Eulogizing Drumming's Most Unwelcome Fad -- Hexagonal Pads

flatwins

Very well Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2011
Messages
513
Reaction score
733
Location
Tulsa, OK USA
I bought a Simmons set after their glory years. A college drumline buddy had them and I picked them up in the early 90s. What a blast! I sold them a few years later (‘95 I think) but I’d love to have them back. Simmons was a defining sound in the history of music.
 

varatrodder

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
805
Reaction score
1,002
The February 1989 issue of MD has a great article on Bill Bruford playing his Simmons kit, as well as a gear review of the Simmons SDX. It's worth checking out. Here is a link to the PDF:



Screen Shot 2021-07-11 at 8.30.43 AM.png
Screen Shot 2021-07-11 at 8.30.54 AM.png
Screen Shot 2021-07-11 at 8.31.45 AM.png
 

scaramanga

Very well Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2006
Messages
1,274
Reaction score
792
Location
Fingerlakes, NY
There are more electronics than ever in drumming today, but it's all designed to be subtle or invisible to the eye. That's why I go out of my way to use a set of Tama pads whenever I want people to notice that I am the one making those BOOJSH sounds. I still love those BOOJSH sounds.
1626011749687.png
 

flatwins

Very well Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2011
Messages
513
Reaction score
733
Location
Tulsa, OK USA
There are more electronics than ever in drumming today, but it's all designed to be subtle or invisible to the eye. That's why I go out of my way to use a set of Tama pads whenever I want people to notice that I am the one making those BOOJSH sounds. I still love those BOOJSH sounds.
View attachment 508101
Tama Techstars if I remember correctly.
 

drummertom

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 20, 2010
Messages
2,986
Reaction score
811
Location
Boston
I had a set of the original SDS5’s, one of the last sets sold new in the U.S. according to Simmons at the time. They’d just come out with the SDS7’s and 8’s but I was looking for the originals and Simmons put me in contact with a music store in Missoula MT that sold them to me and shipped them to Boston.

I used the tom pads with a real kick and snare. Some sound guys loved that they didn’t have to mic up a bunch of toms and could just run a line out of the mix output on the brain. I’d use another output to a JBL monitor that I carried with me. I wasn’t a hard hitter so never had wrist or arm issues.

I’d use one pad as a trashy sound effect from the snare module. I used them with two original bands I was in. I’ll see if I can dig up a studio recording.

Most unwelcome fad? I don’t think so. They were a fun instrument that made us different and sounded good in the music we were playing.
 

Hemant

DFO Veteran
Joined
Aug 22, 2005
Messages
1,693
Reaction score
403
Location
DC/Baltimore
I had the SDS-1 single pad that came with an E-PROM chip. It was around $300 as I recall and all I could afford during my teen years. You could do a pitch descend to make it sound like you were doing a a run down a rack of toms. It was quite a nifty little device, and it just looked cool to integrate into an acoustic drum kit at the time. It ended up being a 1 trick pony though -- I mostly used only the handclap chip live to layer out backbeats or handclap hooks in songs (e.g. "Take the Money and Run").
 

scaramanga

Very well Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2006
Messages
1,274
Reaction score
792
Location
Fingerlakes, NY
I had the SDS-1 single pad that came with an E-PROM chip. It was around $300 as I recall and all I could afford during my teen years. You could do a pitch descend to make it sound like you were doing a a run down a rack of toms. It was quite a nifty little device, and it just looked cool to integrate into an acoustic drum kit at the time. It ended up being a 1 trick pony though -- I mostly used only the handclap chip live to layer out backbeats or handclap hooks in songs (e.g. "Take the Money and Run").
Me too! I (my mom) bought it with a Peavey ED300, a massively heavy amplifier. Which still works perfectly, but is taking up way too much space in my garage.
 

rygle

Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
5
I agree that maybe they are a bit dated today but they were a valuable part of the evolution of drumming and drum technology, and they and their ilk should be considered another tool in the toolkit to be used for their strengths, not knocked for their weaknesses.

Mandala drums are a more modern take on hex pads and are being used and endorsed by some pretty big names in drumming. See the Wikipedia article

Edit: You have probably seen this, but if not, Danny Carey playing Pneuma is something to behold, and his hex pads are just a part of the sound, but so is a handsonic, and each technology has its place.

 
Last edited:

rygle

Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
5
Another example of technology that adds to drumming is Sunhouse's Sensory Percussion
 

drums1225

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2017
Messages
316
Reaction score
551
Location
New York, USA
I remember hearing Neil Peart's Simmons drums on Grace Under Pressure (actually, I heard them live at Radio City Music Hall before GUP was released), and since I was an aspiring Neil clone back then, I HAD to have them.

In retrospect, they were really not a good investment, as I rarely used them, but I had (technically, still have) a Simmons SDS-9 kit. It's been sitting on a shelf in my mother's garage since the late 80's/early 90's. Unfortunately, something apparently fell on the brain, denting it, and the last time I turned it on, all the lights lit up and stayed lit, and the buttons didn't affect anything. I mostly used it in conjunction with my large acoustic kit (a la Neil Peart), but I played the Simmons bass drum and toms with an acoustic snare on a Top 40 gig, once. ONCE!

I can't say I completely regret buying them, but I mostly do.
 

Polska

DFO Veteran
Joined
Nov 3, 2008
Messages
2,601
Reaction score
1,308
Location
Buffalo NY
In what respect, Houndog?

"I do not regret selling them."

"Sounded like the ultimate cheese."

"My wrists only recently recovered."

"One trick pony."

"Not a good investment."

Could probably say the same things about Roto toms, power toms, cajon's and a few other things too. But hey, it was the 80's. The hair, the clothes, the electronics. It was fun while it lasted. :)

simmons.jpg
 

thejohnlec

Very well Known Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2017
Messages
954
Reaction score
890
Location
Ohio Valley
The furthest I ever went down that road was a DrumKat that I really loved. I used it in conjunction with a drum machine and a tone module alongside my acoustic kit, and would trigger percussion sounds, different sound effects, and other hits. Because you could program each pad to trigger 3 different midi note numbers, I could set it up to play a chord for a specific length, or time the note numbers out to create an arpeggio when I hit the pad. It would also start and stop percussion loops on the drum machine by just hitting a pad. I had that rig on the road with me and it was very handy when doing a lot of the pop stuff we covered. I felt so cutting-edge because I had the latest software version - 3.5! The rubber pads felt great as well.

1626218015922.png
 

Jay-Dee

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Messages
305
Reaction score
334
Location
Aus
I always wanted a set of the original Simmons pads since the eighties just to muck around on at home but never seriously chased a set. I've had Roland TD30's for a few years now but struggle to get them set up in a position that I like and don't play them too often.
 


Top