#1
I've recently set up some starter recording equipment and have started to write and record songs. They're pretty simple pop/rock songs and I record the guitar, bass and vocals through mics and ampsims.

What I'm missing is drums. I've never owned a kit, I don't play drums and frankly I know very little about them.

Like I said the music I'm working with right now is pretty basic so all I want to do is create some simple but satisfactory MIDI drumtracks. Where should I start? What are some good programs or VSTs for my DAW? How do I learn the basics of drumming without every touching actual drums?

Should I just go with prebuilt loops, in which case where is the go to place for those?

I've considered buying a midi drumkit and just learning but I don't really have room or the money, right now anyway. I would like to get started in the meantime.

The drums in this song is a good approximate of the style I'd like to imitiate:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRZ9FRsnYyQ

Thanks!
#2
I believe you can get a free copy of EZDrummer Lite over on the Toontrack website. Why don't you download that and watch a few videos on using it? That should be a great start for you, for zero money down.
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#3
^That deal will end at the end of this month and the sample set they have with it is too small to be of any use. In my opinion the best option is the Steven Slate Custom set which costs all of $40 for awesome samples.
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Quote by DisarmGoliath
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#4
Quote by ChemicalFire
^That deal will end at the end of this month and the sample set they have with it is too small to be of any use. In my opinion the best option is the Steven Slate Custom set which costs all of $40 for awesome samples.

There are definitely better options, but if OP doesn't have any cash, it's better than nothing.

+1 to Slate though if you have 40 bucks, it's the best deal out there!
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#5
Other option is to just find some free drum samples and load them into a sampler. It won't sound great, but it'll sound like drums. Kinda.
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Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#6
It's been my experience that learning how to drum is pretty invaluable too. I used to program drums for songs & my drummer buddies would carry on about how, "You can tell you're a guitar player trying to do drums." Even if you're not using a kit and are programming on a piano roll or something you still want to have a clear vision of how the beats and everything need to come together.

I found this site to be very helpful for getting some fundamental info on drumming http://www.freedrumlessons.com/drum-lessons/
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#7
Pro-Tip: Hamboning will help your drum tracks. [7]
Derpy Derp Derp Herp Derp
#8
If you're not spending a cent I'd download the Big Mono drum samples and set them up in a sampler. It'll take some time but it'll sound pretty damn good once you're done.
If you're willing to spend a little cash then follow Chem's advice and get SSD.
#9
Learning to play drums will definitely help. Just get some basic beats down, and when you can drum to a simple song all the way through that's a good place to be. Because then you can at least get a feel for where your hands and feet would be on the set so you don't program impossible stuff.

Also, consulting with a drummer helps. One of my friends is a great drummer and I ask him all the time if stuff sounds good. Over the past year I've learned a lot by watching him work and analyzing what he's programmed. Specifically HOW he approaches the drums. \

Start paying attention to the drums in your favorite songs. Listen to how the drummer varies their velocity on the hat and cymbals. Humans don't play perfectly, so a drum track with constant velocity and perfect timing sounds out of place (learn to use the humanize function in your DAW's midi editor). Pick out drum fills from your favorite song and modify them.

I wrote the drums for this song: https://soundcloud.com/rosemotif/the-minds-disease-new-single
It's not the greatest track, but it doesn't sound like a robot because of what I've mentioned above. Hope that helps!
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#10
+1 for EZdrummer ( tho i did upgrade to Superior drummer it does sound better )

the Midi library is HUGE I only own afew targeted to what i play But it's just a great way to work in song writing mode.

Steven Slate Can't touch the Midi library that you can get with toontrack Drums.

Sound wise It's a personal thing and Budget thing try the demos

I think Superior drummer with each drum output to DAW with EZmix effects on them is GOLD to me. Just SUPER SOUND !! ( without the need to have any real engineer mixing knowledge needed just listen to what you like.)
Last edited by T4D at Jun 1, 2013,
#11
^I'm probably going to start a flame war but a big MIDI library isn't a point worth arguing. Sure, they're great for quick demos but once you start crafting the full song, those beats are probably going to change.
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#12
Quote by lockwolf
^I'm probably going to start a flame war but a big MIDI library isn't a point worth arguing. Sure, they're great for quick demos but once you start crafting the full song, those beats are probably going to change.


