Sampled Beats, Programmed Beats, Real Drummer – Combined drum tracks

When you are writing a song, or producing your ideas and realising the sonic vision in your mind, you have many various plugins, VSTs, audio instruments and processing options at your disposal, even in the most modest of studios.

Sometimes when looking for the perfect drum track, a programmed or sampled sound can fit perfectly. Other times we want a real drummer to give it the real, human feel, and also tailor the exact part to work for our song.

This largely depends on the genre of music, your budget and facilities, and also your time limitations. You can most likely programme a drum beat in ten minutes whereas booking a studio session and recording it will delay you a couple of days.

But I have found that some producers come to me as someone who is used to sampling beats but doesn’t want to be limited by finding a beat that already exists. They want to chop up and rearrange drum grooves, just like they normally do, but they want the grooves and fills to be a bespoke recording to fit their track.

This is a great way to do things.

What I usually do is find the best drum kit recording set up for their particular track. I’ll experiment with drums, cymbals and microphones and then record some ideas. Sometimes I even do two recordings with two different kits to give options.

[pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]It’s great to use the old methods of sampling and programming and mix that with the human drummer feel with beats customised for your music.[/pullquote]

I might then play the song all the way through but vary the patterns quite a bit and throw in a large number of fills. This is done in a way which would sound pretty bad as a full take but it is done with the intention of the producer then cutting the bars of drumming up and rearranging how they want it.

By varying the beats a lot and doing many fills, I give them loads of options for variation within the track, so that they have loads to choose from and to edit afterwards. I’ll also include single hits at the end to give even greater scope for editing later.

A common use is to then rearrange the beats and maybe add a little programmed part along with the live drums such as an 808 sub kick drum.

This is a great modern way for people to use their technology and create beats in the standard sampling and programming methods, but to also benefit from the real feel of a human drummer as well as having the beats, fills and drum sounds customised and written to fit their music rather than trying to fit their music to a pre-existing drum beat.

If this sounds like something that will take your track to the next level, email me at to find out about this option.