My Drums Don’t Fit – What Do I Do Now?

My Drums Don't Fit - What Do I Do Now?

My drums don’t fit – what do I do now?

Don’t panic. This is one of the most frequent worries any producer has at some point during the session.

Maybe it’s the timbre, maybe it’s the part. A lot of times, it’s hard to tell exactly what is causing your second guessing. But after you figure out what it is, you’ll be able to fix it in no time. Use these steps to figure out what the problem is:

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[wc_heading type=”h1″ title=”1. Mute the drums. All of them.” text_align=”left”]

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The first step to identifying this problem is to mute the drums altogether. Once you’re listening to the rest of the track, take note of what the feel is. Is it calmer without the drums? More energetic?

Then determine what the feel should be – does it need more energy? Maybe a peaceful, calm feel?

Now ask yourself this – are the drums giving you what you want?

Now that you know what feel your drums should be, let’s go ahead and move on to step two.

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[wc_heading type=”h1″ title=”2. Solo the drums.” text_align=”left”]

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Now it’s time to zero in on the drums. Remember what you said about the feel of the song? Now determine that for the drums by themselves.

Chances are they aren’t exactly what you’re looking for. But take note of what feel you’re getting – is it too crazy? too busy? too soft?

Step three, here we come.

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[wc_heading type=”h1″ title=”3. Simplify.” text_align=”left”]

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Now comes the hardest part – especially for drummers. :)

Simplify. Do you need all those crazy fills? Do you need four snare layers?

Go back to the basics. Start stripping out all of the extra snare and kick hits that you don’t need. This will fix 98% of your issues if you’ve got drums that just don’t “fit” with the track.

In rare cases, you’ll need to actually do the opposite and make your drums more complex. But this is only if you’re working on a very energetic track (one shade lighter than black metal, maybe) and you are not getting enough energy from them.

So these three steps seem rather simple – right? But going through this process and forcing yourself to verbalize what you’re feeling from the track will help you to see what’s wrong and how to make it right – trust me. Try it for yourself. And for more drum tips and tricks, become a Multi-Platinum Member and watch any of our series on drum programming or drum tracking – you’ll be getting drums like the pros on every track!