How to Build Up Your Library of Drum Sounds
Many will agree that the foundation of great hip hop production is in the drums. Many will also agree that if your drums are great, then anything is gonna sound good on top of them.
The first step in production before creating your drum patterns, is building up a library of kicks, snares, hi-hats, and maybe some shakers, cymbals or other interesting hits. The great thing about drum hits is that each one has it’s own character and there are an infinite amount of ways you can gather that character. Here are a few ideas:
Chop Individual Drum Hits from an Old CD, Record or MP3 File.
Head down to the vinyl store, pick out a few gems, head back home and get to work chopping out the drum hits. The great thing about sampling vinyl is you’re gonna get that old school rawness to your sound. A feeling of authenticity! Alternatively, you can pick out drum hits from CDs or MP3 files – just go with whatever sounds good. (Use a wave editing program on your computer to cut out your required audio e.g: Adobe Audition, Steinberg WaveLab or GoldWave.
Download or Buy Sample Packs!
There are thousands of sample packs out there that can give you excellent drums. Take a browse and listen online to the preview clips or visit your local pro-audio shop and get to work, looking through their sample catalogue. Alternatively, you can find free drum samples, online..
Record Your Own Drum Kit Hits
The great thing about sampling is – you don’t need to be John Bonham to create great sounding drum loops. Simply recording each drum hit into your audio system, will later, give you the flexibility of sequencing your own drum pattern which will be as simple or complex as you desire. Perhaps you have a drummer friend or an old drum kit lying around. Record that!
Trade With Other Producers
Get on sites and begin talking with fellow beatmakers and producers. Send them some of your drum hits and ask them to return the favour! This is my personal favourite way of building up a strong collection.
I’m serious. Get a good quality microphone, plug it into your setup and begin letting out some percussive vocal sounds. You don’t need to be an expert beatboxer either remember, because you’re just recording one sound at a time. Learn how to vocalize drum hits on web sites. Record each drum sound separately into your favourite wave editor or D.A.W and save your new vocalized drum hits into your sound library!
I hope you found the information in this article useful. Remember – there are endless possibilities for gathering percussive sounds. Hitting a cardboard box really hard with a shoe and recording it, for example will give you a percussive sound with a character of it’s own! Be experimental and see what works best for you.