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Messages - Inspector 109

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ZenChat / Re: Zendrum at NAMM
« on: January 21, 2007, 08:49:59 am »
Love the quote in your signature! That's IT.
Thanks for the roving reporting.

ZenChat / Re: Hello from India!
« on: January 20, 2007, 07:21:29 am »
Hey Jim,

We will look forward to the next installment about your adventures out there in the world!


Music / Re: "The Cummings Report"
« on: January 20, 2007, 07:17:55 am »
Hey Bill,

What a cool kid! And his old man's not so bad himself!
Now introduce him to Victor Wooten and let's see what happens.
Do more stuff and post it!


ZenChat / Re: New gig
« on: January 20, 2007, 07:11:00 am »
Hey Steve,

Thanks for trying to do some real GOOD in the world and for using the Zendrum to do it.


ZenChat / Re: Had a session yesterday. go me. ::grins::
« on: January 19, 2007, 06:07:52 am »
Attaboy JAAY!

I keep preaching about the practical aspects-
Folks like you keep proving me right!


ZenChat / Re: Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« on: January 19, 2007, 05:22:03 am »
I don't think "trivial" is the word I would use since we haven't had to change anything in ten years to stay ahead of the curve. The original patent that you posted for everyone to view was based on what we had at the time in 1993 when we applied for it- Radio Shack triggers "shock-mounted" on the body with Velcro. Yes, the Zendrum trigger design is also protected by other means since 1995, when Kim had the idea. What Pyrate is asking about is a software upgrade chip replacement. Our engineer Chris DeHaas is still working on that. Stay tuned, folks. It's coming.

Music / Re: Random Zendrum
« on: January 18, 2007, 07:24:07 pm »
Cool Geo,
Sometimes the best thing you can do is flush your preconceptions and start over from a clean slate.
I like laying my ZX across my lap and playing double overhand style sitting down just to free my mind from 15 years of repetitive practice and gigs standing up.
When you stop thinking and start reacting to what you hear instead, you go to the heart of creative satisfaction MUCH quicker!
I love getting the chance to stretch musically and explore without boundaries.
Rock on!

ZenChat / Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« on: January 18, 2007, 09:30:05 am »
Hey Everybody,

A question has come up that I'd like to address here:

Our old friend Rick Geragi ("Rico"), a ZX Zendrummer for almost 10 years, recently got an LT and asked this question:
"What was the reasoning behind the layout of the Laptop as far as the placement positions and size of the buttons? For the ZX as well?"

In order to answer this question I had to go back and think about how Kim and I worked on this for several years, 1991-1993, handing our one Zendrum prototype back and forth between us for a week or so at a time. We had to play it in different group situations to work out some technique and amplification issues, the same issues every new Zendrum owner has to work out today.

Take a look at the history page first...that's the first ZX prototype.
In the original layout the colors indicate left/right hand sound assignments in my first mental picture.
The trick has always been to have the ride or hihat with snare to one side and kick to the other, for both hands. This makes a running 16th pattern simple as my hands naturally and ergonomically fall on complimentary things. That's what makes it so easy for me to "overplay" the kick drums without pedals, too. There was a video that the Silverman Brothers did ten years ago that illustrated this technique quite well. Their video inspired David Kuckherman to develop a similar technique that he now demonstrates in slow motion in his video on the Zendrum site Downloads Page. It's easy to see how this simple concept can be elaborated on when you add in basic rudiments with the fingers. Just a triplet with two fingers on one hand and one on the other can be endlessly varied upon and practiced to develop fluid, seamless, and effortless chops.

My sound layout for the ZX is represented as the General MIDI drum map on factory Set Up 15. That's how I've always laid the fingering out, even though I've done it with the Set Up 1 C pentatonic scale and assigned the corresponding sounds on the drum module side instead. This layout is what I usually ship ZX Zendrums defaulted to, for a starting point.

I can play a simple Kick/Snare/Ride pattern just by shading my right palm back and forth, or use first & second fingers on my left hand for Kick/snare and keep the 8ths with my right hand with slapping kick/w left/right crash accents. It seems like the looser I play, the better everything feels and I don't sound like a drum machine. THAT'S the point.

