Yesterday, I got new silencers for my Rock Band drum set. And now, I'm pissed.
Here's the thing to keep in mind -- the drum controller is a plastic sensor with a sprayed-on rubber covering. It is a bit thin. As I learned with my original set, repeatedly hitting in the same spot (you know, like a REAL drummer does instead of orbiting all over the pad) will cause problems. The rubber absorbs the strike by bending in. This means fatigue failure -- eventually, the rubber will stretch and you will have a bubble forming on the pad. The bubble will loose contact with the sensor underneath, causing missed strokes and the pad itself to pull out from the edges. In other words, your drum controller will break.
Now, the silencers were a Godsend. It wasn't that they made it quieter, they didn't really do much of that. The key thing was that they absorbed most of the impact of the drum sticks. The pad and sensor underneath stayed in perfect condition. The silencers have some sticky stuff underneath to make them stick to the controller. It's not very strong so that you can replace the pads. Good thing -- the material is similar to what they use to make mouse pads. Hit it often enough and your start gouging it. These things don't last forever.
The problem was that the adhesive meant that the silencers would flop against the controller sometimes. I can't help but wail on Queen's Fat Bottom Girls. Striking the green crash, I gave it enough force that my hit would register and the silencer would bounce a little, registering another hit. This also weakened the hold of the adhesive. Eventually, the pad would fall off in the middle of the song.
The official Rock Band silencers held up reasonably well, but I can't find them in the stores anymore. I ordered a set online. Slightly different build, but basically the same. They are falling off after two songs. This is bullshit.
So, I'm currently considering a couple of different plans. The simple solution is the infamous "sock" mod. Basically, you wrap a sock around the pad over the strike point. It will work as a silencer, but will it absorb enough impact to prolong the life of the drum kit? There's a "pro grade" drum controller by Ion for $300, which I don't have right now. I need something cheaper and effective. Why is the drum kit made so shitty, anyway? Why don't they make them like a practice pad...
So here's the idea. I'm shopping around for gum rubber, the stuff they use to make practice drum pad out of. Four discs about seven inches across and then affix them to the drum kit. Thickness between 1/8 and 3/16 of an inch should be fine. If it holds up well, I can affix it permanently to the drum controller without ever worrying about replacing it. I'm currently looking for places in the area that have the material, and if they can cut the discs for me, so much the better.
Or, Plan B, simply use duct tape to hold the pads in place. Peel off the tape, I can replace the silencers. I may combine the two -- duct tape the current silencers, then once I locate the gum rubber, use that to see how they work. If they work great and don't bow out, affix them permanently.
Time to get to work. Assemble the minions!