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Thinking like a drummer - Intros

When it comes to using midi loops, a lot of users fret over song parts (intros, verse, bridge,chorus, etc.). They'll often say, “I'm not a drummer so I really need loops arranged in 'song format'.” Yes, it's nice to have loops arranged that way but what happens if you don't like some the loops? What if they don't fit your song? Answer: you have to find or create something that fits.

We do offer several Midi loop and Apple Loop packs with loops prearranged as intro, verse, chorus, bridge and outro. That said, no loop set is going to work 100% of the time. At some point, you'll need to “hear” a part and either find a close match or create it yourself.

In this article, I'm going to introduce a couple of common ideas you can use to spice up your intros. You'll learn to start “thinking like a drummer”.

1. Simplify the Groove

Idea #1: remove the snares and leave just the kick and hi-hat. A couple of tasteful hi-hat openings can add a really nice touch to a simple “4 on the floor” groove. This technique adds a lot of space to the groove. Sometimes, you don't need the hi-hat at all!

Idea #2: Use a single snare hit on beat “4” for an “open” feel. This is very similar to standard “half-time” grooves which usually have a single snare hit on beat “3”. Try substituting a floor tom for the snare drum.

2. Displace the Groove

The following ideas add some tension to your intro...a kind of unstable feeling that can be resolved by shifting to a “normal” back beat with snare hits on beats “2” and “4”.

Idea #1: Move the snare on beat “2” back an 8th note to the “and of 2” (the 2nd 8th note of beat 2).

Idea #2: Move the snare on beat “4” back an 8th note to the “and of 4” (the 2nd 8th note of beat 4).

Idea #3: Try adding a extra snare hit on beat “1” to idea #1 above. You'll then have snare hits on beats “1”, “2 and” and “4”. This is sometimes called a “clave” groove. This is a really good groove for fast and heavy tunes.

One of the advantages of using midi loops is that you can edit them and the ideas I've introduced here only require basic editing skills!

In conclusion, it's often the song writer, producer or singer making the decisions on which grooves to use in each section. If you're recording in your own project studio that someone is undoubtedly YOU. The truth is that you can use ANY groove for ANY section of your song.

Try these some of these ideas, experiment with your own and most important of all, learn to trust your ears!!

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