Digital Drums

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Digital Drums

Postby jeffl » Sun Jul 25, 2004 5:23 pm

I went to a club to listen to a friend's blues band last nite, and ran into a roommate from 25 yrs. ago who was drumming across the street. He invited me to bring some harps over, and sit in on a couple: upon gettin' there, I see he's playin' a digital drum set. I have never played with them. I didn't realize how nice it is not to have unwanted snare and cymbal sizzle up on stage. The drum sound was all going out to the audience, not interfering with communication on stage. It wuz nice.
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RE: Digital Drums

Postby doc williamson » Mon Jul 26, 2004 12:08 pm

Bubba ~ I have played with two different drummers that had digital sets. When I first saw the sets I thought, "Well, this is really gonna suck." But, I was very pleasantly surprised by the sound. The first drummer used digital cymbals too and I thought they were not as authentic sounding as the drums. Years later I played with a drummer who used digital drums but regular cymbals. That was a very good combination.

Seems to me that since some digital pianos sound so good it stands to reason that digital drums would too. However, the digital sounds of guitar, especially slide, and harp that I have heard and played on a keyboard cannot be successfully duplicated. You can't beat the sound and soul of a real player there.
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RE: Digital Drums

Postby jeffl » Mon Jul 26, 2004 4:35 pm

Doc: my buddy has digital cymbals, and the benefit is that they don't reverberate when they're just sittin' there. The thing I found interesting is that you can dial effects into the heads & cymbals, so you can add depth, echo, etc. He runs it through a keyboard amp. This guy has played digital drums for 20 years; 15 with the first set, and 5 yrs. with this set. He sold his first set before the new ones even showed up. It was kinda funny, cuz when I first walked across the street and into the bar, after he invited me over from the other bar, I sat down, saw his kit, and I couldn't stop from laughing- it seemed so weird to see him playin' those things. He used to consider himself a guru at tuning heads, and always bragged about it. So, I'm sittin' there laughin' at him while he's playin', and he can't keep a straight face. So, when he comes to sit down, he says, "You're laughin' at my drums, aren't you. .?" He knew exactly what I was thinkin'. I thought it took alotta nerve for him to invite me up, considerin' we hadn't played together for 25 years, and he hadn't heard me since then. Thank God, they set me up nicely, and he had a good veteran band, and we transitioned trading backups and solos very well.
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RE: Digital Drums

Postby boz » Tue Jul 27, 2004 12:22 am

Good for you Bubba.
Man, ya know it seems like one can go through a dry spell an not do or hear anything insire'n. Then, KA POW !!! ya open yer eyes an it's all around you.
Ain't it just FUN !!!
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RE: Digital Drums

Postby doc williamson » Tue Jul 27, 2004 3:20 am

Bubba ~ Glad you had a great jam. Players trading off solos makes it so much fun. I didn't know that digital drums had come so far on the cymbals but, I don't really keep up with drums. That is good to hear.
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RE: Digital Drums

Postby seanmack » Wed Aug 04, 2004 7:52 pm

Cymbals reverberating when they're just sitting there? Jeffl your group must be one hell of a loud band! Maybe you folks could tell me if digital drums really have the same soul and warmth to them as acoustic kits? i could never see myself pacing out, say, stormy monday on any thing but an acoustic kit...or does digital really sound that good?
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RE: Digital Drums

Postby jeffl » Wed Aug 04, 2004 8:06 pm

Cymbals, like drum snares, give off a reverberation when sound waves from amplifiers hit them. It is a sound that is felt, as much as heard. Their are musicians who spend their whole gigging lives on small club stages where they stand very close to the drums. Over time, this constant low frequency hum can be damaging to your hearing, and can cause physical damage to living organisms. Low frequency waves are being used to kill zebra mussels on the Mississippi River, and the U.S. Navy is constantly harassed by P.E.T.A and Greenpeace for its widespread use of low frequency transmissions for Submarine Fleet communications. The absence of snare and cymbal reverb on stage sure makes it a cleaner environment, but there is a difference in the sound. For me, it wasn't a problem.
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RE: Digital Drums

Postby seanmack » Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:01 pm

Thanks for the info jeffl. Didn't realise cymbals did that as well as snares, but never having played digital, i have no frame of comparrison. Do you know if , say playing with earplugs, prevents any damaging effect the reverberations might have?
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RE: Digital Drums

Postby jeffl » Fri Aug 06, 2004 3:22 pm

Regarding the use of earplugs, I have no experience with hearing protection. These guys that have spent their entire adult lives on stages, and there's plenty of 'em on BRB, would be better asked that question. I would suggest a separate post, perhaps on "Wish I had know this", or "Talking Blues". I think it's a question that merits some exposure. The issue of cymbal reverb was brought up by a guy in my buddy's band who has been gigging in bars ( i.e. playing loudly) for about 30 yrs.
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RE: Digital Drums

Postby ricochet » Fri Aug 06, 2004 4:11 pm

I've asked some, and been told this: "HUH?"
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RE: Digital Drums

Postby jeffl » Fri Aug 06, 2004 4:21 pm

Rico: I'm at the same point. I had my hearing tested, and they told me that I hear fine; I just can't hear as well as I could 30 years ago. "Deal with it", in other words.
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RE: Digital Drums

Postby david » Sat Aug 07, 2004 3:22 am

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Aug-06-04 AT 11:24 PM (EST)]Different context, but maybe the same principle. Since I've started trying to play music I've been paying more attention to the fact that so many old farmers are deaf as a post.

I've started being vigilant about wearing ear plugs when riding a tractor all day (like today) or when running a chain saw.

I can easily tell that when I have worn the ear plugs I can hear when the slide is at the right pitch, and thus control the approach to the note. When I haven't worn them I have to strain to hear what I am doing and it all sounds muddy (not Waters).

If there is a noticable difference after one day with or without, it's not much of a stretch to say there is going to be a difference over a life time.

(I've also taken to always wearing a brimmed hat, after noticing how many farmers have parts of their ears cut off from skin cancer treatment.)
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RE: Digital Drums

Postby jaybee » Sat Aug 07, 2004 5:27 am

I haven't had my hearing tested, but I FEEL like I am missing "top end" and some frequencies don't "connect" like they used to. Also I have problems "focusing", so when there is more than one thing at a time going on - several people talking, or outside noise,... - I tend to have to ask "could you repeat that" more often.

I blame it on playing too loud for too long without hearing protection, but it could well be that I'm just getting old... anyway, though it may be a nuisance some times, it can come in handy at times: "what's that honey? you said what? when was that?" :D
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RE: Digital Drums

Postby jeffl » Sat Aug 07, 2004 12:15 pm

I jam acoustically (harp player) frequently with a bunch of string players (guit,mando,fiddle,bass),and a trap-set drummer (no bass drum); there can be 2-3 flat-top players, a coupla mandos, a total of 6-9 people at times: this environment has really tested my hearing, because the players are usually in a circle, and some of the instruments are pointed at you, others face away. The nice thing about acoustic harp is, you can move around easily, to get a better vantage point, without worrying about hookin' your tuning heads on somebody's suspenders. I've learned that hearing is trainable- in other words, you hear what you want to hear, in time. When I first started playin' with this group, I felt like I was straining to hear what I needed to, in order to find those backup harp parts- after a dozen years, I find it much easier on the recognition end. Maturity. ..?, or imagination?
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RE: Digital Drums

Postby barbequebob » Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:11 pm

What you've learned is what I call, "listening with BIGGER EARS," meaning you're listening in a MUCH more concentrated way, paying much more attention to EVERY minute detail of what's going on around you, something the average music fan does NOT do.
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