The Best Drum Practice Pad For Beginners
The Best Drum Practice Pad For Beginners
I didn’t intend for this to be a toot my own horn type of post, but I do believe I am qualified to provide an expert opinion on the subject of drum practice pads. Drum practice pads are an essential tool for drummers. They enable quiet and effective practice in an affordable, and portable way, for an instrument that can be very unforgiving to neighbors, family and friends.
I’ve been playing on practice pads for over 35 years, in fact I started on a practice pad- a Billy Gladstone pad that sat on the snare. I’ve always encouraged drummers to start on drum practice pads as well, simply because they are an efficient and simple way to get your hands proficient. I guess you can say I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to drum practice pads which is why I went ahead and designed my own. Freddy Charles Practice Pad
But before we discuss the Freddy Charles Practice Pad, I wanted to talk about the pros and cons of the current products on the market. I have no allegiance to any of these companies so I will give you my brutally honest opinion.
Evans Realfeel Drum Pad.
I’ve owned several of these over the years and honestly, it’s a solid purchase that will serve you well. The rebound is spot on, which is what I am most concerned with. If I had to be critical about the Evans RealFeel practice pad, it’s just too damn big. 12” practice pads are pretty much the standard size, but only because they sit snuggly on a snare drum. I’ve always viewed practice pads as more of a mobile, play anywhere type of device. So, having this large 12” practice pad doesn’t serve me. Even for beginner drummers, you don’t need all that surface area to hit. Plus, I have no desire to rest a practice pad on my snare drum. If I’m going to sit behind the drums, why do I need a pad at all? Of course, there is no wrong in this, but for me I prefer something a bit more compact. Couple that with the fact that I am a traveler, and over the years I had to find smaller pads to fit in my backpack or carry-on luggage. The bulky 12” octagon wasn’t the answer.
Vic Firth also makes a similar 12” drum practice pad, as well as a 6” one. Again, very similar to the Evans Realfeel issue- too big, and the 6” too small.
Ahead was a brand that I really trusted for some time with my pads. Prior to designing my own drum practice pad, it was the Ahead 10” practice pad that I used as my go to. I even fancy the one with the snare sound built inside. I found this pad to be a much smaller footprint, lighter and just easier to play, anywhere. Ahead did turn me off though when they launched the Ahead Wicked Chops drum practice pad. I remember seeing it for the first time at NAMM and not really understanding the point. For those of you who are not familiar with the Wicked Chops practice pad, it’s a 1.75” diameter pad, that can fit in the palm of your hand. The concept is to develop accuracy, but for me it’s a waste of time. There is no evidence showing that by keeping your stick heads that close to each other, you’re playing will improve. It’s simply a gimmick and a waste of time and money.
Remo Tunable Practice Pad
Remo, surprisingly has been in the practice pad game for years with their Tunable Practice Pad. I’ll never forget the first time I played one of these turds. It was in middle school and one showed up in band practice. I remember thinking, can someone just bring me my Billy Gladstone pad??? Anyway, these drum pads are to be avoided at all costs people. I have no idea how these are even allowed to be sold lol! In a nutshell this pad is a drumhead that sits on a metal rim. They produce terrible rebound no matter how high you crank them and sound like shit always. The only thing I like about them is they are on the smaller side and are pretty light.
Next up- Prologix. Prologix are among the best pad producers out there. They have pads in all colors and sizes, as well as playing surfaces. For the common drummer looking for an everyday practice pad, I’m not so sure Prologix is your best bet. These pads are more for pro players that are looking for a specific feel. They are also the pricest of the pads- but again, high quality pads for serious players. I personally never connected with Prologix pads. I didn’t feel I needed all those bells and whistles. Plus, most have a rim, which I’m not a fan of for practice. The Remo has this as well. Remember, drum practice pads are tools to help develop the hands, and recreating a drum is not really the point of the practice pad.
Reflexx drum practice pads have been around for a few years now. They’ve done an excellent job using social media and bringing on endorsers to push the pads forward. The Reflexx pad is designed to feel more like a drum and provide less rebound, in theory making you work harder, thus strengthening the hands etc. I’ve never been one to promote less rebound so I’ve shied away from Reflexx. While I find the product to be high quality and an excellent tool for drummers, its not necessary to mute the rebound; in fact I want more rebound! So for me the Reflexx pad is more of an accessory and probably shouldn’t be your main practice pad.
Movement Drum Co.
The Movement Drum Co. practice pad is a great pro level pad a s well. I can’t fault it and over the years have owned one. It’s definitely in that “too” big category for me, but I do love the stick response. It’s a great tool to develop your hands.
Drumeo P4 Practice Pad
Here’s another drum practice pad that I find pointless. The pad was designed by Pat Petrillo, who's quite the maestro, yet I don’t feel it to be a necessary tool in getting g your hands better. For $60 bucks, you can buy 2 different pads and a pair of sticks if you wanted. The tiered design and four different playing surfaces are purely overkill. I’ve never come across a drummer raving about the P4. I just think it’s too costly and the juice is certainly not worth the squeeze.
Sabian Quiet Tone Mesh Drum Practice Pad
Here’s a pad I enjoy. I’m a huge fan of practicing on mesh surfaces. The Sabian Quiet Tone Mesh Pad in 10” would be my preferred choice. Mesh gives you tunable rebound and outstanding bounce. I would say the only downside of these are the fact that you really need a stand to mount them. They can sit on flat surfaces, but are terrible on your lapthe response is . While we’re on the topic of mesh, I also love the Remo Sound Off heads. Ideally you can get yourself a spare snare drum, or buy a cheap one and swap the top head for a Remo Sound Off. The response is excellent.
So What's The Deal
So there’s a succinct list of the most popular pads, and as promised a little intro on my personal practice pad. So after reading my opinions on the pads above, it should be obvious that I like a lot of bounce and prefer smaller pads. So that’s exactly what I went ahead and designed. The Freddy Charles Drum Practice Pad is 8” and made of dense silicone. The shape is circular, so no material is wasted, and you get more surface area to play on. The pad sits comfortably on your lap, or a stand and the tone is soft. You can easily throw it in your bag when you travel and it’s got great curb appeal. The practice pad is all you’ll need to work on your hands, anytime and anywhere. It even comes with a pair of my signature 5A’s, the Beginner Hands eBook, and a short video to accompany the eBook.