The only physical change in the ZX trigger layout was making four of the smaller triggers on the face large ones instead now...just less empty space on the face. I've always used those three triggers in a row as ride/bell/crash and shade my hand around to "manually" crossfade as one large "cymbal pad array".

The LT was the direct result of all the feedback that came from getting the ZX's out there over our first five years:
Can you make a leftie?
Can you make it more like a keyboard for melodic playing?
Can you make it fit more compactly in my percussion rig?
Can you make it sit next to my computer keyboard/mixing board/turntable?
Can you make it fit on a standard snare stand instead of the Gibraltar base with your custom stand top?
Can you make it fit inside the rails of a wheelchair and be more adaptable for physically challenged folks?

The answer to all these questions was YES, and the first production LT was made in 2000.

The physical size of the LT was determined by the standard wheelchair rails at 18" wide.
We knew that hardly anyone had ever used the external trigger input on the ZX, so on the LT that became the 25th, second octave high note trigger.
Putting the sustain button in the center allowed access with either hand.
The LT never had an on/off switch because there was no place to put it where you wouldn't accidentally turn it off. We discontinued the switch on the ZX when Chris deHaas started putting one on his battery boxes. We had had some problems on the early ZX's (before the rubber feet were added) with the switch getting "bumped" off when the instrument was set down. It's one less thing to worry about onstage now: when it's plugged in, it's on.

In the LT the space is as small as we could physically get the electronic components inside. The trigger size and spacing followed naturally and organically. We could have made them all small, but we felt it needed something to break into easily recognizable patterns that you could "feel" without looking. I apply my same left/right triad of kick/hat/snare on both wings of the LT. I use two triggers for each tom tom. That's the way most software is laid out anyway for playing drums on a keyboard and it lets the samples play through better than doubling MIDI notes.

I do not have my fingering layout as a default in the LT. Instead it is shipped defaulted to Set Up 1 C pentatonic scale.

So far, I'd say John Emrich has the most comprehensive technique going on the LT, wearing it with a strap for drumming and using it on a stand for melodics. Study his videos as well, both here on the Zendrum site Downloads Page and on the BFD site. He's also using FAT KAT pedals for both feet. He's another long-time Zendrummer like Rico, another one is Tom Roady, making this transition from ZX to LT. I'm sure like every other Zendrummer, each will come up with their own variations of technique and application, and layouts.

I hope this helps explain some of the thought processes that have gone into the development of the Zendrum so far.
Thank you all for asking the questions.


ZenChat / Re: How to Disable the Sustain Switch
« on: December 19, 2006, 08:01:23 pm »
Toggle right to PL,
toggle 0 to 1.
Polarity is now reversed.
Switch is now a "kill" instead of sustain.
Hope this helps,

« on: December 04, 2006, 08:55:13 am »
Hey Kunky,
Welcome to the Techno-Tribe.
If you need an older manual we can send it via email for you to print.
Please contact support@zendrum.com and let us know if you need anything else.
We like to update our files to show your ownership and keep track of our instrument's travels as they occasionally "change hands".
Thanks, and ENJOY!

ZenChat / Re: Playing things other than drums...
« on: September 15, 2006, 09:34:20 am »
Thank you for the good company you place me in, Pyrate.

Let's get this straight - right now & for the record: EVERYONE here plays Zendrum differently.
No one plays it exactly like I do, not even my Zendrum co-creator & partner, Kim.

I've always had the approach of practicality first - less is always more.
That comes from an entire lifetime of playing drums professionally to raise four kids to adulthood.

On MY Zendrum, I play straight-ahead fatback DRUMSET night after night in The GT's, an Atlanta/Southeastern US soul&dance cover band with the same members for 20 years. I am also one of the main singers and the sound man. (AND the truckdriver!)
For 7 years straight I played ONLY Zendrum.
Nowadays for some gigs I sit behind my 1937 RadioKing Slingerland drumkit, for some I play Zendrum out front, and for some I play BOTH together at the same time, wearing the Zendrum and playing the acoustic kit with a stick in my right hand.
It all depends on the room, the stage space and my mood! I make it up as I go, every gig, with the intention of having fun playing music!
My rig currently consists of an Alesis DMPro and an old D4 running through the band's monitors and PA. I also have the advantage of being the onstage monitor mixer so I don't need a personal amplifier.

