Create An Endless Supply Of Unique Drum Patterns

Create an endless supply of unique drum patternsI recently taught a Workshop At SAE Institute Los Angeles called 808s and Drum Breaks where I showed people some fun techniques for creating more unique drum patterns.

Below is the video I recorded from that workshop. Click the play button to watch the video and learn the techniques I shared.

In this video you’ll discover 3 surprisingly simple ways to produce an endless supply of unique drum patterns for your songs.

I used Ableton Live 9 and Native Instruments Maschine in this presentaton to share these concepts, however all of these concepts can be applied to any other DAW or drum machine.

Here are some of the highlights from the video:

The ability to make and share music is now as easy as downloading a free app on your phone. So what can you do in order to stand out from the sea of other music artists and producers?

One thing you can do is to make the drums, percussion and rhythmic sections of your songs and make them sound more unique. Here are a few ways you can create unique drum patterns from using existing drum patterns.

1. Sample, chop, or manipulate someone else’s drum pattern

Sampling drums from other people’s songs became really popular in Hip Hop music but has since been used in many other genres. You can take a drum break from a song, chop it into different sections and rearrange those sections to create a new drum pattern
An even easier approach is to move the start point within the loop of that drum break. You can find drum breaks primarily in old Funk and Soul Music however drum breaks exist in all kinds of genres. A great resource for some examples of drum breaks that I came across is They have posted a pretty comprehensive list of drum breaks from over 300 songs that you can actually listen to on their site.

2. Programming other people’s drums

Another trick I like to use when I’m trying to cook up some new drum ideas is to listen to real drummers and try and copy their drum patterns. I will also listen to songs by other producers who’s music I enjoy and listen to hear what interesting things they are doing with their sounds or patterns. Another really fun thing for me is to play a song that I enjoy listening to and try to play or create my own drum pattern while the song is playing. Once I turn off the song, I’m left with a new and unique drum patter that I can use for my own song!

3. Drum sound Replacement

This last one is HUGE for making your drum patterns sound more unique overall. You can take a pretty simple drum pattern and make it sound completely different by simply replacing the existing sounds with entirely different sounds. In the video I mentioned replacing your 808 sounds with Cat Meows…haha Not sure how that would sound but it would definitely be unique!

Replacing sounds can be as simple as creating a drum pattern using midi notes and a sampler, then simply replacing the sounds in the sampler with new ones. If you don’t have a sampler you can arrange a drum pattern using audio and then take audio samples of other sounds and put them in place of the audio you’re using for your drums. It’s a little more tedious and time consuming but it will give you some different results worth testing out.

The last idea I covered was altering the sounds in the existing drum pattern. You can simply take a snare sound and change that sound but use both the original sound and the altered sound by alternating them in the drum pattern. It makes the drum pattern sound like it is evolving over time.21 free drum loops

What interesting things are you doing with your drums to make them sound more unique? Drop a comment below to let me know. Also share this post if you got value and you think this would be useful for someone else too.

I promised to share some drum breaks to the people who attended the event but I’m making them available to you too just for visiting my website. Click on the image to the right so you can grab these drum breaks and start trying out some of the examples I showed in the video above!



J.R. Noble

Pro Audio Enthusiast And Digital Marketer

With A Pension For Busting-A-Move