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Playing drums

From: iPad Music Production: GarageBand

Video: Playing drums

Now let's take a look at the drums in GarageBand. Like the keyboards, the drums are a Touch instrument, but there aren't nearly as many controls to keep track of. When you select the Drums, you are presented with the Classic Studio Kit. If I tap its name, you can see I can choose from five other kits. Now three of this kits mimic these sounds of real drums, while the other three model the sounds of drum machines. Let's stick with the Classic Studio Kit for now, and the drums are pretty self-explanatory, to play drum you just tap it. (music playing) The harder you tap the louder the sound.

Playing drums

Now let's take a look at the drums in GarageBand. Like the keyboards, the drums are a Touch instrument, but there aren't nearly as many controls to keep track of. When you select the Drums, you are presented with the Classic Studio Kit. If I tap its name, you can see I can choose from five other kits. Now three of this kits mimic these sounds of real drums, while the other three model the sounds of drum machines. Let's stick with the Classic Studio Kit for now, and the drums are pretty self-explanatory, to play drum you just tap it. (music playing) The harder you tap the louder the sound.

(music playing) Now what might not be immediately apparent is some of the drums have different areas you can tap for different sounds. For example, on the ride cymbal, I get one sound when I tap the flat surface of the ride. (music playing) And another sound if I tap the bell. (music playing) So it's subtle, but it's different. (music playing) In addition to the ride cymbal, the snare drum in the hi-hat also have different regions you can tap. To show this a little bit better, I'm going to tab the Help button up here and you can see it actually shows you the divisions of the different instruments.

So the left side of the snare drum is a rim shot sound. (music playing) The larger side here is the snare drum sound, and the rim is a side stick sound. (music playing) Similarly on the hi-hat, we have the pedal hi-hat sound, so if you're just pressing on the pedal of the hi-hat, you would get that sound. We have the open hi-hat-- (music playing) and the closed hi-hat. (music playing) So you just kind of have to remember where these different regions are. Now with the crash, the two rack toms, the floor tom and the kick drum, it doesn't really matter where you tap them.

(music playing) You'll get the same sound even if I tap on the rims of the rack toms, I still get the rack tom sound. You might have also noticed that when I tap the crash cymbal-- (music playing) the kick drum itself also plays (music playing) Which is generally what you want when you hit a crash cymbal. Now if you don't want the kick drum to play, just use two fingers to tap the crash cymbal. (music playing) Here's another cool but kind of hidden technique, if you tap anyone of these drums, except for the crash cymbal with two fingers, you'll get an automatically repeating note that's in time with the tempo that you've set.

So for instance, I can tap with two fingers on the ride cymbal. (music playing) And I get those notes. If I pull my fingers closer together, I get a slow repetition, like quarter notes, and the further I get my fingers apart, the faster the rhythm will get. (music playing) This can make it much easier to play repetitive patterns without having to constantly tap on your screen. For example, I can start a pattern on the ride cymbal. (music playing) And then just add the kick and the snare. (music playing) Or something like that.

Another thing to know is when you have your two fingers on the drum, if you push your figures up towards the top of the screen, the hits will get louder. You'll get a higher velocity hit. (music playing) If I pull down, it'll get quieter, and that goes for pretty much all the drums. (music playing) Then I can spread my fingers apart to get a faster pattern. (music playing) That can be really nice for snare rolls-- (music playing) and so on. These playing techniques will work with any of the real kits, so I can use these with the Classic Studio Kit, the Vintage Kit or the Live Rock Kit.

Each one has a different sound, but I can still play them the exact same way. (music playing) Let's take a look now at the drum machine, so I'll select the Classic Drum Machine. These will pretty much play the same way, except now we're looking at these sort of drum pads. I can just tap them to get the same sounds, and they play pretty much the same way; the harder you tap, the louder they'll be. I can use two fingers again. (music playing) And so on. Now if you do want to tweak the Velocity settings, you can go into the Mixer and choose your Velocity Sensitivity here as well.

I'm just going to leave that the way it is. Now with the drum machines you don't have to worry about different tappable regions. There is only one place to tap; any of the cymbals or the snare, you just get the same sound. What you do have here are different dials you can play around with to change the sound of the drums. Over here on the left we have Resolution and Lo-Fi for adjusting the fidelity of the sound. So for instance, this is what my kick drum currently sounds like. (music playing) If I change our Resolution, just move that down-- (music playing) It's drastically different.

(music playing) Put it somewhere in the middle, with Lo-Fi I can make it a little bit more low fidelity. (music playing) So you can get some pretty drastically different sounds just by playing with these two dials. Let's go back and bring the resolution up a little bit more. (music playing) Now Low Cut and High Cut just let you cut out certain frequencies, so for instance, if I play kick drum and I turn up the low-cut, you'll hear the bass coming out of that sound. (music playing) Where it's completely gone at this point. It is just a click.

(music playing) So you can just play with these dials until you get a sound that you like. Now if you do find a sound that you spent some time programming and you want to keep, just like with the keyboard settings, you can go into the name of the drums, tap Save, and then create a name for your kit. I now have a Custom category here, so any time I want to select it, say have another kit selected by default, if I want to switch back to the sound that I created, I just go to Custom, select my kit, and I'm ready to go.

Now just as before, if I want to delete a kit I've created, I can tap its name again, tap Edit, hit the little Delete button and it's gone. So I can switch back to one of the default kits. So it's pretty easy to play the kits in GarageBand. Now as I recommended with the keyboards, if you're going to be spending a lot of time playing drums in GarageBand, I highly recommend getting a physical MIDI keyboard or even MIDI drum pads, something that will allow you to trigger the drums without having to tap your screen. I am not really a huge fan of tapping on my iPad screen for extended periods of time anyway.

And it's very easy to figure out which sounds are mapped to which keys, once you have the keyboard connected. Again, be sure to check out the other course in this series called Inputs, Mics, and MIDI where I show you how to connect all types of MIDI devices to your iPad.

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iPad Music Production: GarageBand

30 video lessons · 9274 viewers

Garrick Chow
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