptop) then you may need a 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch TRS cable or an adapter from 1/8 to 1/4 inch.

Step by step instructions for recording audio from your drum module

  1. Turn on your computer!
  2. Use the audio cable(s) to connect the audio outputs from your electronic drum kit module to the inputs of your audio interface. Turn up the gain or volume knob on your audio interface track to ensure that an audio signal will be passed through.
  3. Connect the USB output from your audio interface to the USB input on your computer.
  4. Launch the recording software application on your computer.
  5. Follow your audio software’s directions to record audio. DAW software usually consists of multiple tracks in one project. You simply need to select an audio track, select your audio interface’s name as the audio input for the track, ‘arm’ the track for recording, and then click the record button. The directions might differ slightly, but it’s usually very similar to this.
  6. Start drumming. You will usually see visual representations of audio waves shown for the audio recording. This will be a clear indication that you’re successfully recording an audio signal from your drum module.

Bonus – Multi-track recording
Lower end electronic drum modules usually just have a pair of stereo outputs. However, some higher end drum modules contain either many different output jacks or the ability to multi-track record your audio via USB. This is great news for those that want to have a lot more freedom later.

Troubleshooting

Are you having issues with your recordings, check out the possible solutions below:

Issue – The audio interface is not being recognized by my computer

  • If you’re using a Windows computer, check to ensure that the recommended drivers are being successfully installed.
    • Do any messages pop up stating that drivers have not been successfully installed?
    • Check the manufacturer’s website of your audio interface for information and advise on any drivers that might need to be installed.
  • Is the audio interface compatible with your computer and OS? Read the manual or check the box to find out
  • The USB cable connecting the audio interface to the computer might be damaged.
  • The USB slot on your computer might be broken. Try another one if possible.
  • If all fails, sometimes simply turning the computer off and on actually solves the problem!
  • It’s possible that the audio interface is malfunctioning. Try connecting the audio interface to another computer if you can.

Issue – I’m getting hiss or static noises in my recording

  • This can easily occur on cheaper audio interfaces that cannot handle high input volumes. Try to lower the volume of the input on your audio interface and see if you can get a reasonable signal without sacrificing audio quality.
  • Try to listen to the audio signal on your electronic drum set to ensure that the hiss is not coming directly from the drum module.
  • Hiss can also be a result of electrical signals interfering with your recording. If you’re using a laptop with a working battery, plus out the AC power from the laptop.
  • Hiss can be produced internally in your laptop or through other peripherals. If you have other devices connected to your computer, such as hard-drives or USB midi inputs, remove these to check if it makes a difference.

Issue – I’m getting latency or lag in my audio recording
This means that there can be a gap in time between when you hit a pad to when the signal is received and processed by your computer. This can be annoying.

  • If you’re listening to the audio output from your computer while it’s recording then try to hook a set of headphones to the headphone output (if available) on your drum module. You can then listen to the audio recording through this without latency. If you’re recording to a song, you might need to drag and adjust the recording back in the track to adjust for the lag.
  • Check the manufacturers website or manual for your audio interface for troubleshooting tips on dealing with latency.
  • If you’re using a Windows machine, try to configure the computer for working with audio. Windows is very capable of processing audio, but by default it’s not always prioritized. You can use the following guide, which goes through some steps on how to improve the audio processing performance on your Windows computer.

Option 3) Record your drumming using MIDI

This is an entirely different approach to recording from your electronic drum set. Recording MIDI allows us to capture the digital notes from the drum pads and cymbals as you’re playing them, this digital information can then be used to trigger drum samples or drum synths on audio software on your computer.

It might sound complicated but it’s not. MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is very heavily used in electronic musical instruments for decades and is very widely supported by audio production software.

This can be a great option if you want loads of flexibility on our drum sounds and/or freedom to change or rework your drum track.

What you will need

1) A Computer

As with recording audio, nothing too powerful is required.

2) Depending on the module of your drum moduleA USB Cable OR A MIDI-to-USB Interface OR A MIDI Drum Module: Check the back of your electronic drum module.

  • If your drum module includes a USB output that supports MIDI transfer (similar to that of a standard printer cable) then you’re in luck. All you need is a USB cable to connect this to your computer. These are very common in Roland V-Drums for example.
  • If it includes a standard MIDI output then you will need a MIDI-to-USB interface to be able to digitally transmit the MIDI information to you computer. These are very cheap to get your hands on. Alternatively, the Scarlet 2i4 audio interface that I previously mentioned also includes MIDI capability. Therefore you could connect midi cables from your drum module to that interface.
  • If your drum module does not support external MIDI options then you would need to get your hands on a better drum module or a separate MIDI drum module. Though this is not ideal, as it requires the highest cost and most amount of work.

