Many drum students who are just starting out often ask which they should play, the electric vs acoustic drums. It really is a matter of preference and there are perks to playing either of them. At the end of the day it comes down to what style of drums you want to play and how seriously you take the instrument. Let’s compare the two and you can decide from there.
The Electric Drum Kit
Hands down the biggest advantage to playing with an electric drum kit is the fact that you can control the volume. Playing drums is noisy and there really isn’t any getting around that with an acoustic drum kit. That’s not the only advantage, for the beginner and pro alike there are lots of tools that can help you improve your playing.
For the budget conscious you can get a reasonably priced kit in the mid price range for around $1,000. Since it is an electric kit you also don’t go through sticks as often nor do you lose tension, and tuning is never a problem. Electric drum kits also take up far less room than an acoustic set.
They are not an acoustic drum kit and they don’t sound or feel like one. Many purists won’t play them for that reason and equate them to singers using autotune. While the tools they have to learn with are incredible it simply doesn’t replace an acoustic kit. The cheap ones sound pretty horrible and they are missing drum pedals and instead use a trigger pad which just doesn’t work well with a fast beat. While the noise level is significantly better than acoustic they are never completely silent.
The Acoustic Drum Kit
The biggest advantage with an acoustic kit is your ability to feel and touch every beat from the very loud to the softest touch. Cymbal washes are possible on acoustic that aren’t on an electric kit. The acoustic drum kit is incredibly sensitive and the range of sound you can get just isn’t possible on an electric set, some of the high end kits come close but it just isn’t the same.
Noise is the biggest disadvantage, and if you live in the city you’re probably going to need rehearsal space before your neighbors decide to dismantle you and your drum kit. You can use silencer pads to reduce the volume but practicing at 2 am anywhere outside of rehearsal space is probably out. Acoustic drums will need to be tuned and you’re going to need a pro to do that for you. You can damage your hearing so invest in some good ear plugs. Drum kits are big, bulky and heavy so you will need space set aside for the kit.
Summing it All Up
There are advantages to both so choosing is still a matter of preference, however if noise is an issue and for most it is, then you need to seriously consider electric. Whether you choose electric or the acoustic try and avoid the cheapest option, the sound is terrible. At the end of the day the feel and sound of the electric kit is going to be different so try them both at a good music store and see which one you can live with.