Rhythm and groove is the heartbeat of so much electronic music. To pay our respects, we’ve collected all of our favourite drum tips, tricks, and tutorials from our trainers and visiting musicians and put them all here in one easy to browse location. If you’ve missed any of these in the past, check them out, there are bound to be a few nuggets in here that could help your workflow or how you treat the rhythmic backbone of your tracks.
Kilter’s guide to kick drums
Ned East aka. Kilter runs us through one of his sound design techniques for making a solid kick. In this method, he layers sampled percussion and synthesised sounds for kick tones suited to hip-hop influenced production.
Using Max for Live LFOs to humanise drums
Spice up those MIDI patterns with this trick from trainer Josh Panakera-Molony. Here’s a technique to create exciting variations in your drum parts, and bring a natural sounding push and pull to your groove.
Fine-tuning your drum timing
Track delays are easy way to nudge your drum parts forward and backwards in time to sit well with your arrangement. Here’s a quick one from Shawn Naderi which shows how this can be especially useful to gain total control over the staggered starting point of 808-style clap samples.
Sample a kick from any track
If you’re into drum sampling, this has probably happened to you. You hear some amazing drums in a track and want to sample the kick for your own production. When you drag the file into Live, it’s impossible to isolate a clean kick from the rest of the music.
Don’t give up there – this video from George Nicholas shows us a way to sample kicks from tracks, even from points where there are other instruments playing.
Making a kick drum from silence
In this tutorial, Thom runs us through a great technique for designing your own kick drum sounds by exploiting Live’s analog filter modelling. This one requires Live 9.5 or above for the new filter modes.
An editing toolkit for drum loops
Live offers so many techniques for mangling your sample directory. In this blog article, Liveschool trainer Adam Maggs runs us through some of his methods of turning drums into musical ideas, using resonators, multiband dynamics, and some snappy warping tricks.
Drum production for bass music
George Nicholas is no stranger to the subs. In this capture from our Input event, he takes us through some of the production and drum processing techniques behind the Cliques track, Chro.
Tuning drums in Ableton Live
It doesn’t matter if it’s a kick, snare, tom, conga, or some sort of otherwordly percussive synth effect; if a drum has a tone, tuning can help it lock in with the rest of your arrangmenent. Here’s Yama Indra’s tutorials for tuning any drums.
- To find out which drums to tune, what notes to tune them to, and then four different methods to easily tune drums within Ableton Live, watch this video tutorial.
- If you use Live 9.2 or above, here’s a technique using Ableton Live’s Tuner device.
Free Liveschool drum sample packs
Over the past few years, we’ve had the opportunity to sample some pretty rare and amazing drum machines and effects. The best part is we’ve compiled them all into Ableton Live racks, and they’re all available on our website for you to download and use in your production. Click here to check them out.
More Tips + Tricks tutorials
If you want to check out more tutorials like this, we have covered a range of techniques over the last few months to help your creative flow. Just recently Jonti gave us a peek at the layering techniques behind his track Scrood ft. Steve Lacy, and Swindail introduced us to his Traktor & Ableton setup.
If you want to step up your production, check out our comprehensive Produce Music course. Upcoming course intakes are found here.