Home recording: what do you do for drums?

wheat's picture

Gordon (username: gd) brought this up in another thread, and I thought it would make a good discussion topic. Most people here are bass guitarists, but most of us play (at some level) on other instruments as well. And, doing the home recording thing, this often comes in handy. Sometimes it's the motivation for learning the other instruments in the first place--being able to do it all yourself, avoiding the logistics of enlisting the help of other, actual, human beings.

Drums are an issue for most. Even if you can play a beat on a kit, recording one (unless you want to go really lofi) requires mics, maybe a submixer, a room that doesn't sound too terrible, the ability to make a lot of noise, etc. Most of us rely on drum machines of various sorts for that, I would suspect. But then there's the danger of the beats sounding too canned--too perfect, too machine-like, etc.

So, the question is, what do you do? What have you thought of doing?

Here's what I've been doing:
I've been using a "lite" version Toontrack EasyDrummer that came free with my Korg nanoPAD. And I think it's a good solution, especially when I play my own beats, rather than using the pre-programmed ones included with it. The included beats (tons of them, if I were to upgrade to the full version) are good and are editable. So maybe I should identify a subset of them that I really like and modify them to my liking.

Another possibility would be to ditch electronic drums and just record myself (to a click) on various hand percussion instruments. I have all the basics (shakers, cabassa, etc.).

Still another possibility would be to use, say, a dead stroke on the guitar as a high-hat, more or less. I like the idea of keeping it organic, and keeping it on guitar or bass is also nice.

So, here's the expanded version of the question: What do you guys do? And what have you thought of doing but not tried yet? And what have you tried that didn't work out?

I really miss playing with a

I really miss playing with a real drummer. Since I've been lured into the world of DAW/home recording I've experimented with a few drum apps. Initially I was resigned to no drums or, as Wheat said, basic percussion stuff like tapping on the strings/mic etc.
Then I tried Leaf Drums & Acoustica Beatcraft. Both are programmable drum apps & both work, albeit it takes a great deal of patience and aquired skill to get some decent tracks. Still...not too bad.
Drums on Demand & Hotstepper offer some good drum loops but I have a bit of a problem with loops. Not the easiest thing to use unless you have a sequencer like Reason.
MDrummer is my current go to drummer-in-a-box. Their 'small' version is freeware. It is somewhat limited, a little difficult to get a handle on at first as far as how to setup & save generated files...but once you get to making it work it sounds great and is failry flexible. And it's free, which is a huge plus. Makes you want to grab the full version but...$$$. Once a track gets generated & saved as a wav file it becomes a case of cut/paste to fine tune the track/mix. But then, that's a lot like working with loops... Works for me right now.

Regards,

g

Hazz's picture

I'll do this backwards

I'll do this backwards ...
"And what have you tried that didn't work out?"

Nothing yet.

"And what have you thought of doing but not tried yet?"

I am getting very close to tossing some coin down for a small 6 piece double kick kit.
Also, I know Ableton comes with their "Drum Machines" but I have not tried them yet. Have you Wheat? One of these days I'll give 'em a try.

"What do you guys do?"
I have a bunch of loop cd's that I play around with from time to time. I also use Cakewalk "Kinetic" to build custom lines and tones. Mostly though, I know a few drummers that have recorded their own loops of which I will use OR I will send one of them a track and they will usually record something for me although it depends on their free time so it may take a while.

Lastly, if I need to I can walk down the street with a mic or two and have a friend who lives there play while I record but that does not have the best of sound since it is in his garage.

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Musicians Collaboration Studio

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"Carburetors man!! That's what life is all about."
Musicians Collaboration Studio

Paul Warren's picture

I use Band in a Box

So, the question is, what do you do?

Band in a Box has dozens of great RealDrums. These are recordings of real drummers in different styles that are cut up, time shifted and stitched into a drum track matching the bars you have specified in the layout. They sound real because they are.

If I want to jam I just create a drum track in the desired style over a chord sheet and mute all the other instruments.

If I want to create a song I sketch it out in BiaB and then export the tracks to a sequencer where I can edit any way I want.

Another possibility would be to ditch electronic drums and just record myself (to a click) on various hand percussion instruments. I have all the basics (shakers, cabassa, etc.).

I can add percussion directly to the song via the sequencer. this is great if I just want to spice up a piece. However, BiaB has a really cool feature that allows me to create percussion files the same way the RealDrums are done. This way I can add percussion automatically if I want.

All in all BiaB is perhaps the best accompaniment software available.

BoH's picture

Just using a Boss drum

Just using a Boss drum machine; a DR300 or something like that. Boss makes it and I think it's called a Dr. Rhythm. I haven't done any recording in a couple of months so I'm unsure.

One of these days I'll invest in a $300 electronic kit to have something to beat besides...oh, you know....

Bo


You don't love me, you just love my FINGERSTYLE!
Peavey T40; SX/Squier P-bass; Spector Legend 5
Roland Bass 30 Cube

Bo


You don't love me, you just love my FINGERSTYLE!
Peavey T40; SX/Squier P-bass; Spector Legend 5
Roland Bass 30 Cube