5 Reasons Your Drums Sound Bad

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Drums are a critical part of your songs, so if you’re struggling to get them to sound good, here are some tips for you.

1. Using The Same Samples Throughout The Whole Song

When you use the same drum samples through the entire song, sometimes it can get boring. Try adding in some new sounds during the chorus or second section of your song, or changing out the drums completely for a section.

2. Not Automating Anything

Without automation, songs become very static and lifeless. By automating things like volume, pan, or especially velocity, you can really bring your drums to life!

3. Not Layering Samples

One sample by itself is usually good, but depending on if you’re using a popular sample pack or not, it might be the same sound used by lots of other producers. Layering samples lets you create your own unique sound and avoid sounding like everyone else. It also lets you get a custom drum sound that fits your song perfectly.

4. Boring Rhythms

Try adding some extra notes for your drums, and avoid the vanilla type beats. Lower the velocity on some of the off beat hits and you’ll get a really cool groove going in no time! This adds a whole layer of complexity which can turn your song into a whole new creation.

5. Patterns Stay The Same

If you build out loops and copy/paste them into your arrangement it can get real old, real fast. Adjust the patterns so they change over time, and definitely make new ones for each section of the song. Experiment with taking out some hits or even entire elements during or around transitions.

Conclusion

Drums can be a very tricky part of music production to get right, and if you screw it up, your song lacks real depth. If you can get it right though… you can really stand out from the masses and have an awesome song!

Action:

Beginner – Pick one of these elements and use it in your next song. Pay attention to how much of a difference it makes, and how you implemented it. On your next song after that, use the same element, but in a slightly different way, then add one more element. Continue until you are using all of these comfortably!

Advanced – Listen to your most recent song, or one you’re currently working on. See if/where you used any of these elements, and edit them if needed. Then on your next production make sure you’re using all 5 elements (and any others you can think of) to really make your drums stand out. See if you can find some other ways to improve your drums by listening to songs by your favorite artists and comment here or send them to me!

Question:  Why are drums so crucial to your song? How does it affect the music when drums are very static vs dynamic?