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OT: DIY Drum triggers

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Basonsubatomia, Jul 25, 2004.

  1. Basonsubatomia


    Nov 8, 2002
    Wrong instrument, I know... but I was wondering if anyone here has had any experience with drum tiggers... I really want to make my drummer a DIY drum trigger out of a practice pad, and want to get a electronic drum unit that has sampling capability insstead of the stock sounds (which are kinda cheeseball) or modify a sampler to do the same... anyone got any good links/experience for this project? I've got the pad part down, but the brains of the unit is a little sketchier.

  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Just a bit off topic, wrong instrument entirely. But you got the rhythm section part right! :)
  3. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    You could always just get a zendrum. I know you want to DIY but these things are really cool. You can do pretty much anything with them...I have one.

  4. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Hey Jared, I didn't know you had a zendrum. That's cool. How long have you had it and have you gotten good on it?

    brad cook
  5. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Zendrums run for what? $6-800? for the basic model? I *Really* wanted one a while back, but kind of thought it was a little pricey for what it is.

    For $600 you can get a 4x2 pad grid, ultra sensitive, able to load any sample, make for a great addition to an acoustic kit.

    You can also get those little clip on triggers for about $60-100, I don't know if they work on practice pads though.

    I've never heard of anyone modding a practice pad into a MIDI trigger, but I'm sure it's possible, really all you need is a pressure sensitive switch.

    The other option would be to get a Pintech pad, that'd probably be about $150 for a triple trigger one.

    I dunno, there are lots of options, ultimately I think it'd be best to just buy a pad or pad array instead of trying to mod one, which would likely not turn out as well as if you juts bought something, but then again, I don't know anything about your experience with working with MIDI wiring and stuff, maybe you're really good at it and this would be a (fairly) simple project, the guy from Self made a Nintendo Controller into a MIDI controller, and used it on a couple albums.
  6. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    I've had it a few months. It's a really nice one..the top half is birdseye maple and the bottom half or back is mahogany. Of course they all place the same since it's electronic but it is nice. I bought it used on ebay. I actually stink on the thing but my brother is pretty awesome on it. I might ask him if he wants to buy it off me if I ever need the money. I wouldn't want to get rid of it entirely, since I got it for a studio project (of which I wanted him to do the drums so...)
  7. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Good advice....guy wants to spend $100-200 and you offer him the idea of a $600 trigger. :confused:

    I remember reading about of setup like he is refering to on a drum site...I will look for it.
  8. get a little piezo element from Radio Shack, wire it to a jack, and stick it under the membrane of the practice pad.

    Lookie lookie, a drum trigger for 5 bucks. :hyper:
  9. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Do a google on DIY Electronic Drum Kits, and you'll find a couple of "recipes" for converting a practice pad into a electronic drum pad using a Piezo Buzzer, a little wire and a connector.

    Really all you need is a piezo buzzer that is attached to something that you can strike. I have made e-drums using practice pads, and E-cymbals using PVC pipe. You can use cake pans, PVC, frisbees, whatever. It just needs to transfer vibrations to the trigger.

    As far as triggers are concerned, you can use Piezo Buzzers from Radio Shack. But, I find it more time and cost effective to purchase them. I found a guy on E-bay who sells 10 triggers for around $50. I attach them to my drum kit, and if I want it to be E-drum kit, I just put some muffling pads over them. Or, I can combine the sound of an acoustic drum along with an electronic sound.

    You'll need a brain, and I use an Alesis DM4. There are better ones out there, but it's cheap and effective. The thing is that you need something that will take signals from the trigger and then convert it to a MIDI command. Most drum modules will have sounds as well as MIDI functions. Some of them will do MIDI only.

    If you want a simple and cheap solution, get a Yamaha DD-50 or DD-55. They are sort of like the Zendrum, but cheaper, simpler, and more toy-like. But, it does do the trick. The DD50s are pretty cheap since they are old, but the DD-55 can be found for under $200.
  10. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    I hang out here:


    and here:


    both have members who are extremely familiar with DIY Edrums, many have built entire kits. Lots of great advice there.

    If you don't want a module with onboard sounds you can look for a 'trigger-to-midi' interface (of which there are many models.)

    I use a Roland module midi'd to an EMU sampler and find the module allows for much more tweaking than most TMI's, but in a pinch (or on the cheap) and interface would let you get started at least. You'd need a sampler to produce the sounds though.

    There are quite a few guys using these kinds of setups on the Edrum forums, might give you some ideas anyway.
  11. Basonsubatomia


    Nov 8, 2002
    Hey, I *said* it was the wrong instrument :p

    The trigger part isn't the problem... it's what recieves the trigger that I'm worried about. I've seen most of the google links for making the triggers and that's all good...

    The zendrums look purdy... but I don't need the pad part of it, just something to trigger samples from a voltage spike (ie. from piezo elements from home made drum pads/triggers). I also don't need any midi at all.

    jive1 - got any spare triggers lying around you're willing to sell? I want a trigger for the kick and possibly snare, but that's it. Good idea too. Thanks.

    Thanks for the drum forums link, xush. I'll check that out - I just didn't know where to go for drums. It took me a while to find talkbass and it's my own instrument...
  12. bassturtle


    Apr 9, 2004
    Well, I'm not sure if you are still looking for info, but here's what I did for my trigger.

    I took a Fishman Purple MicroDot* trigger and stuck it to the underside of a Real Feel 6" practice drum pad. I then set the pad on a piece of wood and mounted it to a stand. The microdot is sandwiched between the board and the pad. At first I had the microdot on the same side of the pad that I was hitting with the stick, but I had real bad ghosting problems and since the pad doesn't vibrate like a drum head would you have to hit it REALLY hard. Having it between the wood and the pad seemed to fix both problems.

    I have had great luck with this setup. It has no problem tracking even the fastest of strokes....granted, I'm not much of a drummer, but you get the idea ;)

    As far as the brains go, you can really use any sampler you want. With the microdot I didn't have to worry about any kind of buffer. I use it with an older Alesis DM5 and with a handful of softsynths. When going into my computer to trigger the softsynths, I first will go into the DM5 and use that as my analog to midi converter.

    * http://www.fishman.com/products/details.asp?id=44
  13. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    Well I did the best I could given my extremely limited knowledge in this area. :meh:
  14. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I used the same Fishman triggers, and also used a bit of wood. But I'm even cheaper than you. I went to the hardware store and bought some foam that looked stiff enough to spread the impact but soft enough to protect the trigger. Actually now that I look at it, the foam looks like a thick mouse pad. Works a treat.

    And I use an Alesis D4 as a brain. Made in 1991 and still works. I actually like it because most of the sounds are drum samples that sound more like a drum kit than electronica. This thing wouldn't work at all for Techno or R&B, which is what a lot of the current drum modules seem to cater for.

    I've actually used this setup live at gigs where I just know there isn't going to be sufficient mics or mic channels to mic up the whole kit. I just gaffa tape the trigger to the underside of the drums and I can run the whole kit through as little as 1 or as many as 4 channel on the desk, mixing it from the D4's controls.