Sunday, January 31, 2010

A little finger drumming tutorial



I've been using an MPC longer than I've owned a computer and something that never appealed to me was "finger drumming". It evoked thoughts of shitty 80's outdoor music festival wankery, dudes with offensive looking devices strapped around their necks (see above) and lots of synthetic "tom tom" fills. Even recently speaking, "live MPC" usually implied super played out "battle" routine style stuff. Fortunately, a new generation of talented producers and performers decided to reclaim the drum machine's potential as a realtime performance instrument (right around the time MPC's were kind of running out of steam I'll add).

After seeing cats like Jeremy Ellis, Jel, Exile (shout to Aarab Muzik) and others do their thing with my own eyes, I finally got it. The point is not to replace the drummer, it's to do shit they can't. It's also a great way to speed up drum programming (1 take, vs clicking in a piano roll for 20 minutes).

After some trial and error, I came up a little mapping system for myself that was ergonomic, versatile and most of all, natural (my thing was I wanted to be able to play anything I could already play on the real drum kit, plus stuff I couldn't) and practice it constantly.

I noticed people don't seem to share too much when it comes to their methods and technique, so I made a little video and a mapping chart for anyone interested in how to get started.

If you have any questions, criticisms, whatever, please let me know.

Till next time...

28 comments:

  1. Nice! Very helpful, thank you.

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  2. I like the approach of one hand doing the whole set with the second hand doing fills on similar kit parts. Very clever. Just need to re-learn how I use my Kord PadKontrol now.

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  3. Just saw this on CDM!
    Really dope. Have a M-Audio Trigger Finger that I'm promptly going to re-map. Hehe. Cheers for this.

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  4. Same Here just saw on CDM, thnx a lot i will test it with Maschine :D

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  5. Dude- I disagree- I think that guy in the photo is pretty awesome. What is that he's wearing. I totally want one now. :) No, but seriously, what is it?

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  6. Keats: dude's wearing a ZENDRUM. I imagine they're nice if you can pony up the dough...

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  7. Thanks very much, you've inspired me.

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  8. thanks for the tips

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  9. Many thanks for sharing, cool computer drumming in the video! Will have to wipe off the dust on my padkontrol and practice a few years, lol!

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  10. Good vid thanks. This will make me use more than 2 pads at a time :)

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  11. B. this is so great. Of course it took me about 5 minutes of fumbling with it to realize, oh, he's left handed. Doh.

    I've had an MPC1000 for a couple of years but could never really get into the swing with it. I mean, I could manage the occasional industrial type martial beat, but anything with any sort of funk just baffled me. Then a couple of months ago I did the pad fix (2500 style pads) and it's like a whole new machine. Wasn't really getting any decent beats but it isn't like drumming on a cinder block. This is totally helpful.

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  12. the zendrum pads are so much more serponsive than those rubber mpcpads. Its more like drumming your fingers on the table...

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  13. A Drum sets is a groups of drums, cymbals and frequently other drumming instruments, such as cowbells, wood blocks, triangles, chimes, or tambourines, organized for suitable playing by a individual (drummer). The term "drum kit" first developed used in the 1700’s. The terms "drum set", and "trap set" were more dominant historically.

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  14. I've always used fairly deliberate mappings, but I feel like an idiot after seeing your mapping. My maps were my for MIDI interchangeability and less to enhance the playing. I thank you and so do my MPC2000XL,MPD24,MPD32,padKONTROL,nanoPAD,Trigger Finger, and Maschine.(haha)
    Drugs and Drums...Indeed

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  15. if you add tom and floor where you gonna mapp it?
    please make a tutorial
    tom and floor is important to give lil bit live feels

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  16. Great post .
    Thanks for sharing

    ... Mark

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  17. Thanks a lot for this tutorial! this layout makes so much sense. It totally motivated me to practise this.

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  18. i had an application that functions like a drums at my iPhone. the thing is, i don't know how to use it.

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  19. Hey hey , I yust was looking to your blog and your vimeo, nice work man. this stuff is growing if u wanne check the stuf Im doing with the MPD24 and Ableton, I m doing full concerts with it. greethings from Belgium

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  20. This is sick! Ive never seen anything like this before. Keep this up, its awesome!

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  21. good article!thank you for sharing!

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  22. Thanks man, super helpful!

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  23. nice work. i like the kit. great finger drumming too.

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