Made My Own Electric Drum, Mesh Head and Piezo

new edrum in use

new edrum in use

Piezo Blued to backside of head, wires duct-taped to 1/4" jack, didn't bother figuring out positive and negative values

Piezo glued to the backside of head, wires duct-taped to 1/4″ jack, didn’t bother figuring out positive and negative values

Piezo Circuits in a bag

Piezo Circuits, $1each, bought from Karlson’s Robotics, online

Front side of mesh head, you can see the Modge Podge glue seeping through to the front of head head

Front side of mesh head, you can see the Modge Podge glue seeping through to the front of head head

I made an edrum today. I’ve read about other methods where people turned Remo Practice Pads in to edrum sensors and worked well, but I wanted a mesh head. My friend had lent me a $10 floor tom that in my view was sub musical. It was difficult to use in a musical setting because it sounded bad. Opening it up, it had poorly cut bearing edges and the wrap was bubbling up in places.

This drum would be useful though, for practicing double bass quietly. I bought a 16″ mesh head to use as a silent drum head for practice. I heavily waxed the bearing edges to prevent rough wood from scraping the mesh head.

I had read about Piezo electrics, and had access to another friend’s Roland TD4. I also use an Alesis 6 as my snare module. I bought some Piezo Electrics. They cost $1 a piece so it was a low cost exploration. I wanted to use my glue gun but couldn’t find it. so I found my Modge Podge that I use for hand crafted screen printing, and slathered on the glue-ish substance on the piezo and then slathered it on the head around the piezo, using a paint brush. Over night the Modge Podge hardened in to a transparent semi-rigid varnish, entrapping the piezo against the head. I did this while the head was taught on the drum so the piezo would bond to a straight surface resembling it’s permanent home.

The quarter inch jack I also bought to interface with the piezo was a pain to work with and seemed to put up electric resistence deading the signal, so I taped the wires to the quarter inch cable directly. This was initially done so I could rapidly prototype it again if the system was a failure. But now it works so I haven’t bothered.

In fact the electric drum I made works so well I have to deaden it with a pillow because the vibrating head will make double and triple slaps on the TD4. The faster I play the more sustained vibrations on the head disrupt my signal. I’m adding deadening to compensate, and the pillows are helping. When I began I was incredulous it would work at all. Instead I find it works very well.

  • Cheap Drum, $10
  • Piezo Piece, $1
  • Mesh Head $12
  • Cable to plug in to TD4
  • Modge Podge & Paint Brush

This was pretty fun, and I’m looking forward to working on my feet more.