I’m of the opinion that beginner drummers should simply make due with what is available to them and what fits their living situation. This could lead to using either electronic or acoustic drums as a beginner. Let’s take a look at some of the deciding factors.
What’s Most Important for Beginner Drummers?
When starting out with drumming, and while still at the beginner level, it’s more important to be able to practice consistently rather than spend a lot of time worrying about what gear you are using. It’s entirely possible to start building chops on any type of drum kit, whether it’s electronic or acoustic.
Gear that will put you in position to practice consistently is what will work the best. And if that happens to be either an electronic drum kit, and acoustic drum kit, or even just a practice pad, that is just fine.
What Can Make Electronic Drum Kits Useful for Beginner Drummers?
There are some advantages to going with an electronic drum kit. The volume can be controlled more easily, they can be quite compact in terms of how much space they take up, and beginner level kits can be quite affordable.
An electronic drum kit can work well for drummers that don’t have a lot of space to set up an acoustic drum kit. They can also work well for drummers that have housemates, roommates or neighbors that will be annoyed by a full volume acoustic drum kit.
If volume and loudness is definitely an issue you are considering, that could be a good reason to look into electronic drum kits over acoustic drum kits.
Another thing to consider is access to sounds. It can be pretty fun to be able to switch drum sounds just by cycling through the various kits on a drum module. Access to sounds is something that is going to be limiting on acoustic drums at budget levels.
And last but not least, electronic drum kits often have coaching and practice features built in. One of the biggest things is the metronome. You should always be practicing with a metronome, especially at the beginner level, and an electronic drum kit will have one built in to the module and make it easy to access and use during practice. Depending on the drum module, there might also be other practice features built in to help you build your chops and timing.
What Can Make Acoustic Drum Kits Useful for Beginner Drummers?
If you are in a situation where you have a little more space to set up a drum kit and can make lots of noise without bothering anybody else, then it could be worth it to go the acoustic route.
Most drummers ultimately will want to play on an acoustic drum kit, and learning on acoustic drums is ideal. Acoustic drums have a certain feel and sound that is hard to replicate with budget electronic drum kits.
It can also be good for beginner drummers to learn about setting up and maintaining acoustic drums. Things such as tuning drum heads, maintaining drums and cymbals, and learning how the hardware works can be beneficial as you advance your drumming skills.
If you need to keep the volume down and still want to use acoustic drums, you could look into options such as low volume cymbals and low volume drum heads. Those are both a great way to learn playing with acoustic drums without the excessive noise.
Even Practice Pads Are Fine for Beginners
If you aren’t able to set up a drum kit at all, whether it’s electronic or acoustic, drum practice pads are still a fine way to get started with drumming. Sure, you won’t be able to sit behind a trap set, but you can still start learning about the various patterns and start developing timing with your hands. You can work on rudiments and learn lots of skills that will translate well once you get the opportunity to set up a drum kit.
So even if you are interesting in drumming and can’t setup a kit at all, don’t let that hold you back. Get a drum practice pad and book such as Stick Control: For the Snare Drummer and start learning. The investment is cheap, the overhead is cheap, and after you learn some of the rudiments and get some timing down, you’ll have a lot more fun once you can setup and play on a drum kit.
So Should Beginner Drummers Use Acoustic or Electronic Drum Kits?
I think it’s hard to go wrong with either. Take into consideration some of the ideas that we have discussed here to help make a decision. If you really want to play on an acoustic kit but an electronic kit is a better option for your situation, or vice versa, don’t sweat it too much.
Just get whichever fits your current situation and start practicing. You’ll find that the ability to get in those practice sessions is much more important than the gear you are using. Treat the gear as experimental at first and keep an open mind about it. You can always flip gear and switch things up once you start getting some more experience and start developing some personal preferences as a drummer.