A Brief History Of Electronic Drum Sets
The first wave of electronic drum sets came during the 1980s. They were successful for a time,
their synthesized and artificial sounds, like those of drum machines, were a widely-used novelty,
appearing in popular music until they became tiresome and trite. They weren’t much fun for drummers
to play, either, with their unnatural, hard-surfaced pads and clumsy configurations.
By the 90s, the drive was on to create a new generation of electronic drum sets that would
accomplish the things that drummers and the creative business of music-making were clearly
demanding: that electronic drum sets should sound like real acoustic drums, cymbals and other
percussion instruments, that they should contain a wide variety of sounds, that they should provide
an ease and convenience of performing, practicing and recording and perhaps most importantly, that
electronic drum sets should be comfortable, encouraging and fun to play, like acoustic drum sets
have always been.
The wonderful and very practical side effect of all these demands would be also that THEY
WOULDN’T MAKE SO MUCH NOISE!
Through the 1990s, two music technology giants advanced the evolution of electronic drum
sets. Roland and Yamaha, both leaders in the fields of drum machines, keyboards, recording and
sound equipment would regularly bring significant advances to the field in how well their kits
sounded, played and added to the making of music. They were joined in the 2000s by Alesis, who had
already found much success with drum machines and drum sound modules.
These three companies have led the way and have collectively or individually met every new
demand or expectation. They have been joined by Pearl and Traps, both companies creating new
acoustic/electronic hybrid kits.