Totally agree But you have a much better place to start and edit.

AND You can check out alot of different examples of different beat ideas from pro drummers,. for any guitarist who acknowledges Drummer do have talent,.. it's good to get insight from people who have been playing drums as long or longer then I've been playing guitar. for timing and feel for me I often find something working that i didn't think would,. after alittle edit I find happiness. ( jazz Beat on Metal, Starting with a Country shuffle or using funk fills or put on what normally fits BUT find something better quickly) But that's just me I don't have a record deal and I don't spend weeks on writing each song.

BUT If your Talent extends to being a excellent drummer as well as a good guitarist and songwriter disregard the above statement and write all you own beats your just after good drum samples Go for what sound good check the demo's and forget about Midi library's.

I hear Steven Slate drums are good I would NOT disagree in anyway, Steven Slate presets in Superior drummer are where I started to get my presets, that guy knows good drums for sure.
Last edited by T4D at Jun 1, 2013,
#13
I guess that's part of the reason people rec learning how to play drums in theory even if you can't in practise. I learnt some of the basics from a friend of mine who was then and is now to an even greater degree, an awesome drummer. So to me midi files weren't that much use. Especially since I used to consider it "cheating" which it isn't really, music is music after all.
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Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#14
Why would you do MIDI files? A decent place to start would be to at least learn how to set up virtual drums. Try this tutorial. Then, go from there. Learning how a drummer thinks is good too, btw.
#15
Clearly there are so much amazing talent here in the forums Guitarist, singers, bassist, song writers, mixers, Sound engineers, and after all that spending time learning Drums cause you don't need to practice any of those other things ??

if you don't do your own drums your cheating ..

cheating while expressing yourself ? Cheating in any art form is it possible ? ?
(sorry Dumbest thing I've heard and I've been a PAID artist for 20+ years)

let me guess ..
you write drums if your doing a cover version ? (or anyone doing a cover version is NOT an artist Or creative ? )
anyone using photo references in graphic's is Cheating ?
anyone using Film reference in animation is Cheating ?

Seem like You guys have no idea how the creative process works OR how a visual studio works maybe you should Google this stuff before you speak so much BS.

tutorials Really ??
Here's some more how to Play Guitar Singing Mixing Audio
just watch those and you be as good as any one who's been doing it for years

PLUS How much time do you guys have ? AND your going to do it as good as a dude that's been playing for years ?? (clearly you have not played with enough good drummers)

Totally true IF you have the option and writing your own drums is cool,. But to regard midi library as cheating ?? crazy stuff

and to push the point even more this isn't a Pro forum
so cheating at weekend hobby ? ?

Stay on your high horses and ride away dudes..
Last edited by T4D at Jun 2, 2013,
#17
Expand the spoiler to understand what's wrong with T4D's post.
Quote by T4D
you write drums if your doing a cover version ? (or anyone doing a cover version is NOT an artist Or creative ? )

It depends doesn't it? If it's a straight up identical cover then no, I'll probably use a MIDI of their drum part or get the original part recorded by a drummer for me. If it's a cover in my own style then yes, I'll come up with my own drums.

Quote by T4D
anyone using photo references in graphic's is Cheating ?
anyone using Film reference in animation is Cheating ?

These are not valid analogies. They have nothing to do with slapping a drum loop on a song. It is more like someone who takes a public domain image, puts it through Instagram, and calls it their own artistic piece.

Quote by T4D
Seem like You guys have no idea how the creative process works OR how a visual studio works maybe you should Google this stuff before you speak so much BS.

