How to play electric drum: The Complete Guides

Electronic Drumming 101: How to Play Drum

So, you’ve decided to learn the drums, and rather than opting to grab a traditional acoustic set, you’ve chosen to learn how to play electric drum sets instead.

There are a lot of advantages to selecting a good electronic drum set, and there are some truly great online resources for prospective drummers to learn. With that said, what does it take to learn the electronic drum?

Learning how to drum on an electronic kit is actually a great idea because electronic drums tend to be cheaper and have better materials for a beginner to learn on.

They tend to be smaller than acoustic drums and are also fun to play on, especially when playing around with tones. That being said, there’s a lot to learn about any instrument, which is why this guide was created so that you can begin to learn.

Beginner Rock Beat EASY Drum Lesson

Why Electronic Drum Playing is Advantageous?

  • They are Versatile – If you want to play in a wide range of musical genres, select an electronic drum set. It’s definitely worth noting that acoustic drums tend to be limited to only a few music genres, but with electronic drums, you can expand your music to just about every style of music.
  • The Sound Quality is Amazing – It’s important to note that the drum tones generated by your set are pre-recorded, so you’ll never produce sounds that seem off. Each sound has been modulated so that you won’t get murky elements.
  • You Always Get Perfect Sound – Acoustic drums can fall prey to mis-hitting, which means that human error is always a factor to consider. With electronic drums, you can hit just about any area of the drum and achieve the appropriate tone.
  • They Can Be Very Portable – Some drum kits fold up so that you can carry them anywhere. This is just not an option with acoustic sets due to their size. When you throw in table drum pads and drum machines, you really open up some portability options.
  • You Can Play Along – Have a favorite drum solo that you want to learn? Most electronic drum machines have ports that you can use to plug in your amp or earphones so that you can play along.
  • The Recording is Simple – Many of these effortlessly hook up to modern PCs, so you can quickly use your favorite recording programs to help you record your sessions.

Why Electronic Drum Playing is Advantageous

The Basics: Universal Drum Techniques for Electric Drums

Like everything, you’ll need to learn the basics of drumming before you can really develop as an electronic drummer.

Your Grip Type

When you are holding your drumsticks, it’s important to understand how to grip technique will boost your play. The matched and traditional grips are often considered the most common, but there are variations:

Traditional Grip

As the name indicates, this is the most classic variation of the drum grip. To use this technique, you rest the base of the drumstick across the webbing of your left hand.

Next, rest the furthermost part of the stick on your ring finger’s cuticle. Grip the stick using your thumb by placing it on your pointer finger knuckle. With this technique, you are using the fulcrum point that exists between your thumb and index fingers.

For the right hand, keep your hand at a 45-degree angle, and place your thumbs along the tops of the drumsticks while resting the stick on the index finger. The combination of the two grips allows you to vary up your attacks for a more versatile sound.

Matched Grip

With this drumstick grip style, you’ll be holding the drumsticks the same ways with both hands, thusly “matching.” For comfortable drumming, you’ll want to rest your thumb opposite of your index finger so that you gently pinch the sticks as you attack.

This also provides a fulcrum-style of attack, and for this type of drumstick grip, there are three different common styles: German, American, and French.

Learning Timing

While every instrument really benefits from excellent timing, the drummer tends to be the lynchpin that ties all of the timing of the band together. For this reason, a drummer has to be the master of timing, and an electronic drum kit works well to help a musician develop this all-important sense.

In general, just practicing regularly should help you master the fine art of timing, but there are other means to develop this sense.

For example, most electronic drum sets come with a built-in metronome, which can be used to help you really increase the rhythmic timing of your attacks. Additionally, some electronic drum sets come with rhythm practice programs that can help you mentally attune to the concept of timing.

There are even some programs and exercises that will help you learn to accurately play with both hands individually. In many situations, the hand exercises will help you learn to time using the cymbals as well as the drum pads.

Once you’ve started to master these exercises with your hands, you can move onto foot exercises that can help you master the pedals. Pedals are very important when drumming on a standard electronic set. see the article about How Hard Is It To Learn Drum Set?

Learning Coordination

At first, it can be very difficult to coordinate both your hands and your foot. That’s okay, but over time, you’ll have to really work on how your limbs harmonize on your electronic drum set.

