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Writing drums--getting away from high hat 1/8ths.

Discussion in 'Tab & Music Forum' started by suncrush, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. suncrush

    suncrush Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 25, 2014
    Drums are definitely the blackest of songwriting arts for me. I have a couple of groove books for reference, but 1/8th notes on the high hat are pretty ubiquitous.

    What are some suggestions for getting away from that sound?

  2. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Play real drums.

    davidKOS likes this.

  3. suncrush

    suncrush Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 25, 2014
    Ho ho! How clever you are!

  4. jeff h

    jeff h Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 13, 2017

    Just a thought, don't use the high hat?

    I don't play drums at all, but when I program them on the rare occasion, I start with a bass- Snare beat on the quarter note and build from there. Probably no help but I never said I knew anything about drums. That is why we have a drummer in the band. He deals with it. :cool:
    davidKOS likes this.

  5. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    It worked for me...

    (Seriously, playing even some half assed drums, which is what I do, would familiarize you with the other things you can do. Open and closed hats, skipping downbeats and playing hats on the off beats...etc.

    davidKOS likes this.

  6. Bygones

    Bygones Strat-Talker

    Jun 26, 2014
    When I play guitar sometimes I remove a few notes in a scale for some interesting tones. I do the same thing with drums. Trying to strip things down as basic as possible and only adds things if needed. Hope that's an idea that helps.

  7. Tone Guru

    Tone Guru Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 13, 2011
    Music City TN
    Cowbell !
    We need more cowbell !

    veehotel, 1980 and amagras like this.

  8. Tone Guru

    Tone Guru Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 13, 2011
    Music City TN
    Seriously, if you want 1/8 note percussion be inventive and use whatever.
    It seems that modern music in the past decade or so uses a lot of 'found sounds'.

    Put a heavy effect on the hat to change it into something new.
    Muted ride bell.

    Sampling makes for even more ability to morph a sampled hit into a rhythm track.
    Tambourine, handclaps, cowbell, maracas, bongos.

    The world is literally a rhythm machine waiting to be used as a backing track.

  9. wiryawan

    wiryawan Senior Stratmaster

    Are you referring to a drum programming using software? If so, I would suggest mess around with both the timing and velocity. "Humanize" both of them to about 3-6% to get a more authentic, human-being-like drum sound that isn't too bland or flat.

    Or insert a little bit off some "off" beats in between your 1/8 notes here and there with relatively low velocity to produce a little bit of tension as well as variation.
    davidKOS and fezz parka like this.

  10. amagras

    amagras Strat-O-Master

    Oct 26, 2016
    Get a midi controller with 25 keys
    veehotel likes this.

  11. fezz parka

    fezz parka Off.... Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2011
    davidKOS and 1980 like this.

  12. veehotel

    veehotel Strat-Talker

    Apr 21, 2016
    What could maybe help you.. is a couple of tutorials on your daw software. If you are using ableton, you can make loops. You can start one piece at the time and make the entire thing done in pieces. You should be fine with a bit of practice. Get yourself a midi Controller, a controller pad or a midi 25 keys is perfect !

  13. johnthomas

    johnthomas Strat-Talk Member

    Sep 13, 2016
    San Diego, California
    Have you tried any programs that create drums for you? I learned how to program drums by analyzing the output of Band In A Box. I have two sons who play real drums and they used to laugh at my efforts, but not anymore. The best improvement in a single step was going to Gigastudio and Kontakt as my playback engine using truly high quality drum samples...Using a high quality playback engine will make basic drum machine patterns sound "real"...Or at least real enough.
    davidKOS likes this.

  14. davidKOS

    davidKOS Musician, Composer, Teacher Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 28, 2012
    One other option...

    listen to Ringo's drum parts with the Beatles.

    He used some very creative parts that were NOT cookie-cutter beats, but rather something special for each song.

    Just a thought.
    alainvey and Artunes like this.

  15. Artunes

    Artunes Strat-Talker

    Mar 16, 2017
    Oshkosh B'Gosh
    Listen to what Brian Wilson arranged for the Beach Boys. Almost no high hat on that stuff. He had other things going on, other percussion, or even other instruments or even voices keeping the rhythm going.