So a bunch of musicians many of whom write their own stuff, play in original bands, etc. don't understand how to be creative? Right
And what do a bunch of people who deal with the recording, mixing, and mastering of audio care about Visual Studios/Graphic Design? Is this a VS forum or a recording forum 'cause I thought it was recording?

Quote by T4D
tutorials Really ??

You got better suggestions than a learning resource? so far all I've seen in this thread from you is to try make someone elses work fit (using drum loops). Learning > forcing someone elses stuff to fit.

Quote by T4D
Here's some more how to Play Guitar Singing Mixing Audio
just watch those and you be as good as any one who's been doing it for years

And you wonder why everyone seems to hate you here?
And no-one said the tutorial will make TS as good as someone with years of experience, it's just a starting point.

Quote by T4D
PLUS How much time do you guys have ? AND your going to do it as good as a dude that's been playing for years ?? (clearly you have not played with enough good drummers)

Wut? No-one claimed to have it as good as a real drummer? Just suggested that learning how drummers play (theoretically) can make it sound closer.

Quote by T4D
Totally true IF you have the option and writing your own drums is cool,. But to regard midi library as cheating ?? crazy stuff

Everyone has the option, it's whether they take the time and effort to do it.

Quote by T4D
and to push the point even more this isn't a Pro forum
so cheating at weekend hobby ? ?

Cheating isn't exclusive to the professional world. Not to mention again that no-one is calling it cheating.

Quote by T4D
Stay on your high horses and ride away dudes..

Yes... We're the ones on high horses
Last edited by chatterbox272 at Jun 2, 2013,
#18
Music is just another art form

What is Art ?
&
the value of an art work ?

are different subjects

I'm sure there are many musicians out there using just samples have made alot more money $$$ and better music then most 5 piece bands.

What about different styles of music ?
IF a country Band used a Midi library ? what's your opinion there ? How many different ballad drum beats can there be ? writing your own drums when the same beats been used a hundred times but Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings, Garth Brooks ?) and fits perfectly ?

but it seems your POV is 5 piece bands have more value ? ( because they do not use Midi library or Samples )

Good Art & Music has nothing to do with how it was created,. it's all about WHAT is created.

trying to draw a line on value or the merit of an art form by how it was created, is pointless in 2013 it's like debating over if the world is flat.

it has been argued hundreds of years ago, maybe your should read a book.

sorry but "cheating" in regards to Art is just laughable, just ask any artists who makes a living from ANY artform.

Campbell's soup anyone ?

Last edited by T4D at Jun 2, 2013,
#19
Quote by T4D
Music is just another art form

What is Art ?
&
the value of an art work ?

are different subjects

I'm sure there are many musicians out there using just samples have made alot more money $$$ and better music then most 5 piece bands.

What about different styles of music ?
IF a country Band used a Midi library ? what's your opinion there ? How many different ballad drum beats can there be ? writing your own drums when the same beats been used a hundred times but Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings, Garth Brooks ?) and fits perfectly ?

but it seems your POV is 5 piece bands have more value ? ( because they do not use Midi library or Samples )

Good Art & Music has nothing to do with how it was created,. it's all about WHAT is created.

trying to draw a line on value or the merit of an art form by how it was created, is pointless in 2013 it's like debating over if the world is flat.

it has been argued hundreds of years ago, maybe your should read a book.

sorry but "cheating" in regards to Art is just laughable, just ask any artists who makes a living from ANY artform.

Campbell's soup anyone ?

