If you`ve ever been compelled to practice your drums in the dead of night, when family and friends are asleep, you`ll readily understand the benefits of having an electric drum kit. With an electric set, you can practice any time without disturbing parents, spouses or wakeful neighbors.
If you`ve ever been tempted by the desire to have an electric drum kit but you`re unable to afford the high price tag, you’ll be glad to know that you can build your own with just a few basic components.
Some of the basic components you will need. Acoustic drum shell, Piezo sensor, foam cone, 1/4″ jack, piezo support bar, copper tubing, window screen, L brackets, double sided foam tape.
One of the main components of electronic drums is the trigger, is a piezo sensor. Piezo sensors are cheap and easy to find. Radio shack piezo sensors work fine, there are also many listings on ebay for piezo sensors. You will also need a 1/4″ jack wired to the Piezo and cable to connect to your drum module.
The foam cone or block will go between piezo sensor and mesh drum head, You can purchase Roland type foam cones, or use a foam sanding blocks with sanding surface removed, cut into small 1” x 1” x 1-1/2” blocks. You can even make foam cones using the same sanding blocks.
A method to support the piezo sensor, wood, metal bar, any solid support will work, which can be attached inside the drum shells using L brackets attached to the drum lug screws. It would be best to add an adjustable screw to the center of the cross bar support that the piezo sensor will be placed on, so the height of the trigger can easily be adjusted. This can be constructed using nuts, screw and large flat washer.
You will need some mesh drum heads for your drums. You can purchase mesh drum heads from Roland. There are also other cheaper brands to choose from, or make your own using mesh widow screen sewn on an old drum head rim or copper tubing.
You can use full acoustic drum shells, or more economical acoustic drum shells cut in half, two for the price of one. I have found good deals on Ebay. 5 gallon Buckets found at your local hardware store will also work. A regular 12″ drum head will fit on a 5 gallon bucket.
The next step is to construct the drums. We will create a single trigger electronic drum with these simple steps.
- Install cross bar inside drum shell using L brackets attached to drum lugs screws.
- Install adjustable screw with large flat washer for piezo sensor.
- Drill hole in drum shell for 1/4″ jack.
- Solder piezo sensor wires to 1/4” jack, install 1/4 “ jack in hole you drilled in drum shell.
- Attach the piezo sensor to large flat washer and adjustable screw with a circle of double sided tape the size of the ceramic part of the piezo.
- Add circle of double sided tape the size of the ceramic to top of piezo sensor.
- Install foam cone or foam block on top of the double sided tape on piezo.
- Adjust the adjustable screw so the foam cone or block is 1/8” above the drum shell rim.
- Sew a couple of layers of window screen on an old drum head rim or copper tubing.
- Install and tighten down the mesh screen drum head.
That is about all there is to it. Repeat the same process for each drum. You can also use the same method to construct a bass drum, but use the full sanding block instead of the smaller foam blocks.
For cymbals, you can use inexpensive plastic practice cymbals, attach piezo sensors and rubber pads to mute them.