E. Doctor Smith plays the new Zendrum EXP, MIDI percussion controller!Doc's interview from the November 2013 issue of digitalDrummer explains his latest set-up...
"I first saw a Zendrum
at a NAMM show back in the ‘90s and thought it was great, but I still preferred the ergonomics of the Drummstick. One day, a friend surprised me with a maple ZX he’d just bought, and happily let me program it and try it out. The first thing I did was to flip it up vertically, so I could play it the way I play the Drummstick. Although the straps weren't in the right places, it worked well enough. After 20 minutes or so, I'd programmed the ZX to a playable level. It was so incredibly responsive. I immediately loved it.
In 2007, I finally made the switch. The Zendrum Corporation’s David Haney built a beautiful, black “Jimi Hendrix ZX” for me, which was modeled after Hendrix’s Fender Stratocaster. After I replaced the strap locks, so that I could play it vertically, it worked like a charm. When Haney and John Emrich announced the new Zendrum, “EXP”, in late spring, I took a look at it, saw that it had been redesigned to allow greater left hand trigger access and to be worn vertically, and I knew I had to have one. I bought the first ever production model, and it’s been a dream come true.
Live, I’m a hybrid of new school meets old school, so I use a MacBook Pro with BFD2 and GarageBand for my basic kits, along with an Alesis DMPro. I also use iDrum to trigger my pre-recorded samples. My rigs vary depending on the size of the venue, and my sound is fed into either a Fast Track Ultra 8R, a Tascam US-1800, or PreSonus USB/MIDI interface. I use either an Alesis iMultiMix 9R or a Mackie mixer and a pair of Mackie SRM450s. For recording, I mostly use GarageBand, Logic, and ProTools. I also enjoy using Darin Kadrioski’s Zendrum editor app, ZenEdit.
My Zendrum technique is based on my nearly 20 years of playing the Drummstick. My left hand carries a lot of the snare, open hi-hat, crashes, and sample triggering. With my right hand, I do my signature finger rolls, as well as carry the basic kick, ride, closed hi-hat, snare, and toms, split between multiple fingers. I was really happy when I discovered that I could put the EXP on over my right shoulder, ala Hendrix. This gave me more range with my left hand, allowing me to use the EXP’s additional triggers more comfortably. So far, I haven’t used any pedals, but you never know..."
Doc has several rigs depending on his musical situation. The Zendrum
rig, consisted of a MacBook with Garageband, BFD2 and iDrum, a Gator Laptop Tray, PreSonus AudioBox USB MIDI interface, an SKB Gig Rig & Roto Roller with Gig Wing, an Alesis iMultiMix 9r mixer and 2 Mackie SRM 450 monitors, Yamaha Rev 5, Alesis DMPro, and a Roland TD-7. For light travel, Doc uses a PreSonus Audio Box and often with an SKB Studio Flyer. Doc’s new Zendrum EXP
rig (seen below),features a MacBook Pro, Alesis DMPro & D4, PreSonus
Audio Box, Alesis NanoVerb,PatchMan Music’s MIDI Jet Pro
10 x 10 Converta-rack with Gator laptop tray, Mackie
1604 mixer, and a pair of powered Mackie SRM450 speakers."
Drummstick x 3
Dynacord Rhythm Stick
Fast Track Ultra USB MIDI Interface
Tascam US-1800 USB MiDI Interface
PreSonus Audio Box USB MiDI Interface
Alesis DMPro, D4 and Trigger I/O
MacBook Pro with BFD2, GarageBand, iDrum
10 piece Simmons SDS9 kit
6 piece Ddrum D2 kit with Hart Dynamics mesh heads
Mackie CR1604, 2 x Mackie SRM450
Doc's other “axes”: The original Drummstick, Drummstick #2, the Black Drummstick #3
the custom-made "Jimi Hendrix-style" Zendrum ZX
and the Dynacord Rhythm Stick.
Doc’s acoustic kit is a now a six piece Rosewood Gretsch
kit and a Tama “Stewart Copeland”
signature snare. His cymbals are Zildjians
. Doc counts the left-handed mastery of his teacher Paul Sears
, among his biggest influences. Doc’s Ddrums D2
hybrid acoustic-electronic kit; a duplicate of the Gretsch kit, which can be used to trigger drum samples via and Alesis Trigger I/O