Smaller pads, Ableton, Novation etc workaround?

Just thinking out loud here with a few questions for those of you who have finger drummed (is that a verb?) with smaller pads.

  1. How do you find the smaller pads? Do you accidentally hit other sounds or ‘blank’ pads a lot?
  2. Have you tried assigning the same sound to more than one pad so that if you accidentally hit another pad the correct sound will still trigger? I know this would probably cause double triggers, but if you’re an Ableton user, you could create a Max device that filters out double triggers. For example, filter notes after X amount of ms.
  3. How big are the pads on Novation and Push controllers compared to the Yamaha FGDP? They look fairly similar on some of the pads, other than obviously the slight angle and wider kick pads.


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I tried creating bigger squares by assigning 4 pads per sound on the launchpad… that turned out the be pretty weird a not very usable. 2 pads for each tom was definitely a smart move though.

The FGDP tom pads are about the same size as a Launchpad Pro pad, but the other pads are significantly bigger. A tom layout like the FGDP on the launchpad might be a pretty smart way to set things up.

For me pads of Launchpad X are too small. I tried to play a few songs on it, but I really felt claustrophobic. You feel the difference immediately when you switch to a bigger pads like MPD218. With bigger pads I don’t need to look down to my instrument.

On the other side, with smaller pads you have better choice of samples. I miss ride bells and snare double ghost notes which I can play successively on three pads.

Pad size in comparison. Launchpad Pro mk3 in the center, FGDP-50 on right. Screenshot from some video on YouTube.

I recommend to buy slightly used device (not from fingerdrummer:) for good price and try it yourself. You never understand what pads suits you until play them for time. If you dont like pads then sell it and try another controller. Dont start from pricy or unpopular/rare/too old options (ableton push, mashine mk3, mpc live, FGDP, korg padkontrol). Select from Gear recommendations on Gear recommendations for finger drumming in 2023 - The Quest for Groove. I would go with Launchpad X (totaly fine size for me) for small pads, MPD 218/226 or Mashine mikro mk3 for big pads.

I played with a Launchpad for 1-2 years and could get used to the smaller pads. It’s definately doable.
But due all the praise that the Maschine Mk3 was getting, I got me now a used one and it just feels so much nicer to have the bigger pads. So I moved on toward that.

I think the FGDP-50 hits a good sweet spot with the size (except maybe for the toms, here you need to be a bit more careful.)

With the Launchpad, I basically completely mirrored the layout, so every pad would at least appear twice, but it’s clear which hand is supposed to play it. So every hand has excactly one pad of the same sound. However, like @Robert_Mathijs I had bad experiences with having more than that. You’ll get double triggers and don’t learn to properly place you fingers on one pad.

Hmmm. Yeah it seems it’s a case of of just trying them out and see how the feel.
Thanks for the replies.