Drums

  • MIDI Drum Patterns for EDM

    MIDI Drum Patterns for EDM

    Programming beats using MIDI with Ableton Drum Rack (or any other drum machine) gives you a degree of customization and flexibility that using pre-fab loops can’t match. When you’re starting to produce in a new genre, though, it can be difficult to figure out exactly where each drum hit should go.

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  • The Best Drum Sample Packs for EDM (Part 1)

    The Best Drum Sample Packs for EDM (Part 1)

    There are probably millions if not billions of drum samples that you can download and drop into your DAW’s drum machine. The depth and availability of these sounds is amazing, but it makes sorting through the billions of samples to find the best ones a bit tough. Here are, in our opinion, five of the best drum sample packs for producing house, drum ‘n’ bass, electrohouse, hip-hop, and trance.

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  • Make a Moombahton Beat

    Make a Moombahton Beat

    Programming a moombahton drum pattern in Ableton Live is somewhat similar to making a house beat — but with some significant differences. To create its swinging, funky vibe, moombahton uses more syncopated and off-beat percussion than house usually does.

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  • Using Triplets in Beats

    Using Triplets in Beats

    The elements of electronic music are generally divisible by four: four kicks per bar, eight bars per loop, sixteen notes in a melody. To add interest to your beats, break up the 4/4 using triplet drums. A triplet jams three notes into a space that should only be occupied by two.

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  • Doubling Drums

    Doubling Drums

    Using two copies of the same drum sample in a beat makes the drums sound bigger and fuller. Load up a kick, snare and hi-hat into Ableton’s Drum Rack, then open the Rack’s “Chains” section. Right-click the snare drum in the list of chains and select “Duplicate.” Do the same for the hi-hat.

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  • Make a Drum & Bass Beat

    Make a Drum & Bass Beat

    Set Ableton’s tempo to around 175 bpm. Open Drum Rack and load up a kick and snare. Create a new MIDI clip, then put the kick on 1 and 1.3.3. Put a snare on 1.2 and 1.4. This rhythm is the basis of the drum ‘n’ bass beat. Load up three hi-hat samples: one short closed hi-hat and two longer open hi-hats.

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  • Using Drum Loops

    Using Drum Loops

    Adding a drum loop on top of a programmed MIDI beat is a quick way to give it a more fluid, natural sound. Think of the MIDI clip as the base of the beat, and the loop as the ornamentation. Unfortunately, Drum Rack and Impulse can’t warp samples, so unless the loop that you’re using was recorded at the same tempo as the track you’re making (and is perfectly in time), you’ll need to add it to a separate audio track.

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  • How to Synthesize Drums

    How to Synthesize Drums

    Samples make creating beats quick and easy, but knowing how to synthesize your own kicks, snares and hi-hats will give you a better understanding of how drum sounds work. Start up Ableton’s Operator synth, then create a new MIDI clip. Add a note on each quarter beat. It doesn’t matter which note you use: you’ll be setting the pitch using the synthesizer itself.

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  • How to Make Sub-Kicks

    How to Make Sub-Kicks

    If the kick sample you’re using isn’t beefy enough, layer it with a low-pitched synthesized sub-kick. The sub-kick adds bass without overly changing the tonal character of the kick.

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  • How to Make a House Beat

    How to Make a House Beat

    Open Drum Rack on a MIDI track, then set the global BPM to about 125. Load up a kick, snare, hi-hat, shaker, crash cymbal and ride cymbal. Turn all of the samples’ velocity controls up. Create a new MIDI clip, then put a kick on 1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4. Put the snare sample on 1.2 and 1.4. Program the hi-hat on 1.1.3, 1.2.3, 1.3.3 and 1.4.3. Add a shaker on every sixteenth note.

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  • Reverse Snares

    Reverse Snares

    Load a snare sample into Drum Rack. Load another copy of the same sample onto an empty audio channel. Double-click the sample on the audio channel, then click the “Rev.” button. Ableton will reverse the sample. The reversed sample is an irregular length, which is going to make it hard to use in a MIDI loop. To fix this, click the “Warp” button to warp the clip, then drag the trim…

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  • Snare Rolls

    Snare Rolls

    It’s been around forever, but the snare roll is still a dancefloor-devastating way to lead out of the breakdown and back into the beat. If your snare roll sounds too robotic and programmed, use MIDI velocity control to make it sound more natural. Program in a basic snare roll (four eighth notes, followed by four sixteenth notes, then eight 32nd notes).

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