In this blog post, we will cover how to create good drum patterns inside FL Studio!
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Simply clicking in drums and other percussion elements is a big learning task at first, as you have to learn how some music theory works, and where you can place your sounds for them to sound good!
So let’s get into these tips!
Tip 1: Velocity
Velocity helps us to create an organic feel to our digital sounds. It can also be used to create a different sound/feel, and also create very powerful rhythms from what would just sound basic if all volume were the same!
Since we make music on a computer, computers are able to replicate a sound perfectly over and over and over! But this is not human-like music, since if we were to record a drum hit 3 times in a row, we would get different velocities and timbres (how it sounds)!
But something to think about is in my generation (90’s baby), most of the music I’ve listened to was mostly computer music, so I’m used to how this music sounds, and quite frankly, I like it!
So you’ll hear people saying you can add that ‘human-like’ feel to your drums, and sure you can do that as a creative effect by adjusting velocity on your main drum, but I tend to keep my main drum consistent.
If I do adjust velocity on drums, I tend to do it on secondary drums which help fill in the background of the beat. (Or actually for a creative effect to the main drum.)
Apart from drums, velocity gets super interesting when you start messing with velocities on your hi-hat and percussion loops.
You’d be amazed at how different just a couple tweaks can do to a drum loop. It’s the difference between head bobbing and just another drum loop.
Point to take away? I recommend making your main drum consistent in volume, as well as mono in the low frequencies for best compatibility if it ever goes to a mono system. (You can do this with an EQ which allows M/S mode, and filter out the stereo content to around 100 Hz +/-) .
Then adjust velocities on your other elements for a unique sound!
Tip 2: Use Multiple Drum Samples
I use multiple drums very often, if not all the time!
You want to be careful of phase cancellation (FL Studio has a reverse polarity selector), but I really like the fullness and extra layer it provides to a hit.
Layering alone is a HUGE excitement factor to your arrangement and drum loop.
Here’s a quick example of using layering in an arrangement. In your verse, use a single snare, but come chorus time, take two extra snares and pan one far left and pan one far right. (So you’d have 3 snares, one left, one mid, one right.)
If you only play the extra snares come chorus time, you’ll hear huge excitement, as well as extra wideness out of your mix!
Besides ‘layering’ multiple drum samples, I really like to use an extra drum for filler hits, giving a bit of a softer hit and saving the hard hits for the main drum.
This will help to keep drum loops full and full of variety! 🙂
Tip 3: Reverse Sounds!
Reversing your sounds is huge, and often overlooked!
Have you ever tried programming a hi-hat loop which sounded okay.. then just thought to try and play them reversed? Try it!
The classic reverse clap build-up to a regular clap/snare is super effective when done right. Just keep in mind you will have to go in and manually nudge this reverse note in the piano roll to make it sit right though!
(You can hold SHIFT + scroll wheel for this, or hold ALT and click + hold to get rid of the snap to adjust it where it sounds right!)
Be creative with reversing! You can use any sound, even a kick drum to get a cool deep bass reverse sound!
Think of adding spice on food, not too much, not too little, you’re looking for the sweet spot 🙂
Tips Complete to Create Good Drum Patterns!
And there you have it. Those are three tips from my premium course to help you create better drum loops.
If you’d like to check out the course, you can do so by visiting Foundational Drum Loop Basics!