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Random notes


The goal is to create believable 'real world' beats like an actual drummer sitting at an actual drum kit.

A Standard 5 piece kit

  • '5 piece' refer to the number of drums, cymbals are not counted
  • Drums
    • hi, mid and low toms
    • snare
    • bass
  • Cymbals
    • hi-hats
    • 2x crash
    • ride


  • Some drumming experience helps
  • A drum is not required to gain experience
  • If you can read sheet music rhythm, you can find some drum notation and hit and tap your feet the written beat
  • Listen to drum beats
  • Rhythm based video games could be a good starting point eg Guitar Hero series, Rock Band series, Frets on Fire, Performous

Physical Movements

  • Physically hit drums/post/pans/your lap/the coffee table with your hands/chop sticks/pencils

Mental Movements

  • A guitarist is best equipped at creating guitar parts, pianist are best equipped at creating piano parts, and drummers are best equipped to create drum parts. Even if you aren't any of these, common tools/limits/ideas/nuances/patterns can be utilized and exploited.
  • Imagine sitting at a drum kit - You have 4 limbs. Whiles it's possible to hit multiple foot pedals with one foot, or multiple drums at the same time with one stick, it's not a regular occurrence. So, at most you can only hit 4 elements of a kit at any one time, and the majority of the time the physical movement and limb used to strike that element will be the most comfortable.


  • Other than the beat itself, it helps to be aware of the energy/force/loudness of each hit
  • Keep in mind that most of us are either right or left handed, with one hand being more dominant that the other. Naturally, your more dominant hand will strike the drums with more force than the other.
  • On the right of the Hydrogen mixer window are the 'humanize' settings for velocity (force of hit), timing and swing. Increase them slightly so the knob is pointing to the middle or top of the 'o' to the left of it.


  • Use a kit with multi-velocity samples for each component of the kit
  • Example kits - Redrokkit, GCSW, and Big Mono

Mixing & Effects

  • Two common panning techniques are from the drummers point of view, or from the audience point of view.
    • Drummers view - hi-hat, 1x crash, hi-tom are left of center, snare, bass and mid-tom are center, 2nd crash, ride and low-low are right of center.
    • Audience view - left and right swapped.
  • Reverb
  • Compression
  • Levels relative to each kit element
  • Levels relative to other voices in a pieces of music
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