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using drum loops?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author using drum loops?
After a couple of years of incorporating drums in my music I gave up. That was nearly 40 years ago. I went beatless because basically all my drum tracks sounded crap.

I'm now wondering about using MIDI or audio drum loops.

Does anyone else here do this?

Do you use them as they are, or do you use them to start you off and then construct something of your own?
I'm terrible with drums as well. Always have a hard time coming up with a beat. I'm using a Digitakt loaded with Samples From Mars right now for making ambient/downtempo. For acoustic drums I use BFD3.

As much as I hate doing it, I now try to start my compositions off with the drums and try to build around that. Normally, I'd do all the synth parts and everything else and then try to force some drum beat in and make it fit. Now I at least try to have a very basic beat going in.
I do not, I have too much fun using drum machines! When I am using my DAW I will sometimes start with Logic Drummer and then alter the loop to taste but I’ve fallen away from doing that the last couple of years. When playing live I much prefer using drum machines or drum modules.
I think it largely depends on the type of music you are making. I’m not a drummer, so for tracks where I want acoustic drums, I’ll start off with a loop that’s close to what i want and tweak from there (jazz, rock, and metal oriented stuff). In electronic music (broadly speaking) the drum voices tend to be simpler meaning fewer voices making it a bit easier to program IMO. Even if your groove is a basic four on the floor techno inspired groove with hats on the off beat and snare/clap on 2&4, there are a lot of tricks to keep it interesting with creative panning and more space in the song to mix other elements. Also check out the book (you can find the pdf online) 260 Drum Machine Patterns by René-Pierre Bardet. Might give you some inspiration and patterns to try or mix together.
I’m big time into drum programming. I play drums and percussion. Have used macines like MPC’s for decades.... and I still enjoy drum loops*

*But not the canned “apple loops” type of drum loops. I enjoy sampled breaks and deconstructing and manipulating them (think: Drum & Bass production techniques).

REX files are the way to go with drum “loops” (or other similar protocols that allow you to slice and rearrange w/ midi notes). You can take any generic loop and make it interesting in seconds by messing with the midi file. Of course, the same can done just by chopping and splicing the audio, but something like REX files lets you add in midi sequencing tricks like randomization, etc.

In general though, I program everything from the ground up and don’t use loops of anykind (except ones I make myself).
thanks for the replies - I should have clarified (and I now have done in the OP) that I'm doing ambient, downtempo stuff and may add IDM to that.

So that's more electronic drums than acoustic. Maybe more minimal too.

Since posting I went through some loops I had from Computer Music / Future Music plus some in Groove Agent SE and some other things - found nothing that really appealed! I did try beat slicing and moving stuff around for the first time and that produced something of interest.

It looks as if I'll need to create my own stuff (which is my preference anyway). Hoping to get a Digitakt later this year.

Not really found any instruction stuff for ambient beats online - but maybe that's because it's such an open field.

Oh and I actually have the 200 Drum Machine patterns which looks as if it was more or less volume 1. Shockingly expensive on Amazon UK! Just got the 260 pdf.
chamomileshark wrote:

Do you use them as they are, or do you use them to start you off and then construct something of your own?

thats one way to do it. find a tollerable drum loop sample as a "place holder" for tempo, sidechain effects or to even hear how the sound works with drums with it. then once you feel satisfied with your production. get rid of the place holder drums and find your own samples or create your own samples. then build a drum loop that you want, with your flare and character. the main issue with this though is depending on the sample, adding soemting in later may not sound "right" due to feeling like the "place holder" drums started to mesh well. so there are trade offs.

ill make melodies and sometimes try to fit drums in and it just ruins the mood of the melody. so i just add a drone bass or something like that.
I love making my own beats but now and then I’ll import a funk drum loop in one of my projects just to enjoy the vibe for a while. Funk drummers are ace. we're not worthy
CF3 wrote:
I’m big time into drum programming. I play drums and percussion.

this is key. the only really good programming i've heard comes from people who can actually play the real thing ...
as for drumloops: the way i use drums is that i always have an idea about chords/melodies/sounds before i even think of drums. so i'll have to find a drumloop that fits ... which is very hard (try finding a drumloop in 9/8). much easier to program the thing ...
methinks the best way is to start with a drumloop and built the rest around that. but then you usually end up with clichees as most drumloops are in 4/4. and fairly simple at that ...
Layer drum loops with programmed beats, yo
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