Show – Christmas Enchanted

Did another show with the great guys at Artistic Space Studio.
I used my basic Yamaha electric kit and the cajon, with a black foam padding for my rear end. Didn’t want to end up with a sore butt again. The 18×16  bass you see there? Yah it’s just for show. A proper mesh head with trigger will come if steady small venue gigs start coming along. Or maybe I will go ahead and trigger a full drum kit…

The guys from the studio was going to lend me a Roland TD-6 to use, which while being an entry level electric kit, was actually slightly better than mine. It would’ve had dual zone cymbals with choke, and a dual zone snare pad. But I decided against it as I was playing songs using a wide range of sounds, and I only had time to configure and set up different drum voices when I am at home with my own e-kit. Convenience often reign supreme in real life. In the end I created 8 custom drumkit/percussion setups for the gig, I had clapping sounds, bells, different crashes and even a trash can lid sound (with ample delay and reverb it became a sizzle ride cymbal). One thing that sucked about my entry level Yamaha kit is that the cymbal sounds were painfully 1-dimensional. Any seasoned players would know a cymbal could have multiple layer of sounds depending on the sticks and techniques used. Not so with my single-zone rubber pads. I did what I could with the volume, reverb, and delay and made it somewhat bearable, at least enough so the rest of band and the performers didn’t complain. (At one point the keyboardist did ask me if I could use a real drumset, to which I replied: ‘I can’t have a crash cymbal sound without crashing it, and drowning you out in the process.’)

In my earlier drumming years I’d vow to always stay away from electric kits. Yes real drums do sound better…in a sense. You see, drums are an acoustic instrument and to get a good drum sound you need a good medium sized room with lots of reflective surfaces, something like a church with wooden wall panels. But  reality is that most venues aren’t set up with drums acoustics as their first priority, and if you play anything resembling a loud song (i.e. if you ride on a crash cymbal, you are loud. Even if you are only playing Coldplay.), your drums need to be miked, and your drum sound is now the sound from the PA, after condensing, EQ, tuning, phasing, reverb, etc.etc. , which means it is totally different than what you hear behind the kit. So more often than not, it is actually easier to get a good sound out of an electric kit even if it appears more fake than the processed acoustic drum sound. The looks however, is another issue. But a lot of companies are working on that, like Boom Theory and Pearl .

Any readers here have their own electric kit stories? Perhaps you love them more than messing with acoustic sets for hours only to have the sound man put tape all over your heads? Do Share.

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