This classic rolling deep house beat uses a shaker, 909 tom and an afro percussion hit to create a driving groove.

Beat Dissected is a regular series in which we deconstruct drum patterns, showing you how to recreate them in any DAW. Just copy our grid in your own software to recreate the loop.



125 bpm




TR-909 samples

Step 1

Open with a standard four-to-the-floor kick pattern. Start with a kick sound with good mid-range definition and a bit of low-end bulk; in this example we’ve picked a 909-style kick run through some gentle tape saturation.

Drum and beat programming in Ableton

Step 2

Enter the hi-hat and shaker. The choice of sounds here is paramount: both must work sympathetically together, the shaker taking the traditional role of the closed hat (you may even want to send them to the same mute groups). Choose sounds that contain similar frequency content. In this example we’ve gone for a smoother feel to both – but a raspier choice might also work well. Note the lower velocity of hi-hat hit on the 10th division of the bar that introduces a subtle shuffle.

Drum and beat programming in Ableton

Step 3

A 909-style tom on the 3rd, 9th and 11th reinforces that shuffle and gives the groove a jacking feel. Take special care with the velocity envelopes: to keep this groove clean and defined the sounds have keen kept deliberately short, with no messy overlaps.

Drum and beat programming in Ableton

Step 4

Finally – if you want it – you can introduce an additional percussive element on the 2nd and 10th divisions. Tuning is important here: remember to tune it relatively against the 909 tom hit so that the two work in tandem, and alongside other track elements. And there it is: a rolling percussive pattern, in a rolling deep house style, in which analogue and natural percussion hits are combined.

Drum and beat programming in Ableton

If you enjoyed this tutorial you might find our book ‘The Secrets of Dance Music Production’ a helpful resource for similar tutorials.

28th June, 2012

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