How to: Light Up and Triggered LED Drums (Plug & Play and DIY Options)

led_drums
LED Drums DIY project by bdorer on the Arduino Project Hub.

Ever want to light up your drums like a boss? In this article, we’re going to talk about lighting up either regular wooden drums or acrylic drums using LEDs.

There are a few options that you can use. You can buy a plug and play pack such as those by DrumLite. You could buy a cheap LED strip and attach it to the inside of your drum, or you could go one step further and program triggered drum lights using an Arduino.

If you have wooden drums (i.e. ones that are not see-through!) then single-sided LED lights are fine to use.

If you have acrylic drums (drum shells that you can completely see-through) then dual-sided LED lights are the ones for you.

Note: If you came here looking for drumsticks that light up then check out our article on the best light up drumsticks.

Triggered LEDs
DrumLite have now released triggers. If you would like your LED lights to trigger based on your drum hits, make sure that the package you’re getting supports it.

DrumLite Packs (No Soldiering or Programming Required)

If you’re looking for something quick and easy to set up then DrumLite offer some great drum LED packs.

Before we get into some of the choices, have a look at what these look like and how they are set up on a kit:

1. Drumlite DLK22 Single LED Band Light Kit for 22-Inches Kick Drums

Drumlite for your bass drum.

We'll start off with a simple option. If your looking for a fairly minimal LED setup for your drums, then this could be a good option for you.

They are very easy to set up and you don't need any programming or soldering.

This is a single LED band that you put inside your bass drum.

These work really well for coated drum heads, as the LED does a great job of lighting them up. They are also great for bass drum heads with port holes, and transparent front heads.

If you have a bass drum shell that's not transparent, the single LED band will be the best option for you.

2. Drumlite DLK1S Single LED Band Lighting Kit for Drums

Drumlite for your drum set.

Similar to the option above, except this covers 4 drums.

The size of the LED strips are (9x12, 14x14, 16x16, 18x22), drum sizes will vary a bit, so you might get a bit of overlap with your LED lights, but that's fine.

If you want to cover your drum set with LED lights, then this is the option for you.

If you use an Acrylic (transparent) drum set, then you're going to want to move onto the next option.

3. Drumlite DLK1D Dual LED Banded Lighting Kit for Drums

Dual Banded LED Strips for Transparent Drums.

If you have acrylic drums (go you!) then this is the option for you.

Single banded LED drum strips don't look great on Acrylic drums because there will be an entire blank side for each strip. Having LED lights on both sides makes for a much better effect.

They are a little bit more expensive, but usually not by a long shot.

Dual LED bands should be stuck on with a bit more care, specifically because spectators will be able to see the strips as they light up through the drums so you want to make sure they are straight. This is compared to wooden drums where they will just see the light coming out through the drum head.

4. DrumLite Electronic Drum Accessory (DL1T)

Light up the drum as you hit it.

Drumlite now also offer LED triggers. This allows the drum to light up as you hit it.

If you are not using a triggered LED lighting system, the lights will just stay on or off, or stay on a running sequence.

Triggered lighting for drums is particularly cool when in dark settings, as the visuals can really make an impact to the sound.

The below video shows you how Drumlite newer trigger lighting system works:

DIY Option: Triggered LED Drums Using Arduino

If you don’t have the money for drumlite, but feel confident to get down and dirty with some Arduino components, tools, and programming, then you could potentially get them set up for very cheap.

Here’s an example project by Tisham Dar on Arduino Project Hub. This looks pretty epic!

These are triggered Drum lights that use piezos. Piezos trigger based on vibration, which why they are very commonly used on drum triggers and electronic drum sets.

Going the DIY option will no doubt be considerably better value, but there is a bit of a learning curve to it.

If you are technically minded, playing around with Arduino can be very rewarding and satisfying. If you are looking to trigger LED drums on a big scale like in the video below without a big investment, it might be worth going the DIY route for this!

Colored Drum Heads

Maybe you don’t want the full flashiness of LED lights on your drums, but still want to strike a bit of color to your set. It that’s the case then check out the Remo Colortone drum heads which have been recently introduced. These look particularly cool on acrylic drum heads.

Their manufacturing process allows color based heads without any loss of quality to their sound. Win-win!

Conclusion

There you have it! The way of the future = light up drums.

These are very cool to add an interesting look to your drum set on stage. They are particularly impressive looking when using triggers in dark settings, it can add a pretty epic factor to your performance!

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