Favorite Techniques To Program Drum Kits & Loops

January 25, 2007

Last night I tried my hardest to come up with what I thought to be the 10 greatest drum breaks of all time. I should just say that I failed miserable at that endeavor. Right now the list is at about 28 and will take me all week to encode the audio. It’s coming though, I promise. To make up for the delay, I had another brainstorming session on the way home from work today and decided to think of all the ways that I know to program drums. Again the list was pretty big, but at least this one was somewhat manageable.

1. Simple looping of drums
2. Chopping a drum loop into a bar or half bar and playing partial loop individually.
3. Deconstructing and chopping drum loop completely into kicks, snares, hi hats, etc. then reprogramming any way you like. (My most commonly used technique)
4. Manually layering pre-chopped drums over a sample with drums already contained on it, so they match perfectly. Usually a sample with a live drummer will be slightly off beat, so much of the time, it is necessary to turn off the quantize feature.
5. Using a program such as Propellerheads Recycle to take a drum loop and rearrange the bpms and instrument placement.
6. Layering different kicks, snares, high hats, etc to produce a unique drum sound.
7. Turning off quantization to get that live off beat feel.
8. Using the swing feature of Akai’s MPC series to slightly move drums off of the quantization mark.
9. Adding a tiny bit of silent space in front of a sample to artificially throw the sample offbeat
10. Time stretch a drum loop beyond the normal timing to get yet another off or on beat sound.

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