3) Audio drum recording software or a good DAW (Digital audio workstation)

There are a wide variety of drum software and VSTs around. Toontrack EZdrummer or Addictive Drums are great paid examples. Also, many DAWs already include their own drum racks that you can map to the MIDI inputted from your electronic drum set.

Check out the following list of good free drum VSTs.

Step by step

  1. Turn on your computer
  2. If your electronic drum set module does not support midi then take out all of the drum and cymbal pad inputs from the drum module and insert them into the inputs of your MIDI Drum module.
  3. Connect the MIDI output from your drum module OR MIDI Drum module to your computer.
  4. Launch your drum recording software or DAW.
  5. Follow the instructions of your recording software to map the MIDI notes to your desired sounds. This can vary a lot depending on what software you’re using, so I’m link to a set of good resources depending on your approach.
  6. Press record.
  7. Start playing your drums. If you’re viewing your drums on a MIDI track in a DAW, then the recording will look very different to an audio recording. It will show up a set of discrete notes that correspond to exactly when you’re hitting your drums.
  8. After playing, you can tweak or change around your MIDI track. For example, DAWs generally include the ability to quantize your MIDI notes, which align your notes to a grid (you can usually change the size of the grid, e.g. quarter notes, sixteenth notes, etc). This can alter your drum notes to stay in time.

Pros and Cons of Recording Audio vs Recording MIDI

Recording the audio output from your module or recording the MIDI to your computer can both be great options. However, both have their pros and cons.

Recording Audio from your module:

Pros:

  • Great for recording practice sessions as it requires minimal effort.
  • Very easy to do. Using this approach you simply record the audio signal from your drum module. It does not require messing with MIDI mappings on your DAW software
  • What you hear is what you get. If you’re happy with the internal sounds of your electronic drum set then you can record them directly to your computer as-is.

Cons:

  • Most electronic drum modules only include stereo outputs. That means that you cannot separate the audio signals of your drums into different tracks on your computer. This is generally not a problem for recording practice or doing rough demos. However, it can be an issue if you really want to process and mix your different drum sounds. Please note, that some higher end drum modules, such as Roland TR-20, include many more outputs. If the drum pads and cymbals on your e-drum kit connect to your drum modules via 1/4 inch audio cables then you could easily swap out your current module for a higher end one.
  • What you hear is what you get. If you’re not happy with the internal sounds of your electronic drum set then you might not be happy with the finished recording. It can be difficult to swap out the individual sounds of the drums if you’re using a stereo output. Even if you do, it will require manually midi mapping, or tweaking of automated MIDI recognition on your digital audio workstation.

Recording MIDI to your computer

Pros:

  • More flexibility for your sound. You can change the samples or drum synths on your computer later on.
  • More flexibility for your drum tracks. MIDI notes can be re-arranged or automatically quantized to stay in time.
  • Better mixing. As stated previously, most drum modules only have stereo outputs. When recording MIDI, you can process the sounds of each drum hit differently, e.g. through music mixing techniques such as EQ, compression, reverb, misc effects, etc.

Cons

  • MIDI mapping. This is not overly complicated, but it can get a bit tedious if you’re trying to do anything too complex.
  • If you’re simply looking for a recording of what’s coming out of your drum module, then this approach can be a bit overkill.
  • If your drum module does not support MIDI outputs, then it’s extra expense to purchase a MIDI drum module.

If you’re just recording for personal or band practice then I think the direct audio output is the best option. It’s easy, and does not require messing about with MIDI mapping to your computer’s DAW. If you’re doing anything more comprehensive, such as using your electronic drum set recording for music production or professional releases then I’d recommend that you go the MIDI route.

In my opinion, the best option is to combine both of these option together if you can, as it gives you the most amount of freedom. Higher end Roland V-drum modules usually include a USB connection which can transfer both audio and MIDI at the same time, which is a fantastic feature.

Summary

So that’s my article on how to record electronic drums to your computer. It’s generally a pretty straightforward process, but there can be a few standard technical issues issues along the way.

However, once you get past these issues initially you should be ready to record in a flash in future. You won’t have to go through the process of re-setting up microphones and mixers like you would with an acoustic drum kit.

Have you run into any other issues while recording that I haven’t listed above? If so, please write a question or comment below!

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How to Read Drum Sheet Music – Your Crash Course

sheet music for drummers

Learning how to read sheet music can be a vital step to becoming a great drummer.

Despite what you might think:

It’s not difficult to learn how to read sheet music.

For drums, all you need is a grasp of the basics of the notation and a few examples to get started.

I’m a real ‘learn by doing’ guy, and many drummers are also. In this article, I’m going to show you by example rather than bombarding you with music theory.

