The trouble with creating drum beats...
dudeabiding
Thread Starter
#1
14th September 2013
Old 14th September 2013
  #1
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
The trouble with creating drum beats...

Or should I say "my" trouble with creating drum beats. The thing is, when I begin to think about beat creation, or open a beat creation program, I have already written and recorded at least a rhythm guitar part for the song, with tick track.

My problem is that I always seem to be having to conform the song to the beat, and not the other way round. I want to build a beat structure that fits the recording I have, but it seems I am always having to change the rhythm structure of my song to try to match the beat.

Obviously there is the fact that I am not terribly learned in the beat creation arts, but I do feel I have tried. I have spent countless hours building, changing, moving beats, hours which, compared to the joy of writing a song leave me frustrated and not feeling creative at all.

Pre-built loops sound generic and dodgy at best. Beat building is a time consuming mess. So... I am thinking of buying a digital (piano) keyboard with drum sounds: Push a button, hit a key, hear a kick or snare sound, record it.

This seems to be the only way for me to to build the drums to match the song. Any wisdom on this topic is greatly appreciated.

And thanks to all on Gearslutz, no matter your answers and replies. I do not post here often, but I have gained a great deal from reading and learning from your experiences and knowledge. Cheers.
#2
14th September 2013
Old 14th September 2013
  #2
$159.

Get couple pedals for hi hat and kick.

Get an external pad with a mesh drum head for the snare.

Then spend years learning to play the drums.

I write most of my songs with a 4 on the floor then fill in the rest using midi controllers.

Beat repeat makes it pretty easy with a little practice.
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#3
14th September 2013
Old 14th September 2013
  #3
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Play's Avatar
 

This is obvious, the rhythm section sets the rhythm?

Just make the drums first then play to the drums, rather than tick track.
#4
14th September 2013
Old 14th September 2013
  #4
Gear Head
 

Sing your beats! You could try recording a bunch of takes of yourself singing a beat to fit the existing material, comp it and replicate it in programming. It can be easier to connect to the song with less gear between you and it.
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#5
14th September 2013
Old 14th September 2013
  #5
Lives for gear
 

You don't have to learn to play the drums, but it wouldn't hurt to learn some drum groove theory... just learning basic beats, fills, and cadences and how they sound like and how they look in notation would go a long way to getting what you want out of your head in a sequence.
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#6
14th September 2013
Old 14th September 2013
  #6
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Headz51230's Avatar
 

You'll probably have to compromise your riff, chord progression, etc slightly to sync with drums if you're not playing to a beat to begin with.
dudeabiding
Thread Starter
#7
14th September 2013
Old 14th September 2013
  #7
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Thanks All...

Great advice, one and all. I kinda figured I was going to need to change me to the beat. Although I am now thinking about purchasing a pad to record drums with. They seem to have a lot of flexibility as far as programming, analog and digital sounds, and they have the added bonus of being something I can hit with a stick. And what I ask you could be better than that? Pedal, though? Because training my foot to something different than my hands sounds suspiciously like marching band. Thanks again.

https://soundcloud.com/dudeabiding
#8
14th September 2013
Old 14th September 2013
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by dudeabiding View Post
Or should I say "my" trouble with creating drum beats. The thing is, when I begin to think about beat creation, or open a beat creation program, I have already written and recorded at least a rhythm guitar part for the song, with tick track.

My problem is that I always seem to be having to conform the song to the beat, and not the other way round. I want to build a beat structure that fits the recording I have, but it seems I am always having to change the rhythm structure of my song to try to match the beat.

Obviously there is the fact that I am not terribly learned in the beat creation arts, but I do feel I have tried. I have spent countless hours building, changing, moving beats, hours which, compared to the joy of writing a song leave me frustrated and not feeling creative at all.

Pre-built loops sound generic and dodgy at best. Beat building is a time consuming mess. So... I am thinking of buying a digital (piano) keyboard with drum sounds: Push a button, hit a key, hear a kick or snare sound, record it.

This seems to be the only way for me to to build the drums to match the song. Any wisdom on this topic is greatly appreciated.

And thanks to all on Gearslutz, no matter your answers and replies. I do not post here often, but I have gained a great deal from reading and learning from your experiences and knowledge. Cheers.
Invest in one of these;


Not incredibly expensive, and will get you into a groove in no time.
#9
14th September 2013
Old 14th September 2013
  #9
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gruvsyco's Avatar
 

Not sure what software you're using. I would try something like recording the guitar part into looper in ableton live (no click track) and allow it to set your tempo. You can dump the part to a track, warp it as needed (to tweak timing) and you now have your part recorded as you wanted. Set up another track and do the same thing for drums except the loop does not set the tempo. Work on just sections of drums if you like... lay down the kick and snare as a separate loop and then add the high hats.

Another option: Start as above and use something like EZ Drummer or Superior Drummer to drop in beats with some drum kits. Toontrack sells addition rhythms as does Groove Monkee.

I think the important part is to try to preserve your part as you hear it in your head before you allow the beat to take control of the song direction.
#10
14th September 2013
Old 14th September 2013
  #10
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CocaineAudio's Avatar
your probably overthinking... i always do the sounds first .. and do the drums in last.. the drums should enhance the beat.. nothing more, nothing less..
#11
14th September 2013
Old 14th September 2013
  #11
Gear Head
 

I totally used to have the same problem. What I've found works for me is to write the drums first. Use them to lay out the structure of the song then add the chords/bass etc. on top of it. In most music drums are the foundation, and I feel it's better to build from the ground up.
dudeabiding
Thread Starter
#12
15th September 2013
Old 15th September 2013
  #12
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Thread Starter
So here's what I'm thinking now...

Since I want to be able to match the beats to the song, I am looking at 3 different ways of making it happen:
1. A finger style electronic drum pad
2. A "stick" type pad
3. A piano style keyboard with drum settings

My thought so far is that with a keyboard, I have drum sounds, but for the money, I also have a number of other possibilities as well. Programmable synth sounds, a pitch wheel, bass sounds, etc. As opposed to a drum pad which may have different drum sounds, but just drum sounds.

If anyone has listened to any of my songs...

https://soundcloud.com/dudeabiding

...you'll know that they are all simple, straight forward tunes. But I want to experiment. Louder, weirder, you know? Then again, the drum sounds on a keyboard will most likely not produce true or "real" sounds as a pad would.

Thanks again.
#13
15th September 2013
Old 15th September 2013
  #13
Gear addict
 

Ever consider a cajon? They look like a lot of fun.

I listened to a few of your clips, and synths aren't the first thing that came to mind. I think digital keys/sequencers/samplers may be too rigid for your sound. Just a thought.

#14
15th September 2013
Old 15th September 2013
  #14
Gear maniac
 

I say go minimal. Consider the accents... a drummer and bass player work together and good ones hit the same accents (sometimes interchangably and sometimes in unison).

x 0 x 0 is my shorthand for accents on 2 and 4

x---0---x---0--- is shorthand with 16th notes.

Consider your main theme when you write basslines first.

Give it a try... this gives you a way to program drums after the fact.
#15
15th September 2013
Old 15th September 2013
  #15
Lives for gear
It takes time... Some people just have to actually play drums or use midi triggers and correct later. High hats can be the trickiest. What i do to get started is already have my kick done to import and have variations i use regulary programed... I work around that as if it were a click track adding a snare/clap ect. High hats i tend to dial up some delay for a quick effortless groove whether it be 16ths or whatever. it can get tricky trying to get a groove and program hats from grid and midi notes alone...using delay and timing by ear can really help move this along, even for those less experienced, just a dirty trick you can set up as a send and dial in till you het your desired tempo. You can go back later to adjust things and layer more. Super easy!
#16
15th September 2013
Old 15th September 2013
  #16
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Its going be much easier to lock into the groove with the drums placed down first. A kick snare pattern would probably be sufficient for achieving the result your after.
#17
16th September 2013
Old 16th September 2013
  #17
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#18
16th September 2013
Old 16th September 2013
  #18
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wakestyle's Avatar
 

You can try different drum vst. If some are just not working then try something else.

Nerve or any 808 or 707 style samplers.
#19
16th September 2013
Old 16th September 2013
  #19
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The ideal way of course is to have one person for each instrument all playing together, adjusting on the fly and evolving the song real-time in an organic way based on the interaction of the melody and rhythm. The reality is that in these modern times in which we find ourselves, isolated more and more from musical interactions with our fellow humans, we oftentimes have to compose each element one at a time in our home studios while the wife/children/roommates/parents/siblings/SO/dogs/cats/ferrets/etc. are asleep elsewhere in the house.

So how best to program beats for your songs then? Keeping in mind that melody and rhythm should complement/compliment each other and in fact shape the other in ways that would not occur if absent--the answer is it depends. Even if you have a strong melody already in mind, the rhythmic choice can still influence it and change the feeling of it, color it in a significant way, ie there is no such thing as a neutral drum beat. Thus from the very beginning you need to start thinking about the rhythmic elements of your song and what will best work with your melody. Think of it as the two halves of a coin. You could make each one separately and then press them together in which case the coin will be imperfect and show a seam--or you can make them both as a unified object which will be infinitely more solid and durable able to survive millions of playthroughs on a TRON arcade game. I still have quarters made in the 70's and I think that is fantastic.
#20
16th September 2013
Old 16th September 2013
  #20
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Praxisaxis's Avatar
 

Dunno if anyone has said this....

Come up with the beat (and basic bass/melody/harmony) in your head before you even get on the computer.

I don't know about you guys but my whole day is spent with grooves and melodies swirling around in my brain, and I drive people mad by tapping on the table, and with my feet, etc.

Put a song together in your free time, just in your brain.

Yep, it's hard to get the translation right - moving from what you imagine to a concrete sound. But as you get better at it, it solves a lot of problems.
#21
16th September 2013
Old 16th September 2013
  #21
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Sanchez's Avatar
 

Good way to start tracks and to learn about programming is to use loops etc to get your track happening then to replay/reprogram those beats/fills etc using your own/diff sounds. Gives you far more flexibility over the sounds/separate hits too.
#22
16th September 2013
Old 16th September 2013
  #22
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Or, be experimental and make music without beats
#23
16th September 2013
Old 16th September 2013
  #23
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Praxisaxis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BassX View Post
Or, be experimental and make music without beats
Or, then again, make music with beats which is also experimental.
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