I originally didn't have in mind to make a product to sell.
Just one, for me. That's all. That's where it would've ended, too.
Everyone who will ever own a Zendrum should thank Kim Daniel for the guts and vision to 'reduce the idea to practice' and make available these beautiful instruments that fly in the face of disposable junk.
As musicians, we both appreciate fine drumsets and guitars, and love craftsmanship when we see it done right.
You either get it or you don't.

This never stopped anyone from using their own drive, showmanship, and musical talent to visualize and master their own "playing fields" for whatever purposes they see for this instrument. There are an amazing amount of things you COULD do, and new tools made available every day to customize into complex (or simple) systems alongside the Zendrum.

THAT IS THE ENTIRE POINT: No rules or schools, just possibilities.
The only real limitation is imagination and your persistence towards a goal.
Look towards what IS possible rather than what you can't do, just yet.
I will continue to promote its value first and foremost as a drumset that has proved itself reliable and roadworthy over 12 years of playing gigs with my band. The rest is all up to you to evolve further.

It takes awhile to develop chops on ANY real instrument, especially one as new as the Zendrum.
There is no substitute for time spent "getting good at it."

I know that I'll never be the virtuoso that Future Man is AND that's not why I play Zendrum.
I play Zendrum to make dance-floors groove!
Find what suits YOU and go for it.

Inspector 109

Tech Help / Re: Newbie ZX owner with TD-20 note mapping issue
« on: August 31, 2006, 04:13:24 am »
Hey John,
You are correct that the TD-20 needs to be aligned to have every note the Zendrum sends trigger something specific, but the quick and easy way is to edit the Zendrum triggers so that the sounds are coming up where you want them to be. Most likely, the note numbers are up too far for the Roland to read. Try the easy way, first. Get something going that makes sense on every trigger as a total layout, THEN dive into the deep operating system of the Roland.
Another newbie- Dr. Shark found a DVD tutorial for the Roland that he learned from. (Where did you get that, Mark?) Once you understand how they do stuff and what they call it, it gets easier to build your own custom kits.
Hope this helps!

Tech Help / Re: Questions re: Battery Box
« on: June 27, 2006, 05:46:10 am »
Hey Jaay!
Hypo 1 will work.

Hypo 2 will not.

All three power box options are in here, in stock.


The SPD-20 has built-in banks of sounds and an somewhat exclusive MIDI protocol to access them.
Like all Roland products, they elected to make things a little difficult to route and program when using anyone else's products in conjunction with theirs as a system. MIDI was not the priority they had in mind when they designed it, but there are workarounds to make the most of what is available. Some of the Zendrummers who post here have integrated the SPD-20 very successfully with the Zendrum. Perhaps they can help clarify those specifics for you...

The momentary sustain switch button is an alternative to using a piano type pedal without having an additional cable attached and underfoot. Both the 1/4" pedal input and the switch button were later hardware additions after the 16 note maps were implemented in the first ZX software in 1995. These extra note maps were created in response to the requests for more melodic applications like bass and piano. For triggering most drum sound modules- I find that one note map is enough.

The ZX's sustain feature can be used with anything that recognizes "pedal down" #64 MIDI commands as either a sustain or an "all-notes-off" kill switch. This is useful for long legato soundfiles with slow attack envelopes to let the sound play-through long enough to hear the sample's complete rise and decay, or to start and stop loops. The sustain feature also has an internal polarity toggle for each one of the 16 SetUp note maps.
Hope this helps!

Hey Hitman,
The Z2's were built in 1994-95
A Z2 has one note map, instead of the current ZX @ 16.
It is the same body design as now, but doesn't have a MIDI IN port on the top.
It doesn't have a sustain jack or momentary switch, and requires a $450 total rebuild to bring to current specs from the original datawheel operating system and circuitboard. (It may still play great "as is" if all you need is a drum trigger for a drum sound module- Roland/Alesis, etc.)
Hope this helps!

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