You can learn the detail of the music theory later. Once you get a bit of a context of how to read sheet music, I think that’s half the battle already won.

Let’s get started with a quick example:

A Simple Rock Beat

Take this example (automatically starts at 1:24) of a basic rock beat. This piece is a great way to explain how drum sheet music works, as it uses a very simple rhythm with multiple different surfaces.

Quick explanation:

  • There are 4 beats in a bar here: This particular piece uses the same time signature as the vast majority of modern music, which is 4/4 – which means that there are 4 quarter notes per bar (more on that later). Many bars together are combined to make up a song.
  • The different drums and cymbals are placed in different vertical positions of the staff. The kick drum is at the bottom, the hi-hat is an X at the top, and the snare drum is above the middle. Drums are written as regular music notes, while cymbals are denoted as X’s.
  • In this piece, all the kick and snare hits are on the main beats (1, 2, 3, 4), but the hi-hats are also played evenly between each of these beats as well (1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &). These are known as eighth notes, as they have half the value of quarter notes (so they occur twice as much in our piece).

It’s very useful to play along using a metronome when trying these out. This helps to ensure that you’re staying exactly on time, and it helps when you get into more complicated rhythms.

Mixing it up a little

Now let’s change it around a little. Take a look at the next beat in this video (automatically starts at 2:47), we’re simply moving the bass drum from the 3rd beat one eighth note forward.

This kick drum hit occurs exactly at the same time as our hi-hat hit in between the 3rd and 4th beat.

One little change to our bar has made all the difference. Feel free to try out different arrangements yourself. You can have snare drum, bass drum, and hi-hat hits all at once if you want.

drum sheet music
Drum sheet music is heavily used in drum corps, as their music pieces can be very intricate and use many different rudiments

I recommend that you start slow when doing this. This video is a great example, as it starts at 60 beats per minute, exactly one beat per second.

Once you increase the speed, these drum beats can get very cool.

I initially thought “What’s the point of sheet music for drummers” when I started to play drums. After a few drum lessons, I really started to see the difference.

Learning a basic rock beat is easy for drums, but it’s very easy to plateau with your learning development on drums.

One of my best and most important pieces of drum tuition was Dom Famularo’s drum tuition book ‘It’s your move’. I would have never been able to even read the instruction if I didn’t know how to read drum sheet music.

Drum sheet music is also widely used for the full drum set, covering every style of playing

Learning drum notation does the following:

  • It gives you a better understanding of music and rhythm.
  • Opens you to a whole new world of music tuition, books, and learning resources.
  • Enables you to read and play on the spot, meaning that you don’t have to learn large pieces of music for performances. This is great for session drummers, or for drummers in cover bands that need to refresh their memory on songs regularly.
  • It gives you more credibility as a musician.

Learning more of the basics

Take a look at this next video to keep learning the basics:

After this, I’ve listed some more quick resources that you should check out straight away. These include more resources to learn how to read sheet music for drummers, and links to free sheet music for download.

 

Rob from DrumsTheWord does a great job of explaining more of the basics here.

Free drum sheet music

There is a wealth of free drum transcriptions on the web. Here is a great list of options for you to get started right away without having to pay a dime:

Drumeo – This first video in this lesson was by Jared Falk from Drumeo. If you liked that video, then you’re going to be amazed at what Drumeo has to offer. Be sure to check out the Drumeo website.

http://www.drumiverse.com/ – A popular site with an ever-growing selection of free drum scores.

https://drumcentral.co.uk/drum-transcriptions/ – Quality free drum scores on popular rock and pop music. This is a great one for practicing drummers, or those playing in cover bands.

http://www.drumscore.com/sheet-music/free-drum-sheet-music – Drumscore.com is a fantastic resource for sheet music. I’ve linked to a page which includes a list of their free transcriptions. This includes a few cool metal tracks in here too, such as System Of A Down and Iron Maiden. Rock on!

http://www.drummingmatt.com/drum_transcriptions.php – A nice selection of free drum scores by Matt MacKinnon.

https://www.8notes.com/drums/sheet_music/ – This site is only free for a few scores per day, but there is a great selection. It also includes a play-along element which is a great plus.

http://thedrumninja.com/drum-transcriptions/ – A very decent selection of free drum sheet music

That should be enough free resources to keep you going! If you have any other links to add to the list then please write a comment below.

Learning How to Read Sheet Music for Drums – Final Thoughts

There are some many benefits to learning how to read sheet music. More and more musicians in modern days are self-thought. If you’re in this category, then good for you. However, you need to push yourself towards all of those important aspects of your music education to ensure that you keep learning and keep progressing.

