Even though nothing comes close to playing my acoustic drum kit in terms of, well everything really, my electric drum kit is an absolute essential practice tool. Quite often I get asked to dep for another drummer who can’t make a gig for one reason or another and quite often the set will consist of over 40 songs, half of which I’ve never played before. To learn this many songs in the short space of time takes three things, the internet, a notepad and a drum kit. If you’re lucky enough to have access to an acoustic drum kit at any hour without any noise restrictions then there’s probably no reason reading any further (you lucky so and so!) but if you’re like me and drumming all night long would just encourage a visit from the local constabulary, an electric drum kit is probably essential to you too, but what type to go for? When I say ‘type’ I’m not talking about processing speeds how many peculiar extra sounds you can create with it but rather what type of pad is used and how realistic does it feel.

Rubber Electric Drum Pad

For a long time the choice has been between rubber pads or electric drums with mesh heads. Both of these technologies have their drawbacks, rubber pads tend to feel too hard compared to a real drumhead. That being said I still prefer it to the mesh solution which your find on most of the higher end kits. The trouble I find with mesh is that the heads are too responsive. At first once you’ve adjusted your playing to deal with the extra bounce you start to feel like you’re a much faster player than you were before, being able to get round to it much faster than you are used to with seemingly less effort. “How can this be a bad thing?” I hear you ask, well the trouble is that the kit is flattering you, and if you never intend to go back to an acoustic drum kit, then yes I would choose a mesh kit every time but I do intend to use an acoustic kit for live performances and when I go back to an acoustic after practising on an electric kit with mesh heads everything feels sluggish, and you find you’re not quite as fast a player as you thought you were. So the where does that leave us? Well, for me it meant getting rid of my mesh kit and going back to rubber, but in the last few years something new has been gaining the momentum on the electric drum scene…

Mesh Electric Drum Pad

Yamaha DTX drums use rubber pads for their entry-level kit but if you spend a bit more (alright, quite a bit more) you will get a kit equipped with silicone pads. Although this doesn’t feel exactly like an acoustic drums they feel the closest I’ve ever felt in an electric pad. Not too soft but have a perfect amount of give in them to feel good without over flattering your playing. So for me silicone pads are the answer I’ve been looking for. The trouble is, how a drum feels is a very personal thing, so that’s why I say it’s MY answer but it may not be yours. This is just one of the reasons you should never buy a drum kit blind, get to a drum shop or good music shop and try all the options for yourself, you may be surprised.

Silicone Electric Drum Pad