I like pads myself. They bounce the sticks back up like 'real' drums do which will enable you do do things you can't do otherwise.

My best advice:

Get sticks and a practice pad. Learn the first dozen to 15 drum rudiments (these are the drummer's equivalent to scales). Practice them until you are decent. This will help you hear what drummers are doing. It's the vocabulary of drumming. There are plenty of rudiments, but the first dozen or so will get you a long way.

Listen to drummers and analyze what they are doing. For different reasons I recommend Hal Blaine, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Ginger Baker, Neal Peart, and John Bonham, that is if you want to play pop/rock. For jazz there is another list, funk another after that.

Then just like you do on your guitar, horn, keyboard or whatever, practice. I understand this takes time, it isn't instant gratification, but then I don't know of any musical instrument that is. Too many people underestimate what a drummer does. A good drummer uses a lot of technique and applies it artfully.

Understanding what a drummer's job is and how he/she goes about doing it will give you knowledge that will make the entire rhythm section make sense to you

Second best advice:

Hire someone who can play drums.

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<