How to Play Electronic Drum Pad – Beginner’s Guide

July 27, 2023

So, you’ve just got your hands on an electronic drum pad, and you’re wondering, “How to play electronic drum pad?” I’ve been in the same spot, and I assure you, you’re about to embark on an exciting journey.

By reading this article, you’ll gain practical tips and techniques that will have you playing like a pro in no time.

In a hurry? This guide covers everything from setting up your drum pad and mastering basic techniques to advancing your skills with different genres and styles.

Alright, let’s start this exciting journey together. Ready? Let’s dive in!

learn to play electronic drum pad

Getting Started with Your Electronic Drum Pad

Unboxing Your Electronic Drum Pad

First things first, let’s see what’s in the box. An electronic drum pad typically comes with the main pad unit, power supply, and user manual. Some models might also include drumsticks, but if you still need to get a pair, you’ll need to get a pair.

Setting up your electronic drum pad is a breeze. Connect the power supply to your drum pad and plug it into a power outlet. 

Ensure your drum pad is flat to prevent it from moving while you’re playing. You’re good to go if your drum pad has a built-in speaker. If not, you must connect it to an external speaker or headphones.

Familiarizing Yourself with the Drum Pad

Now, let’s get to know your new best friend. An electronic drum pad usually has several sections, each assigned to a different drum sound. 

For example, you might have an area for snare, hi-hat, and cymbals. Some drum pads also have sections for bass and other percussion sounds.

Identifying the different sounds associated with each pad is crucial for your drumming journey. Start lightly hitting each section with your drumstick and listen to the sound it produces. This will help you understand where each sound is located on the pad.

Remember, it’s okay if you wait to get it right away. It’s a common challenge for beginners to remember which pad corresponds to which sound. 

But don’t worry; it’ll become second nature with some practice. Just keep at it, and soon you’ll be easily playing your favorite beats.

how to play electronic drum pad

Basic Techniques for Playing the Electronic Drum Pad

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, it’s crucial to understand some basic drumming techniques. These techniques are the building blocks of your drumming journey and will help you get the most out of your electronic drum pad.

Basic Drumming Techniques

The first thing you need to know is how to hold your drumsticks. Believe me, it’s not as trivial as it seems. A relaxed, proper grip will give you better control and prevent fatigue. 

The most common grip is the “matched grip,” where both hands mirror each other, holding the stick between the thumb and index finger with the other fingers wrapped around for support.

Next, let’s talk about striking. When you hit the pad, aim for a clean, consistent strike. It’s not about how hard you hit but how well. Remember, the pad is sensitive to touch, so a gentle but firm strike will do the trick.

Lastly, footwork. If your electronic drum pad comes with pedals, you’ll want to get comfortable using your feet. Start with simple exercises like alternating between your right and left foot.

Exercises to Improve Your Drumming Skills

Now, let’s move on to some exercises that will help you improve your drumming skills. These exercises are designed to enhance your coordination, speed, and rhythm.

Single Stroke Roll

The single-stroke roll is the most basic drumming exercise. Here’s how you do it:

  • Start by holding your drumsticks with a matched grip. This means both hands should mirror each other, holding the stick between the thumb and index finger with the other fingers wrapped around for support.
  • Begin with your right hand (or left if you’re left-handed). Strike the drum pad once.
  • Immediately after, strike the drum pad with your left hand.
  • Continue alternating between your right and left hand. The pattern is: Right – Left – Right – Left, and so on.

Start slowly at first. As you get comfortable, gradually increase your speed. But remember, accuracy is more important than speed.

Double Stroke Roll

Once you’re comfortable with the single-stroke roll, you can move on to the double-stroke roll. Here’s how:

  • Again, start with a matched grip.
  • This time, strike the drum pad twice with your right hand. The pattern is: Right – Right.
  • Then, strike the drum pad twice with your left hand. The pattern now becomes: Right – Right – Left – Left.

Continue this pattern. Remember to start slow and only increase your speed once you’re comfortable.


The paradiddle is a bit more complex, but it’s an excellent exercise for improving coordination. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start with your matched grip.
  • Begin with your right hand and strike the drum pad once.
  • Then, strike the drum pad once with your left hand.
  • Now, strike the drum pad twice with your right hand. The pattern so far is: Right – Left – Right – Right.
  • Next, mirror this pattern, starting with your left hand. Strike the drum pad once with your left hand, once with your right hand, and twice again with your left hand. The full paradiddle pattern is Right – Left – Right – Right – Left – Right – Left – Left.

Repeat this pattern. As with the other exercises, start slow and gradually increase your speed as you get comfortable.

Tips for Playing the Electronic Drum Pad

Positioning the Drum Pad for Optimal Performance

The placement of your electronic drum pad can significantly impact your performance. 

Ideally, you want to place it on a flat surface where you can comfortably reach all the pads. Remember, comfort is vital when playing any instrument, and the electronic drum pad is no exception.

Adjusting the settings of your drum pad is also crucial. Most drum pads come with sensitivity settings. You should decrease the sensitivity if you’re a heavy hitter. 

On the other hand, increasing the sensitivity could be beneficial if you’re more of a light-touch player. Experiment with these settings until you find what works best for you.

Enhancing Your Performance with the Electronic Drum Pad

Incorporating different sounds into your performance can make your music more dynamic and exciting. 

Most electronic drum pads come with a variety of built-in sounds. Feel free to experiment with these. A specific sound works perfectly for a particular song or genre.

Improving your performance on the electronic drum pad is all about practice. Here are a few tips:

  • Consistency is key: Make sure to practice regularly. Even 15 minutes a day can make a big difference over time.
  • Slow and steady: Start slow when learning a new technique or song. Gradually increase the speed once you’ve mastered it at a slower tempo.
  • Record your practice: This can help you identify areas of improvement. Plus, it’s a great way to track your progress.

Remember, every great drummer was once a beginner. Keep going, even if you sound like a pro right away. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can improve with patience, practice, and the right approach.

Advancing Your Skills on the Electronic Drum Pad

Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to take your drumming to the next level. This is where the real fun begins!

Exploring Different Genres and Styles

One of the best things about an electronic drum pad is its versatility. You can play almost any genre or style of music on it.

Adapting Your Playing to Different Genres and Styles

Think of each genre as a new language. You’ll need to learn new beats and rhythms for each genre, like learning new words and phrases in a foreign language. For example, rock music often uses a steady, driving beat, while jazz might require more complex, syncopated rhythms.

Popular Songs to Practice on the Electronic Drum Pad

Practicing with songs is a great way to learn new styles. Some popular choices include “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, “Back in Black” by AC/DC. These songs have distinctive drum parts that are fun to play and will help you get a feel for each genre.

Taking Your Skills to the Next Level

Once you’re comfortable playing different genres and styles, it’s time to push your skills further.

Progressing from a beginner to an intermediate player involves setting goals for each practice, like learning a new rhythm or playing faster.

You can explore advanced techniques as you become more comfortable with your drum pad. 

These might include things like ghost notes (quiet, subtle notes that add texture to your playing), flams (playing two notes so close together they almost sound like one to make a thicker sound), and rolls (quick series of notes played on a single pad).


Learning how to play electronic drum pad is an exciting journey. From setting up your drum pad and mastering basic techniques to exploring different genres and advancing your skills, there’s always something new to learn and discover. 

Remember, the key to improvement is consistent, deliberate practice. So, keep at it, and soon you’ll be playing your favorite beats easily. Happy drumming!

Denis Loncaric
Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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