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Author Topic: Simple Logic and Ergonomics  (Read 2561 times)

Inspector 109

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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.

David
« Last Edit: January 18, 2007, 09:35:34 AM by Inspector 109 »
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David Haney
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Pyrate

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Re: Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2007, 10:43:22 AM »

Avast there matey!

      I was just pondering on the status of the new chip for which you had sent out a data call for a few months back.  Has anything ever come of that?

Fair Winds and Following Seas,
Pyrate
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davidm

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Re: Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2007, 11:47:00 PM »

The electronics are pretty trivial, no? I'm assuming it's a PIC and its entourage. Or do you mean the actual triggers?
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Inspector 109

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Re: Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« Reply #3 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.
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davidm

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Re: Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2007, 08:59:37 AM »

Ah, so it's a lot like the Space Shuttle, no? I hope the word 'trivial' doesn't sound wrong; all I mean by it is "low transistor count", not "little cleverness needed to design".
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duojet

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Re: Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2007, 09:54:50 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.

Hi David,

I absolutely love my Zendrum LT. It has far exceeded my expectations. Two questions about the chip if you get a chance. Can you give any clues as to the changes it implements, and second question, is this a user installable upgrade?

Thanks!
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Geosphere

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Re: Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2007, 11:31:48 AM »

I don't think anyone will know those answers until Chris is done.
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GEEK_MEISTER

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Re: Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2007, 10:16:24 AM »

Hello  Everyone,

Chris deHaas here with an update on the new Zendrum chip (which is still in the works).  It will be a user installable upgrade.  You will simply take the back off the Zendrum and with some hand tools, remove the old chip and replace it with the newer one.  It will have more features - these are to be determined but it will definitely be an improvement.  I don't have a definite release date or cost for this, we want to make sure it is totally debugged before making it available and these things take time.   Stay tuned for more details.

Thanks,

Chris
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retro surfer

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Re: Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2007, 09:55:49 PM »

great thanks for the  update and thanks for not fogetting the current owners
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Pyrate

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Re: Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2007, 06:05:48 AM »

Avast there mateys!!!

      Be it known by all these presence, that the fine folks at Zendrum (David, Kim and Gina) and their cohorts (Chris DeHaas and others) are by far the best.  The best what ye may inquire and I would respond to just put the period after the word best.  Customer service being at the top of the list.  Music, engineering, artistry and any other kind word you might have are right under customer service.  I have never dealt with a company with such a fine work ethic and customer care as Zendrum Corp.  THere are not enough nice words to say about these fine people.  Savvy!

Fair Winds and Following Seas,
Pyrate
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Michael Render

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Re: Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2007, 08:38:45 AM »

Pyrate, I couldn't have said it better. I may have thrown in a few more "arrs" and "scurvy dogs" but I tend to overdo these things. We are definintely feeling the Zendrum Love!
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Jaay

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Re: Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2007, 11:42:33 AM »

Avast there mateys!!!

      Be it known by all these presence, that the fine folks at Zendrum (David, Kim and Gina) and their cohorts (Chris DeHaas and others) are by far the best.  The best what ye may inquire and I would respond to just put the period after the word best.  Customer service being at the top of the list.  Music, engineering, artistry and any other kind word you might have are right under customer service.  I have never dealt with a company with such a fine work ethic and customer care as Zendrum Corp.  THere are not enough nice words to say about these fine people.  Savvy!

Fair Winds and Following Seas,
Pyrate

Quoted for truth!  Hoist a tankard in salute to the tribal heads!  Bar-none the finest people I've ever had the privilege to work with.  Yes, I said work with.  These people have made instruments for Katche, Cobham, Santiel... and they make the same instruments for us.  I never worry about my Zendrum on a gig; I know that if anything happens, they'll take care of it.  Not think, not wonder, not hope. I Know. 

Pyrate, break out the good grog!  To the Zendrum!!

-Jaay
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Geosphere

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Re: Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2007, 01:17:00 PM »

I never worry about my Zendrum on a gig;

Everytime I have a problem, it turns out to be my own stupidity, except for one time when I bought my first ZD and the adapter was flaky.  They replaced it immediately, as I had a gig in about a day.  That was even before I started doing the web stuff.
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Zennerman1

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Re: Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2007, 06:35:29 PM »

Where else could you spend an hour talking with the owners about your instrument. The gang at Zendrum REALLY care about their product AND service. We are all just regular musicians and yet we get treated just as good as the pros.
I'm not a paid endorser. I bought my instrument just like the rest of us. This company and forum really are the best.

Cheers,
Steve
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