My biggest takeaway is this: try to recognize when you stop progressing on drums. A few years ago, I was practicing hours a day, but I realized that I wasn’t putting quality time into my practice. I was just rehashing the same drum beats over and over again.

Learning how to read sheet music for drums can really put you in the zone of trying out new rhythms there and then. It’s a great learning adventure to pick up a drum tuition book and start playing rhythms.

Keep on learning and keep on rocking!

Mike

 

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Double Bass Electronic Drum Sets – Buyer’s Guide

double-bass-drum-electronic

The topic of using a double bass pedal with electronic drum sets comes up quite frequently. It can be difficult to find out information online about what electronic drum kits are compatible with these.

It’s quite simple. All you need is a big enough kick pad that can support two beaters and a double bass drum pedal. Then you’re good to go.

Whether you’re adding a double kick pedal to your existing kit or buying a new double bass electronic drum set entirely, this article is for you.

Why use a double bass drum pedal?

Multiple kick pedals are very popular amount numerous styles of music, particularly metal and more complex drumming for alternative styles of music.

There are two ways that double bass drums are usually set up on an acoustic kit: the first way is to have 2 actual separate bass drums. This is a great option but it adds an incredible amount of extra weight and bulk to your kit. The alternative is a double bass drum pedal. This is what most drummers use in the case of having two kick pedals.

If you get a decent kick pedal, the feel of these is broadly the same.

Electronic Drum Sets Compatible with Double Bass Drum Pedals

Please note: Most sets do not include double bass drum pedals. These need to be purchased separately.

Includes the Roland KD-9 kick pad, which is great for double kick pedals
Includes an 8 inch Alesis Mesh Kick Pad, wide enough for double kick pedals
Very high quality set from Yamaha that includes a large kick drum tower
Roland's fantastic flagship set, with a very large mesh kick pad

Getting a double bass drum pedal

If you got a pedal with your drum set, it’s likely a single one. This contains one pedal and one kick.

I would highly recommend that you invest a decent sum of money into your double kick pedal. My first double pedal was a very low budget one, and the quality of the left pedal was simply not up to par with the right one.

You really want to make sure that the secondary pedal is extremely smooth. Otherwise, it can be very frustrating, and you would simply not be able to get the speed and response required.

A great option is the Tama HP200PTW Iron Cobra 200, this is relatively cheap and comes from a really respected brand in this area.

Some more good news is that double kick pedals are almost always compatible with electronic and acoustic drum sets.

What type of beaters should I use?

This depends on the type of kick pad you own. Plastic beaters should ideally be used for mesh kick pads (such as those from Roland). Otherwise, you can use either plastic or felt heads on rubber drum pads. That’s a matter of personal preference.

Many drum beaters have both a felt side and a plastic side. You can just simply switch them around.

Using a double bass pedal with your current set

Your current bass drum pad might already be large enough to accommodate a double bass drum pedal.

If not, then check out the options below. All of these are large enough to accommodate most double kick pedals. These kick drum pads will work for both electronic drum sets and drum sample pads.

Many kick pads already support double bass drum pedals. You just need to make sure that the kick pad is wide enough for the two pedals.

A word of caution for entry-level and cheap electronic drum sets
The drum modules on some cheaper and older electronic drum sets sometimes cannot register fast double kick strokes. This could make your kit unusable for the purposes of double bass drumming. Check out reviews and forums beforehand for your exact drum set model before you consider upgrading your kick drum tower.

Yamaha KP65 Electronic Drum Kick Tower

The Yamaha KP65 is a nice cheap option. The pad is not very wide, but it works with most double bass drum pedals. I used one of these for quite a few months when I was on the road.

It’s nicely responsive and works exactly as expected.

It contains a rubber pad. I personally used this with felt beaters, as it’s a bit quieter than using the plastic ends.

However, if you have more money to play with then a larger kick pad would be a better option.

Roland KD-9

Another option is the Roland KD-9. This is a bit more expensive than the Yamaha, but it’s really good and it’s considerably quieter.

This is because its head is cloth/mesh type material which does not output as much sound. I’d recommend using plastic beaters with these.

The KD-9 is quite common to find on mid-range Roland electronic drum sets.

Roland KD-120B

My last recommended option is the Roland KD-120B V-Kick Trigger Pad.

This is a high kick pedal which contains Roland’s full mesh head design. It’s a fantastic option if you have the budget, and it’s the largest of all of these kick pads, so it’s definitely big enough for double bass drum pedals.

Roland recommends not to use felt beaters on their mesh kick pads. This is because the felt could wear out the mesh, or vice versa. Plastic beaters work nicely on these pads.

Can I mix brands (e.g. Roland kick drum pad with an Alesis electronic drum set?)

