Instant Variation For Percussive Loops In Ableton Live

Varied percussion in your tracks can be painstaking to program and often we’re guilty of having a ‘loop-and-forget’ mentality! This is an easy trap to fall into and can halt your tunes from giving the listener enough variety to keep them interested. New DJTT contributor Gary Harper (aka Demi Gods) shares a very quick and simple way to make 16 different variations from just a 1-bar loop!

It is particularly effective on percussive rhythms that have plenty of 16th notes. Set the 1-bar loop brace to be shorter by just one 16th note amount and, whilst remaining in perfect time, the loop now has a different start point for 16 bars before repeating the first one again. This instantly adds variety to what would have been a repetitive loop.

Try it on hi-hats, bongos, congas and even musical arpeggiated parts. Not only will you increase the variation and interest in your tracks, you might also stumble on a few parts that you really like, wouldn’t have thought of organically and can manipulate further into all-new patterns.

Of course, not every single bar has to be different. Try this technique in more sparse parts where the drums and percussion dominate and the variation in loops will be more prominent and rewarding to listen to.

Want more great percussion tips? Watch these tutorials on Making A Great Kick Drum or Making A Great Snare Drum.

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