ETA: Just thought I'd add the fact that there is now a facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/drummersbehindglass you can like and have the latest posts just show up without having to seek them out.
The fracturing and bloody crusades against stage volume have had many casualties. One tragic outcome is that drummers are no longer allowed to be in the presence of other band members while playing. They have to be segregated. Sometimes by some leaning plexiglass sometimes by entire rooms built to keep them away from the rest of the team. If you won't or can't undo this wrong, you owe it to your drummer to at least acknowledge it.
Here is the opportunity to do just that. At this weekend's service photograph your drummer in his cage, behind his shield etc. Then go to http://drummersbehindglass.com and click the submit image button. If you just don't do something to bring awareness to this issue you are propagating it. Hug a drummer this weekend. They are musicians too.
Yes yours probably isn't this fancy but it's your drummers unique "home on stage."
Last edited by travisvwright; 07-02-2012 at 07:42 AM.
For anyone curious, the most current post is my drummer Sean and our shield. Yes, it is made of clear duct tape and vinyl. It's not much but it's "home".
I play drums on occasion (or at least beat on things with sticks), I am all about the rhythm section, but I have mixed feelings on this subject when it comes up in churches.
On one hand, I feel that drummers brought it on themselves. Other instruments, such as bass, keys and guitar, made some concessions. We aren't using full stacks on stage. In fact, amps on stage have all but disappeared for pods, pedals, preamps and DI processors. Keyboard/piano players let go of their grand piano for a semi-weighted keyboard. Is it the preferred way? Not usually, but it's a trade off that gave electric instruments a place on stage. With drums, it seems to be 'acoustic or nothing' approach. The mention of e-drums makes almost all drummers cringe and other players voice disapproval. Is it ideal, Of course not- but if they want to get out of the cage and join the rest of the band, they might have to let go of the sacred cow and get an electric kit. Or at least scale back the acoustic kit (I like the one in the picture), play softer, use different sticks or brushes, get creative. I mean, walk out on stage with a Marshall full stack or a Fender Hot Rod Deville every week, someone will want it in a box. Personally, I LOVE the acoustic kits over electric. But reality dictates what we can do. So do you want to be out of a cage, or play an acoustic kit?
I remember when guitar players would be up in arms when they couldn't have their amps. But they understood that they had to adapt. Other instruments had to adapt. We hated playing through pods and pedals straight into the board. But we learned how to make it work. In the process, most of the 'wars' became moot.
However, I do understand the image portrayed with a drummer in a cage. It's an eyesore and unflattering to the layout of the band. I have often thought about putting fish stickers and a treasure chest on the plastic to make it look like an aquarium. They are hot, make the drums sound like they are set up in a bathroom. In that aspect, I acknowledge it's a gray elephant.
So, I acknowledge there is an issue. However, there are solutions available that people don't seem to want to take advantage of. In that respect, I am not very sympathetic.
Last edited by Mike on Bass; 05-25-2012 at 04:32 PM.
AS with other worship team musicians, drummers have to be of the mind that this is not about them, but the body of Christ. Once you come to that conclusion, doing what is best comes easier. We made the transition years ago to Edrums, and have not looked back. A significant key is to approach Edrum equipment with the same mindset as acoustic sets. You cannot buy a toy and make it work. We bought a pretty high quality set used, and while purists will not agree, our sound guys, drummers, other band mates, and congregation are all pretty happy.
we solved 90 percent of our sound issues with Roland v-tour drums. our drummer loves them, and they sound great. do you get as much expression as with acoustics? no, but it's close. AND...something rarly spoke about is the 100's of variations you can program in. i just bought a new cymbal, plugged it in, and set it for a 20 inch crash. all in 5 minutes. i can't explain how it has freed up worship at our church by not being a "distraction"
Replace it with a used decent Roland eDrum kit about 4 years ago, and spent money on some better quality Roland cymbals. Drummers were mildly unhappy but accepting.
Replaced it with a fairly good new Roland eDrum kit about 2 years ago, and bought a separate mixer. Ran four channels to the sound board for the sound guy to have more control. Converted the drummer to headphones, and gave them their own monitor feed plus a mixer so they could mix in their kit along with their dedicated monitor channel to their hearts content. Upgraded a cymbal or two, as well. Drummers are happy enough to not be constantly wishing for an acoustic kit. Sound levels are excellent. Blend is very good. Overall, a very positive arrangement for pretty much everyone.
Moral of the story #1: If you're going to get eDrums, buy quality.
Moral of the story #2: A good drummer is worth a lot towards getting a band to work well together. Spending money on good equipment goes a long way towards improving the overall sound.
"How did you pay for all those kits?"
The church paid for the first kit, it was very inexpensive. As we showed above, there was a reason for that.
The other two kits were donated by members of the congregation, who wanted the music and sound levels in the service to improve.
"But what in the world did you do with all those drum kits?"
