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Electronic vs. Manual Drum Sets: Which is Right for Beginner Drummers?

Learning to play the drum can be an exciting experience, especially if you have an ear for beats. However, getting your first drum set can be a tad confusing because there are several different types. Some are completely electronic, and playing these kits will completely change your experience.

Manual sets, also called acoustic or traditional sets, have been around forever – for example, Gretsch Energy sets have been around for over 135 years. In comparison, electronic drum sets have been around for about 50 years.

However, history and tradition are not the only factors that will sway you to choose the Gretsch sets over the latest tech.

To help you make the right decision, let’s discuss five things you must consider before investing in either a manual or electric kit. 

#1. Sound Levels 

If you plan to start honing your chops from your apartment, you might be better off getting an electronic set. You don’t want your neighbors banging down your doors because of excessive noise.

Most electronic kits are volume-adjustable, so you can control the noise levels while practicing. Ensure you use a thick rug to deaden the noise that comes from the bass pedal.

However, if you have space where you don’t have to worry about the neighbors, you can still consider manual.

#2. Floor Space

The average acoustic set will need considerable floor space. Unlike most budget e-drum sets, you will probably need to find space for the cymbals, drum stands, and the kick drum.

So, if you are pressed for space, the electronic drum kit might be your best option.

#3. Feel

If you’ve got a keen ear for sound, you might struggle with getting an electronic drum set. Any experienced drummer will tell you that the feel of playing a manual drum is different.

Some claim that you can feel the sound waves reverberating through you while you beat to the music. No doubt, electronic drums have upped the standard. Some drummers say they now come close to creating the sort of feel acoustic sets give off.

However, there are specific notes an electronic drum set may never deliver properly yet – such as cymbal swells and ghost notes. You can make do with an electronic drum at first and then upgrade to an acoustic set as you gain more experience.

#4. Extra features 

The e-drum set beats the traditional drums hands down in this area, unsurprisingly. With electronic drums, you get features such as DSP effects and tweakable sounds.

Some also come fully equipped with training material that helps you up your chops. You can practice speed, timing, and a variety of other skill with these tutorials.

This is one factor that pushes a lot of beginners to purchase electronic sets. They can always upgrade to acoustic drums once they feel more confident with their drumming skills.

 #5. Price

With the pricing of both electronic drum sets and the traditional drums, you get what you pay for. This, however, applies more for electronic drums than acoustic sets. To buy an e-drum set that will produce an acoustic drum’s feel, you might have to spend upwards of $2,000.

It is probably a smart move for a beginner to get a budget e-drum kit and upgrade as your skills improve, especially as you would not only be paying for a drum but an AI-powered coach.

 Final Thoughts

At this point, it probably seems wiser to get an electronic drum kit. However, it depends on which you are more comfortable with and which set tat will motivate you to practice daily.

If you love the sound and feel of an acoustic drum, go ahead and get one. But if you are struggling with space and neighbors, it might be wiser to get an electronic set.