Step 3: Refine Each Part


Metal Drum Programming


Lesson Info

Step 3: Refine Each Part

With that, get into the next step of this class, which is talking about refining each part and let me just backtrack little and kind of recap, so we're talking. We were talking about a few key concepts. One is active listening should always be active listening to is writing for who you actually play in a band with you don't want to write unrealistic parts, and three is to always make sure that you've defined the groove and the feel of each song that's super important before you keep going, and when you start song writing and you define the groove and the structure, do it at first in a really basic way, don't worry about getting super specific, you can do that later, and, uh, so we're going to talk about right now, so start with refining each part. So you've decided on your vibe blocked out the arrangement, the structure now we're onto the refinement, and the goal here is to take the basic five year established and step two and adding some detail from there, and to really make sure that...

each part is delivering the vibe you want because, you know, once you start adding stuff, shit might change, and, uh, you need to be open open to that possibility, so let's, talk about some things that you can actually do. Teo change the field and uh for we go into that let me, uh play you my examples again real quick and uh I'm going to just save this and then I save it it under a different name so I don't screw up the original in case in case things go haywire or whatever and uh hey a little pro tip for you guys is when you go to do this stuff save a different file name so that you do don't mess up what you've got because sometimes in your experimenting you khun screw things up and never get back to where you work so if you have things under a different file name you could just open the original file uh just protest just throwing that out there tell you keyboard commandos out there so these air the ones thie examples I wrote and we'll go through different things I could do to change them that would just change the field completely um you know, we start with the uh so what the fast one why not kind of a black metal kind of feel with the snares on the up beats and the double kicks going okay, I would play actually going to play the examples this is so I midtempo example and this was my slow one so let's talk about changing the field with symbols you guys know what we're specifically gonna be working on um you know, I kind of think that what you're symbols do typically you know, feel free tio find every example that's opposite of what I'm about to say but in my opinion the symbols typically are what give the metro gnome uh you know that give you the overall tempo of what's going on and not just that they help outline the riffs and sometimes the kicks do that too, but I think that one of the coolest things you can do with symbols is help outlined the riffs and that is why when you listen to a band like the black dahlia murder when they're playing blast beats the way that they outlined riffs on the symbols are what basically dictate the difference between their blast beats and say it necro fay just blast bees where the same type of blasts same types of speeds but it's all in the accents the accents that come from the symbols are how you know how they're outlining the beets is where you will see the difference so um let's just go through a few examples so we've got to get the rhythm and quarter notes or eighth notes or sixteenth out some of the symbols you're going drastically changed the field of the part and the best thing to do is just experiment so let's go with my slow example I find that many wait okay so so you can see I've got the hats lit up and they're you know they're holding down what they're holding down but what if they were only going half assed much like say what if they were just on the strong beats so I'm gonna mute and mute all the hats that are on the uh up beats a lot now that's not exactly the high hat that I would keep don if I was going to have that kind of pattern going but one simple little move right there to mute every other high hat and suddenly things feel a lot more lumbering and slow then I think they did before and that's exactly what I meant by how the symbols air providing more of your metro gnome than anything else by having the amount of symbols I have in my opinion to perceived almost the perceived tempo of the whole part. So listen to it with symbols they were before or drastically different from this one little change and uh you know, it works it works in the other direction as well. If you start adding hits, you will change the vibe completely let's, check out the same idea on my mid pace example and, you know, any time anyone his questions about what I'm doing feel free to interrupt because I don't want this to be a monologue, so so I think that for that one it would be good toe isolate the symbols for a second for you because it might be a lot to here to try to hear it once so again keeping the metre known you wanna bob your head a certain way even without the snare or the optics there just so you know the riff and having the symbol accents go the way they are they dictate where you want above your head and uh let's try changing that up a bit see what happens I don't know what's gonna happen because they don't try to get I'm gonna start by trying to eliminate the ride beats that's a little more subtle, but it certainly doesn't feel nearly as hectic try cutting the uh the crash in half see what happens so basically the rides are now muted they're not it's not going crash ride crash ride crash ride crash right now it's just gonna be crash crash crash because what I had in my opinion and try not to think that this ally, that guy that it was way cooler before that vibe just does not work for this because you can see it sounds completely different gonna try to add an accent on the rides again doesn't work and the only thing I could really do so far to this is what I originally did was take out the rides it gives it a much cleaner feel, but it doesn't sound does on nearly is hecate as opposed to now I think that within this symbol pattern there is a tension release working by having a strong hit like hit strong hit like it strong it like that light hit is leading you've right back to the strong hit which is telling you where to nod your head if you noticed when I remove the ride completely you don't get quite the same head bob action going um the ride hits which are softer than the crash hits are leading you into the crash it's on the strong be try to hear that again play just the cymbals by themselves now I'm gonna play without the rides again and notice that it doesn't pull you in any more like like it did with the rides it's telling you where the beat is one two three, four but it's not pulling you into the beat and so you know one one tiny little thing like that taking out some rides and it feels completely different to me uh whatever the fast one in the second killer that's more of a black metal penha sounding example I'm going to just play the drums without the guitars and again uh how many times something goes and the symbols will dictate the entire field so I say that we do the same thing we've been doing just take out half