DIY drum trigger / contact mic

I made some drum triggers for a project I’m working on. I’m having to make a bunch of stuff from scratch for this project so I figured I’d document the whole thing for those doing similar projects. I initially made a few quick contact mics by soldering thin wires to piezos but quickly realized I was gonna need something a bit tuffer for my set up, and so I got to workin’ on these.

I went to Radioshack (which is over-priced butĀ convenient) and got a 25ft roll of 18 gauge speaker wire and a few 1/8″ mono audio jacks. I also got a few piezos, as well as some stick-on felt furniture pads, more or less the same size as my piezos.

This might go without saying, but you’ll need some wire cutters + wire strippers + soldering gun + whatever else you use to make these tasks easier. From here on out it’s pretty straight forward. Unscrew the caps off the 1/8″ jacks — I used these specifically because they have these caps.

Cut a piece of wire (approx. 5″-6″) then connect and solder the wire to the 1/8″ jack. I hooked up the black wire to ground (the longer part) and the red wire to the shorter bit.

Solder that on, then take the other end of the wire(s) and solder the black (ground) anywhere on the outer part of the piezo. Then solder the red to the inside circle part. I’m not the best solderer, so don’t use this as an example of a clean solder, there’s plenty of videos and stuff online that show you how/what it’s supposed to look like. Regardless, this will do. Also, don’t forget to put that black cap back on the 1/8″ jack before soldering the other end to the piezo.

After that just stick on the furniture pad to the other sid of the piezo and you’re practically done.

As a finishing touch, I went out and got some plastidip and dipped the mic/furniture-pad into it. Plastidip essentially covers whatever you dip in it with a rubber coating.

You might want to do a couple coats, then let it dry for a couple hours and you’re done. Thanks goes out to Kyle Evans and Robb Drinkwater for their help/advice on these.

4 Responses to “DIY drum trigger / contact mic”

  1. umm… awesome..

    hey, do the piezos work like 1 or 0 (on/off) or is it variable (pressure sensitive)?

  2. it’s variable, I use the arduino as an Analog to Digital converter (I’ll post that code + schematics once it’s all finished)

  3. Nice, does the rubber and pad cause any pick up issues.

  4. not that I have, but I’m not using them as “mics” or “pick-ups” per se, rather I’m only using them to trigger digital samples on my computer (i.e. trigger a “1″ or a “0″). Naturally they do technically work as “pick-ups” though… if you try it out let me know what you think.

Leave a Reply