Yes, kick pads are very standard. I’ve mixed and matched a few of these myself. For example, I used the Yamaha KP65 pad quite a lot with my Roland v-drums.

Learning how to use a double bass drum pedal

I can’t possibly explain the joy I felt the first time I got my hands on a double kick pedal. I could finally start to properly jam and practice songs by some of my drumming heroes.

So of course, the first time you start using these, you’ll try to get as much speed and sound as possible out of them.

However, after that, it’s worth taking a step back and starting from the basics.

A local drumming instructor once gave me a valuable piece of advice regarding using a double bass drum pedal: “Learn to walk before you run”. If you want to get good at using 2 kick pedals, you should practice your technique and independence gradually. This should be in a similar way to the method by which you improve the strength and independence of your hands.

Check out this great short video from Aaron Edgar demonstrating some easy double bass beats. All of these are also applicable to electronic drum sets.

Another very useful advanced double bass drumming method is the heel-toe technique, check out this great video by Derrick Pope if you’re interested in learning this advanced technique.

What’s my favorite song that uses a double bass drum?

I used to be a big metal fan when I was a teenager. The Slayer song, “raining blood” has a fast double bass drum solo that I think influenced a whole generation of young drummers to get a double pedal. Also, some iconic beats from Metallica’s song ‘One’ always spring to mind.

Neither of these are the best or most complex use of double bass drums, but they are always the ones that spring to my mind first as some of my favourite oldies.

However, it’s not just metal genres that use double pedals. For example, the great drummer Dom Famularo makes great use of a double bass drum pedal.

Summary

I hope his article has cleared things up regarding using double bass pedals for your electronic drum set.

Be sure to ask if you have any questions.

Happy double bass drumming!

Thanks as always,

Mike

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Drumeo Edge Review – Is It Worth It?

The process of becoming a well-versed drummer has always required regular practice, hard work and proper teaching methodic.  However, improving your drumming skills is much more different today than it used to be only a decade or two ago. Today you can learn from the best in the world through online tuition.

Drumeo is one of the most popular online drumming education hubs. This guide reviews what Drumeo offers to its subscribers through its Drumeo Edge

1)     Drumeo on the go

One of the most important features in every learning process is well-paced, gradual progress. Drumeo offers the right video lessons and tutorials for your level. Also, those video courses aren’t just randomly chosen, but they’re meticulously put together, so that they carefully pave the way for every new skill you acquire.

Moreover, becoming a part of the Drumeo drumming community means that you’ll always have someone to rely on in case you come across an obstacle in your playing practice. That way, you (literally) won’t miss a beat in your learning curve. This is extremely important, because having instructors and drumming advisers by your side all the time will give you inspiration and additional willpower to move on with your drumming effort.

Additionally, learning drumming via Drumeo will expose you to some of the most influential drumming performers of all times. The founder of the website, Jared Falk is constantly expanding the list of top-notch educators, raising the bar for the competition and providing the Drumeo students with first-class tuition.

Sign up for a free trail to Drumeo Edge

2)     Renowned drumming instructors

Just like every other famous school, Drumeo pays special attention to their educators. Taking the first look at its homepage reveals some drumming icons of the 20th and 21st century. This element of covering a wide range of generations is extremely important. It shows the intention of people behind Drumeo to connect players of different ages and styles. Here are only a few instructors, just to illustrate what drumming heroes Drumeo collaborates with.

Carmine Appice

One of the most influential prog rock drummers – the original drummer of Vanilla Fudge – and the member of the famous trio Beck, Bogert & Appice is one of the veteran contributors to the Drumeo website. He’s still active, both as a stage performer and as an educator. In this video you can see him showing us how to play some linear drum beats.

Antonio Sanchez

A highly praised Mexican drummer is one of the most important musicians on Drumeo. He has played with the likes of Chick Corea, Chris Potter, Pat Metheny and many other jazz musicians. Also, in 2014 he composed the soundtrack for the Birdman movie. Since 2002 he’s been the drummer of the Pat Metheny Group. See the video below to hear one of Antonio Sanchez’s drum solos available on Drumeo.

Peter Erskine

Another “baby boomer”, just like Carmine Appice, played an important drumming role in the 1970s, most notably as the drummer of Weather Report. After his tenure in this jazz fusion super group, he played in Steps Ahead. His long-term experience as a band drummer and a featured musician makes him a perfect choice for Drumeo lessons, like the one where he’s playing brushes in different music genres.

 

Daniel Glass

Daniel Glass is a genuine drumming scholar with a great blend of theory and practice. He’s been playing in the Royal Crown Revue swing band since 1994. What’s more, he’s also performed with a number of renowned artists, like Brian Setzer, Chita Rivera, Bette Middler and many others. Thanks to his knowledge of the history of American popular music and instruments in general – especially the development of drumming kits – and his on-stage experience, he’s an invaluable instructor for Drumeo.