of the symbol half of the hats and see where that leaves us and if anybody is wondering why I haven't gone the opposite direction and started adding it's, because I don't think I know that many people who could actually play this stuff with way more with way more subdivisions thrown in there. I think that with these beats is best to back off of them. If they were less busy in the way they were written, though, I would consider adding more in what's going to happen is going to go one time with half the amount of hats, and one time with the original amount feels way more complete to me. So that's, just some simple stuff on how you can drastically change the way apart feels by just messing with the amount of symbols that you have in the subdivision. Record notes it notes or sixteenth notes, all right, start about changing the field with the kick patterns, and I think that my mid example is the perfect one for that, because I feel like these kicks are a big part of what makes it cool or not cool, depending on how you feel about it. Um, one second, play this again. All right, this is the rift, as you can see it's not actually, uh you're not it's not doing what you normally would expect of following the kicks exactly the kicks air kind of doing their own thing, so check it out. Now let's uh but less kicks in there see we'll see what happens I I really do think that this kick pattern is why this peace bounces but that's the pattern I'm gonna go for within once without notice listen to it with the music doesn't sound nearly as explosive without the kicks it's just different having that kick pattern and their makes all the prince in the world if you just go to a lower seven division the whole explosive nature of the drumbeat is basically gone I'm gonna put that back I think this one will be really obvious let's uh I'm goingto add this time and I'm going to go in the opposite direction of what we've been doing and I'm going to add kicks to the slow example well, right now it's kind of I kind of do me ish uh what I'm going to do is really simple I'm going to just delete that I'm going to grab some double bass from a different section in the song I mean in my file and that way I can just grab it easily and get this out of here listen not exactly the same thing anymore now it sounds more like a like it would be a slayer in true I mean the rift would change little if it was done by slayer but adding that double bass now sounds like the intro to an album by late thrash band now all I did was that double bass I mean increase the subdivision of the kicks and it feels completely different and uh you notice and into anything comp located on dh that's not the point the point is just minor little changes to your drum beats by adding or taking away hits will result in a completely different part and whether or not it means that it's going to be for a completely different song or just that you have multiple variations of your parts that's a very good thing to do and experiment with and see where you go so I'm gonna want do until I'm back to my original see the difference I'm sure you guys can on duh we'll talk about changing the field of snare patterns real quick and this is just the same idea I'm just showing it to you on different drums just so you can can I get the idea better locked in your head um this is the fast speed with the snare drums on the upbeat we take that and put them on the down beats put the stairs on the downbeat to see what happens that was weird check that just disappeared where is the point where disappears right there all right well disappearing many note they're seen that before feels like a completely different part and it's nowhere near is cool it feels going to shitty to me now but here is that just the drums as you can see, just moving the snare over a little bit changed everything, and I don't think that's the right drumbeat for this riff anymore. I think that what I had was perfect for it, and I decided that I wanted to feel to be more like old school, black metal and that's what I went with, I didn't want it to sound like thrash, so I didn't put the snares on the down beats as soon as I put the stairs on the downbeat, it sounds like thrashing it's almost inappropriate for the rift that I have, so going back to defining the vibe and the feel of everything, these tiny changes you make to the beats make all the difference in the world. I'm going to undo that now because I hated all right, so changing kind of the bible, I feel it's a little bit off topic, so feel free to say later, walk says a lot doesn't seem to focus a lot on the kick drum bass relation I was feel like that gives a song a very distinct groove, with different accents and such what's your take on that kick drum bass relation is super important, we just haven't I don't think that this is a class that's going to focus on full song arrangement and that's more of a full song arrangement kind of thing but the kick drum based relationship that I think he's referring to is actually something that he should be thinking. It was a kick drum guitar relationship for medal, the role that kick drum and bass have in rock and basically every other style of music in the world actually got replaced in metal and now it's guitars and bass drum the way that they worked together so much the same way that in aa country and pop, whatever rock that the bass drum and the base are supposed to be playing together now in medal of the time, the riffs go together. So it's not so much that I don't think that that's an accurate thing and it's really, really cool if you can figure out a way to work it in, I just think that in the genre of metal, that idea has been transposed over to guitar and kick drum. Um, however there's, nothing cooler than when you find the right spot in a song to have the bass drum and the bass guitar lock in. And yeah, I agree, it's it's definitely a really cool thing to do, but I'm not sure that that's what I'm totally focused, make sure just let's let's keep questions focused on drums and particular instead of the full group yeah, especially because, uh, that's such another can of worms full song arrangements. It's such another can of worms. I don't think we have enough time to go into that completely.

Class Description

Wanna learn how to program metal drums the RIGHT way? In this half-day class, you'll learn exactly how to do it from producer Eyal Levi of Audiohammer Studios (Whitechapel, August Burns Red, JFAC).

Eyal will show you how to program fast, slow, and mid-tempo beats (and yes, that includes every kind of blast beat under the sun), fills, accents, and more. You’ll also learn the art of varying velocities and timing so your programmed parts sound realistic and natural. Plus, you'll hear from Eyal's special guest Andy Marsh (Thy Art is Murder).

If you want to sharpen your drum programming skills, this class is for you.


Michael Nolasco

First off, great class. I have wanted to learn and know how to make my programmed drums feel like what a real drummer would do, which is basically the approach Eyal takes with programmed drums. Feel free to take this down if it's not okay, but I found this site to help with learning drum rudiments:


Eyal!! Thanks for the insight on drum programming, truly enjoyed the course and definitely got something out of it. Highly recommend