Layout learning curve

Hi Robert!

I’ve never done finger drumming and I want to chose my first hardware.

What is the best pad layout to get from 0 to something as fast as possible? I’m talking about the actually physical buttons layout not the sample assignment.
The traditional 4x4 square pads? Or something like the Yamaha FGDP? Or something else?
I want to know what is the layout that has the smaller/faster learning curve, even that is limited on the mid/long run.

Money is not a problem, so even if it’s better to start with one layout and after 2 weeks buy a new device I would do it.


What you learn with one layout translates rather well to another layout, if the “basic principles” of them are similar.

For example, if you play 4x4 Pads with QFG Layout, you can translate that well to FGDP.

What doesn’t translate so well (for me) is some 4x4 layouts to each other. The more typical layout where kick, snare, HH Open HH Closed is all on the bottom row is just played very differently than the QFG Layout / a mirrored layout.

I have a Maschine Mk3 for 4x4 and a Yamaha FGDP-50 for standalone and like both well. I think the Maschine Mk3 is higher quality and would also allow you to try different layouts. The 4x4 layout is the most common one and would translate best to most other devices, too. You could even try both if money isn’t an issue. However, for learning I would then first stick to mostly one of them, so you don’t add an additional learning curve to switch between layouts.

Couldn’t agree more with Fannon! I can recommend the 2 device route where you get a Maschine mikro mk3 for the nice 4x4 16 pad layout and compatibility with the video lessons and also a Yamaha FGDP (the FGDP 30 would be enough, but you can watch my review video to see if you’d rather get an FGDP-50).

If you get both those devices you’ll find they’re very compatible and the benefit of a standalone unit cannot be overstated. I myself play every day again, simply because the thing is laying there next to me. It’s a nice combo to have both and a very modern one at that. This wasn’t possible for the most part of 2023 :smiley:

1 Like

The reason you don’t just want an FGDP is a combination of pad sensitivity and the fact that some familiarity with a standard 4x4 grid is probably good in many ways. That’s why the combo is such a nice one.