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Topic: Poll...What's Everyone Using to Program Drums?

  1. #1

    Poll...What\'s Everyone Using to Program Drums?

    I\'d like to get some feedback on what everyone is finding the most success with in sequencing their drum parts.

    I still use a keyboard, and it just stinks. For any kind of complicated fills, it just causes me a lot of problems. I know some of you program the fills in with step time, which I find mind boggling (I would spend more time doing the math than playing), and others use pads.

    Any great drum demos I\'ve heard were always done with pads, it turns out. How many of you use them?

    Thanks for your input...

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Poll...What\'s Everyone Using to Program Drums?

    Hi Tom,

    I program drums with several different controllers, depending on the style and final application.

    I have a TD-7 set, which is made up of eight two-zone pads, a hi-hat pedal, and a kick pedal. That one is great for getting the most \"sticking\" into a part, but is also at this time the most difficult to edit after the fact. When/if GigaStudio adds a dimension where multiple samples can be assigned to the same velocity split, this will be a MUCH better situation.

    Another controller I use is a Roland Pad-5, which is a very cheesy little percussion pad they sold for a very short time. It has only five little pads and is intended to be played in a person\'s lap. While it is not a very flexible system, it\'s great for hand playing, and I have edited many instruments for use with it. I take it to every live gig, since it\'s so portable. I\'ve mapped Nick\'s QL Tabla to it, and boy that\'s fun.

    Believe it or not, I also use my Wind Controller to program percussion. I also do this live schtick where I play a drumset solo on it and trade fours with the drummer, which is pretty funny.

    I don\'t know if you\'re a drummer (I would condider myself only a hack drummer in the big picture, but I can get around pretty well on a number of percussion instruments). One thing that really helps, even programming from the keyboard, is knowing what patterns and what stickings are used for different grooves. A lot of \"inauthenticity\" in sequenced drum parts is about the way the kit is approached. People tend to program a lot more fills, for instance, than drummers actually play.

    Anyway, that\'s what I\'m using.

    Best regards,

  3. #3

    Re: Poll...What\'s Everyone Using to Program Drums?

    I just got back from my local drum shop picking up an 8-line snake for a trigger cable. Today I\'m hooking up the Hart Dynamics Multipad that I got through a Pro Tools user to my DM5 that I got from Ebay.

    My area is generally pop/jazz/world-beat type stuff. My strategy right now is to use pre-packaged patterns from an inexpensive program called Drumtrax ($49) for the main drum stuff, and then add a lot of percussion type fills (not toms!!) and what not using the pads with the DM5. After that, I\'ll edit as necessary.

    I\'ll play the pad drums using the DM5 in real time for recording/latency reasons, and then point the MIDI data at GigaSampler and my custom drum sets when I\'m down to recording audio for my mix.

    Hope this makes sense. If not, ask some questions.


    [This message has been edited by Mark_Knecht (edited 03-27-2002).]

  4. #4

    Re: Poll...What\'s Everyone Using to Program Drums?

    hey Tom

    Yah step writing is for wussies....er wait...thats what I do.

    Its actually not that hard too do this. You get used to waht you want/like and how to get it out.

    Especially in the snare dept.

    Doing it real time really can hurt the quality/performance if you\'re not a drummer. While it may add a \"human\" feel, it can sometime jsut sound bad.

    So I say look into step writing a little and get used to it. Its actually quicker to do it ithis way than to try and perform/play a fill that takes you multiple takes to get right

    Really...I am an Idiot

  5. #5

    Re: Poll...What\'s Everyone Using to Program Drums?

    hi tom,
    i step in the drums quite a bit.i also sequence with sonar (cakewalk)and it has quite a few things to do to make the job a little easier.i also use some drum tracks like \"kick-n jazz\" its an audio cd with midi files all played by bernard purdie. its a great tool.but the important thing with that cd is that it comes also with DNA beat blocks, which when you load into a groove quantinize program it copys the feel of that drum performance to say tighten up the bass or keyboard part.

  6. #6

    Re: Poll...What\'s Everyone Using to Program Drums?

    Go here:

    Get it. It is free.
    The next version of Sonar is supposed to have a drum programming tool. I am looking forward to it.

    Doyle W. Donehoo
    Radar Music

  7. #7

    Re: Poll...What\'s Everyone Using to Program Drums?

    On another note:
    Hey Bruce!
    I have heard a lot of your very expressive classical inspired works, but never anything the was really percussive. Do you have some examples? Do you have a web site with examples? It would be interesting to me anyway to hear something along these lines...

  8. #8

    Re: Poll...What\'s Everyone Using to Program Drums?

    Cool topic, I\'m a drummer. Fairly good again after playing again seriously the past 2 years. (For the first time in a lloonngg time..) In any event, a very good tip to add realism to your sequenced drums, step or realtime, is to \"think\" like a human drummer when doing your drum parts.

    2 hands, 2 feet.

    Especially in a situation like mine where I\'m attempting to sound like a real rock band via midi. (yah I know....yada yada..)

    Never play more drums/cymbals at a time then you could if you were actually sitting behind a kit.

