About Electronic Drums
Electronic drums have come a long way since their introduction. What was initially seen as a gimmick has gone on to become technology utilized by some of the music industry's most revered musicians. From Roger Taylor of Duran Duran to Rush's Neil Peart, professional drummers have helped to take electronic drums to the next level. In recent years, electronic drum technology has advanced so much that drummers are able to get good electronic drum kits at just about any price point.
A Brief History
The first electronic drums are attributed to Graeme Edge, drummer of English rock band The Moody Blues, in the early 1970s. Created in collaboration with Sussex University professor Brian Groves, the kit was featured on "Procession", a track on their 1971 album "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour". Several years later, a company called Pollard Industries would release the first commercial electronic drum, the Syndrum. Released in 1976, the Syndrum caught the eye of popular drummers such as Carmine Appice and Terry Bozzio. Despite this, the Pollard Syndrum failed to make a lasting impression. Moving into the 80s, electronic drums became more and more prevalent, and could be found on most popular tracks of the era. Eventually, brands like Roland and Yamaha would join in on the fun and introduce more conventional, consumer friendly electronic drums.
Electronic Drum Sets
If it's been a while since you last heard or played an electronic drum set, you are in for a pleasant surprise. The latest versions of these highly versatile instruments are so sophisticated they enable you to mute cymbals, hit rim shots, and choose from a huge library of available acoustic and electric drum sounds that you can change on the fly! The sound quality, playability, and economy of electronic drums makes them great for everybody from beginning drummers to studio musicians and touring professionals alike. So, forget whatever preconceived notions you may have about electronic drums, because they're not only dynamic, convenient, portable, and intelligent, they even have many distinct advantages over acoustic drums.
Electronic Controllers & Multipads
Electronic controllers and multipads bring you into another level of electronic drums. These allow you to do various things that will help you to expand your options both live and in the studio. Electronic controllers can help percussionists a lot when recording. Via MIDI, controllers can be programmed to work with various VST plugins, so you can use the controller to trigger a wide variety drum sounds, as well as various other sounds. For live use, most musicians will opt for a multipad. Also known as a sample pad, a multipad can used for several things in a live setting. Most come with on board presets featuring various electronic drum sounds. You can also upload your own samples and trigger interesting sounds and audio clips and use them to enhance your live show.
Drum Machines/Groove Boxes
Drum machines and groove boxes are in a league of their own. For the musician in need of a steady beat to jam to, portable drum machines are a perfect solution. From the simplest 4/4 patterns to crazy heavy metal blast beats, a drum machine can be programmed to do a whole lot with a little time and patience. Need something with more depth and versatility? A groove box allows you to sample just about any sound with ease, and is perfect for producers and DJs into EMD, dubstep, or anything in between.
Why Electronic Drums?
There are several advantages to choosing electronic drums over acoustic drums. One of these advantages is that electronic drums allow you to practice anytime you'd like without disturbing your loved ones, neighbors, or people in the next area code. By wearing a set of headphones while you play, you can be as quiet as a church mouse while rocking out like you're playing Madison Square Garden. Not only do they make practice quieter, but electronic drums also make practicing more efficient. Most modules feature metronomes, play-along tracks, and editable user kits that make them more affordable than acoustic drums.
Another advantage is the benefit of being able to go beyond the sound of a traditional drum. Electronic drums can sound like not just every percussion instrument out there, but like any instrument period. With the ability to load and edit samples to most electronic drums, as well as the ability to connect them to computers via USB or MIDI connections, you can make an electronic drum sound like anything you could possibly think of, thus opening up an entire realm of experimental possibilities.