 

3)     Drumeo cutting it to the chase

As you can see, many famous drummers have decided to show their skills on Drumeo. This is extremely important regarding students’ inspiration and enthusiasm.

No matter how enthusiastic you are about playing drums, too conventional a teacher might kill your zest. With Drumeo, you’re cutting it to the chase at once. The painstakingly created lessons on this website will help you immediately apply the newly acquired drumming skills on the real stuff.

That way, you won’t have to wait for dozens of lessons to play your favorite drum solo. On the contrary, your instructors are here to enable you to express your music preferences in your lessons.

What’s more, every student is given their own personalized learning plan, so that you always know where you are and where you’re going with your playing skills.

Further, the variety of drummers teaching on Drumeo will give you an insight into different music genres. As a result, you won’t only improve your drumming skills, but these lessons will fine-tune your general music affinities, as well.

 

4)     Give and get support from Drumeo community

The number of Drumeo followers and users is growing as we speak. The Drumeo YouTube Channel has about 652,000 subscribers, whereas their Instagram page is followed by 268,000 people.

Knowing that so many people support something you’re a part of is extremely important for your self-confidence.

First of all, being a part of that community means that you can always turn to someone and ask for clarification and support. Apart from your wealth of instructors on the website, many other attendees will follow your progress. For example, you can record yourself playing a lesson or a song and get comments from other students.

You’ll be able to get support for your efforts, but also to endorse other people who are trying to perfect their drumming skills.

 

Interested in trying Drumeo? Learn more and sign up for a free Drumeo Edge trial.

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The 4 Best Electronic Drum Machines – Reviews

Electronic drum machines are an extremely popular tool in the arsenal of producers, DJs, and live performers.

These are actively used in musical styles that require solid drum rhythms. They are also favored by minimal music outfits and solo artists that do not have a drummer. These devices are also a lot more practical to transport around than a physical drum kit.

Despite the explosion in use of digital audio workstations and software-based instruments for live performance (such as Ableton Live or MASCHINE), standalone electronic drum machines still holds a very strong position in music scenes.

In addition to this, some drum machines nowadays (such as the Native Instruments and AKAI models below) are actually controllers for software-based instruments.

We’ve reviewed the top electronic drum machines on the market.

In this article, you’ll have an opportunity to learn more about the basic technical specs of each of these machines. You will also find out more about their benefits and drawbacks.

Alesis SR 16

The Alesis SR 16 is one of the most popular rhythm machines ever produced. It is a standalone drum machine and has been actively used for twenty-seven years. Since its introduction in 1990 to the present time, this electronic drum machine has been developing simultaneously with the electronic music scene.

The Alesis SR 16 exhibits a trademark sound feature named Dynamic Articulation. This option enables musicians to change the built-in drum tones by playing it with different intensity.
You can use these sounds as dry tones or pair them with en-suite digital reverbs.

Speaking of the drum sounds contained in the Alesis SR 16, it’s important to mention that you can choose from the hand-picked selection of 233 natural drum sounds. This drum machine also brings 50 drum patterns that enable you to get started immediately.

This 24-bit electronic drumming kit is a great choice for smooth MIDI integration, with 120 sounds available through MIDI. You can create music in a completely personalized way by connecting a footswitch to the Alesis SR 16 and use its extra sensitive touchpads.

All these features in the hands (and feet) of creative sound artists can create original music with a strong personal touch.

Akai Professional MPD218

The next stop on our tour of best rhythm machines is the Akai Professional MPD218. Akai is a very well respected brand in music production.

If you opt for this electronic drum machine, you can count on 16 thick, conveniently organized MPC pads. Moreover, the Akai Professional MPD218 comes with 6 knobs and 48 pads altogether, which can be accessed through 3 banks.

Also, the pad controllers are arranged in a player-friendly way, so that the arranger can smoothly finger drum while making their own music.

As for the power supply, this drum machine can be directly connected to a computer via a USB-cable. There is no need for a separate AC-adapter.

The guys from Akai have bundled a plethora of free software packages along with this, including the Akai Pro MPC Essentials, Big Bank Universal Drums, Ableton Live Lite and SONiVOX Big Bank Cinematic Percussion from the Akai website.

Further, the Akai Professional MPD218 is compatible with all the major operating systems, so that you don’t have to install any additional drivers while connecting this electronic drum machine to your computer.

Note: this device is a MIDI controller and must be used in conjunction with a DAW. However, software is bundled with the device.

Korg Volca Beats Analog Rhythm Machine

The Korg Volca Beats Analog Rhythm Machine will satisfy the needs of electronic artists. It is a standalone electronic drum machine with a long tradition.

