An electronic drum kit could easily stay in working order for a decade or two, especially if you take proper care of it. Of course, it depends on some things such as quality of the hardware and how aggressive your play style is. Let’s take a look at some of the factors involved in getting long life out of electronic drums.
The Baseline Quality Of Your Drum Hardware
Not all kits are built equal. Some of notoriously cheaper kits are known to use hardware that is prone to wearing out over shorter periods of time. On an extreme budget kit, you might experience things such as the rubber wearing out, warping and peeling off the cymbal pads if you play them a lot and play aggressively. You might experience plastic clamps on the rack breaking if you put them under a lot of stress. You might also run into issues with the drum heads wearing out depending on the quality of the mesh pads or the plastic used to make the shells of the pads.
Once you get out of the extreme budget range, you start to find that most electronic drums are built to last quite a long time. Higher quality drum pads will last for years of play. A good quality rack will never wear out if you mostly leave it in one place and don’t transport it much. A drum module will last just as long as any other electronics with proper care, which could be decades.
How Long Will Drum Pads with Mesh Heads Last?
With regular play, you can expect to get a few years out of your mesh drum heads. Modern mesh heads are built to last and they will hold up well if you take care of them. The nice thing about mesh heads is that like acoustic drum heads they can be replaced, and they aren’t overly expensive to replace, which is great. There are also a lot of aftermarket mesh head manufacturers that make replacement heads, so it easy to find replacements when the time comes.
To help get the most life out of your mesh heads, always be sure to use sticks that are in good shape without any burrs or splinters, which could damage a mesh head.
How Long Will Drum Pads with Rubber Heads Last?
There still are some drum kits out there that utilized rubber pads for the snare or toms around the kit. These rubber pads can vary in quality depending on the style of pad.
If the pad uses a thinner rubber surface over another type of padding, it might be prone to wearing out more quickly. You’ll notice that the rubber surface will start to warp, bubble and maybe even tear once it starts to wear out. This is only an issue on the most extreme budget kits for the most part.
However, most rubber drum pads on kits of decent quality are using a thicker rubber pad much more like a practice pad. These types of pads will last a long time due to the thicker material, and you can easily get a few years of use or more out of a quality rubber style drum pad.
Yamaha TCS pads are a good example of a rubber style pad that will last many years due to their thicker construction and material quality.
To get the most life out of your rubber heads, make sure to use sticks that aren’t damaged or splintered. Damaged sticks can really mess up rubber heads over time, more than you’d think.
How Long Will Cymbal Pads Last?
Once again, there’s varying levels of quality here.
On the extreme budget kits, the cymbal pads tend to be pretty cheap. They can be prone to wearing out with the rubber starting to peel off, warping or tearing if you put them through a lot of use over even just a couple years.
However, on a higher quality kit, the rubber cymbal pads can be much more durable and long lasting. You can expect to get at least a few years of consistent use from a good quality cymbal pad before running into issues with the rubber wearing out.
To get the most life out of your cymbal pads, once again make sure to never use damaged or splintered sticks.
Also consider how you play the cymbal pads. Bashers will wear them out much more quickly and could see issues with the rubber wearing out more quickly. Players with more restraint and lighter playing technique will see long life out of their cymbal pads.
How Long Will a Drum Module Last?
You should expect a drum module to last for at least a decade or more. Like any other electronic device, it can last a long time with proper care.
There’s a few things you can do to get the most life out of your drum module. Avoid leaving it in dusty places, and consider covering it up when not in use, especially for longer periods where it’s just sitting around not being used. Use extra care when plugging things into the inputs or outputs. Make sure you’re not tripping over cables and jerking cables from the inputs accidentally. Avoid using or storing it in overly hot or cold temperatures. If you transport your kit and drum module a lot, consider getting a hard shell case for the module to keep it safe.
How Long Will a Drum Rack Last?
The rack on an electronic drum kit should last at least a few years or more. The only thing that will wear out a rack once you get everything set up is transport. If you leave your drum kit sitting in a corner of a room and never move it, chances are you might never see issues with the rack once it’s all setup and you’re done making adjustments.
If you transport your kit a lot, for gigs or otherwise, then it’s a different story. The rack will take more abuse and the connectors and clamps will be more stressed from the extra setups and tear downs.
If you have a budget kit with a cheap rack, and you are planning on transporting it a lot, you can expect parts to start wearing out sooner than later. The plastic clamps on cheaper kits with cheaper racks can wear out or break when used a lot and might need to be replaced.
The racks on higher quality kits are closer to what you’d use with an acoustic drum kit and they are made more with stage use and transport in mind. You can expect to get at least a few years out of a better quality rack on a good electronic drum kit before you’ll run into parts that need to be replaced.
Of course there are also electronic drum kits that use acoustic drum hardware instead of a rack to mount the pads, such as the Roland VAD series. This type of hardware will last as long as you’d expect any acoustic drum hardware to last.
How To Make Your Electronic Drum Kit Last
Now that we’ve taken a quick look at each of the components around the kit, what are some general rules that you can follow to get the most life out of your kit? To recap:
- Avoid playing like a basher
- Always use sticks with no visible damage or splinters to preserve mesh and rubber drum heads
- Cover up your drum module when not in use
- Avoid dusty environments
- Don’t trip on your cables and stress the module inputs/outputs
If you follow these general rules of thumb, even the cheaper kits can last for a few years before starting to fall apart. A good quality electronic drum kit should give you years of use before you need to do any major repairs. And when you do run into something that wears out, it’s pretty easy to find replacement parts, especially for the more common electronic kits and manufacturers.