Tips for Quieter Practice
If there is one thing the Covid crisis has shown is the need to practice at home is still essential. For some of us living in housing estates and apartments it is not easy to practice without our neighbors getting angry. And sometimes its just nice to be able to practice at home without annoying your loved ones or without having to wear ear protection. Here are some handy solutions for practicing at lower volumes.
The beloved practice pad. This is a must have item for all drummers, it’s affordable and light weight. They come in different shapes and sizes, mainly between 6″ to 12″ approximately. I tend to shoot for the larger size as I can stick it on a snare drum stand but these will work just as well sitting on the chair or whatever level surface you can find. Retailing at anything from €20 to €60.
Made from a non-slip rubber material, drum mutes are placed directly over the drum head to greatly reduce the sound. They are widely available, easy to set up and affordable. You can also get pad sets that include mutes for the cymbals as well.
Low volume cymbals are a perfect solution for drummers that need near silent practice conditions, but still maintain the same feeling of real cymbals.
Electronic Drum Kits
As electric drum technology becomes better and better electric drums are becoming a popular solution for both practice and live gigging. Thing to watch out for when purchasing an electric kit.
Type of heads. On the lower end electric kits around €300 come with rubber pads, but on the mid to upper range they come with a mesh head which has a more realistic striking feel. This is something to consider depending on how much of a real feel you want. You can also add low volume cymbals to your electric kit to improve on the feel of the rubber electric cymbals.
On the lower end you tend not to have a real bass drum pedal which can be problematic for practice your kick technique. This is something I would definitely stretch for is a real kit pedal like the photo above.
On the other hand you have the option of a real hi hat stand and pedal. This I think is less essential than the kick pedal and add about €200 to the price of the set.
Drum gels or drum gel dampeners are small pads made from a transparent, soft and adhesive gel material, enabling them to very easily stick to the batter or resonant head of the drum. In contrast to the old gaffer tape solution, these gel pads are both much easier to re-position or to completely remove.
Retailing at about €10 a pack these can be rewashed with warm water and soap and last for years. I have been touring my current set of Moon Gels for 3+ years and they are still going strong.