I don't even know what you're on about with the art thing, no-one even said music wasn't art (and on a music forum they'd likely be shot for insinuating as such).
By using just samples I'm guessing you mean DJs and Electronic Music Producers? I don't consider them musicians as such, I think it's a different (equally difficult) skillset that in my opinion earns them their own category separate to musicians. That's my opinion, not up for debate.
I highly doubt there's a drum loop available for any type (inc. ballads) that have hits exactly where they should be to emphasize whatever else is going on in the band right through the whole song. It may do, but it won't compare to a drum part written to the song. If you think drummers play the same pattern over and over again throughout the whole song then maybe you're the one who needs to find some better drummers.
My point of view (on this topic) is that there's no such thing as a drum loop that fits a song perfectly. It may fit well enough, but if you got a real drummer in they would put hits in certain places, play with certain dynamics, etc that the loop won't have. Well programmed drums will have at least some of these.
I would appreciate it if you refrained from calling me (and others) uneducated.
Again with the cheating thing, READ THE DAMN THREAD! NO-ONE'S CLAIMED IT'S CHEATING
#20
Didn't intend to start a heated debate but I guess it can't hurt.

I got myself a copy of the Slate pack, and I'm looking at getting a cheap electronic kit to learn a bit. Figure it's worth the investment. Also talking to a drummer friend who's gonna help me get into all of this and give some insight.

Thanks guys!
#21
Quote by Ahteh
Didn't intend to start a heated debate but I guess it can't hurt.

I got myself a copy of the Slate pack, and I'm looking at getting a cheap electronic kit to learn a bit. Figure it's worth the investment. Also talking to a drummer friend who's gonna help me get into all of this and give some insight.

Thanks guys!

Don't worry, this happens from time to time. Do a search on T4D in this forum and you'll see what I mean. Basically he tends to be rude, and we tend to react and it devolves into useless back and forth namecalling.
That's a great way to go about it, if you get the kit then you're becoming a drummer, which will be even better than programming it on a piano roll.
#22
T4D if your babyish tirade about "cheating" was in response to my comment after yours. I'd like you read it again and notice how I said IT WASN'T CHEATING.
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Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#23
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Why would you do MIDI files?


All sorts of reasons. MIDI is the backbone of all sequencing, whether it be for generic backing music on e-cards, or for million-dollar productions from the likes of Timbaland, and it is even MIDI data that provides the central nervous system for audio sequencing. Where it all began is this:

- Back in the day, people used computers to program midi data where a simple instruction might be "at bar 16, beat 1, play the kick drum sample." At some point, somebody asked, "Why does the sample have to be short, like a kick drum? What if we had an instruction to the effect of "at bar 3, beat 2, play the guitar sample" - and that guitar sample happened to be three and a half minutes long? I believe that all audio sequencers (ProTools, Cubase, etc.) still work on this same basic principle, except the midi implementation of it has been pushed so far to the background that you don't even see it.

All of our virtual instrument programming relies on midi data. It is the instructions that tell the virtual instruments what to do.

Another neat midi application is for lighting. Instead of, "when the note middle C is received, play the kick drum sample at a velocity of 115 and make it last for 0.5 seconds", you can use the same midi data to do something like, "when switch #2 is pressed, send a signal to the green light with a brightness of 20%, but increasing in brightness to 100% over a period of 2 seconds, leave it on for three seconds, and then turn it off."

MIDI is VERY useful and VERY important. It's just that modern sequencing has become so user-friendly that we have been spoiled into not really appreciating it.

It's very much akin to asking "Why would you do HTML files?" There are so many great programs that make websites that most of us no longer appreciate HTML for what it is, and what its place continues to be in web development.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Jun 2, 2013,
#24
@Chris:
I understand all of that. But within the context that TS asked, it's just as easy for him to learn to create simple drum beats himself. In Reaper (and I suspect most other DAWs as well), you are actually creating a new MIDI file. You're just not importing it from an outside source. So, what I actually meant by asking that was, "Why would you import a MIDI file from an outside source?".
#25
If you can't write drum parts and don't want to/can't be bothered/don't have the time to learn how?
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Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#26
Quote by ChemicalFire
If you can't write drum parts and don't want to/can't be bothered/don't have the time to learn how?

Granted. But still...
#27
I guess from a learning standpoint, if you can see how a good one is built, it becomes easier to build your own.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#28
Quote by ChemicalFire
T4D if your babyish tirade about "cheating" was in response to my comment after yours. I'd like you read it again and notice how I said IT WASN'T CHEATING.


