Drum practice pads are made from many different types of materials. Some of the more common types of practice pads are basically just rubber surfaces on a wooden base. Let’s take a look at the different types of materials used to make practice pads.
Rubber and Wood Practice Pads
The good ol’ rubbber and wood pad is likely the most common style of practice pad out there, at least that’s what it seems like to me. Lots of different drum manufacturers make these types of practice pads.
They are made with a wooden base that is usually made from some type of pressed particle board. They have a gum rubber surface on one side which is intended to be the primary practice surface. The gum rubber offers a distinct stick response with lower amounts of noise when being played. There is also often a recycled rubber or harder rubber surface on the bottom of dual sided pads that gives drummers an optional practice surface with less rebound. Here’s a few examples of these types of practice pads.
Another variation on this style of practice pad is adding a rim. A good example of this is the Prologix Green Logix pad, which has the rubber surfaces and wooden base, and also adds a hard plastic poly-tech rim to simulate a drum rim.
And yet even another variation on the wood and rubber style of pad is the Drumeo P4 practice pad. This pad has four different types of rubber surfaces on a wooden base. The surfaces offer different amounts rebound and stick definition, which simulates the various types of surfaces you might find around a drum kit between your drums and cymbals.
Foam Rubber Conditioning Pads
These are similar to the gum rubber and wood practice pads, except they use a softer foam rubber that absorbs more of the stick energy and reduced rebound. They are usually referred to as conditioning pads since they make you work harder while you play, which can help build arm and wrist strength. The Zildjian Reflexx pad is a good example of a conditioning pad made from these types of materials.
Drum Head Practice Pads
Next up we have what I like to call drum head practice pads. They usually have a hard metal rim and a mylar drum head on top of some sort of rubber or foam underneath the drum head to help make the sticking feel a little more sharp, which can be good for practicing techniques.
The most common type of practice pad in this category is the classic Remo practice pad with an Ambassador coated drum head. These pads can be a little more loud than the gum rubber pads but they have a distinct sticking feel that some drummers prefer.
Mesh Drum Head Practice Pads
These types of practice pads use mesh drum heads to help reduce volume levels while you’re practicing. They are pretty popular with drummers who need to be more quiet or who live in apartments and stuff like that. These types of pads are usually made with a metal rim and then they use a mesh drum head as the striking surface.
Two example of these types of pads are the Sabian Quiet Tone pad and the Remo Silentstroke pad. The Sabian Quiet Tone pad feels about the same as a drum with a mesh head mounted onto it. The Remo Silentstroke pad feels more like the classic Remo practice pad with a harder playing surface and a mesh head to make it more quiet.
Moongel Practice Pads
These types of practice pads have a moongel surface that is designed for conditioning and it forces you to work harder while you practice. I’ve seen moongel pads that are basically nothing but moongel, and there are also pads that have a moongel surface on a harder base such as wood. They absorb a lot of the energy from the stick and have much less rebound. The surface material is pretty much the same material as the moongel dampeners that many people use to dampen the sounds of their drum heads.
Which Pad Will Work Best For You?
Most drummers will prefer a gum rubber style of practice pad. They are very durable and last a long time, and in many cases drummers only need to buy one and it seems to last forever unless they lose it.
The mesh pads are a good option for drummers who need to reduce the volume during practice.
Conditioning pads such as foam rubber and moongel pads are great for giving your arms and wrist more of a workout, and drummer might use these either as a primary or a secondary practice pad. They are also great as a low volume practice pad option.