equipment - detail

Simmons Hexahead Drum Kit

Simmons Hexahead Drum Kit

This is used with the Alesis D4, all the drum triggers are plugged into that and sounds are triggered either using the D4 itself or from another MIDI sound source. I have sounds 'mapped' to the drums in the same way a real kit would be used, kick drum, snare (which has two triggers, so you can use the rim separately), 3 toms, hi-hat pad (which works with the hi-hat foot controller for 'opening and closing'), ride and 2 crash cymbal pads. There are also 2 more pads that I use, one for a tambourine (above the snare) and another usually for a 2nd snare or extra tom (above the hi-hat pad). The 2 - 7½" black pads for the hi-hat and ride cymbal are Roland as is the hi-hat foot controller. The main drums use real 11" drumheads and are pretty good to play, much better than the hard rubber ones that have no give in them. The 4 grey MiniHex pads have a 4" playable area.

Simmons Hexahead kick drumI use this kit all the time for inputting beats into the sequencer, even if I want a 'mechanical' sounding beatbox rhythm I will probably work it out on the kit first. If I'm wanting a 'proper' drum beat though I'll play the drums for each part of a song into the sequencer, pick the best 'take' and then tidy it up and then assign the MIDI notes to whatever device is going to play the drum/percussion sound for the song. I find this is the best of both worlds, you get the natural feel and nuances of playing a kit (rather than tapping notes in from a keyboard) and you can use whatever drum sound you like.

Another huge advantage of an electronic kit is that they are very quiet, a real kit in a built up area is not going to win you many friends, especially at night! All you hear with this is the patter of sticks on the heads (like a practice kit), I use headphones when I'm practicing along to my music, it helps for time keeping. That's another thing, when you spend a lot of time playing along to a click track, you do become a much tighter drummer. You have to, otherwise you sound shit very quickly, the sequencer isn't gonna 'hold off' for you, it just keeps going!