Can you learn how to play drums with drum pads? What are the techniques that you can execute with the drum pads that can also be used in playing the drums? What are the pros and cons of playing the drum pads? These are the many questions of novice drummers who are looking for a way to learn alternative equipment aside from a drum kit. If you are one of them, now you will know if you should use a drum pad or not.
So, what is a drum pad? A drum pad is excellent alternative equipment for practicing how to play drums without using a drum kit. It is frequently used by drummers who want to warm up quietly before performing in a live or recording session. They are also used when a limited volume is needed in a specific area.
There are many designs and various materials used to make a drum pad. Some of the drum pads available in the market use a disk of mesh stretched over a frame. This material is quieter when struck using a drumstick compared to other materials, while it can also be tuned to mimic many types of drum heads, as you can tighten or loosen it in its frame.
Another material used in making some drum pads is the mylar. A disk of mylar is stretched over a substrate such as rubber or foam. The materials are fixed together by a rim of plastic or metal. The mylar serves as a replacement for a genuine drum head that you can find on drum kits.
Another material used in making the drum heads found in drum pads is the elastomer. Some drum pads use a thin layer of elastomer like a natural or synthetic rubber of different densities as its playing surface. The elastomer is usually placed directly over the top of an existing drum head or stuck in a solid substrate’s top. The elastomer is designed to reflect a mallet or drumstick after being struck, similar to a drum head.
In all of the materials used in making the drum head of a drum pad, the mesh is really the quietest of all when struck.
Pros And Cons Of Learning How To Play Drums With A Drum Pad
The main purpose why the drum pad was invented is to help drummers to practice with convenience and without making any noise. A drum kit can take up much space in your home, so it would really be a hassle for you to fit it for the sake that you can practice with your drumming. By using a drum pad instead of a drum kit for practicing, you can still play and exercise your drum techniques by hitting it like a drum head, although it would sound at a lower volume.
If you also wish to practice your drumming techniques without disturbing anyone, especially your neighbor, the drum pad is great equipment to use rather than an acoustic drum kit. They are far quieter compared to drum kits, so they are perfect if you really need to practice but at a quieter volume. If you are scolded in your home because of the noise of your drum kit, then maybe you should go for a drum pad if you are just looking for practice gear.
Another advantage of using a drum pad for learning how to play drums is that you can bring it anywhere, as it is very portable. So, if you are traveling, you can still practice your drum techniques on the drum pads rather than bringing your heavy drum kit with you. Some drum pads can fit in pack bags, so every time you are bored when you travel, you can take them and play with them, as there is also less chance that you can disturb some people in the vehicle.
Lastly, it also allows you to perform some drum techniques without needing to play them on a drum kit. If you want to practice playing some drum rudiments, then you can use a drum pad and practice with it. You can also do it anywhere if you use a drum pad, so if you want to watch some TV or movies while practicing some drum rudiments, then you can still do it without any problem.
One disadvantage of using a drum pad to learn how to play drums is that it does not give you the same feeling that you get from playing the drum kit. Although the drum pad intends to imitate a drum kit, it is still not the same; there are still things that you can do on a drum kit that you should master but you cannot do in a drum pad.
Another disadvantage of using a drum pad is that it is very hard to improve your hand and feet coordination compared to a drum kit, where you can use your foot to practice your bass drum skills. If you frequently practice with the drum pads but do not make any alternative way to practice with your foot technique and speed, then you will really have a problem with your development.
Drum Techniques You Can Practice In A Drum Pad
When it comes to a drum pad, the best and most fruitful way you can do to improve your drumming is to practice and master some drum rudiments. Drum rudiments are the building blocks of all drum fills and drum beats.
The Single Stroke Roll is one of the first drum rudiments you can practice and master in a drum pad is the “Single Stroke Roll.” This rudiment is the simplest; however, it is one of the most difficult things to master. It is played by simply executing some single alternating strokes. You should practice it until you feel comfortable doing it.
The second drum rudiment you can practice in a drum pad is the Double Stroke Roll. Like the Single Stroke Roll, the only difference is that you struck the drum pud twice before alternating. Its goal is for you to control the rebound of the drumstick so that you can move sticks quickly.
Next is the Paradiddle. It is one of the favorite exercises of most drummers. It is a perfect exercise if you want to build some speed and dexterity on the drum pad and the drum kit. Most drummers usually perform this exercise as their warm-up before performing in live or recording sessions.
The next drum rudiment is the Accented Triplet. It is a grouping of three notes with an accent on the first note. It is similar to the Single Stroke Roll, except with the accent. It is a great rudiment to work on the drum pad. When you alternately strike the drum pad, make sure to keep it as smooth as possible.
So, can you learn how to play drums with drum pads? Yes, absolutely. You can practice some basic drum techniques and rudiments like the Single Stroke Roll without making any loud noise, so rest assured that no one will be disturbed while you are practicing. Using the drum pad is an excellent alternative method to learning how to play the drums without a drum kit.