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Electronic vs Acoustic Drums

Published: Mon November 15, 2010  News Feed

If you're out to get your first set of drums, you might want to pop into a store so you can see exactly what your buying, and all the little parts - that's if you haven't got the help of us at Dolphin Music! The obvious question when thinking of buying a drum kit is, what are all the different drums that make a complete set? How do I know if I have the right drums? Well, fist of all, we sell complete kits for beginners, or if you want a whole new kit, as well as separate parts for those of you who may be more advanced and are adding to their kit.

In this buying guide, we will try our hardest to answer all your drum related questions - What are electronic drum kits? What are acoustic drum kits? What's the difference between acoustic and electric drums? What's the best drum brand? What's the most cost effective drum kit for me?

As a parent - there are a few questions you should ask yourself when looking for a kit and considering whether an acoustic or electric kit is best for your child.

  • Is this going to fuel a neighbourhood fire?
  • Do I have enough space to set up a drum kit?
  • Will my child be performing or gigging with their drums?

If you're not going to be able to get away with making a lot of noise, you don't have much space and the drums will be mainly used at home for practising - you're best bet is to go for a set of electronic drums.

If you're lucky enough to have lot's of space and tolerant neighbours, and you're expecting the drums to be used for gigging then you should probably go for an acoustic drum kit.

5 reasons to buy an Electronic Drum Kit

  1. Compact & Portable - electronic drum kits are much more portable than acoustic kits. Aside from the benefit of electric kits generally being smaller than acoustic, once you've finished practicing you can fold them up and pack them away.
  2. Versatility - if you're a beginner and not sure which genre of music you're going to enjoy playing, an electronic drum kit will let you switch from genre to genre. This is also useful if you're a sessionist, play with different bands or perhaps you play in pubs or at weddings?
  3. Convenience - thanks to the near-silent pads on an electronic drum kit, you can play quietly in a small venue, a requirement most small stages require. That doesn't mean you can't play on a large stage with one - with an electronic kit you can play freely without mics, reducing feedback! You also have more control over the sound sent to the house PA with built in effects and multiple audio outputs.
  4. Flexibility - electronic kits give you the ability to play and record your track whilst being able to edit individual notes or instruments to your liking. Perfect for recording.
  5. Free to Practice - most models feature built in metronomes meaning you can analyse your playing to check the important things, like how in time you are. You can listen to yourself through headphones too, reducing noise.

Some of our favourite electronic drum kits are the Roland TD-11K V-Compact Series Kit which features the all new TD-11 Sound Module for £849.00, and the more budget-friendly Yamaha DTX400K Kit which comes with the Yamaha Sound Beat App, for only £379! Another excellent choice, for just £399 is the Roland TD-1K V-Drums Electronic Kit.

5 reasons to buy an Acoustic Drum Kit

  1. Make some noise - acoustic drums are much louder and need no amplification. Their sound is also more natural and crisp. This is great if you're in a band and rehearsing as you can you can play along easier than electronic
  2. Set-Up - with acoustic drums, you can create your set-up according to preference and drumming ability. As you begin to progress and build your skill, you can add more drums such as cymbals and toms.
  3. Dynamic - acoustic drums and cymbals have their own individual sound, but are more dynamic as you can use different brushes and mallets to create softer or harder sounds.
  4. Realistic - Acoustic drums are also more realistic in that you can learn drum rolls, buzz rolls, cymbal swells and hi-hat techniques
  5. Adjustable - acoustic drums and cymbals can be adjusted to different angles and heights to suit your specific set up, which again, is perfect for when you develop your skills and want to add more drums to your set-up.

One of the best buys at the moment is the Gretsch G-Series Drumkits. These drumkits are just about affordable enough to fit the "good-for-beginners" bracket, but are of a standard of quality fit for gigging.

The best value buy is still the Black Rat 5-piece kits, available in three colours and a very affordable entry level kit. The Mapex Tornado kits are equally cheap, and also very good beginner drum kits. 

The basic drum set-up

You'll probably notice the generic drum kit description when browsing our website which will be something to the effect of a "5-piece drum kit" or a "4-piece drum kit" but these are pretty meaningless names if you have no idea about drums. The answer is pretty simple, it's just the number of drums in a kit - the standard being a 5 piece including: 2 rack toms, 1 floor tom, 1 base drum and 1 snare drum. What's a 4-piece kit then? A 4 piece kit has only 1 rack tom.

So, the basic set up? Firstly we'll start with the Bass drum - the largest drum in the kit and is played using a foot pedal. Then we have the rack toms that are on top and attached to the bass drum. We then have the standalone units of a drum kit - floor tom sits to the right with the snare sitting between your legs. Moving on to the cymbals, we have the crash cymbal which are most noticeable at the end of a drum solo or song. Splash cymbals are smaller than crash cymbals and are used more often - usually during fills. Hi-hats are 2 cymbals with a foot pedal, found on the left hand side of the drum kit (next to the tom) and are always used together. If you're looking to buy a complete drum set, we have plenty at Dolphin Music for you to choose from...

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