Once again, many electronic drum sets have programs and exercises that can make this an easier process, and once you’re ready, you can learn how to use your other foot to work the hi-hat pedal.

When you’re trying to learn coordination, remember it’s essential that you incorporate as many limbs into your exercises as possible.

This helps the drumming motions to become more natural for you as you play. Don’t be afraid to start slow, and don’t forget to mix and match the various exercises so that you can become more comfortable with them.

The Type of Drum Set

Electric Drum Set Components

  • Cymbals – The cymbals of drums are recognizable because they are made of brass, these pads on an electric are less flashy. With that said, these pads generate a similar sound profile but don’t move as much when struck. On an electronic set, these are usually represented as ride and crash pads.
  • Crash Pads – For a heavy accent, hit this pad.
  • Ride Pads – For a steady “ride” that goes along with the beat, use these cymbals.
  • Hi-Hats – The hi-hat is all about the higher-pitched beat. In fact, if you need a springy sound, this is where you’ll need to strike.
  • The Toms – The toms of the drum pad can come in three flavors: hi toms, mid toms, and lo toms. These toms have tones that work across various sound levels, so if you need higher or mid accents, the hi and mid toms are best, but if you need a bass sound, hit the lo toms.
  • The Bass Drum Pad – While these are massive on an acoustic set, with electronic drum pads, this is typically just a pedal. The “kick drum” pad produces tones that are much lower and louder than the lo tom. Some of the top electronic sets have an acoustic bass drum attached.

See More details on different types of drum sets

Electronic Drums: What Makes Them Unique?

As mentioned, these drum sets tend to be more compact, have varying tones, and have durable materials that really can help a beginner learn.

In addition to these advantages, electronic drum kits also are great for those that live with neighbors. When you play mesh or rubber pads, these tend to generate much less volume than the pads on traditional acoustic drums, and you can even attach headphones to most drum sets and hear the volume that you desire.

In addition to this, many of the kits that are on the market also have features that can really improve your play. These include built-in metronomes, beginner drummer programs, and even connectivity with PC software.

For those that want to experiment, you can emulate many of the sounds from various other drum kits. For example, acoustic drums tend to have different sounds, and with an electronic, you can explore these tones.

With an electronic set, you don’t have to tune your instrument, which means that you’ll have a faster play-when-you-want style. This can be very useful for a beginner, who should be playing as frequently as possible to get better.

In addition to this, it’s also important to understand that these drum sets tend to be very inexpensive!

Electronic Drums: What Makes Them Unique
Electronic Drums: What Makes Them Unique


When you’re exploring your tone options, it’s important to understand that these sets don’t just emulate the tones of the drums. In fact, you’d be amazed at how many instruments an electronic drum set can emulate.

Pad Types to Consider

When you’re learning, you’ll definitely need to acquaint yourself with the types of drum pads you can purchase for your set. Some sets come with mesh pads, while others have rubber pads.

Mesh pads tend to have a little less rebound but sound the most similar to an acoustic drum. For this reason, if you want to learn on electronic drums but might want to branch out to acoustics, these pads may be best for your learning.

These drum pads also tend to be much more sensitive than rubber pads. For this reason, you can hit different parts of the pad for different sounds.

The other type of pad is made of rubber, and for the most part, this is the type that is considered the most beginner-friendly. This is because they are springier when you attack and also are very durable.

These can also be easily replaced, so if you happen to wear them out during your learning, you won’t experience a hassle. The soft drum heads also tend to be a bit less damaging to your drumsticks.

Using the Built-In Metronome

A metronome can really help you grow. Firstly, you can set the BPM (beats per minute) of the metronome so that you can work in half, quarter, or even eighth measures.

These metronomes are useful for developing timing, comfortable drumming, and coordination. For this reason, you should always take time to work with the metronome so that you can develop as a drummer.

Final Thoughts

Learning to drum on an electronic drum set can be a long process, but it’s always very rewarding. Take the time to keep up with the rudiments and try not to get discouraged as you learn.

There are a multitude of great sets out on the market to learn on, and you can even purchase a drum pad or machine if you are lacking space.

We hope that this guide has helped you get started learning how to play an electric drum set, and if you’re looking to purchase a product, take a look at our various reviews to find the one that will work best for you.

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