MIDI drum kits are cool again. But buying them? That's boring. Build them instead.

Handy musician Nathaniel Andrew has step-by-step instructions for building DIY drum triggers
on the cheap. (via audioserve) You'll need to score yourself some cheap Remo practice
pads, and there is a little bit of hard work, though nothing
impossible. Nathaniel claims the whole job takes 20 minutes, requiring
only some standard components from Radio Shack, a soldering iron, a
small piece of sheet metal, an X-acto, epoxy, a drill, and cutting
sheers.

Oh, and don't forget the other metal — heavy metal CD to keep your drum-building inspired. Here at CDM, music of choice is death metal singing parrots.

See if this works for you, but if not, stay tuned: our friend Scott
Shaw has promised more extensive PDF instructions with lots of
alternates for construction method and materials, coming soon. You'll
hear about it here first.

  • Guest

    Years ago someone used to sell both the plans for these and already assembled kits (this guy has pretty much ripped those plans off the only difference is he adds the piece of metal). Keep in mind most of the cost was the rack to hold the pads. The pads will work don’t get me wrong. The problem is they will play like you spent $3 at Radio Shack to make them. Don’t expect to be able to do anything fancy, and by that I mean any sort of roll or even play the pads very quickly. I used both and Alessis DM-5 and one of the older Roland drum brains and neither worked well with the pads. They simply will not re-trigger fast enough.

    If you are considering an electronic drum kit, drop the cash on . However if you want to add a pad or two to augment your setup this might not be a bad deal. Just keep in mind these pads will leave a lot be desired as either a high hat or snare.

  • admin

    Thanks for the caution, and a wise one. With triggers falling in price, of course DIY pads aren't something you'd do out of need — you'd do it for the fun of it. But of course, looking at the way these work, you'll be somewhat limited.

    As usual, CDM takes no responsibility for what will actually come out of your pad-building efforts, nor is anything on this site an endorsement unless specified as such.

    Oh, and don't blame me if the singing parrot quits the band because you can't keep up on your crappy homemade triggers.

    Peter

  • Guest

    Breathless posts like this make me snicker…There's been a big DIY electronic drum community for *years*.
    http://edrum.for.free.fr/ http://www.edrumming.com are some good gateway sites.

    FWIW, properly adjusting the pad parameters on your brain makes DIY triggers behave exactly like retail ones. I use an equal blend of retail and DIY pads and acoustic triggers with a Roland TD-8, and there's no appreciable difference in response once they're configured properly.

    K

  • admin

    I live in a 6th-floor walkup. I'm always breathless. đŸ˜‰

    Noteworthy doesn't always mean new. Thanks for the great links — I'll do a proper DIY drums roundup soon. Have you built any?

    Peter

  • Guest

    I've personally built *dozens* of triggers. The same piezo sensor you stuff into a Remo practice pad to make it trigger will also make your P-Bass sound like Ron Carter when you stick it on the headstock and use it as a contact mic.

    The trick is to harvest your peizo elements from *old* clock radios…back in the '70's they used large (up to 2") peizos with s much thicker coating, which gives a nice strong signal for your trigger interface to process.

    K

  • admin

    If you have any photos or descriptions you want to send (or music samples), please feel free — peter (at) createdigitalmusic (dot) com.

  • Guest

    ive never had a problem with peizos giving off too much signal for my module, in fact ive had to run them through a preamp to amplify them. this may have been because of too much foam though too…..

  • Mike

    Here is another good site for diy electronic drums. http://www.edrums.info

  • Ron Blair

    There's simply too much foam between the head and the trigger. Even with my Alesis set to max sensitivity it takes a moderately hard hit to get any response. Using a foam pad only 1/4" thinner than the one in the practice pad under, and then using a denser, less spongy type of rubber (like an old mouse pad) on TOP of the piezo/metal plate, gives a much better response. Not incredibly responsive, but, at least it will respond to light rolls. This might work with a better module than what I've got, but, I doubt it. Thanks for the plans though. Great starting point for DIYers