For starters, this electronic drum machine comes with a first-class step sequencer that will turn the editing experience into a seamless music joy.

Also, you can produce the notes you need to make music on this device with 16 different step keys. At the same time, you can follow the timing of every note, so as to stick with the rhythm and tempo of the track.

Regarding the PCM sound engine, its greatest benefit is the option to generate sounds like Claves, Agogo, Clap, and Crash, which don’t fit with the analog synth sound. Also, the ability to produce the appreciated lo-fi sound that was popular in the 1980s makes the Korg Volca Beats a true blast from the past.

The Korg Volca Beats can be loaded with your own rhythm samples, since it allows recording up to 10 instruments, creating distinctive polyphony.

A specific characteristic of this rhythm machine is its unique sound. It can be explained as a bit brassy, bassy and blaring. Therefore this may be more suitable to lovers of techno.

This device’s portability makes it a great choice. It can be powered by batteries as well as AC power. Also, it’s integrated speakers are a great benefit.

Native Instruments MASCHINE Mikro MK2

If you need an all-round electronic drum machine controller, the MASCHINE Mikro MK2 might be the perfect thing for you.

This controller can be used both as a top-notch sampler and a template-based sequencer. It’s more of a wide-range sound system than a classic rhythm machine. Also, it boasts a vast array of sounds effects and music samples made by professionals in real studios.

The MASCHINE Mikro MK 2 comes with a huge amount of sound data, i.e. 8 GB of sounds and samples made by sound engineers, artists, and musicians. That way, you can use the sounds of 388 instruments in multiple samples, 1,200 patterns, and more than 8,600 samples. The latter consist of 445 drum kits. As you can see, the number of possibilities provided by this electronic drum machine is immense.

Note: this device is a MIDI controller and is designed to be used in conjunction with MASCHINE software.

The Best Electronic Drum Machine

All of the drum machines above are great options. If you’re unsure which one to get, the Alesis SR16 won’t let you down. If you still haven’t used this gem of sound production, give it a try and produce some cool electronic music production.

Before picking a drum machine, make sure to ask yourself are you getting a standalone item or if the device must be used in conjunction with laptop software!

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The Best Roll Up Electronic Drum Kits 2018

Roll-up drum kits are a great option for drummers that are low on space, low on budget, in need of a quiet practice solution, or those who travel a lot.

These kits can be easily stored, folded, transported, and played on a tabletop or floor. They generally contain everything you need to get started, including foot pedals. You can also play using inbuilt speakers or connect your headphones for quiet practice.

Roll up drum sets are a great gift for both adult and kids that would like to practice and record playing drums.

MIDI roll-up kits allow you to connect your roll up drums to your laptop and record your beats. This can be great for tracking your practice, as well as recording into music production software.

These kits are also a great option to buy for kids to gauge their interest before investing in a full drum set.

Here is a comparison list of our best-recommended roll up drum kits:

The Best Roll Up Electronic Drum Kits

EDITOR'S CHOICE - with built in speakers, foot pedals, drum-sticks, and power supply, MIDI compatible
with foot pedals, drum-sticks, and power supply
similar model to the RockJam MIDI kit
great design, multiple battery power sources, lots of features
similar model to the RockJam MIDI kit

RockJam Electronic Roll Up MIDI Drum Kit (With Speakers)

The Rockjam MIDI roll-up drum kit is our top pick. This features 9 drum pads and two pedals. Drummers usually use at least one kick pedal and one hi-hat pedal, so this nicely replicates that experience.

This kit comes with everything you need to get you started. The pack includes the roll-up kit, drumsticks, power supply, and pedals.

It also contains a built-in speaker. There is also a headphone input so you can practice really quietly.

This kit can be connected to your computer via a USB connection using MIDI technology so you can record your playing.

This really is a great option for both beginners and experienced drummers that need a quick and portable way to practice their drumming.

This video below shows the RockJam electronic roll up kit really nicely. It shows the compact size of the kit, as well as being midi compatible so that it can optionally communicate with top of the range digital audio production software. Therefore at a cheap price, you really do get a lot of bang for your buck.

In the video below demonstrates this roll-up kit being used with a computer (using Ableton Live). However, this is not required to use the kit. All you need to do is plug and play, the MIDI options are only optional in case you want to get even more features out of this!

 

RockJam Electronic Roll Up Drum Kit (Without Speakers)

This roll-up kit is a more entry-level model. It does not contain a built-in speaker or a midi connection. However, if you only want quiet practice without recording then this would be a nice cheap option for you.

Note: You need headphones or speakers to use this roll-up drum kit. Check out the recommend set of headphones at the bottom of this article if you need to pick up a cheap set.

