I'm okay at programming drums for typical riffs, but struggle with "licks". Can anyone help?

Discussion in 'Drums & Percussion' started by BillMurray, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. BillMurray

    BillMurray SS.org Regular

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    Hi there,

    I'm spamming this forum a little bit. I'll stop after this last question. I've always had these problems and only now have I been able to put them into words.

    Anyway, my final irritating writing problem is that I (and I guess this is problem for a lot of people, especially non drummers like myself) can "easily" program drum parts for riffs, chuggy parts, breakdowns and chorus sections. It's quite easy to imagine what the drum beat is and then program it for those types of riffs.

    I struggle programming drums for licks, or solos, "noodle" parts. I'll give you a quick example of the type of guitar piece I'm talking about as it is difficult to describe in words. Take this little lick from the song Absolomb by Periphery that starts at 2:36:

    Is there anything that can help me when I need to write drum parts for those types of licks?

    Thanks for reading.
     
  2. InCasinoOut

    InCasinoOut syncopAZN

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    I would start by figuring out what notes in the riff you want to accent, and decide where you want snare and bass drum hits fall within those accents. Pick a cymbal you want to keep a quarter note pulse with, and then go back in and add crashes/splashes/china hits to further accentuate the notes you chose to accent on the snare and bass. Don't go to crazy on it just yet, keep in mind what would be possible with only 2 arms and 2 legs. Toms would be the last to add, usually inbetween those snare and bass hits, or even replacing some of them here and there. Once you have a pattern strung together with 8th notes, you can find areas to fit in 16th note snare/tom rolls and double bass.

    Really though, find songs you like that have those riffy sections you want to emulate and find a matching drum tab to read along and analyze what's going on with it. That'd go a long way faster than experimenting as a non-drummer. A good drummer isn't just trying to play fast random notes over those sections, they'd be listening to the guitar part and figuring out what's being accented, while maintaining a pulse that lets the riff flow into the next section without being so busy you get lost in the riff. Approach it the same way.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
  3. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    Think big picture, song not guitar part. Macro, not micro. And don't overthink yet.
    First, you just have to lay down a groove to your idea. Tap your hands and feet (snare and kick) and don't think of anything else. Once you have a basic groove idea down, then just build upon that core idea until you have the full drum part with all other elements of the kit going, then lastly fills for detail and variation.

    I personally also play drums, and I know it isn't easy when you're not a drummer, but I think that's the best way to think about drum parts (and also how I come up with my arrangements on actual drums). To get in a drummer's perspective, listen to a lot of music and try to air drum with it until you can visualize what's happening, and try to get a sense of the whole arrangement and how does it flow. Of course getting to play a little drums would help heaps.
     
  4. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    Honestly that bit at 2:36 doesn't feel like it needs a whole lot more than a strong backbeat snare, kick on the downbeat, a few little simple fills. When the rhythmic interest is in the guitar part, let that be the focus, if you see what I mean. If the drums just followed the guitar nothing would be interesting, keep the drums simple and the guitars weave in and out of the beat in an interesting way.

    In a solo section the drums shouldn't be doing anything to pull focus from the solo, but that's a different thing again from the example you posted.
     
    Rizzo likes this.
  5. BillMurray

    BillMurray SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for all your suggestions and advice. I'm sure it will help.
     
  6. Wamwal

    Wamwal SS.org Regular

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    The beauty of your approach bear in mind is that as the part evolves you can keep re-visiting and editing the drum part. Get the accents lined up etc. But as mentioned above don't delve into the detail until you need to
     
  7. zer0c00l

    zer0c00l SS.org Regular

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    When talking about a guy like Matt Halpern, you're talking about a guy that uses A LOT of rudiments and subdivisions, so the best way is to practice those.
    In "normal" metal I see drummers using almost always the same fills (RLRLKK or RLKKRLKK) and it gets boring so when you know a lot more rudiments and how to apply them in the changes it gets a lot easier and more intuitive to fit them.
    Hope this helps...
     

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