Intro: How to Build a Right Hand Drum Stick
Build a drum stick for DTXMania. Some drum rudiments specify right and left hand sticking. The Right Hand Stick will help you practice your rudiment (or drumming).
The RudiBuilder rudiment creator program can help you create rudiments with encoded hand information so that you can practice rudiments using the correct hand sticking.
See gdamania.net and search for RudiBuilder or rudiments.
And, yes, you can use the stick as a Left Hand Drum Stick.
Step 1: Parts You'll Need
1. A drum stick, your choice.
2. An unused computer microphone, especially one with a long cord and stick style mounting.
3. Some electrical tape. Also duct tape, not the vinyl type, but the regular, soft, almost cloth backed type.
4. Optional, but useful, light foam. This is similar to earbud foam, or any package foam that is airy (i.e. light weight and lots of holes so air can pass thru). I took some out of a compact flash case.
5. Very Important: You can only make this work with an electronic drum set brain that uses input ports for each pad. It will be even better if you drum brain has a spare input port. If you don't have a spare input port, you can use one of the crash cymbal input ports.
6. Helpful: An electronic drum set brain that allows you to control sensitivity and cross-talk. Most Roland's support this.
7. You might need a plug adapter if your drum brain has 1/4" style plugs. A stereo adapter works best.
Step 2: Cut Microphone
Cut the tip of the microphone. Be very careful that you don't cut or nick the wire.
Step 3: Extract the Microphone From the Plastic Housing
Carefully cut away the plastic so that you can extract the actual microphone. The microphone is usually not glued into the plastic housing, so just cut away, and it should fall out.
Step 4: Remove Microphone Foam
There's a little foam cover over the microphone hole. You can optionally leave it there, especially if your drum kit uses pads. But, if your drum kit has mesh heads, which are quiet, you'll want to peel the little black foam piece off the microphone to make it more sensitive.
Step 5: Tape Wire
In order to avoid breaking the wire at the solder joint where it connects to the mic, it's a good idea to dab some hot glue around the solder joint and at the end of the wires.
Wrap electrical tape around the microphone housing, the wire and cooled down glue to protect the wire from fatigue. If you don't do this, the wire will eventually break from metal fatigue due to repeated flexing. Don't let the tape touch the tip surface.
Step 6: Sand End of Drum Stick Flat
Sand the end of the drum stick flat. You don't have to sand it totally flat, just enough so the flat area is about the same size as the face of the mic.
Step 7: Start to Connect the Micrphone to the Stick
Cut a length of duct tape (not the vinyl type, the cloth-like, softer stuff) about 2.5 inches long (for a 5BN stick). Or, just make the tape a little longer and you can trim it in a later step. Lay it sticky side up and place the microphone at one edge and the stick opposite, the end facing the mic. Keep about a 1/4" gap between them (the foam will have to fit in there). The idea is that the stick must vibrate independent of the mic housing. For example, if you press the mic directly onto the end of the stick, it will be less sensitive.
Step 8: Cut a Piece of Very Light Foam to Insert in Gap
Cut a piece of very light foam that will fit between the stick and mic. Insert the foam into the space.
Step 9: Wrap Tape All the Way Around
Wrap tape around mic, foam, and stick. Wrap only 1 and 1/4 times around and trim the excess. The more tape you wrap around, the less sensitive it will be. If you end up with a stick that's too sensitive, you can add more tape, but you most likely want the most sensitive stick possible. Also, don't leave any open gaps or holes. You want the mic and foam to be completely sealed. The mic has a smaller diameter than the stick, so you end up with little folds in the tape.
Step 10: Plug In, Test and Config
Add a 1/4" adapter if your drum brain requires it and plug into an input. Test to make sure it works. A good test is to hit a pad that is not actually connected to the drum brain. You should hear whatever sound is assigned to the input that you used. This test skips any auto cross talk feature in your drum brain.
If you plugged it into an input that's already mapped to DTXMania, like the right cymbal, you should be ready for the next step. If you plugged into an input that hasn't been used in DTXMania yet, start DTXMania and go to Configuration - Drum Keys. Pick a pad to use as the right hand stick pad. I used the Right Cymbal. After you pick the pad, you'll get a screen showing all the midi inputs that are assigned for that channel. scroll down to an empty slot, press enter, and hit the stick with your other stick. This should add an entry in the list corresponding to the midi assigned to the drum brain input. You hit the sticks together so that you only generate the stick mic input.
Step 11: Adjust Sensitivity Etc
Depending on performance, sensitivity, and drum brain, you might be able to do 3 more things:
1. In your drum brain, adjust the sensitivity of the input that you used to its most sensitive setting. For the Roland, this is usually trigger-sensitivity-set to 0.
2. Eliminate the cross-talk (xtalk) feature for this input. When you hit a pad with the RH stick, it'll generate the pad note and the new input note at the same time. Some brains will think there's cross talk, so you need to turn this off. On the Roland, I set the trigger-xtalk-Off for the aux input that I used.
Test some more such that DTXMania shows both hits at the same time for as light a hit as you want.
3. Turn down the volume for the RHS input. You don't want to hear the sound, you just want to register a hit in DTXMania. Some brains allow you to do this per input or maybe with sliders.