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Best way to create drum loops?

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  • Best way to create drum loops?

    Ok, sometimes I don't have a drummer and want to create drum loops. Although, nothing works like a real drummer and I could at least program my drum machine to play like a real drummer, this is too much work and allows no flexability with the song structure.

    So I'd prefer a drum loop. If I'm going to go with a drum loop, I don't want to loop an acoustic sounding drum, since its not convincing and its common to hear an electronic drum (ala hip-hop/rap) looping instead.

    What's the best way to go about doing this? My Boss DR-770 drum machine doesn't have enough electronic drum patches and you can't easily switch drum patches, say to create variety/contrast and dynamic shifts in the music.

    Is Ableton Live the best solution? I'd also love to find pre-made midi drum loops ready to go. I'd even be willing to buy mp3/wavs that could be looped. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    Greg,
    I have been in your boat before. Trying to create loops that work and are relevant to worship music can be a tough thing. Ableton Live is a great software to use for creating and using loops although its strong point is its ability to facilitate loops in a Live setting. It allows you flexibility and versatility that no other software can provide. When you combine Live with other VST plugins or rewire software to it (i.e. Reason etc...) you can have a powerful loop production environment.

    I have found it very useful to start with a simple beat and then add some filters and effects to accomplish the "washy" type sound that is common in most worship music. If your interested in downloading some loop samples to work with then I would encourage you to check out my website. http://www.loopsinworship.com

    We offer training and tools for worship leaders to create and use their own loops. I think you would be particularly interested in our "Elements". They are collections of short phrases that you can use as they are or as a piece of the puzzle when creating your own loops. You can download a sample "Download Pack" for free that will allow you to audition a few of our available Elements right away. I think you will be pleased with the ease of use when using them and I think they will encourage you to go further and use them to create your own sounds.

    Good luck with your adventures in the world of Worship Loops it can be a very exciting trip!

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    • #3
      Drum Loops... aye!

      http://www.smartloops.com/products/prodrumworks/

      I've been using drum loops for a long time. I started out with Drag-N-Drop Drummer (since bought out by Smart Loops, I believe).

      I use Sonar to record and create. Any program that can utilize "Acid-ized" loops will work. I like Sonar (the Home Studio version can be had for $99) because it has the capability to record/play audio and midi tracks. I've never played with Ableton Live, so I can't give any opinion of it.

      Most of these programs have a 'Loop Explorer' function, which allows you to browse your computer for drum loops, then double click the loop, and it is added to the track. You can then "grab" a "handle" on the edge of the clip and drag it along the timeline for as many measures as you want that loop to play. The loops work for different tempos, but are usually created for use within a certain tempo range. Using a loop created at 100bpm might sound nasty if played at 150bpm, for example. So most loops are labeled like: "Medium-Fast Straight-Rock", "Medium Straight-Rock", etc. Or, in the case of Drag-N-Drop Drummer, the loops were actually given tempo labels, like 80bpm, 85bpm, 90bpm, etc.

      I prefer the sound of real acoustic drums for most of the stuff I do, and Smart Loops have incredible collections of real drums, recorded in a studio with a real drummer playing the kit. A myriad of beats, with differing kick patterns, hat patterns, etc. Also, single drum elements played at differing velocities, one-shots, stereo mixes, etc. And their cymbal hits last as long as the cymbal's decay lasts (no sudden, abrupt stopping of the sound before the natural decay ends like with some 'cheaper' loops). Truly worth the money.

      If you prefer synth drum sounds, there's a free download called "Drumology" but I cannot remember where I downloaded it from. It could have been related to GigaStudio, but I'm not sure. This is a great collection of different Roland drum sounds (TR606, TR808, etc.) along with Linndrum loops and others. If you have a problem finding this, let me know and I'll burn you a copy and send it to you.