Here’s a video of this this. Keep in mind that you need external speakers to hear the drums.

 

Paxcess roll-up drum kit

Very similar to the RockJam MIDI model, the Paxcess roll-up drum kit is an affordable and convenient roll-up drum kit.

This portable, rechargeable kit pad has all the basic elements a drummer may need. There are three toms and one snare, as well as two bass drum pedals. As for the cymbals, it has one ride, one crash and one hi-hat cymbal pad.

You can use eight pre-recorded demo songs and three integrated rhythms, or try the MIDI features to connect it externally.

The rechargeable battery should last for about 10 hours when fully charged. You get an USB cable in the package, so charging is quite straightforward.

The 2x2W integrated speakers will meet the demands of basic home practice. They have an amplified bass sound and five different timbre modes.

If your living conditions require silent practicing, just plug in a pair of headphones and you can practice without disturbing your neighbours.

 

Roll-Up Drum Kit Portable Electronic Drum Set (Everyone Gain)

This is one of the best roll-up kits you can find, though it’s generally the most expensive one.

It has a great design and is packed with a lot of features.

With this set, you’ll get ten drum pads for convenient in-house or studio playing. So, you get three tom drums, the snare and two foot pedals (both bass and hi-hat). As for the cymbals, you can count on two crash cymbals, one open close hi-hat and one ride cymbal.

A nice part of the design is that every pad it named. This is a great option for beginners and kids, as you can learn and quickly identify what each pad triggers.

The Roll-up Drum Kit Portable Electronic Drum Set will provide you with eleven different accompaniments, nine integrated demo songs and three drum sound modes.

This set has built-in stereo speakers. It also offers four different power supply options. From the power adapter to the lithium battery, and from USB charging and three AA batteries, you’ll always have an alternative power supply solution.

This model has a well-organized control panel will help you set the desired modes in no time.

 

Pyle Electronic Roll Up MIDI Drum Kit

Pyle have two roll-up drum sets that very closely resemble the RockJam models.

Like most other roll-up drum kits, the Pyle Electronic Roll-Up MIDI Drum Kit comes with all the basic drumming pads, plus two foot pads (hi-had and bass).

For starters, you can use seven different sound types and twelve pre-recorded songs on this Pyle roll-up kit. What’s more, you can use the playback options to record your playing sessions.

When you get used to this set, the MIDI features included in this kit will come in handy. You can transfer the music files from this set to your computer and do some editing, composing or recording on your own. This is a great option for beginners – kids and adults alike – who are just entering the world of music production.

Unlike many other drum kids of this kind, the Pyle set enables you to switch to the percussion mode. You simply put your drum sticks aside and see how you can play with your bare hands.

If you want to hear how your drumming sounds out loud, this kit comes decent stereo speakers, or you can plug your headphones into the kit and play it anywhere you want to.

 

Once you’ve chosen a roll-up drum kit, it’s also well worth considering:

Rockstix 2 HD

Rockstix can add even more fun to playing, and kids really love them. These sticks emit light during drumming. In line with that, every single beat a player makes is accompanied with amusing light features. Plus, there are fadeout light effects, which will make drumming even more visually attractive.

The Rockstix 2 HD is also a durable pair of sticks. They’re made of polycarbonate.

They come in many different colors: blue, green, red, white, purple, orange and many others.

 

Kids and adults alike can feel like they’re both a drummer and a Jedi knight at the same time!

Behringer HPM1000 headphones

If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful set of headphones, the Behringer HPM1000 headphones are a good popular option.

These are over-ear headphones and are good value for their price. However, audiophiles and those that are looking for very high quality sound should certainly invest more money in a higher quality set. Check out our article on the best headphones for electronic drumming to read more.

The Behringer HPM1000 headphones come with the 1/8’’ connector and the 1/4’’ adapter is included in the package.

Our Choice – The Best Roll Up Electronic Drum Sets:

The roll up drum kits mentioned in this article are among the best. There are many available on the market, but you will find that many of them are actually the same models under different brand names.

Either go for an option with speakers if you want more functionality, or go for a cheaper option if you have a lower budget.

If you’re unsure which one to buy, the RockJam MIDI roll-up kit will likely cover all bases.

RockJam MIDI roll-up kit

 

For a cool design, more features, and the option for battery power, the the roll-up kit sold by ‘Everyone Gain’ is a great option.

For a very cheap model, the RockJam set without speakers is a great choice. However, keep in mind that this model does not include built-in speakers. It also does not have MIDI capability to connect it to a computer.

I hope this article has cleared up your questions on the many roll-up drum sets available online.

Be sure to ask if you have any questions!

Thanks for reading,
Mike

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