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 Post subject: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:01 pm 

Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2010 1:03 am
Posts: 183
Hey guys,
inspired by this topic about drum processing I decided to write a little tutorial on actual drum programming. I think it's the essential part in getting groove into your (House) track; processing should be rather subtle and polish the drums. You can't polish a turd!
I know this is not difficult stuff, but you find suprisingly little on drum programming in the internet.
I don't consider myself an expert in any way, I still have a lot to learn. But I had difficulties programming drums when I was beginning, so if this helps out just one of you beginners my work here is done ;)
I'm gonna give you both a screenshot of the pattern and a link to the audiofile, so you can both see and hear the subtle changes in rythm. To hear the audio, click on the image!

Step 1
Let's start with a simple Kick/Snare/HiHat pattern:
Image
You probably heard this pattern millions of times already. It's pretty effective as a basic foundation of a track, but sounds rather boring and ungroovy.
You should choose samples that you are happy with, but if you don't find the perfect drums just now don't worry. I often go through dozens of samples until I'm happy and I often change samples when I got the pattern layed out completley. Just choose something you can work with!

Step 2
To loosen up the groove a bit, we are going to do two things:
1. Move the snare slightly ahead of the kick, which will give us a slightly more driving feel and line up the transients of kick and snare
2. Add slightly off-grid ghost notes for the HiHat
Image

Step 3
Adding a second HiHat never hurts. Pick out a sound that is similar to the first HiHat, but different enough so you can hear it clearly in the mix. Note that it is placed pretty offgrid!
Image

Step 4
Now that the basic HiHat pattern is done, you can add other elements. I've chosen a classic rimshot sound.
Because this sound is pretty dominant in the mix (as it's a very different timbre than the HiHats), you probably shoudln't go too crazy with it. I'd advise a good mix between on-grid and off-grid hits.
Image

Step 5
Adding a drum sound that is similar to another and playing around with it can add tension and release to your drums - an essential technique to get groove.
I've chosen a tom sound that fits just nice with the rimshot. Note how both rimshot and tom overlap at a certain time.
Image

Step 6
Alright, that's it! You got a nice foundation of a house track.
Please note that I didn't do a lot of processing on the drums. I used some light transient shaping to lower the sustain of the drum hits a bit and some NY style compressing to give it loudness without losing too much dynamics.
Things you can do:
- check if the drums sound good when you mute the HiHats
- check if the drums sound good when you mute the kick
- add variation! Just a small fill each 8 bars make a huge difference.
- experiment adding other elements. Note that you don't have to play all drum sounds at the same time, you can arrange it in different ways later on.
- experiment with groove templates
- add ghost kick notes
- add ghost snare notes
- play around with note velocity! If you use simpler, you're not limited to the standard Velocity->Volume mapping. Things you can try to modulate: filter cutoff, pitch, decay length, ...
- ...

Hope you enjoyed my little tutorial. If you're intersted in more, just tell me what topic you'd like to learn about!

Cheers.

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 Post subject: Re: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:14 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:50 pm
Posts: 11636
Location: MacAbleton Towers, sunny Manchester.
good tutorial cheers. I like the ghost notes just before the hats.

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 Post subject: Re: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:58 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:40 am
Posts: 45
How do you add beats that are slightly "off" as you did with the snare/extra hat? I guess it could be done if you overdubbed live but I am not really accurate enough! When I move, decrease or increase a note it always goes on the bar...


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 Post subject: Re: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:22 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:09 am
Posts: 41
hey debrice,

you drop a note on the grid, then grab it and whilst holding down the left mouse button hold down the alt key. this will let you move off the grid. Or you can use the right mouse button menu to turn the grid off completely on the piano roll i think


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 Post subject: Re: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:51 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:40 am
Posts: 45
celeriak wrote:
hey debrice,

you drop a note on the grid, then grab it and whilst holding down the left mouse button hold down the alt key. this will let you move off the grid. Or you can use the right mouse button menu to turn the grid off completely on the piano roll i think



Great, thanks for the reply.


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 Post subject: Re: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:21 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:55 pm
Posts: 36
wicked tutorial, thanks 2be!


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 Post subject: Re: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:38 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:40 am
Posts: 45
celeriak wrote:
hey debrice,

you drop a note on the grid, then grab it and whilst holding down the left mouse button hold down the alt key. this will let you move off the grid. Or you can use the right mouse button menu to turn the grid off completely on the piano roll i think



I have been trying to do this with the alt key and drag as you said but I can't get this to work (on my mac) does anybody have any alternative methods for putting beats slightly off grid?


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 Post subject: Re: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:44 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:31 am
Posts: 448
debrice wrote:
celeriak wrote:
hey debrice,

you drop a note on the grid, then grab it and whilst holding down the left mouse button hold down the alt key. this will let you move off the grid. Or you can use the right mouse button menu to turn the grid off completely on the piano roll i think



I have been trying to do this with the alt key and drag as you said but I can't get this to work (on my mac) does anybody have any alternative methods for putting beats slightly off grid?


i think it was strg, isn´t it? another thing is strg + 4 to deactivate the grid ^^

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 Post subject: Re: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:08 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:40 am
Posts: 45
Evengy wrote:
debrice wrote:
celeriak wrote:
hey debrice,

you drop a note on the grid, then grab it and whilst holding down the left mouse button hold down the alt key. this will let you move off the grid. Or you can use the right mouse button menu to turn the grid off completely on the piano roll i think



I have been trying to do this with the alt key and drag as you said but I can't get this to work (on my mac) does anybody have any alternative methods for putting beats slightly off grid?


i think it was strg, isn´t it? another thing is strg + 4 to deactivate the grid ^^


sorry, what is strg?


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 Post subject: Re: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:29 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:31 am
Posts: 448
Quote:
sorry, what is strg?


oh sorry, "control" button on the keyboard :D (strg = steuerung in german) :D

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 Post subject: Re: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:23 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:40 am
Posts: 45
thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:56 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:09 am
Posts: 57
this is quite good, i hate how my drums sound, might have to start chopping up loops,

the hats always sound bad to me too harsh


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 Post subject: Re: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:39 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:26 pm
Posts: 16
Location: [y]UK
EXCELLENT stuff!

Seeing as the GROOVE is what DRIVES a House Track and what "sounds" simple in practice is actually Bloody Hard, this tut is a LIFE saver.

Been scratching My head to get Drums "just so" for a long time now. Don`t wanna "just" use loops, soooo, No Drums, No Track!!

Can`t Thank You enough. PLEASE keep these tut`s coming. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:29 pm 

Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 5:01 pm
Posts: 72
Awesome stuff - you're right, there is not a lot of drum programming tuts online. Im also having a hard time finding info on chord theory.. so much to learn :)

For others with the question of moving things off the grid: Right click in the grid area, and click on "Narrow" grid (or gridlines.. something like this). Then you can actually zoom in and drag it on/off the gridlines as much as you want. I usually just throw a clip on loop and adjust how close/far each hit is from the gridline just based off of how it sounds.

Keep the good exchanges going!


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 Post subject: Re: [Tutorial] Drum Programming: How to get groovy House drums
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:38 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:31 am
Posts: 448
im using ctrl + 1-4 fixed grid ;) no need to zoom that often ;O

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