      In the area of the country where I'm at, musicians are hard to find, and good ones are even harder to find. We just lost our monster drummer (too young for committment), so I'm back to programming loops for our P&W. Our bass player has named my computer "Steve", and I like to say that Steve is well-behaved, never talks back, and plays with no tempo-drift. But he doesn't pray, or have a soul, and thus can't be saved and will never know Jesus.

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      • #4
        For midi drum loops, check Groove Monkee. He has thousands of drum loops in all different styles. they are not quantized, so they have a natural feel to them. You do need to pair it with a realistic sounding drum VST. The one I am using right now is the best I have used. It is the Metallica Black kit from EW ministry of Rock. Other than that, I have gotten good results using Reason.

        As far as Ableton Live goes, it is a great program, and it does offer a lot of flexibility, but it is a little hair-raising to use live. Those buttons are so small, and if you start the wrong loop at the beginning of the song (as I did live on stage this past Sunday), well...

        One thing that I have learned is that writing convincing drum tracks without a drummer is really difficult. Do you have an electronic drum kit? Have you thought about having a drummer come in and play the tracks for you, using the electronic kit as a set of midi triggers for whatever drum VST you end up using? Because in my experience the problem is not finding realistic-sounding drums, but rather finding realistic-sounding drumming.

        Originally posted by gregrjones View Post
        Ok, sometimes I don't have a drummer and want to create drum loops. Although, nothing works like a real drummer and I could at least program my drum machine to play like a real drummer, this is too much work and allows no flexability with the song structure.

        So I'd prefer a drum loop. If I'm going to go with a drum loop, I don't want to loop an acoustic sounding drum, since its not convincing and its common to hear an electronic drum (ala hip-hop/rap) looping instead.

        What's the best way to go about doing this? My Boss DR-770 drum machine doesn't have enough electronic drum patches and you can't easily switch drum patches, say to create variety/contrast and dynamic shifts in the music.

        Is Ableton Live the best solution? I'd also love to find pre-made midi drum loops ready to go. I'd even be willing to buy mp3/wavs that could be looped. Any suggestions?

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        • #5
          Sony/Sonic foundry has many awesome loop libraries that are just pure .wav files which would be a great additive to your setup...very believable and natural sounding..

          Comment


          • #6
            Kilroy, I'm not looking for realistic sounding drums. I've been there and done that and you're right, it requires a lot of work. I had to sequence the entire song from scratch.

            I want drums that deliberately sound like loops. This is acceptable in styles that use electronic sounding drums (hip hop, rap, dance, emo, etc.)

            For the person that said Ableton was difficult because the buttons were so small, I recommend using a midi pedal.

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            • #7
              Drum sounds

              All my drum loops, hits and samples come from:

              ORIGINAL-MUSIC | Drum Samples and Library Music

              Download their free samples from

              http://www.original-music.co.uk/free-resources.php
              Last edited by straker360; 05-28-2010, 01:35 PM. Reason: add link

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              • #8
                Try EZ Drummer or Addictive Drums, it comes with bunch of drum loops.

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                • #9
                  There are many places to download drum samples. My favourite drum samples come from:

                  ORIGINAL-MUSIC | Drum Samples and Library Music
                  Last edited by straker360; 05-28-2010, 01:37 PM. Reason: spelling mistake

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                  • #10
                    mymusicwriter.com is a source for MP3 loops and click tracks

                    An economical source for loops and click tracks in MP3 format is mymusicwriter.com *for $5 a track you can load them onto an MP3 player and send the left channel to the IEM (in-ear-monitor system) and right channel with loops to the FOH (front-of-house audio mixer). If you aren't familiar with the expensive software packages (Reason / Ableton Live), then this is a great way to get started.

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                    • #11
                      A great open-source program is Hydrogen. It comes in all three flavors (Win/Mac/Linux) and is easy to use.

                      It's mainly a pattern-based sequencer, but you can knock out loops with it in a flash.

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                      • #12
                        Try LucidSamples. This is a good source too: http://www.lucidsamples.com/38-drum-loops-packs.

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