Practicing the drums is a necessary part of becoming a great drummer. But what are you going to do when other people need it quiet when you need to practice? Electronic drums are a great solution to this problem but they're expensive, so they may not be an option for you.
Enter the drum practice pad. Drum practice pads are small, portable, and quiet. The surface of the pad is created to mimic the surface of a drumhead, so you get as realistic a feeling as possible when you play.
There are plenty of different types of drum practice pads on the market. However, it can be a little difficult to choose which one is best for you, so we put together a list to help you decide.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the best seven drum practice pads. We’ll take a look at their features and benefits and tell you all the criteria we used to select them. Let’s get started.
Quick glance at the best drum practice pads:
The Ahead Practice Pad is one of the tiniest practice drum pads on the market. It’s small enough to toss in your drum bag or even your pocket so you can take it pretty much everywhere you go! However, this little pad reaps big benefits by helping you master accuracy, speed, and stick position. By practicing on such a small pad, you’ll be able to consistently hit the center of the drum with more speed and accuracy when you switch over to an actual drum set.
The RealFeel by Evans practice pad was made for use by all skill levels. It features a quiet gum rubber surface that provides a very realistic rebound feel without all the noise. This drum pad offers a feeling that’s about as close to a real drumhead as you can get. Additionally, there’s a size to meet all your needs as it is available in 6, 7, and twelve-inch sizes.
The Drumeo P4 Practice pad will help you work on the skills you need to transition to a full-size drum set. With four unique playing surfaces, you’ll learn to rebound on different drum heads as well as get the feel of moving from one space to another. You’ll also develop accuracy and control as you play in the various small areas of the practice pad.
The Silentstroke Practice Pad is one of the quietest pads you can find. It has a great feel and rebound but it still manages to provide an 80% reduction in volume over a drum set. It can be mounted in a stand for upright practice, but the rubber bottom will keep it in place if you prefer tabletop use. Of course, one of the best features of this practice pad is its price. At such a low price, you may want to have several on hand to give yourself the feeling of practicing on a drum kit.
The DW Multi-surface pad offers you three different types of surfaces to practice on. One side is a soft rubber, which helps you develop muscle strength and memory. Flip it over, and on the other side there is a harder rubber surface which helps you develop your rebounding. Finally, it also has a very small hard section, which makes a ticking sound to represent hi-hat beats. You have lots of options when you choose the DW multi-surface pad.
The Sabian Quiet Tone Mesh Practice Pad is one of the quietest practice pads on the market. It reduces sound by up to 99% while still providing an excellent feel and rebound, so you can practice confidently knowing you won’t be bothering anyone else. You can adjust the tension on the mesh head to suit your preferences, and the non-slip rubber feet keep it in place on the table. Best yet, the metal hoop means you can practice your rim shots and cross-sticking.
The Drum Workshop Go Anywhere 5 Piece Set is an excellent set of pads to help mimic a complete drum kit. This kit is lightweight and easy to move and set up. You’ll be able to realistically practice as you would on an actual drum set but without all the volume.
If you are looking for a drum practice pad, you’ll need to take a few things into consideration, such as portability, ability level, and volume. If you’re not quite sure how a drum pad works, you can see some examples in this video to get you started.
We all know a standard drum set can take up a lot of floor space in your home. Practice pads, on the other hand, are designed to be small and hidden away when not in use. You may want to find a practice pad that is roughly the same size as the drumhead you’ll be playing the most so that you develop good muscle memory.
On the other hand, you may want an even smaller practice pad because it will take up much less room. Smaller drum pads will also help you develop better accuracy in your playing, as well.
Typical drum pads may be between 4 inches in diameter and 14 inches in diameter. Of course, a larger surface is easier to practice on, but a smaller surface is easier to stash away when you aren’t using it.
The weight of a drum pad is another thing to consider. If you’re going to be carrying your drum pad around with you, you don’t want one that’s heavy like an actual drum. But, on the other hand, a pad that is heavier won’t move around as much when you use it, while a lightweight pad might slip away as you are playing.
Do you need your practice pad to be portable? If you are taking it with you often, you’ll want a drum pad that is small, lightweight, and easy to pack in a bag. Drum pads with feet can get tangled up on other things in your bag, so you may want one that is flat if you will be taking it in a backpack or bag. On the other hand, look for a drum pad that sits well on a table, so you don’t have to pack a snare stand as well. A flat rubber grip on the back side is easier to tote around than a pad with feet or that must be used in a drum stand.
If you live with other people, the quieter your drum pad is, the better. This way, you can practice as much as you need to without disturbing others. Even a quiet drum pad can be a headache for the people you live with!
Mesh drum practice pads may be the quietest on the market, followed by soft rubber pads which absorb energy. Hard plastic practice pads are probably the loudest, but they are still much quieter than an actual drum.
What kind of feel do you want for your drum pad? Do you want it to feel like you are playing on real drums? Do you want it to have bounce so you can work on your rebound and strokes, or do you want a soft surface that absorbs the hit, so you have to build muscle instead? Think about what kind of feeling and resistance you want your drum pad to have.
Different surface materials will have different types of resistance and sound. For example, the drum pad could be made with a variety of plastic, rubber, and even wood which will change the sound and volume of your drum pad. Some pads even have imitation snares and are great for drum and bugle corps players.
Rubber pads will be a bit bouncier than a hard plastic pad and are soft enough to practice at night while others are sleeping. The softer the rubber, the more sound it will absorb and the harder the rubber, the louder it will be. Pads with less bounce will help you work on your rebound and speed.
Choose a pad that is in line with your skill level and ability. For example, a small rubber pad has enough dynamic response for beginners to learn the rudimentary basics. A more advanced student, however, may want to invest in a practice kit which is a set of practice pads arranged like an actual drum set.
A lot of inexpensive practice pads are suitable for all ability levels, especially the pads on our list. You should be able to learn the rudiments of technique on your drum pad, as you can read about in this article.
Your music type might affect the kind of drum practice pad you are looking to purchase. For example, if you know you’ll be transitioning to a complete drum set, you may want to consider a set of pads that mimic the positioning of a real drum kit or at least a drumhead that offers multiple surfaces. On the other hand, if you will be making drum and bugle corps music, you’ll want to consider how that would best be represented by a simple drum pad.
Drum practice pads come in a wide range of prices. The cheapest is around $20, but professional practice pads can be $100 or more. But, of course, practice pads are much less expensive than an actual drum.
Two of the most important features of a drum pad are how it feels and how it sounds. Both of these features are affected by what the drum pad is made from. If you’re purchasing a drum pad rather than a drum, you’re probably looking for it to be quiet yet still feel as realistic as possible. And that’s why we chose the Sabian Quiet Tone Mesh Practice Pad.
The Sabian Practice Pad reduces sound by up to 99%, making for a very quiet drumming experience. Not only does the mesh head make it quiet, it also gives it a very realistic feel so you can practice as if it were a real drum head. But the best part of all is that it also looks like a real drum with the triple-flanged metal hoop mimicking an actual snare drum. The metal hoop means you can practice your rim shots and cross-sticking to your heart’s content.
Don’t forget you can also adjust the tension to make it feel just right to you and it has non-slip rubber feet so you can play it on just about any surface. Although it won’t work in a typical drum stand, you can still play it just about anywhere, giving you lots of practice benefits at a very quiet level.
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