This sparse beat provides the perfect rhythmic backdrop for a shimmering Rhodes and murky double bass accompaniment.
Beat Dissected is a regular series that deconstructs drum patterns, showing you how to recreate them in any DAW. Just copy the grids in your own software to recreate the loop.
Here’s the complete beat we’ll be making this week:
mostly organic / real drum sounds - although 808-style hits can work too
This deceptively simple beat – which provides a great stripped rhythm on which to build shimmering Rhodes and murky double bass lines – starts with a simple kick line with a couple of ghost hits hinting at what is to come. Depending on how busy the bassline is, you may want to experiment with kick drum samples with a long, ‘flappy’ release – either from a real kit or a boomy 808-style kick hit. (You can click the image for a larger version).
Still keeping the groove simple, a heavily reverbed rimshot follows, interplaying with the kick. Experiment with the reverb settings: if you’re using convolution try spring recreations; also try some of the more lo-fi reverb plug-ins that frequently come bundled with a DAW (like Logic’s otherwise rarely used Silver Verb).
A combination of two closed hat samples is used to make a rich sounding hi-hat pattern. Closed Hat 01 falls on straight 8ths, with velocity tweaks to make it less mechanical. Closed Hat 02 plays occasional 16ths in-between Closed hat 01, again using changes in velocity to add to the groove. An open hat sits on the downbeat at the end of each bar, neatly easing the beat forward. You can afford to go pretty lo-fi with these open hats: try sending some (or all) of the signal to an overdrive or tape saturation plug-in.
So far, so dull. Now for the magic, in the form of a low organic or mechanical drone that pulls all the beats elements together into a single unified whole. Another two subtle details inject additional interest. A single bass hit in the first bar replaces a kick while bar two is rounded off with a soft crunchy shaker that acts almost like a drum fill, pulling your ears from the hi-hat pattern. Compress liberally to taste.
If you enjoyed this tutorial you might find our book ‘The Secrets of Dance Music Production’ a helpful resource for similar tutorials.