OK, a question I got recently was about creating drum tracks in Logic, in Logic Pro 10 and I’ll show you a couple of different ways. Probably the most common way is to add a drum loop.
So we go over to drum loops and we select all drums, we select a style and then we go down the list and find something that we like, we grab that loop, we drop it onto a track just there. Line that up and we have a listen to it. That doesn’t sound too bad that sounds quite OK.
What we can do then is continue the loop and in this case it’s looping every four bars so you can see how it’s looped, four bars, looped another four bars and typically what you would then do is go and find another section in the song. So I’ll just take this back because we’ve sort of got an introduction, then we’ve got a – we’ll call it a verse. So we’ll grab the verse from here, from this loop and add that and we’ll even go and grab a chorus because the next part is the chorus and that sort of is one way to create a loop drum track.
So you can hear the change from the verse. You can hear the change from the verse into the chorus but it sort of doesn’t really sound that realistic, I don’t think. So a different option is to not worry about the drum loops and to create a drummer track.
So we go new tracks, new drummer track and a drummer track creates this track down the bottom. Now you’ll see up here that I’ve left in a previous drummer track so it’s easy to line up the introduction, verse, chorus, bridge and the outro and that’s basically all this song is. So what we can do is we can be like a real drummer. If you can imagine a real drummer starts off there’s a pattern or something that they do as part of the introduction, it goes into the verse and they do a pattern. They move into the chorus and the pattern changes. They might change from the hi-hats to the ride or to something else and maybe change the kick or where the snare sits and then they do the same in the bridge because the bridge often has a different feel or a different sound, they could change dynamics. All of that is the sort of thing a real drummer would do, so we can duplicate what a real drummer does so we can actually grab a copy of this, this track and we’re going to imagine now we’ve got an introduction, we have a verse, we have a chorus, we have a bridge and then we have a short outro.
So we’ve got everything but at the moment you can even look at it, it all sort of should sound about the same. That’s a standard drummer playing everything really evenly and straight, so we’ve got to fix that. So for our introduction we’re going to assume the drummer’s going to play something a little more, I was going to say quieter, simpler and softer. So you can see how we’ve got simple, loud, complex and soft down in the bottom left. So we can drag this little dot down here to the bottom left and we’re gonna place it there and you’ll see already that things have changed. Now another thing we’ll do is we’ll pull the snare out so we can click on the snare and get rid of it and have a listen to the intro now and you’ll notice it automatically puts a fill in at the end of the bars as well. So that’s a good start.
Now for the verse we’re going to assume that the drums going to play louder or a little bit louder, increase the level of what they’re doing but we don’t want to make it too much more complicated so we’ll just move the dot from where it was before previously up to about here and have a little listen. So we’ll go from the introduction into the verse. Which is not bad. Now we’re going to head off to the chorus and the chorus so to change each one of these just select the section that you want to change of the drum track. So we’re now looking at the chorus and we’re going to make that more complex and louder than what we had before and we’ll jump over and do that, we’ll have a listen first. So that more complex bit sort of reversed that snare, kick part in there that sounds a little bit odd so we probably won’t keep that but what we will do while we’ve got the chorus selected is change from the hi-hats over to the ride cymbal and that’ll give us one change that’s typical of a drummer. Which is good and for the bridge we’re gonna head out to the bridge now and the bridge will probably drop that down, make it fairly complex but softer and we’ll take the snare out as well. Let’s have a listen.
OK and we’re going to finish off with the outro similar to what the intro is. So if we just click on the intro we can have a look and see OK we’ve got no snare, we’ve got hi-hats and we’ve got it about on that line there, so between simple and soft so the drummer is sort of going to finish off how the drummer started, like that. Get rid of the snare and if we have a listen and that’s pretty much how it can end off for this song.
It’s a bit of a dodgy ending there so we’re gonna fix that up so if we just zoom in a bit, we can drag this last one out just enough that a cymbal appears and if we have listen now to the last bar, it’s much much nicer. Alright, let’s zoom back in and see what we’ve got, zoom out actually. So we’ve got an intro, we’ve got a verse, we have a chorus and as you can see there we’ve started off quiet ,we’ve started to build it up as a drummer would do. We switched over to the ride, still got the snare in there but it still doesn’t feel like it’s part of this actual song. So what we’re gonna do is something really important. If we select the drum track so all of the parts to the drum track are selected we can go down to ‘follow’ and we can choose big stack and big stack is actually the amp setting that we’ve got for the bass guitar, and when I click on this if you keep an eye on the settings up here or on the instruments up here and where the kick and the snare are moving and I’ll just switch it now. You’ll see that everything’s sort of shifted along a bit and what it’s been doing is listening to or checking the bass guitar and working out where the snare and the bass, especially the kick drum, should sit in relation to what the bass is doing. So if we listen to it now and we’ll just go from where the bass comes in you can hear now how it’s the drums are starting to fit in a lot better, but it still doesn’t feel right.
So again we can select the track and it will select all of the parts for the drummer. We go to details and we can select feel and we’re just going to push it a little bit harder and we’re also going to add a bit more drum fill. So this means that the drum track will add more fills in between as well and a little bit more on the ghost notes because this piece sort of suits that. So let’s have a little listen now at what we’ve got.
You can hear now it’s starting to sound more like the sort of piece that we want it to sound like and that’s another way of adding a drum track. Probably the only extra thing I would do to start with is I would probably go to the first introduction section, instead of following the bass guitar because there is no bass there, we’ll follow the keyboard part instead and it will sound like this. Which is much much tighter based on what the keyboard’s doing. So it doesn’t quite have the energy yet of a full drummer but what we can do is, let’s just change drummers. So let’s get a drummer that’s actually got a bit more, it’ll sound a little better. Let’s go over to our drummers on the left and we can switch drummers. So let’s change drummer and we’ll leave it on ‘broken glasses’, the beat selection and you’ll see now that everything’s changed. So we’re going to drop it all back to roughly where it was. It’s tried to compensate for what it thinks this drummer is that’s different. So we’re gonna switch all these over and just check we still should have the… we’ve got the ride on the verse now, so let’s switch that back to hi-hats, the chorus we’ll switch to ride and we’ll just make sure we’re still following big stack which is the bass and here we’re following the keyboard for the start and we’ll turn the snare off and let’s have a listen to this drummer.
So already it’s a much better sounding drummer or beat for this particular song. So that’s just another way you can set up a drum track based on closer to what a real drummer will sound like.
Logix Pro X
Logix Pro X is my primary DAW. The reason is that I write music using the DAW. Writing music is so much easier in Logix Pro X than it is in Pro Tools. If I was recording only, I would use Pro Tools. But becuase I write music, I find Logic Pro X so much better to use.