What's new

Making percussion loops "your own"?

Mike Fox

Senior Member
Alright guys, I'm facing a major dilemma here. I recently started an electronic/synth project (think Chvrches, Purity Ring, etc.), and while I'm good (at least i think) at laying down chords and coming up with melodies, I struggle, i mean STUGGLE with the percussion side of things. Don't get me wrong, i can easily lay down your basic patterns, but i am trying to go beyond just that. Also, I avoid loops like the plague (i know, i know it's a controversial topic) in the final product, but I do use them as a template, and will go back and replace it with other sounds. The problem is that this takes a while, and some loops are quite complex. Take Damage or Project Alpha/Bravo for example, I love these loops, but they are complex, and tedious to replicate (how the hell do they produce this stuff?) Damage has some really interesting stereo panning stuff going on that I would love to try and incorporate, but where do i even begin?

With that being said, are there any shortcuts to using loops as a template, but then going back and replacing it with your own sounds, and also adding/subtracting some things?

Btw, I'm a guitarist, not a drummer. Maybe that's why I suck at this, lol!
 

DSmolken

Senior Member
Replicating complex stuff is always gonna be complex. It's probably less work to make complex stuff from scratch. Now, making complex percussion loops for non-drummers... I'd go look in two places.

One's this old and very slow-paced series of tutorials on South African house music... part 1 just explains some FL Studio basics, so look at a few parts starting with 2 till he gets to the non-drum parts. It's all using one-shot samples, but principles are the same if you use samples with round robins and velocity layers, too. It's a way to organize several layers of percussion into something coherent.


The other is I'd open up my Latin fake book at look up some stock percussion patterns in there. I'm sure you can find those elsewhere, and non-Latin patterns will work, that's just where I know I have that kind of stuff notated. There you will have fewer instruments than in Afro house but playing busier parts and often using multiple articulations (especially on congas) but again it's a starting point for something busy but coherent.

Those aren't the best resources, but I've kind of gotten a feel for this stuff... it's kind of a balancing act between accenting the important beats with multiple things and having some action and movement going on between the accents. Enough syncopation and variation from bar to bar to be interesting but not so much that things just sound like a random mess. For the electronic indie pop sound you'll usually want less syncopation than Afro house or Latin music, of course.
 

poetd

Active Member
Future bass borrows a lot from trap including heavy use of triplets in the percussion.
Throw a couple of fast triplets in at the end of a 4 bar loop and you're 80% of the way there, heh.

But yeah, convert your loop to midi through hitpoint detection etc, then use that midi data to feed into a synth/beatbox/sampler of your choice.
Keeps the groove and lets you use your own sounds, or just process the loop with some tools to make it your own.
 

poetd

Active Member
Cubase example:
Load loop, double click, click Hitpoints, move threshold to taste, click Create Midi notes.
Nice thing about Cubase way is the midi is directly under the audio so you can see which are hits and which are grace notes so can quickly move the midi to match, plus it takes the velocity from the audio level.
 

poetd

Active Member
FLStudio example.
Load loop into Slicex (btw, if you've got some DAW that can't do all this, this plugin is the Mutts Danglies) click Slice button and done.
The dump to pianoroll button on right-click lets you pick multiple export options including "Flat" which exports it for use as a groove, but has other cool options too.
 

MichaelVakili

New Member
Studio One - detect transients
FL has Slicex that you can load stuff into and it will automatically detect the hitpoints
I even think that Superior Drummer had some sort of detection if you have it

But in the end you can do it manually - it will take some time but usually drum loops are not that complicated unless they have ghost notes
Also I think there was a way with Auto tune if I remember correctly
 
OP
Mike Fox

Mike Fox

Senior Member
Cubase example:
Load loop, double click, click Hitpoints, move threshold to taste, click Create Midi notes.
Nice thing about Cubase way is the midi is directly under the audio so you can see which are hits and which are grace notes so can quickly move the midi to match, plus it takes the velocity from the audio level.
I use Cubase, so I'm definitely going to try this. Thank you!!!
 

halfwalk

Active Member
I know it's not exactly what you were looking for, but something like HY-Slicer (free version available) could be fun for capturing the sonic elements of a loop you like and putting your own creative spin on it. That way, you're still using something that ends up uniquely yours without having to reinvent the wheel, so to speak.
 

givemenoughrope

Senior Member
What about getting a hardware or fm synth as well as playing percussion? The producer Stimming is really creative with making percussion loops and doesn’t sound like anyone else or even the same from track to track:
 

Dex

Member
Hey, don't worry about it. I'm a drummer and I can't make most of these electronic loops that people like either. Most of them are nonsensical patterns that no (single) drummer would ever play, smothered in automated fx.
 
Top Bottom