Techniques to avoid repetitive drums

Author: sleepfreaks

Editing drum patterns to avoid sounding repetitive

Production recipes_Techniques to avoid repetitive drums

A common problem with drum sequencing is looping short patterns,
that ends up with the drums sounding repetitive after time.

We will discuss techniques to avoid repetitiveness,
using simple edits.

  • Not knowing how to add variation to drum patterns
  • Wanting to apply variation without changing the pattern too much

These techniques work great for these situations.

Techniques to avoid repetitive drums – Video

Adding subtle changes with ghost notes


We will first take a one bar pattern and duplicate it into 4 bars.


Using the back beat of a 16th note, we will add snare and hihat ghost notes into the sequence.
The key here is to vary the patterns slightly from bar to bar.

Set the velocity low to create more natural ghost notes.

Using the randomizer function


Combine all of the patterns, and apply randomization as a whole.
The key point is to randomize the pattern AFTER duplicating.

By doing so, we can allow for each bar to have slight differences within it.

Randomize/Humanize – Tutorial Video

How to randomize in your DAW

Randomizing uses a division by ticks.

Tick – Tutorial video