Facebook Twitter YouTube RSS
Home DIY Electronic Drums Get a Choke Hold (eCymbal Choke Switch)

Get a Choke Hold (eCymbal Choke Switch)

I have had this idea for awhile now, but I am just getting around to do something about it. What I have here is what I hope will become the standard DIY eCymbal choke design. It’s simple, low profile, and easy to build. It is in essence a film switch. As time goes on, I will put up templates for adapting this design for Pintech practice cymbals. It can also be used on a-cymbal conversions.

The way it works is like this. Two metal plates (aluminum flashing) are separated by a non conductive material (in this case card stock for a computer printer). The non conductive material holds the two plates apart just enough not to close the switch. If you squeeze the switch, it makes contact. Once you let go of the switch, the switch opens back up. I have built this, and I have tested it. This switch design works great! Also, the switch will not fly off the cymbal when struck.? I have whaled on this thing for a couple of days now, and it is still stuck there as good as the day I put it there.

For you guys doing the a-cymbal conversion, you can buy the aluminum flashing with a brass/gold like coating on one side. Just make sure that the bottom plates has this side turned out when building the choke switch. See the pictures below for more information.


ecymbaltest1.jpg ecymbaltest2.jpg ecymbaltest3.jpg ecymbaltest4.jpg

ecymbaltest5.jpg test_switch.jpg eCymbal_switch.jpg TRS-PiezoSwitchwiring.jpg


–Added 6/24/08–

Additional Note:

After further testing of this switch, I replaced the card stock with a clear plastic film from a report folder. This was done because over time, and/or heavy use, the card stock pulls apart. However, with the clear plastic film this is no longer a problem and the switch stays put. Here’s a pic of the folder plastic I used:

–Added 6/28/08–

Additional Note:

After talking to a member of the Vdrum.com site (Gastric) I thought I would add this bit. He asked if using the switch on an acoustic cymbal if one of the switches metal plates could be left out and just use the cymbal as the other contact point of the switch. The answer is Yes! I never showed this switch being used on an acoustic cymbal so, I never felt it necessary to state that difference. Now after talking to Gastric I realize I should have stated this from the beginning. More and more people seem to be converting acoustic cymbal and not using the practice cymbals. Also, after showing this design on Vdrums.com back in October of 2007, I also stated that this design could be used as a second zone/choke switch. That post can be found here. In short, if the switch is installed on the top of the cymbal, it can be stuck with your drum stick (and if your drum module supports this) will act as a second zone. Pinch the same switch (again, if your drum module support this) it is a choke.

One more additional note. I now have the templates completed. If you would like to get a template to make your own switch, click here. Keep in mind these templates where made with a plastic practice cymbal in mind. What does that mean? Well, a 16″ practice cymbal is 15-1/2″ in diameter. If you use these on an acoustic cymbal, the switch should sit back from the edge about 1/4″ of an inch.


 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
11 Comments  comments 

11 Responses

  1. does this work on mono inputs

  2. No, You must first check to make sure your drum module supports that feature.

  3. Frank

    What about using the brass cymbal itselfs as a contact for making a choke switch? So you just need one additional conductive material and isolation material!?

  4. Sounds like it would work to me.

  5. torchlord

    Does it matter which of the plate 1 or 2 go to the ring or sleeve of the connector.

  6. No, either or will do. I hope that helps.

  7. Antonio

    Hi Hellfire; how did you attach the two aluminum flashing plates together? After that is done, what did you use to secure the completed choke/switch to the practice cymbal?

  8. You will need some kind of industrial strength double sided adhesive tape. You do not want to use foam tape. It’s been quite a while since I did this so you will have to do a google search on double sided film tape. I hope that helps.

  9. Ryan

    Hopefully you’ll see this. I’m building my own e-kit. Midi controller and all with a teensy micro controller. Any idea how a choke switch like this would get adapted into your programming?? I’m not going the “easier” route of using a drum module.

  10. Ronyd

    Cymbals are conductive. You can use one plate for the top. Brass plate with the Ring soldered to it. Xtra additional Shield wire connected to cymbal via the screw/nut that bolts your project box.

    Still need separator to keep plate off the cymbal if using a copper plate, otherwise switch will always be closed. If using aluminum plate, you can attached double sided copper tape to the plate and and solder the Ring wire to the copper tape.

  11. Back in 2007 when I originally did this project, the DIY scene was really into plastic practice cymbal conversions because of how cheap they were. Long discussions were made on the subject back then (and we too got to what you stated). At the end of those discussion we all realized that you could just use two brass cymbals (stacked on top of each other) with a separator (and dampening on the button cymbal) to achieve a very similar resolute. Much nicer looking too.

    It’s good to see edrummers DIYing again on some of these older ideas. Thanks for the comment!

    P.S. if using aluminum flashing, sometimes there is a coating on the aluminum that needs to be sanded off before use or you will not get good conductivity. 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *