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How do I write drum parts not being a drummer?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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Question How do I write drum parts not being a drummer?

I've got away with lots of dumb luck and brute force writing drum parts by being kind of random.

I tried using loops but I'm so bad with it.

I still don't know how people write drum parts for pop-music.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Here for the gear
 

It's been my experience that learning how to drum is pretty invaluable too. I used to program drums for songs & my drummer buddies would carry on about how, "You can tell you're a guitar player trying to do drums." Even if you're not using a kit and are programming on a piano roll or something you still want to have a clear vision of how the beats and everything need to come together.

I found this site to be very helpful for getting some fundamental info on drumming http://www.freedrumlessons.com/drum-lessons/emi calculator
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Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arsomartinera View Post
It's been my experience that learning how to drum is pretty invaluable too. I used to program drums for songs & my drummer buddies would carry on about how, "You can tell you're a guitar player trying to do drums." Even if you're not using a kit and are programming on a piano roll or something you still want to have a clear vision of how the beats and everything need to come together.

I found this site to be very helpful for getting some fundamental info on drumming http://www.freedrumlessons.com/drum-lessons/
I'm an
I put the song on repeat and imagine myself as a drummer, but it comes out forced and boring. Sometimes I get lucky and make something very interesting, but the fills sound janky or something doesn't add up rhythmwise.

I really do need to buy a tiny drum kit. I always play a kit whenever I see one.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Head
Drum Pro + Musical Typing

My specific case is:
-acoustic/alternative pop/r&b
-song-driven (lyric/melody/arrangement) more than production-driven
-limited skills as a drummer
-appreciation for streamlining my hardware/gear requirements
-technological efficiency/simplicity during solo/duo songwriting sessions
-'sparkly demo' quality of recording: sync catalogue and pitching to artists
-songs written to exist fully on vocal + acoustic guitar; drums are supplemental
-no DJ/electro vibes required
-drums are not relied upon to carry any big transition moments
-easily-achieved drum tricks: mute 1 snare hit before chorus, etc
-song/lyric writing process is aware of drum limitations, accommodates them
-not attempting to replicate rock format [E. bass, E. guitar(s), live kit, vocals]
-Typically, no hihat/shakers at all required to convey said vocal catalogue
-farthest thing from metal

[If my specific case applies substantially to your situation]
My recommendations are:
-Get the Drum Pro plug-in (AU freebie, probably VST available too)
-Set the lowest possible I/O Buffer Size (for minimal latency while recording)
-Open "Musical Typing" (or equivalent) in Logic Pro (or other DAW)
-Get comfortable playing "Boom Bap" (kick/snare) identities for your arrangements
-You can either use 2 index fingers, or else do both boom+bap with one hand
-Hi-hat/shaker programming = diminishing returns vs time invested
-Even if free-tempo, have a conductor track for snap-to-grid right after tracking
-Lastly: stray from musical concepts that call for drum mastery / prowess

I know it's not the artist way, but I often use rational, "time-cost vs benefit" forecasting in my production WHERE NEEDED, and it helps me avoid time traps: not trying to write sick guitar/drum/bass solos, or even transitions... though I can play those instruments, there's greater value for me in lyric/melody/arrangement, and if it's purely instrumental music, then just melody/arrangement. My instrumental pockets are quite basic, but 'defined' - or so I like to think. That's partly because I know I have to keep my drum expectations low, or risk wasting much time.

Hope this helps!
Old 5 days ago
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by goom View Post
I really do need to buy a tiny drum kit. I always play a kit whenever I see one.
I've thought about this too. I use ezdrummer 2 and tweak here and there. But it's always a pretty poor compromise. A song needs a drummer to properly and tastefully bring out what's written. It doesn't have to be Animal from the Muppets it just has to be right for the song.

I had ideas of learning drums...just something simple (well it looks simple) like this guy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWRW-Gcmmqg

By the way, he writes insanely great songs.

But something tells me that even that skill level would be tough...and then you've got to record the drums well, in a room and place where you can do a gazillion takes without disturbing the peace.

The main thing that frustrates me about ezdrummer is that you can gt midi in the ballpark but the required finesse isn't there and tweaking midi notes in a timeline makes my head spin.

So, in the end I suggest doing very basic tweaks at key moments and then record extra percussion like shakers, tambourines, wood blocks etc etc to just help with feel. That's my plan anyway.
Old 5 days ago
  #6
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by goom View Post
I've got away with lots of dumb luck and brute force writing drum parts by being kind of random.

I tried using loops but I'm so bad with it.

I still don't know how people write drum parts for pop-music.
I dunno... pay attention to what drummers do?

Fiction writers seem to be able to create female characters without actually being one.
Old 5 days ago
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people View Post
I've thought about this too. I use ezdrummer 2 and tweak here and there. But it's always a pretty poor compromise. A song needs a drummer to properly and tastefully bring out what's written. It doesn't have to be Animal from the Muppets it just has to be right for the song.

I had ideas of learning drums...just something simple (well it looks simple) like this guy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWRW-Gcmmqg

By the way, he writes insanely great songs.

But something tells me that even that skill level would be tough...and then you've got to record the drums well, in a room and place where you can do a gazillion takes without disturbing the peace.

The main thing that frustrates me about ezdrummer is that you can gt midi in the ballpark but the required finesse isn't there and tweaking midi notes in a timeline makes my head spin.

So, in the end I suggest doing very basic tweaks at key moments and then record extra percussion like shakers, tambourines, wood blocks etc etc to just help with feel. That's my plan anyway.
I started playing a real drum kit and found out it's really easy to find a groove for a song with a real drum set. I tried to do finger drumming and it's not the same at all. I just need to buy a kit now.
Old 5 days ago
  #8
Have you got much drumming experience? I'm probably going to buy a very simple kit when I'm back home. Kick, hihat, cymbal, snare and one tom. See if I can teach myself how to play simple beats and throw in simple fills. I don't like my chances. But, you can get simple kits pretty cheap second hand, so I'll probably try.
Old 4 days ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people View Post
Have you got much drumming experience? I'm probably going to buy a very simple kit when I'm back home. Kick, hihat, cymbal, snare and one tom. See if I can teach myself how to play simple beats and throw in simple fills. I don't like my chances. But, you can get simple kits pretty cheap second hand, so I'll probably try.
I can play a simple beat with simple fills and keep time pretty well. I can't do elaborate things like off-time or paradiddle rolls.

Thankfully I adore simple drummers like Ringo who are melodic.
Old 3 days ago
  #10
Lives for gear
Simple.

Buy a beginners drum method book but instead of playing the instrument - just programme the parts.

Then buy a more advanced book and apply the same method.

You will learn step by step how to be a great drummer .... in your head.
Old 3 days ago
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor View Post
Simple.

Buy a beginners drum method book but instead of playing the instrument - just programme the parts.

Then buy a more advanced book and apply the same method.

You will learn step by step how to be a great drummer .... in your head.
Dunno why I never thought about that.
Old 3 days ago
  #12
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s wave's Avatar
Some people who are not drummers do real well on the simple stuff by letting your hands go (like a boxer) don't think about it and keep getting more comfortable and more tired. All right brain.There is no substitute for real drum groove. (cept a good finger tapper on jeans).
Old 2 days ago
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Ringo, IMO, is the best example of underplaying effectively. For most pop music, that i hear, the rhythms are SO basic. Prob the worst mistake ppl make is overdoing the EZ drummer thing, tons of unnessescary fills/rhythm changes. As for paradiddles/off time; this guy sez it best! https://youtu.be/M_8iD5xS1hI
Old 2 days ago
  #14
Ezdrummer is guilty (in my opinion) of catering exactly to the over the top crowd. Ezdrummer lacks basic, simple, tasteful fills. Even in their ballad song sets the fills ramp up into absurd territory very quickly. Not in all cases...but the whole thing seems to lean to overplayed. That's probably what they think will impress people. And in a lot of cases it may do. I just wish ezdrummer would put out some kits/ midi that are underplayed and simple. Even some of the beats you find in the country or ballad sets are so bombastic you wonder how they can be of any use for that genre.

It's not a lost cause...but it does tend to lean toward extravagant.

By the way....LOLOLOL at the "13" video above.
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