The acoustic kit I think belonged to some church member, so it was returned.
eKit #1 was trash. I think pieces of it are still sitting in boxes somewhere.
eKit #2 (Roland TD-8), when replaced, was loaned to the youth department. Despite the youth guy's dislike for eDrums, it only took one week.... and then the youth wing's acoustic kit mysteriously vanished, and the eKit took it's place "temporarily". A year later, it's still there... and the youth guy is budgeting next year for a replacement kit.
eKit #3 is still used weekly.
First off I'm not drummer. But I'd be curious to know how your congregations have responded to eDrums. I'm not the only person I know who stopped going to a church because of eDrums. (Stopped isn't perfectly accurate. More like, a church I visited and would have attended switched to eDrums the second week I was there so I kept looking and found a different church. A few months later they went back acoustic and that became my church for a number of years.)
Drummers aren't the only ones who dislike eDrums. Have you considered your congregations?
If I have to choose between no drums at all, a djembe/box drum, or an eKit, I'll gladly choose the eKit every time. If someone cannot praise God without a full acoustic kit, they're at the wrong church (and also need to examine their heart attitude).
HOWEVER, once a year we have an outdoor service. For that service, I encourage the drummer to bring her acoustic set and use it instead of the electric. In the outdoor venue, sound levels are not a problem, and I'm very happy to have the acoustic drum set.
[EDIT: See what Mike has to say below, he says it better than I].
Last edited by after5cst; 05-30-2012 at 01:14 PM.
If people are leaving a church because of eDrums, they are not going for the right reasons. I don't say that to be judgmental, but not attending a church because of e-drums is creating artificial barriers to worship.I'm not the only person I know who stopped going to a church because of eDrums.
FWIW, I know people who have left church because the drums were so loud they got a headache after every worship set.
Yep, and I can confidently say that the ratio of complaints I have heard from congregational members about acoustic kits to the complaint about eDrums are 20:1. Easily. That's why churches started going that way. It wasn't because they were cheap, it wasn't because drummers demanded them, it was because they were the only way a church was going to transition to a contemporary service and not cause a church split.Drummers aren't the only ones who dislike eDrums. Have you considered your congregations?
Now, not every congregation is the same, but the handful of churches I have been in were diverse enough in lifestyles and generations that most people don't want their ears blown off at 10 AM on a Sunday. I don't- and I am in a band with guys from work that does company & charity stuff, and we are loud & proud. But at 10AM on Sunday, I am there for God, not me.
The church I am at now uses acoustic kit and it's not a problem- but he's behind the glass and that's the only way it would work.
A former church had a couple teams- one used the nice Roland eDrums, the other used an acoustic kit. About a third of the older people would not come on weeks that the acoustic kit was used, most because it was too uncomfortable for them- they would get headaches, it was harsh for them to listen to, it was a serious issue. It really wasn't preference, it was an issue of uncomfortableness and even pain. The young people loved the acoustic kit, but most others didn't.
If your cause is getting drummers treated as 'real musicians', part of being a real musician is understanding your role and the role of your worship team. A big part of that is putting aside your personal preferences for what fits the situation best, particularly in a congregational setting.
Very interesting thread... I'll preface my comments with a reminder that I am primarily a drummer, although I rarely play at church.
I would agree that 99.5% of congregants (including myself) don't really care that much about acoustic vs. electric as long as it sounds good to them. As others have said, bad electronic drums sound bad. Poorly/cheaply miced acoustic kits also sound bad, especially when they're baffled. So a lot of it has to do with having the right equipment. It's the same type of issues that guitarists and bassists have dealt with in giving up their amps. A good guitarist with a good guitar through a good multifx that is really dialed into the system is going to sound every bit as good to the congregation. That same guitarist playing the same guitar through a cheap unit that isn't mixed properly is going to sound terrible. The same can be said for keyboard players switching from piano, etc. Last weekend I went to a community theatre performance, and though I couldn't see the orchestra, was judging the drummer from the first note for using an electronic kit. Earlier that day though, I led worship at church in front of the electronic kit and never gave it another thought. The newer high end kits sound THAT good to me.
Now from the player's perspective, nothing is going to rival an acoustic kit. No matter how authentic the electronic drums sound, nobody has yet made a kit that feels anything like playing an acoustic drum or cymbal, at least to me. I have always disagreed with the "just play quieter" argument, as well, because the feel and sound of the drums really does change at different dynamic levels. Rock music at any volume requires a certain sound from the drummer that is difficult to achieve at low dynamics. As a drummer, I have NEVER questioned a request from a worship leader or engineer to play behind a shield or baffle. It lets me really open up and play well, and gives the engineer a better mix. Isn't that the goal? Electronics are a little tricker, but again, I would rather play a GOOD electronic kit than have to tone down my playing in a way that doesn't fit the music.
Our church has always had an electronic kit. The spaces that we've worshiped in have simply not been conducive to acoustic drums, even with a shield. When we bought our current kit, I took all of the drummers from the church to the local drum shop and we all tried every electronic kit they had. The volunteers picked the new kit, and everyone has been happy with it. We all agree that we'd rather be able to play out and have it sound good in the house than make other sacrifices.
There's my $.02 :-) Good conversation going here.