Loops have gotten an unfortunate reputation as being a stand-in for real musicians or real musicianship – perhaps because, too often, they are. That’s why it’s always refreshing to see a discussion of how looping can incorporate musical technique. Like many electronic musicians, I have zero background in drumming; I’m a keyboardist and was trained in Classical Piano. But then, part of the gift of being a composer is getting inside the heads of musicians who play instruments you can’t. And when it comes to understanding rhythm, there’s a limitless supply of work to explore from around the world.

Ryan Gauss writes us to share a blog that’s all about rhythm and drumming. Blogging can be a distraction from music making, but in this case, he’s using it to help be even more disciplined in building technique:

Every day I record and post a new drum loop (with a link to the Logic session and .wav files). I organize the beats by category (rock hip hop, jazz etc) and try to change up the production style with every loop.

So far, there’s a terrific piece on “linear drumming” – a style in which you hit only one part of your kit at a time. (Now, this really inspires me in terms of some of the rhythmic sequencing ideas I’ve been thinking about – I’ll have to explore. Maybe I can build a linear pattern sequencer.) See notation at top.

Linear drumming for dummies. | ryangruss.com

There’s also a fantastic video from drummer Shawn Pelton, who to me really exemplifies the marriage of great drumming and sophisticated use of technology (Ableton Live, in this case).

Shawn Pelton’s studio | ryangruss.com

I’ll be reading this site, for sure. Thanks, Ryan.

http://ryangruss.com/ “Fresh Drum Loops Made Daily”
(question – are they best hot, as with Krispy Kreme?)

  • Man, that's a great find! Subscribed.

  • Musicianship? What's that? Seriously though, Ryan has a great site. He gets to practice his production and drumming techniques, we get to see how his creative process works…it's a win-win.

  • Free loops, heck yes! Also, this guy is quite the Drummer.

  • Jaime Munarriz


  • Wicked!

  • Ryan is doing a lovely job with this blog. Sharing both the info and the goods, thumbs up!

  • stk

    Nice find.
    Such a common question on forums (how do I make my drums sound more natural?). I always answer – learn how to play the drums.

    Doesn't need to be a big deal, nor require space, money and understanding/deaf neighbours – even fingertapping on yr rubber midified pad of choice will do – and the understanding of how a real human approaches drums is invaluable (even if you're not necessarily after "natural" sounding beats).

    It's also a great lesson in micro-arranging. The standard drumkit is actually a mini percussion orchestra containnig at least 5 unique instruments.

  • stk:
    Yeah, I agree. On the other hand, it's kind of interesting to me as a composer/music lover that there are people out there who *don't* know how to play the drums creating things that sound sort of like drums. So you have, as often with electronic music, a quasi-real musical world — an imaginary realm that isn't totally made up but might not be possible in the real world, either.

    That said, learning to play something helps. And aside from kit, there are many other forms of percussion…

  • Fantastic blog! Gonna have to throw this one on the blogroll when I get a chance.

  • Ray

    Uhm, actually as a guitar player i find drumming to be the most challenging part of crating a project, however looping is a good alternative for us non drummers to learn certain things about rhythms etc.
    I truly admire drummers and the rhythmic mystery they introduce to songs, in fact it can BREAK or MAKE a song.

    However im no a swiss army knife, and i do find loops a good kick start to learn rhythms though i rarely use ready made loops in my songs, some times i use one and edit it to suit my needs but i also take notice of the certain variables used in a beat to learn something from it, and apply it in my own variable way.

    Im not a drummer obviously so i wont judge, but i think drummers learns "melodic" theory to just like we learn rhythmic theory , and they/we both become better musicians that way.

    I think we have to let go of the individualism in music, a guitar player might be a guitar player but i don't mind learning other instruments that are equally hard to master in a theoretical way, and executing them in a mediocre way, instead of a crapy way.

    I find it exciting anyway, i remember 10 years ago everyones position in a band were more restricted anyway,and now you are one step closer to be a one man "army" anyway.

    I ultimately think this creates better musicians in the long run, despite what the "pop" trend might be now.

  • that's great!

  • I read that as "Drumming can be a distraction from music making." 😀

    Seriously though, I admire a good drummer. I'm more than half decent with hand percussion, but sit me in front of a kit and it's hopeless.

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  • The advances in drum software like Superior 2.0 and BFD now mean you can learn to play on a fairly cheap electronic kit at home and have it sound like the finest studio kit (with the benefit of midi-editing for when you suck!). We've never had it so good!