Choosing a Drum
Choosing a practice pad
Practice pads on stands are best
There are a bewildering number of different practice pads available at the local music store, which could be a bit daunting for the novice.
There are three broad categories of practice pad based on their shape: those with stands, those with a pad only, and all others. Of these three, those with stands are the best. Why are these best? Those with stands can be played while sitting in a seat so that you can move your feet as if playing a hi-hat and bass drum, which is ideal. This type of practice pad has an attractive price as well.
The most popular practice pad with stand is the Yamaha Training Pad TS01S, which has a rubber batter head. The stand and pad do not require any assembly, and you can start practicing on a firm foundation immediately. It is relatively inexpensive, but it is sturdy and has a good feel, and it is one of the most widely-used practice pads of its kind.
The mesh practice pad
Another common material used for practice pads is mesh. One of the advantages of mesh is that a tuning key can be used to set the tension of the batter head to ones liking, just like a real snare drum. It also has a rim for tensioning the batter head, which enables rim-shot practice, giving a feel very similar to actual performance. Some models even come with snares to create the flavor of a real snare sound on a practice pad. One of the disadvantages of a mesh practice pad is that the mesh wears out just like a real drum head and must be replaced regularly.
Practice rimshots and brush technique on top-end practice pads
The top-of-the-line Yamaha Training Pad TS12S has all the benefits of a rubber practice pad plus features for practicing rimshots and brush techniques. The batter head is black rubber like the TS01S, but the practice pad has a rim for practicing rimshots, and it also has a white pad to replicate the qualities of a drum head. With the white pad on the batter head, brush techniques can be practiced with the feel of a real snare drum.
As can be seen from the above explanation, there is quite a lot to know about practice pads, even within the limited category of practice pads with stands. However, the most important part is, of course, how it feels. Go to the local music store and check them out for yourself.