No is wasn't directed at you.

there's that guy that seems to not know what MIDI is or what it is used for.

and the other guy who said ,."It is more like someone who takes a public domain image, puts it through Instagram, and calls it their own artistic piece."

Dude just framing a image "right" is ART. (framing it wrong is art too really )
(the value $$ of the art is a different subject)

if the final product is Art there can't be questions on how it was created.

a free image with a filter is NOT Art. ? why ? many would disagree.
what if you Purchased the image and then added a filter ? is it different or the same ?
how many hours in Photoshop would you have to spend to Meet YOUR standards of what art is ?

the "Can of Campbells soup" was posted to show my point of view on Art.

the opinion that some are judging what's "NOT Art" or "NOT Creative enough" to be art, is what I replied to.

the opinion posted seem to be very close to the ignorance of calling photography NOT an art form, because anyone can take a photo so it's not art. anyone can record a sample anyone get download MIDI so that's not music ?

"Audio Art" Midi & Samples are relative to photography in the "visual Arts".

what you place around midi and what your doing to it, (editing and FX) is just like editing a photo.

looking down at Midi library's or Samples as a lower form of Music or art, is really just opposite to everything I have read, learn and experienced being a creative artist for many years. sorry but I just find the concept alien so had to post.

In no way am I saying writing your own Drums is a negative, I'm just clearly more open to using temporary, reference or library materials in my music.

and "Cheating isn't exclusive to the professional world" what does that really mean ?
Last edited by T4D at Jun 3, 2013,
#29
Further discussion with T4D, I highly recommend not reading it.
Quote by T4D
and the other guy who said ,."It is more like someone who takes a public domain image, puts it through Instagram, and calls it their own artistic piece."

Dude just framing a image "right" is ART. (framing it wrong is art too really )
(the value $$ of the art is a different subject)

I'm going to take a stab and guess this is directed at me
Here's a definition for you:
art,
Noun
1. The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture,...: "the art of the Renaissance"
2. Works produced by such skill and imagination.
Grabbing some random image, and applying a generic predesigned filter requires nothing more than the motor skills to select the image and filter, and no imagination. Therefor, not art by definition.

Quote by T4D
a free image with a filter is NOT Art. ? why ? many would disagree.
what if you Purchased the image and then added a filter ? is it different or the same ?
how many hours in Photoshop would you have to spend to Meet YOUR standards of what art is ?

No, purchasing an image requires the exact same things as above + money, therefor still not art by definition. It doesn't need to have spent any time in Photoshop (or any other program). It requires some level of skill and creativity.

Quote by T4D
the "Can of Campbells soup" was posted to show my point of view on Art.

and in all likelyhood that image was created with some skill and thought involved. Therefor I would agree that it is art (although in my opinion not very good art, but that's just a preference)

Quote by T4D
the opinion that some are judging what's "NOT Art" or "NOT Creative enough" to be art, is what I replied to.

No-one said it wasn't art? We simply said that learning to program drums properly is better? or are you just going to keep sidestepping that bit.

Quote by T4D
the opinion posted seem to be very close to the ignorance of calling photography NOT an art form, because anyone can take a photo so it's not art. anyone can record a sample anyone get download MIDI so that's not music ?
Anyone can take a photo, but not every photo is art. Again, no-one's saying it's not music we're just saying it's not the best way to create realistic music.

Quote by T4D
"Audio Art" Midi & Samples are relative to photography in the "visual Arts".
more similar to collage than photography. Taking time and effort to pick just the right ones and arrange them perfectly is art. But just sticking a bunch of photos to a page arbitrarily is not.

Quote by T4D
looking down at Midi library's or Samples as a lower form of Music or art, is really just opposite to everything I have read, learn and experienced being a creative artist for many years. sorry but I just find the concept alien so had to post.

