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Topic: Anybody use pads to play drum samples?

  1. #1

    Anybody use pads to play drum samples?

    I\'m a non-drummer, but I remember how much fun I had with my old Korg DDD1 and Roland something or other. I\'ve long since switched to sampled drums, and I usually use midi files or the old \"kick-snare-kick-snare\" index finger method on my 88 key controller.

    So, I\'m thinking about getting a pad controller. Can non drummers get a better feeling drum pattern with pads? I\'m sort of a wanna be drummer anyhow, and it just seems a more natural way to make grooves.

    Any comments?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Anybody use pads to play drum samples?

    If you\'ve got decent stick technique, you will certainly get a more characteristic part.

    I would consider myself a good, journeyman percussionist on a pop/jazz/latin-afro kind of gig. I can hold down a part, and play with enough balls to not embarrass myself. It\'s my second instrument. My first is trumpet/keyboard.

    I give that background, because I\'d say it took me about five years of being interested enough in becoming a servicable percussionist to work up the chops and make it happen--and I\'d invest the time again in a hearbeat because it improved everything about my trumpet and keyboard playing as well. And it certainly comes in handy when I\'m programming grooves.

    So yes, playing on pads can really force you to be characteristic. When you\'re just starting out, if you don\'t have any stick technique built up, I\'m not so sure that it will make your parts actually come out better. For hand drum parts, it will also depend on getting some technique.

    I\'d recommend getting a rudiment sheet, and practicing them with both sticks and hands. You can even concentrate on learning one at a time. One of the most useful to learn, because it starts balancing the ability of your hands is the paradiddle. It\'s easy:

    LRLL RLRR LRLL RLRR ad nauseum...

    Just play the above pattern on your leg, on the steering wheel, wherever. Drive your friends crazy with it. You want to stay as relaxed as possible, and play the pattern as perfectly evenly as possible, starting at whatever speed you can comfortably play it well, and pushing yourself to get more and more speed.

    There are many more rudiments--another 25 so-called \"standard\" ones. The drill is the same on all of them. The idea is to get these patterns imbedded in your physical memory, so that you can play any combination that comes your way. At one time, a leader of a drum corps might have thrown together a cadence based on stringing combinations of rudiments together. That\'s no so much a practical consideration these days. But, many of the best drumset players are extremely rudimental in approach, because again, it\'s just all about having good independence between hands, and having a set of patterns at your disposal that you can spread out between your hands and feet to create grooves.

    WAY more information than necessary. Sorry. I\'m too much coffee man today.

  3. #3

    Re: Anybody use pads to play drum samples?

    I\'m going say in a way it doesn\'t matter. You could step it in if ya had to. As long as you know what to put where. Drum technique is about accents in the right places, pushing and pulling and yes of those wonderful rudiments. But having played real drums, pads and piano keyboard playing it really doesn\'t. IMHO, make the parts sound andy better - ya just gotta listen to real drums parts to hear what really going on.

    One thing I will say tradition pads will help the 6 armed drummer syndrome as you will be forced to use two hands and two feet.

    My humble 3 cents-

  4. #4

    Re: Anybody use pads to play drum samples?

    In a former life I was a percussionist (former like 15 years ago). A couple years back I decided I\'d try some pads to see if it made my life any easier. I got real frustrated real quick. I\'m so use to using my fingers and having 88 samples at hand, it was hard to scale back. Plus as bruce said, you have to get your stick techniques down. I probably could have done it but I don\'t have the time right now to learn another instrument, and i have several drummer friends who say I can do better drums with 2 fingers then they can with 2 arms, 2 legs and their head! So in the end I don\'t think pads are essential. What\'s more imporatant is to listen to a lot of drum parts and try to learn how to THINK like a drummer, then you\'ll play like one. I actually had a drummer friend come in and help me program some parts for a couple weeks about 2 years ago. It helped me a ton to hear a drummer sit there and say \"I could never do that because I only have 2 arms, not 10 fingers\". I also learned a lot about how a drummer plays through a fill working with my friend. If you can find a good drummer to sit down with you it could help a lot.


  5. #5
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Anybody use pads to play drum samples?

    What I hear in 90% of \"non-drummer\" drum parts that give them away is too many fills. Real drummers don\'t play that many fills--they tend to just embellish the basic groove to \"heat it up\" going into a section.

    The place that pads make the most difference to me is in the ghosting of notes on the snare, within a backbeat groove. Drummers don\'t just whack the snare on the backbeat. There\'s an interplay happening on the sub-dynamic level that doesn\'t clutter up the groove. And it\'s usually that \"subgroove\" activity which comes to the foreground and informs what\'s being played in fills.

    I agree that one doesn\'t need pads to program drums, and I hope that came out clearly enough in what I said earlier. If you ARE a drummer already, then heck yeah, you\'ll be able to really play and you\'ll get more interesting parts to work with. The primary skill in programming drum parts with whatever method is thinking like a drummer--not thinking like you think a drummer thinks. That\'s why I think it\'s good to study it, one way or another. Comes in very handy.

  6. #6

    Re: Anybody use pads to play drum samples?

    Real drummers don\'t play that many fills
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Lousy ones sure do! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    I too am a reformed drummer/percussionist. While I\'m way out of practice, as a friend of mine who\'s not out of practice puts it: I can sound like Vinny Caliuta (and that\'s definitely the wrong spelling) for two bars.

    The truth is that for regular beat parts it doesn\'t really make much of a difference how I enter the parts. There\'s a limited number of variations of the basic \"bd on 1&3, sd on 2&4\" rock beat, and the sound today is for every hit to be as hard as possible. Harder, actually. You tap in BOOM BAP or BOOM BOOM BAP, go back and tap in some high hat parts, quantize everything to death, copy & paste, and then move on.

    But for floating parts that play along with the music, pads make all the difference in the world for me. I just can\'t do that from the keyboard.

    The problem has always been latency, as I\'ve posted before, so I use an Alesis DM5 for playing and then attempt to move everything over to samples. Native latency has really improved, however, so I\'ve been intending to try playing the samples directly for a while.

  7. #7

    Re: Anybody use pads to play drum samples?

    By the way, I think it\'s more than stick technique, it\'s a way of feeling the instrument when you\'re actually playing. Drummers develop certain patterns using all four appendages, and they become unconscious.

  8. #8

    Re: Anybody use pads to play drum samples?

    Thanks for all the comments. I was just thinking the \"fun factor\" of hitting pads might in some way translate to a better feel for patterns. I doubt if I\'ll master rudiments or stick technique at this point in my life. Back when I had my DDD-1, I actually got pretty good with index finger rolls...something I can\'t quite go on a keyboard.

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