Drummer Living In An Apartment
August 3, 2008 6:18 PM   Subscribe

I use to play the drums, really miss it, and want to get back into it. What are my options for living in an apartment complex?

I've tried some of the cheaper electronic kits in stores. They seemed pretty lousy to me; didn't "respond" close enough to the real thing. Are there any cheap electronic kits people can recommend? What are my other options? What are my options when I want to get together with people and play?
posted by defben to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I know it's lame, and also possibly not what you're looking for, but maybe, like, Rock Band?
posted by kbanas at 6:22 PM on August 3, 2008

This might be stating the obvious but:

Join a band who already rent a rehearsal space? Chip in with other random musicians to share rent on a cheap rehearsal space?
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:32 PM on August 3, 2008

I know it's lame, and also possibly not what you're looking for, but maybe, like, Rock Band?

Yea you're right, it's very lame, don't get it.
I play a little drums too, I was in a house for the past 4 years and it was fine than I moved into an apt and my neighbors hate me when I play. I've got absolutely no experience in electronic drums but I did see a decent looking kit at Target (yea I know, of all places). It was like 200$, had hi hat, snare, kick drum, 1 tom and floor tom, and I think just one cymbal. I have no idea how good it was but it was cheap. You could always get hand drums too.
posted by BrnP84 at 6:42 PM on August 3, 2008

Trolling eBay might net you a ~$100 set that doesn't suck. Hook up some headphones to the line output and you have (nearly) noise-free drumming.

Seconding hand drums. Fun!
posted by ostranenie at 7:18 PM on August 3, 2008

Get an electronic kit. It broke my heart when I sold my Tama kit, but I picked up a Roland V-Club off E-Bay and have been quite happy with it. Apparently that model isn't made anymore but anything Roland, Yamaha, or even Alesis should be pretty fun. Anything from Target is going to be a toy, and probably break if treat it like a real drum kit. You definitely want a mesh snare and some decent hi-hats, go to Guitar Center and play around on some to get a feel for it. Get some good headphones and mix through your computer, you can play to any song in your mp3 collections at any time of day. They usually come with a rack, don't take up nearly as much space as a real kit, and will pack down into a large box for transportation. Very practical and it is also great for recording or if your buddy comes over with an acoustic. The built in kits usually sound very flat, but with some tweaking or even pedals, you can make them sound fantastic, and there is always the ability to add more sounds or use it as a midi trigger for effects on another board or your computer.

Other (cheaper) options would be hand drums or drum machine.
posted by sophist at 7:26 PM on August 3, 2008

Or you could rent a jam-space somewhere. That's what most people do in my city, anyway.
posted by PercussivePaul at 7:32 PM on August 3, 2008

I hear, that in the days before electronic kits, drummers solved this problem by stuffing wadded-up clothes into their drums (taping them into the toms). The symbols still might irritate people, though... don't hit them so hard.

Or, rent a mini-storage unit. You've got to find one that has some power somewhere around it, with either an absent landlord or one who understands the needs of loud people.

But, I think the best option might be this: take a class at the local university as a non-matriculated student (that is, not seeking a degree). This'll cost a couple hundred bucks. Specifically, take a class in drumming or percussion, and then go use their practice rooms. You can repeat this each semester for as long as you like. And, you're getting a teacher out of it.

After a couple of semesters of taking classes, you can probably work it out that you can stop taking classes and still get to use the practice rooms. For this plan to succeed, you need to make friends with folks and get involved... play in the orchestra, perhaps?
posted by Netzapper at 7:38 PM on August 3, 2008

Yeah, talk to your local university school of music. It's a little different for percussionists, because a lot of times schools don't have their own drumsets -- and if they did, those would be only available to music students who are majoring in percussion -- but it's a good place to start. People there can probably point you in the right direction, at least.
posted by rossination at 8:15 PM on August 3, 2008

If you have any trustworthy friends with a house, you could ask them to let you keep a small 4 piece kit there, in a garage, shed, basement; maybe pay them a small fee.

If that doesn't work out, I'd have to agree with sophist. The feel of an electronic kit may suck, but at least you can move around a kit and bust out some rhythms.

You could also ask around at unconventional places, like churches. Many churches have drum kits set up that they use for worship bands, and you might be able to convince them to let you practice for a little bit. I took drum lessons at a church many years ago, and have recorded with a band in a church.

Good luck. I hate having to leave my kit at home when I'm off at college.
posted by alligatorman at 8:58 PM on August 3, 2008

Agreeing with sophist. Try a better electronic kit! All you need is the snare/tom/hihat/cymbal at first, and add on later. I used to play drums before i moved to guitar, but when I played a Yamaha recently it really made me want to take it home and play drums again (in headphones).
posted by artdrectr at 9:21 PM on August 3, 2008

Electronic drums can be good, but at a price.

I have a set of Roland V-Drums in my apartment. They play enough like real drums that they'll seem like a different kit than you're used to, and they sound fantastic. I use them for practicing and making demos (being able to edit a MIDI drum track off this set is a wonderful thing).

But they are not cheap. The full-blown set I have was $6K two years ago. I believe they make a more limited set for the "musician on a budget", but I'm sure it's still four figures.
posted by aerosolkid at 5:29 AM on August 4, 2008

You might want to go the practice pad route. Google "practice pad drum set". Pick up one of these sets along with a good book and metronome... you'll be smiling.
posted by colonel_kerning at 7:18 AM on August 5, 2008

A friend of mine picked up a second hand electronic kit for about 500$. It's a ton of fun - obviously not the real thing but still a blast to play on... although IANAD. My music-snob bass-playing friend who gives you the eye when you talk about electronic kits said he was pleasantly surprised by how much you don't notice the difference while playing.

If you have any technical know-how, you can even hook it up to a sampler through midi and get more realistic sounds.

Damn, I've half convinced myself to get one too now.
posted by pschuegr at 3:22 PM on August 6, 2008

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