Zone Recording: Real Drums Or Loops/MIDI Drums

Hello readers. Welcome to yet another Zone Recording. This month I am going to discuss the question: Real or Fake! I know sometimes it is hard to tell with today's technology.

There are so many drum loop disks, drum machines, samplers, triggers, programs, etc. to make a drum sound like it should.

The first thing you have to think of is the production for the song or album.
If you are doing electronic music, you might want the old 808 sounds and not the big acoustic rock kit. This is very important. The same if you were doing a traditional jazz record and using drum and bass beats. Hey wait a minute!@! Isn't that called acid jazz!!??!!

What I am trying to say is that there is not a written law of what to do - but at least have a sense of direction for the piece, rhythmically.

I have spent so many hours cutting up loops and trying to stretch them to odd times that I must have went crazy and have not realized it yet. I learned how to manipulate the programs and get what I wanted but it was still not real!

For the amount of time that you screwed around with this and that, you could have had a real drummer come in and play all the songs. Then you could be onto the next piece of business. See my point. Don't get me wrong, all of the technology is great if you do not have a drummer on hand, but at least try a real one every once and a while!

How I basically do it now is a combination of real kit and then some "boom-chicka" loops or MIDI sounds. This makes for an interesting sound, or layering. The real drums keep the power and earthiness of it, while the other sounds give it a more electronic feel. It is a pretty cool combination. On my next album, "A Demon's Dream", there is quite a bit of this going on. I would have my drummer Daniel Adair play over the whole track and then I would edit what I wanted throughout the song. Of course, sometimes the drummers might not be happy with what parts you have cut out to put in a dance loop instead but... go for it!

Experimentation is the key if you want to create new types of music. There is nothing worse than hearing a great player backed by a drum machine. What the hell are you thinking!

May the tone be with you.

David Martone is a guitarist from Vancouver, Canada who has released seven solo CDs which showcase his musical diversity and brilliant guitarmanship.

His 2007 CD is entitled "When The Aliens Come", which features a progressive sound incorporating jazz, rock, fusion and metal influences.

David Martone