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Do It Yourself Drum Trigger Pads

The instructions to build it right, the first time!!

(Build this 5-piece electronic pad kit yourself for less!!)

Welcome to our free instructions! We have also added new advanced designs and instructions to our 'members-only' section. While the original design as posted here is quite effective, a full membership to our secured pages will give you access to valuable tips and features not found on our public site. Our members are what keep this free design free...

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This pad design is posted with the intention that drummers around the world will be able to build their own trigger pads that are both inexpensive and highly functional. While the instructions may be printed and followed at no charge, they are not intended to be used as instructions for starting your own pad assembly business. Otherwise claiming and/or copying these instructions to your own site is a serious violation of US copyright law. Individuals that engage in infringement of our intellectual property will be pursued to the extent of these laws.

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How & Why it Works

Building your own electronic drum pads may seem like a difficult task. The concepts behind electronic triggering are actually quite simple. A piezo acts much like a microphone. It picks up shock waves and passes them to your drum module to interpret. The trick is getting the most accurate representation of your sticking action to the module without sacrificing the feel of a real drum. This design accomplishes both goals.

We wanted the feel of a drum head and assumed that the best way to achieve that was with a drum head. So, in 1992 we chose a Remo™ practice pad to house our experiments.

Remo Practice Pad

Remo Practice Pad

10" tunable practice pad comes with tunable drumhead and can mount on any flat surface and most cymbal stands. Requires 1/4" x 20" threaded cymbal post.

Mounting the piezo directly under the head resulted in a broken piezo, while mounting it in the foam resulted in a poor response from the rest of the pad. So we decided that the Piezo needed to be bigger, or made to seem so. We attached it to a coffee can lid, making the whole surface active. We placed the lid between two layers of foam that were half as thick. The drum head would then transfer the shock through the foam to the metal plate. This metal plate very efficiently transferred the shock to the piezo. It worked out well with the D4 due to it's Dynamic Articulation™. The outside edges of the pad were slightly quieter than the center, resulting in a natural sounding drum. Due to the nature of the absorption of impact, the velocity range was very accurate. The softest hits were picked up flawlessly. Yet, a considerable velocity was required to get the full output range. The end result was simply AMAZING for the cost involved! The following design is a result of several years of additional refinements brought on by advancements in available modules. ENJOY!

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The pad design has several advantages over many others:

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Parts Needed for one 10" Pad:

Common Parts

Tools Needed for Assembly:

Common Tools

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Assembly Instructions:

Step 1:

Disassemble Remo™ practice pad. Remove foam disc from inside. There should also be a mylar disc under the drum head. Discard the foam, but save the mylar disc. This will become your template for cutting out the other foam. (Another 'last resort' option is to discard the mylar disc and save the foam. It is generally easier to use new 1/2" foam. You may instead elect to slice the original foam in half at your own risk. We have been marginally successful with an 'electric carving knife'. This is where the gloves, goggles, pliers and carbonated beverage come in...)

Disassembled pad...

Step 2:

Cut out two 10" diameter foam circles using the mylar template. Cut a 1" slit in the center of one of them. This will serve as a wiring pass through later. (If you elected to use the existing foam, this would be the time to cut this in half and use them for this step...)

Step 3:

Remove the plastic casing of the Piezo transducer with a pocket knife and pliers, being careful not to damage the brass colored disc or wiring. (or yourself. Again, gloves, goggles, etc...) Carefully scrape the silicone residue from the bottom of the piezo transducer. This will become the surface that mounts to the raw piezo element, creating the RefleXion Plate™ in step 4. You can gain instant access to 'shelled piezos' and other time saving resources by joining our Membership... Also, an electronic Parts Kit is available to simplify assembly of these pads. Other parts kits are available from our Members Only site...

Shelled Piezo

Step 4:

Remove the coffee can lid with a can opener (if not using a galvanized metal plate) . Score the center of the surface with the pocket knife. This will ensure a bonding surface for the Piezo. This surface will transfer the impact of the drum head into the Piezo.

Step 5:

Solder the "ground" wire (usually black) on the piezo to the "ground" conductor of the speaker wire. Solder the "positive" Piezo lead (usually red) to the "positive" conductor of the speaker wire. Hot glue, tape or shrink tube all connections to insulate from each other.

Step 6:

Solder the "ground" end of the speaker wire (usually black) to the "ring terminal" of the RCA jack assembly. (The "positive" wire end will be soldered to the RCA jack once it is assembled.)

Wired Piezo

Step 7:

Spread a thin layer of hot glue on the scored surface at the center of the coffee can lid. Quickly place the smooth side of the piezo assembly in the glue and massage it as close to the plate as glue drying time allows. (This step is very important to get right. The Piezo must be as close to the plate as possible for good response. If you must, you can use a stove burner to slowly heat the plate to the glue's melting point. This will give you a longer time frame to get the Piezo positioned correctly. DO NOT OVERHEAT!!) Hot-glue seems to work best due to it's flexible properties and ability to be re-done if needed.

Glued PiezoCompleted Plate

Step 8:

Place the completed Piezo & RefleXion Plate™ assembly on top of the slitted foam disk. Gently pull the wiring through the slit. Apply hot-glue around the top edge of the foam disk, being sure to overlap some on the metal plate. Quickly place the second foam disk on top of the freshly glued surface. Press together until set. (Hot-glue will take a bit longer to set like this because the foam insulates the heat.)

