The history of electronic drums

The history of electronic drums started in the 1960s. These innovative instruments were initially developed as a solution to the issues faced by drummers in the recording studio. Electronic drums have since evolved into a diverse and popular instrument that has revolutionised the music industry.

Video series on the history of electronic drums

Justin from 65 Drums made a whole series of videos about the development and models of electronic drums. He is showing different pictures and sharing stories about the different models and companies.

It’s a great video series if you just want to get an overview. If you want to dive deeper into manufactures and models you will find a lot of links in the video descriptions. Just watch the videos below.

Episode 1 1960-1983

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Episode 2 1983-1986

Episode 3 1987-1989

Episode 4 1990-1999

Episode 5 2000-2009

Episode 6 2010-2021

The Emergence of Digital Technology in Electronic Drums

In the 1980s, electronic drums became more sophisticated and began to incorporate digital technology. Companies like Roland and Yamaha began to produce electronic drum kits that featured more realistic sounds and responsive playing surfaces. These early digital drum kits were still relatively expensive and were primarily used by professional drummers and in recording studios.

The Popularity of Electronic Drums in the 1990s

The 1990s saw a significant shift in the popularity of electronic drums. As electronic music genres like techno, house, and drum and bass began to gain popularity, electronic drums became a vital tool for creating these new styles of music. Drummers and producers began to experiment with using electronic drums in live performances, and electronic drum kits became more affordable and accessible to a broader range of musicians.

The Modern Era of Electronic Drums

Today, electronic drums are widely used in a variety of musical genres, from rock and pop to electronic and experimental music. They have become an essential tool for many drummers, particularly those who need to play quietly in smaller venues or who need access to a wide range of sounds and effects. Electronic drum kits have continued to evolve, incorporating new technologies like mesh heads, advanced sound modules, and wireless connectivity.

Electronic drums and Ableton Live

99% of electronic drums can pass MIDI messages to Ableton Live and trigger different sounds in Ableton Live as well. As Ableton Live is highly customisable MIDI messages from drums can be used for more things then ‘only’ triggering sounds. Triggering song and backing tracks start+stop, changing and looping songs on the fly and much more can be archived via using electronic drums with Ableton Live.

Please have a look at this online course if you ant to find out more on how to start using your electronic drum kit with Ableton Live.

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