Make a Moombahton Beat

Moombahton BeatProgramming 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. Most importantly, the snares in a moombahton drum pattern are placed around the kick drums — not right on the backbeat.

Set the tempo control to somewhere between 100 and 115 bpm — 108 is a good starting point. Load a Drum Rack onto an empty MIDI channel, then drag and drop a set of drum samples into the rack. You’ll need a kick, a sub-kick (a low 808 kick sample works well for this), two snares, a clap, a hi-hat and a percussion sample (like a shaker, woodblock or clave).

Create a new one-bar MIDI drum pattern, then put the kick on 1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4. Add a sub-kick on the first beat only. Put the first snare around the second and fourth kicks — on 1.1.4, 1.2.3, 1.3.4 and 1.4.3. This snare pattern is essential to creating a shuffling moombahton groove.

Moombahton Beat

With the basic beat in place, let’s add some offbeat percussion elements. Put the hi-hat just before the first and last snares, then right-click inside the MIDI drum grid and select “Triplet Grid.” Ableton’s grid will shift, dividing each beat by six instead of four. Add the percussion samples to the triplet grid:

Moombahton Beat

Now let’s add some variation to the beat. Extend the MIDI clip out to four bars, then duplicate the one-bar pattern you created to fill the clip. Take out the last two snares in the second and fourth bars; replace them with the other snare sample and the clap:

Moombahton Beat

Once you have this basic moombahton beat finished try adding ghost notes; extending the pattern out to eight bars and adding more variation; introducing additional percussion sounds into the beat; adding some swing — make it your own.