Step 9:

Drill a 1/4" hole into the plastic base of the practice pad, centered between two spokes of the bracing pattern. Drill a second hole directly across from the first. (This will assist in releasing the air pressure, allowing the drum head to move more freely. This will also prevent air from forcing the RCA plug out over time.)

Step 10:

Push the remaining piece of the RCA jack assembly through the bottom of the hole in the practice pad assembly. Slip the terminal ring over the jack's threads and tighten the nut. Solder the "positive" lead of the speaker wire to the center terminal on the RCA jack. Place the completed into the Practice Pad base.

Installed Jack

Step 11:

Reassemble the head and rim on to the practice pad. If using new foam, it may appear as if you've overstuffed the pad. This will settle down within a day or two. You may then tension to your liking.(A snare pad should be tight for the best response...)

Completed Pad

Step 12:

Plug the pad into your Alesis DM5™ (or other module) with a 1/4" to RCA cable. (Radio Shack #42-2373) Adjust the sensitivity settings of your module to your playing style and pound away. Want a dual-zone snare for accurate rim-shots? Get the scoop on this and other time saving resources by joining our Membership...

Alesis DM5 Drum Module


You have just completed our 12-step program. (Hopefully, your first.) You are among hundreds of hobbyists, musicians and drummers :-) who have successfully built one of the genuine, Original LOGIZTIX PADZ™.

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Ready to build a COMPLETE kit, with cymbals and other components?

Order up the following base components below, join our Membership and we'll see you inside!

It all starts with the following base pad kit:

Remo 5-Piece Practice Pad Set

Remo 5-Piece Practice Pad Set

Mounted on a strong, fully adjustable tubular frame, the Remo 5-Piece Practice Pad Set features 6", 8" and 10" tunable pads with ebony and coated Ambassador drumheads for a real drum feel. A 6" pad is provided for bass.

Pintech Composite Rack Clamp Gibraltar Mini Cymbal Boom Arm Pintech 5-Piece Practice Cymbal Set Gibraltar Cymbal Boom Attachment SC-RBA
Click for details Click for details Click for details Click for details


Excerpts from past e-mails...

Great site!...

'Thank you for providing this public service. We're looking forward to the number of D4 and DM5 users this will help.'

- Technical Support, Alesis Studio Electronics

'I fabricated a complete set of Remo trigger pads per your instructions and connected them to my DM5. Just like your experience, I was also amazed! There were enough steps and I was sure something would get screwed-up i.e., too hot, too much pressure therefore breaking the crystal in the piezo, incorrect plate mat'l., etc. They worked perfectly from the minute I turned on the DM5, have articulation from rim to center, and are velocity sensitive. Kudos to your R&D effort.'

- Robert Davis

'Man, my wallet thanks you. I thank you. My wife thanks you (for saving me money. I think...).

So I go to the local music shop. I walk in, and this strung out, unshaven disheveled longhair (not that I'm against them mind you, its just that one feels more comfortable speaking with one that has not probably smoked more maguumba in one week than I have in an entire lifetime, which coincidentally, is not much, but still, makes for a decent picture) says..

"Dude, man I JUST got them in. The new (censored) -Drums. Have five pro sets in stock. Here, watch the video. Then hop on and jam" (which I did, and needless to say I was excited!)

After wiping my sweaty palms and calming the pangs of excitement racking my body, I asked gonja-dude what a system like the one I was playing cost.

He smiles.

"Man, these things list for $4500, but we got em here for around 4 grand. Got em in stock too. So what d'ya think? Do you want em?"

It all gets fuzzy from that this point on. I must of babbled a buyable story about -- oh, I don't know -- needing to roll down the window of my car so my dog wouldn't die of heat exhaustion, or something. I commence to stagger through the maze of amps, guitars, drums and god knows what else to finally emerge from the music shop, drool running down my chin, (censored) brochure in hand trying my darndest to clear my head and recover from sticker shock.

$4000 dollars? for an electronic drum kit? He's got to be kidding me! I make decent money, but I would never be able to slip that expenditure passed the insignificant other, so I resorted to ingenudity -- sorry -- ingenuity.

By some total stroke of luck, thru a myriad of searches and links, I hit your web site. Man, this is wonderful! A cheap, inexpensive alternative to satisfy my creative percussive cravings while retaining most of my life savings.'

- Eric Smith

Greetings Mr. Stix;

'Was directed to your page by a fellow MIDI drummer and want to express my appreciation for your design and info. The Octapad has no clothes!'

- Scott Gardner

'Greetings. I have had a great deal of success with your directions for making the drum triggers using the 8 inch Remo practice pads. They work great!!! Many Thanks for the expert help.'

- Dan Broadrick

'I'm AMAZED. These pads are SO COOL! I've made an 8" and a 10" pad so far. Thank you for the info. I'm going to make my drummer nine or ten of them so we can use them [in the] studio. He's got a D4 with a couple of acoustic-mount triggers. I'll have to get a hold of you after we get our next CD out and send you one. I owe you for this amazing idea.'

- Richard Joslin

'I recently found your web page on constructing your own elect. pads, and I must say this is AWESOME!!'

-Bob Whittington

ElectronicDrums.com is not responsible for any and all injuries or other claims that may arise from your use or attempted use of these instructions. Certain skills are a prerequisite for following these plans successfully. The use of manufacturers and/or other companies' names does NOT constitute an endorsement... All trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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