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Drum Lessons In Toronto: Acoustic Drums vs. Electronic Drums

Updated: Mar 16

Thinking of taking drum lessons in Toronto? Then one of your first steps will be choosing between an acoustic or electronic drum kit to practice on at home. Keep reading to learn the benefits/drawbacks of acoustic and electronic drum kits and the best choice for novice drummers!

a Toronto drum teacher

What are acoustic drums?

When you picture a classic set of drums in your mind, you’re more than likely thinking of acoustic drums. An acoustic drum set is played together and consists of different types of drums and cymbals. Typically, a drum kit is made up of a snare drum, bass drum, a set of tom drums, crash cymbal, ride cymbal, and hi hat cymbals. The way you make sounds from these instruments is by hitting them with a mallet or drumstick depending on the type of drum/cymbal.

With acoustic drum kits, there are certain benefits and drawbacks to consider prior to making your purchase:

An Acoustic Drum Kit

Benefits of acoustic drums:

  • Wide range of genres: If you’re interested in playing rock or jazz music, acoustic drums are going to be the top option for you. This is because acoustic drums are what is traditional in these genres of music and you won’t get the same level of sound from electronic drums. Acoustic drums are known for their high volume and energy which is crucial for certain genres of music.

  • Range of sound: Speaking of sound, acoustic drums offer a great depth of sound range because you can play the drums and cymbals in so many different ways. Certain sounds that may be necessary to round out a song are only possible on acoustic drum kits.

  • Baseline knowledge: Most drummers will agree that it’s important to understand how to play on an acoustic drum kit because that’s the classic way of playing the instrument. If you do decide to play in a band, you’re most likely going to be playing acoustic instead of electronic. Additionally, if you have to play on someone else’s kit, it’s probably going to be acoustic.

  • Stage presence: Additionally, acoustic drums just provide that high energy stage presence that electronic drums just can’t compete with. So if your goal is to be on stage, acoustic drums are going to be your best bet!

Drawbacks of acoustic drums:

  • High volume: While high volume drums are great for performing, this can be a huge drawback when practicing–especially at home! Acoustic drums are known for being extremely loud which can bother the people you live with or your neighbours.

  • Larger in size: When compared to electronic drums, an acoustic kit is much bigger and takes up more room. Depending on your space, it may be more efficient to practice on an electronic kit at home.

  • More expensive: Traditionally, building out a high quality and great sounding acoustic drum kit can be very expensive (especially for a beginner who is just committing to drum lessons in Toronto.)

  • Requires maintenance: If you ask any drummer, most will say it’s taken many years of practice to be able to tune their drum kit into the way they like and need it to sound. Acoustic drums will require tuning which can be difficult at first to get a handle on.

A young drummer playing with traditional grip

What are electric drums?

On the flip side, electric drums are made up of a collection of silicone or mesh pads that are aligned in the same way that a traditional drum kit would be. In order to produce any sound, the electric drum kit must be plugged into a speaker, headphones, or amplifier. Each pad is made with electric sensors to recognize when you hit it to produce a percussion sound. What this means is that it will essentially sound like you’re playing a normal acoustic drum without actually having an acoustic kit sitting in front of you. Electronic drums are also typically played with drumsticks.

While electronic drums are great for many reasons, there are also several cons that come along with playing on them:

An Electronic Drum Kit

Benefits of electronic drums:

  • Great for practice: Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of electronic drums is that they are much quieter to play when compared to acoustic drums. This is because they don’t create any sound on their own unless hooked up to a speaker or headphones which means you can play at a very low or almost zero volume. If you’re worried about bothering those around you when you play, electronic drums are a no brainer.

  • Smaller in size: Worried about where you’re going to fit a drum kit in your space? Electronic drums are much smaller in size compared to an acoustic kit which means they’re great for smaller rooms or spaces.

  • Cost: It’s important to note that for both electronic and acoustic drum kits, the price can really range depending on the size and quality of the kits. That said, an entry-level electronic drum kit often costs less than an acoustic kit.

Drawbacks of electronic drums:

  • Stage presence: For live playing, nothing will compare to an acoustic drum kit. The sound and energy levels simply are not the same with electronic drums. That said, if you’re interested in playing electronic music, then electronic drums are the best fit for you.

  • Ever changing technology: Technology is always advancing which means within a few years of your electronic drum kit purchase, there are going to be better models already out on the market with more features. These shifts may entice you to keep purchasing new models which can cost more money later down the line.

  • Harder to switch: If you’ve only ever played an electronic drum kit, it will be very difficult to play on an acoustic kit. This is for several reasons including the drumstick rebound, volume levels, and more.

a male playing electronic drums
Electronic Drums

Best type of drums for beginners

At the end of the day, most experts will recommend that beginner drummers learn how to play on an acoustic drum kit. While electronic kits are great in many ways, nothing will compare to the sound and playability of a classic acoustic drum set. In addition, many drummers do say that it’s noticeably harder for people to transition from an electronic kit to an acoustic kit which may pose issues for you in the long run.

That said, if you are worried about space or noise volume when practicing at home, an electronic drum kit may be worth it for you. So, it really all depends on what your needs are and how much money and space you’re willing to hand over when learning how to play!

Drum lessons in Toronto

Think you’re ready to learn how to play the drums? Then we’re ready to welcome you here at Greater Toronto Music School! Give us a call today to learn everything you need to know about taking drum lessons in Toronto.

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