How Do Electric Drums Work?

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Electric drums make sounds from a computer that transfers contact with the drums into assigned sounds, such as those of a snare drum, tom drum or crash cymbal. Learn about the sensors that exist inside of electric drums with help from an experienced drummer in this free video on drums and percussion.

Part of the Video Series: Drums & Music Theory
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Video Transcript

How do electric drums work? Electric drums work a lot differently than acoustic drums. Electric drums, when the drums are actually off, don't really make a sound as you can see. It's just the sound of the stick hitting the pad, not very much sound. The sound comes from an electric computer or brain that turns all of these hits in to the sound that they're assigned. for example, the snare drum or the tom drums, or a crash cymbal or a ride cymbal. They're meant to react as closely as possible to regular acoustic drums. The better the drum set is the closer that will happen. And as you can see you can get pretty close sounds to regular drums. The way that they actually work is that they have sensors inside which sense how hard you're hitting the drum and are actually tuned in a way that makes them react like real drums. So here's the snare drum for example, and as you can see underneath, there isn't actually a drum there but what there is is a really sensitive pad that can measure on the drum you're striking it as well as how hard and it will then produce the sounds appropriate for that.

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