No-one said that, we said loops aren't as realistic as properly programmed drums. And if it's the opposite as you say, then you think they are higher forms? that's ridiculous. As you keep saying music is music regardless of how it's created. The only thing I'm saying is if you just throw things together without much thought it's little more than noise.

Quote by T4D
In no way am I saying writing your own Drums is a negative, I'm just clearly more open to using temporary, reference or library materials in my music.
and where did we disagree that it'll do? we just said that writing them will produce more realistic sound.

Quote by T4D
and "Cheating isn't exclusive to the professional world" what does that really mean ?

Means exactly what is says. You said that this isn't a pro forum and you can't cheat at a weekend hobby. That's incorrect as anything with rules can be cheated on. Recording has no rules and therefor can't be cheated on but would you say that I can't cheat at golf because it's a weekend hobby?
#30
Quote by chatterbox272
Taking time and effort to pick just the right Midi files and arrange them perfectly is art. But just sticking a bunch of "midi files" to a "track" arbitrarily is not.


the underlined bits I put in there,.just to hear how it sounds.

Quote by chatterbox272

Grabbing some random image, and applying a generic predesigned filter requires nothing more than the motor skills to select the image and filter, and no imagination. Therefor, not art by definition.


so Andy Warhol Campbells soup can is NOT art is your opinion ? because he didn't design anything he just framed someones else work Untouched.
"trace projections onto canvas, tightly painting within the outlines to resemble the appearance of the original offset lithograph labels. Instead of the dripping paint in his previous ads and comics, here Warhol sought the precision of mechanical reproduction."



So a Song writer who writes his own Midi drum patterns has more value
then a song writer who uses and edits from a midi library. (no matter the end product)

YES or NO ?


If a song's drum track is made using a Real Drummer playing a Digital Drum kit it ( creating a LIVE midi file ) does that have more value then the above methods ?

YES or NO ?


Does a LIVE drummer on a LIVE kit recording LIVE audio does that have the MOST value ?

YES or NO ?


so a songs "Creative Value" is not about Good riffs, melody, Tune, song structure how it sounds or feels etc,.. it's all about how it was recorded and the content of the tracks and how they come into being ?

Man your hard core dude !! go hard man you keep on keeping it real.

but what if you listen to a great song and do not know how the tracks were made/or recorded ?

does a song have any value UNTIL you know where the content come from & how it was created ?

AND Golf is a great game if you score it like hockey ! 18 goals every game
as long as i finish my carton of beer I'm a winner in my world
Last edited by T4D at Jun 3, 2013,
#31
Quote by T4D
so Andy Warhol Campbell Soup can is NOT art is your opinion ? because he didn't design anything he just framed someones else work Untouched.

Did you totally miss what I already said about the soup can? This is one reason I have a hard time discussing with you, you seem to skip parts of the post and then start saying stuff like this when I've already agreed with you.

Quote by T4D
So a Song writer who writes his own Midi drum patterns has more value
then a song writer who uses and edits from a midi library. (no matter the end product)

YES or NO ?

No, and I never said or implied otherwise. I did however say that just putting a MIDI drum loop without editing will not provide as realistic a result as programming one.

Quote by T4D
If a song's drum track is made using a Real Drummer playing a Digital Drum kit it ( creating a LIVE midi file ) does that have more value then the above methods ?

YES or NO ?

No. It will however be more realistic (if that is relevant to the style then it may prove better which would typically result in more perceived value).

Quote by T4D
Does a LIVE drummer on a LIVE kit recording LIVE audio does that have the MOST value ?

YES or NO ?

No, see above.

Quote by T4D
so a songs "Creative Value" is not about Good riffs, melody, Tune, song structure how it sounds or feels etc,.. it's all about how it was recorded and the content of the tracks and how they come into being ?

That's the exact opposite of what I said. I said it requires skill and creativity. All the things you listed require lots of skill and creativity to produce.
#32
You can be a guitarist and write drums if you listen music with the intent to pick out and analyze the drums. Finding similarities between the drum patterns of different kinds of music will help you figure out what sounds good.