Going hybrid part 2: get up and running with your electro-acoustic drum kit

If you’re just getting started with electronics, it can sound like a confusing and potentially expensive investment, but in actual fact, adding a couple of electronic sources to your kit is very easy. 

So, following on from our gear primer last week, next we’ll be thinking about how to actually use the kit in the most effective way possible.

There are plenty of products already available aimed at doing exactly that, and if you have an electronic kit, you might already own everything you need to get the job done! The basic principles of using pads and triggers is the same, regardless of how straightforward or complex your set-up is, but for a start, we’ll look at how to put together a simple two-sound hybrid set-up.   

Think about your sounds 

The first thing to decide is why and what you need to trigger. For example, if you’re playing in a function band, chances are that you’re covering a lot of songs that will require layered snare/handclaps, electronic bass drums or effect-type sounds. 

These types of sounds are found in pretty much every drum module, and the good news is that your triggers or pads can be reassigned for every song, taking you from cowbell to 808 in an instant!  

…and how you want to play them 

Once you know the types of sound you’re looking to create, you’ll need to decide how to trigger them. For example, if you’re layering a sound to occur alongside every hit of your acoustic snare, an acoustic drum trigger will be much more efficient. 

However, if you want to use sounds that occur independently from your acoustic kit, a separate pad is likely to be a better option. Roland’s BT-1 Bar Trigger represents a great halfway house, in that it can be mounted to the rim of your drum and played alongside or independently of your acoustic sounds.

All about the bass (drum) 

The most common way of triggering a bass drum is to use an acoustic trigger attached to the rim of your kick. As we only have one fundamental sound source on our…

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