Five Ways to Build a Hybrid Drumset

playing with drumset

Avid drummers sometimes want to marry the authentic acoustic sounds produced by an acoustic drum set with the electronic sounds and effects that an electronic drum can produce. The best way to do this is to create a hybrid drum set. A hybrid drum is a seamless fusion between electronic and acoustic drum sets.

While the idea of creating your own hybrid drum set might sound a little daunting, the truth is that it's actually very easy to do. You simply start off by making small incremental changes to the range of electronic sounds on your basic acoustic drum set. As you get a bit more comfortable with the sounds and effects, you can add on to that kit as you see fit.

This guide is going to cover everything you need to know about creating your own hybrid drum set. We are going to look at the advantages and disadvantages as well as the most common and effective techniques to use when creating your own hybrid drum set. Let's dig in.

What You Need to Know About Hybrid Drum Sets

The thing about hybrid drum sets is that they don't often come as one big set. You can't actually buy the hybrid drum set that you want. That's what makes them so special; you have to build one. This means that these are highly personalized drum sets with every drummer adding on what they prefer according to the kind of sound they want to produce.

What Are the Best Music Genres for a Hybrid Drum Set?

The idea behind hybrid drums sets arose due to the fact that neither component (acoustic nor electronic drums) could deliver exactly what musicians wanted to achieve in certain given settings. This is mostly because non-hybrid drums such as acoustic drums are almost impossible to replicate in both sound and presence. They don't always contain the kind of variety that can meet the sonic demands and expectations of modern audiences.

On the other hand, full electronic bands just can't give you that authentic acoustic sound that acoustic drums can deliver. For that reason, most modern bands try to find a way to marry the two worlds hence the invention of hybrid drums.

Hybrid drums are indispensable when it comes to music genres that contain string electronic elements. Dance and pop are the perfect example for why you would need a hybrid drum. Drummers in these genres can easily trigger effects and samples that are particularly relevant to their specific styles. Additionally, live electronic music producers and experimental acts find these kinds of drums to be particularly useful.

Hybrid drums can also be used in subtler music styles such as wedding and cover bands. In such acts, triggering hybrid drums instead of using a microphone can improve live performances.

The Advantages of Using Hybrid Drum Sets

There are several advantages of using hybrid drum sets:

Pros of Using Hybrid Drum Sets

They help you to enhance and customize your sound: Using a hybrid drum can help you enhance your sound by mixing your acoustic sounds with triggered electronic sounds thus giving you a more dynamic range, increased clarity as well as performance.

  • It helps you layer your sounds: With a hybrid drum, you can add on a variety of sounds including things like handclaps, tambourine, as well as your own created sounds that can be played along your acoustic drum sound.
  • You can expand your kit: A hybrid drum will help you expand the range of sounds available in your kit. There are certain instruments such as gongs that, despite being a crucial part of your sound, you just can't take with you to a gig. A hybrid drum will allow you to bring those sounds with you as well as many others that you may not have in your kit.

Strangely enough, setting up a hybrid drum set isn't as difficult as you might first assume. Even if you have never used one before, you can easily follow tips and instructions to build your own hybrid drum set. Here are five easy ways that you can build your own hybrid drum set at home.

Method 1: Using a Drum Module

Before we even mention the other methods, it's important to mention a bit about drum modules seeing as you will need one for most of these other methods to work. "Drum Modules" are very much the "brain" of electronic drum sets. Most additions made to your set will all communicate with the drum module you use to trigger the sounds that you want. It's the drum module you use that you will connect to the interface or mixing desk. While there are many options, the Roland TM-2 Trigger Module is one of the best drum modules in the market today.

Therefore, the very first thing you might want to consider when thinking of building your own hybrid drum set is to get a reliable drum module and then figure out how to use that to bring out all the other necessary sounds from the other additions that you will make.

Method 2: Add Percussion or Sample Pads

This is one of the easiest ways to build your own hybrid drum set. You can simply keep your original acoustic drum set as is and add on a drum pad like the Yamaha DTX Multi-12 or Roland SPD-SX that you can play on the side. The good thing about these pads is that they are very easy to connect to the sound engineers mixing desk through the audio jack outputs when performing live.

Because these pads don't need separate drum modules, they are very easy to use. You can also position the sample pads anywhere on the set as long as they are within reach.

Method 3: Using Drum Triggers

Drum triggers are little devices that attach to the rim of your acoustic drum set lightly pressing on the drum head. The drum trigger is connected to the drum module by wire so that when you hit your acoustic drum head, the drum trigger will pick up that sound and trigger it on the drum module you are using.

With the right drum module and drum triggers you could overlay any kind of sound you want the drum triggers to trigger when you hit the acoustic drum on which they are set up. For example, there are dual sensitive drum triggers such as the Roland RT-30HR Dual Zone Trigger which can detect rim hits separately to the head hits. With this, you can simply set the drum module to play a clap sound whenever you hit the rim of your acoustic drum.

Method 4: Using Electronic Trigger Heads

In this method, the trick is to replace your acoustic drum head with an electronic one. By doing that, you will basically retain the same presence and size of your original acoustic drum kit. However, whenever you hit the drum head, you will be essentially producing electronic sounds instead.

Method 5: Adding Drum Pads, Trigger Pads, and Cymbal Pads

Another method involves adding extra cymbal or drum pads to your drum set. These can be placed at any convenient location around the set. One of the best ways to do this is to buy a rubber mesh pad. You can then place this on a stand anywhere around your acoustic drum set.

You could this use this to trigger different drum sounds, cymbal sounds, or any other kind of sound you want as long as it's connected to your drum module. One of the best rubber or mesh pads in the market today is the Roland V-Pad PDX-100 mesh drum pad.

Apart from that option, there is another alternative whereby you use a bar trigger pad such as the Roland BT-1 Bar Trigger Pad which attaches to the rim of your acoustic drum. The best thing about this method is that most percussion pads such as the already mentioned Roland SPD-SX have additional inputs for your drum pads. This means that if you already own one of these percussion pads, then you don't necessarily have to buy a whole other drum module.

Things You Need Before You Get Started Building Your Own Hybrid Drum Set

As you have probably already figured out, there are a few things that you will need to make this entire setup work:

  • An acoustic drum set
  • Various triggers
  • Mesh heads
  • Rubber rims

You have to try and find the best ones in the market for your particular purposes, considering the fact that everyone has their own specific and particular sound. That being said, the options given here have been proven to work very well and are rather reliable as far as the necessary components go.

The methods mentioned here will help you easily fuse your analog and digital sound together nicely. It will take some tweaking to find the right sound, and you might have to add in a few original sounds, but once you figure out how your hybrid drum set all comes together, the additions will just go towards making your sound that richer and diverse.

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