A few days ago I published 5 quick tips to make your drum programming a lot better (part 1) so I wanted to follow up with part 2 today;
Like I said in my last post a drummer doesn’t hit each note at the same volume. So when you program your drums you should play around with the velocity/volume of each note to make some notes louder than others.
2. Ghost Notes
Ghost notes are notes you play in between the regular notes at a real low volume so you rather feel them than actually hear them if that makes any sense. When programming snares and hihats ghost notes can really work, especially if you want to create a marching kinda feel.
3. Tom as Kick
Sometimes when I want a huge kick I like to replace or layer the kick with a (floor) tom. Can make it sound huge.
To make my drum patterns less repetitive and give it more of a live feel I like to program or sample drum fills at certain places in the beat. Maybe at the end of each 8 bars or maybe before going into the hook or the bridge just to give an idea. EZ drummer is a great plugin for this.
5. Sample drum breaks
Those old classic drum breaks you hear on old soul records like James Brown etc. are pretty much impossible to re-create digitally when programming drums, so I like to sample drum breaks of old records as well (sometimes I layer them with my own drums or re-program the loop if I just want the same groove but a more modern sound). But then you always got the issue of clearing the sample if you want to release it. Of course you can choose to release it without clearing the sample but then you always got the risk of getting sued. So to avoid all that it might be better to use royalty free samples. But it’s hard to find royalty free drum break samples that sound as good as the classics. So I just create my own breaks. I record a great drummer, record that to analog tape, process/mix it on an SSL console and other gear to create that vintage classic sound myself. So if you got access to all that I suggest you should do the same. For those who can’t or just don’t got the time for it I got a sample pack with over 300 original royalty free drum breaks (that I created as I just described) dropping Friday. But if you do got access to a good studio with nice analog gear (SSL, Neve etc) and a good tape machine I would definitely encourage to create your own samples. The possibilities are endless, be creative!