    As a drummer it\'s kind of funny to hear a constant crash or ride cymbal being played while a snare/tom roll/fill is taking place.

    The majority of drummers will never hit a crash and an open hi hat at the same time either. If a crash was on the 1st beat, they would hit the crash on the 1st beat followed by 3 open hi hat hits.

    While it is common for some drummers to keep time with a 1/4 beat closed hit hat pedal, rarely do you see a real drummer keeping time with a 1/8 beat closed hi hat pedal. That\'s ALOT of foot action in the long run, especially at faster tempos. However, in jazz this is more common due to lesser demands of the bass drum.

    Keep the fills simple. Unless you\'re trying to convince your listeners that you have Niel Peart from Rush as your drummer, keep your fills and bass drum patterns simplistic. It\'s quite funny to hear some sequenced drum patterns have blidingly fast bass drum riffs. When emulating a single bass drum player, never go faster than a 16th beat bass hit. (And even THAT is a stretch for the majority of drummers.) For a double bass player, this is common, but a 32nd beat is pressing it. Repeated phrases of 32nd bass drum beats would quickly signal a sequenced part.

    Some common drum riffs that sound cool:

    Classic riff, play this one using 1/4 beats up to 32nd beats to realize what it can do.

    Snare, mid tom, low tom, bass drum.

    Triplets: These sound cool at fast tempos.

    Snare, Tom, Bass Drum or
    Hi tom, mid tom, bass drum.

    John Bohnam made the rock world aware of triplets and the use of the first riff.


    Actually the first example is a quad also.

    (snare, tom1, tom2, bass drum).

    But Niel Peart from Rush made popular the use of quads on a double bass drum setup. He would use this riff in several songs (Anthem, Tom Sawyer, etc.) and has always been a feature of his drum solos. Interestingly, in his recent drum videos he mentions he likes to use the classic quads now. (snare, tom1, tom2, bass drum)

    Quads with double bass drums can be played at VERY fast tempos due to the fact this isn\'t really too taxing on the correct drummer.

    Note: Some single bass drum players can do the double bass quad, at slower tempos of course.

    Double Bass Quads (3 examples):

    tom1, tom2, bass drum 1, bass drum 2
    snare, tom2, bass drum 1, bass drum 2
    snare, snare, bass drum 1, bass drum 2

    Again, by playing the above using 1/4 beats up to 32nd beats you\'ll be able to hear how dramatic quads can be.

    When quads are played REAL fast you basically end up with a flam on the toms and a flam on the bass drums.

    Sorry for the ramble...

  9. #9

    Re: Poll...What\'s Everyone Using to Program Drums?

    GREAT TIPS Munz,

    I agree with the whole \"think like a human drummer\"

    Tahts a main issue.

    other things to consider guys,

    Accent some cymbal hits with the bass drum.

    Think about how hard a drumme is actually hitting a drum and if its even possible to hit the drum that hard if he\'s playing fast.

    Velocity plays a BIG issue with fills. Even if you program it right with the \"math\" and its \"human\" if its the wrong velocities, you can obviously tell its sequenced.

    try syncopation with accenting the \"ands\" of a count with open hi hats or cymbals...Chinas and splashes are great...or tambourine even.

    watch videos of drummers you like, and learn waht they are doing AND how their kit is set up, then you can try emulating the extra cymbals with programming and pitch shifting other cymbals.

    Like two china cymbals, one left and one right.

    Talk to drummers if you know any they can help. Jam with drummers and pay attention to them if you can.

    Even write your parts with a real drummer then sequence them if you can.

    Really...I am an Idiot

  10. #10

    Re: Poll...What\'s Everyone Using to Program Drums?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by KingIdiot:
    GREAT TIPS Munz,

    I agree with the whole \"think like a human drummer\"

    Tahts a main issue.


    Lots of good points guys.

    I grew up in rock bands, been playing a long time. But I am guitarist and keyboard guy, and though I know what I want to hear, I couldn\'t actually sit down and play it on real set.

    In the early 80s a guy named Joe Galdo did all my drum programming on jingles, documentaries, and the like. He was a great drummer who was one of the first guys in Miami with a Linn 9000. He did all the drum work for Gloria Estefan\'s early hits, and wrote a few of them himself.

    He would show me how he would be careful not to have the hi-hat going during a fill, all that basic stuff. And his fills were very open and simple.

    However in a lot of rock the fills aren\'t they simple...or they are simple but include just one quick burst of a snare roll to start the fill off, and that\'s where I have trouble with realism part. Step timing that end can be done, I\'m sure, because I\'ve heard King\'s work and he\'s great at it. More commonly, the drum demos I\'ve heard sequenced that sound unreal are played on pads by a real drummer. Since I\'m not, maybe the step time thing is the way to go. But with the right multi velocity samples, the pad at least takes care of having to program in velocites.

    I just don\'t like the feel of doing it from the keyboard, and I like it even less now that I\'m using GIGA, because compared to triggering samples off my 5080 there\'s definitely a lag. So that makes things even rougher....

    Anyway, thanks for all the great tips. It\'s good to hear how everyone wrestles the beasts out there...

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