Drum beats are the backbone of practically every style of popular music, so having an understanding of programming basic drum patterns and different types of drum beats is an essential for producers and beatmakers of all kinds. In this guide to basic drum patterns we’ll show you how to make the seven types of drum beats every producer should know, covering drum beat patterns for funk, rock, jazz, hip-hop, house, trap and drum ‘n’ bass.
To make these easy drum beats we’ll use ABBEY ROAD DRUMMER COLLECTION and EMPIRE BREAKS for KONTAKT 7 and KONTAKT 7 PLAYER, and BATTERY 4. ABBEY ROAD DRUMMER COLLECTION is ideal for making natural-sounding acoustic drum beats, EMPIRE BREAKS is designed for the sounds of classic hip-hop beats, and BATTERY 4 is perfect for creating beats in electronic music styles. Let’s get started creating some beginner drum beats.
Jump to these sections:
- Funk drum pattern
- Rock drum pattern
- Jazz drum pattern
- Hip-Hop drum pattern
- House drum pattern
- Trap drum pattern
- Drum ‘n’ bass drum pattern
1. Funk drum pattern
Funk is the groove-heavy sound of the 70s, and although it covers a variety of tempos it always remains danceable thanks to its affinity for toe-tapping rhythms.
To make a funk beat we’ll use ABBEY ROAD 70s DRUMMER, specifically the Tight Funk kit. Set your audio editing software’s project tempo to 100 BPM, and begin by adding snares on the second and fourth beat, with kicks on the first, second and sixth eighth notes.
Next add closed high hats on eighth notes, with an open hat on the last eighth note.
This gives us a basic drum beat, but it’s lacking that funk flavor that makes it truly authentic. So far we have everything played perfectly straight, and to inject some groove we need some swung 16th notes. Add closed pedal hats slightly after 1.2.4 and 1.3.2 to give them that swing that makes the beat feel danceable.
Let’s layer these hats up with some snares with the same timing. We want these snares to be quieter than the main snare hits, so turn their velocity down to around 75 or so. These “ghost snares” really enhance the funky feel of the beat, and give it that head-nodding groove you need.
And that’s our basic funk drum pattern!
2. Rock drum pattern
Rock drums can come in a variety of forms, and for this example we’re looking to classic 70s hard rock with a big sound and an insistent rhythm.
Again we’re going to use ABBEY ROAD 70s DRUMMER for this beat, this time with the Open Hard Rock preset, and a project tempo of 80 BPM.
We start with snares on the second and fourth beat of the bar, with kicks on the first and third beats.
Then add closed hats on eighth notes.
To give the bit a touch of groove we’re going to add a variation on the second kick. On the sixteenth note after the second kick, add another kick, this time taking the velocity down to 76. This makes the beat feel less plodding, and gives it a touch of groove.
A big part of the epic sound of classic 70s hard rock is a big, roomy snare. We can achieve this by selecting the snare in the Instrument panel, and turning up its OH Mix (Over Head Mix) and Room Mix.
3. Jazz drum pattern
Jazz drums tend to eschew the groove-based structure of funk and rock drums, with a more freeform approach that allows the drum to be more expressive and playful. It’s also much more focused on cymbals rather than the kicks and snares.
To make a jazz beat we’re going to use ABBEY ROAD 60s DRUMMER, specifically the Early Jazz preset, and a project tempo of 137 BPM.
We add ride cymbals on quarter notes for two bars, with pedal hats on the second and fourth beat of each bar.
We then add rides on the last eighth note triplet of every other beat. These should be quieter than the main rides, so turn their velocity down to 81.
This gives us a basic swung jazz groove, and it’s this rather than kicks and snares that drives the rhythm. We can use kicks and snares too, but they are more used as accents rather than the main groove. Let’s add snares on the last eighth note triplets of the first beat of each bar, and one directly on the third beat of the second bar. These should be quiet, so use a velocity of 51.
Let’s also add kicks on the last eighth note triplet of the fourth beat of the first bar, and the second beat of the second bar. Again, these should be relatively quiet, so use a velocity of 47.
4. Hip-hop drum pattern
Heavily based on funk, golden age hip-hop drum beats tends to have big, analog-style sampled drum hits with funky, swung programming.
To make a hip-hop beat we’re going to use EMPIRE BREAKS’ Head Snap Kit, with a project tempo of 91 BPM.
Start by placing closed hats on eighth notes for a bar.
Then add snares on the second and fourth beat, and kicks on the first and sixth eighth notes.
Now it’s time to add some swing. Turn your audio editing software’s snap to grid functionality off, and add a swung kick on the last 16th note of the first beat. Turn the velocity of this note down to 71 to make it quieter. This later 16th note gives the beat a bouncy hip-hop feel.
This one-bar loop is a little repetitive on its own, so duplicate it out, and add a swung snare on the final 16th note of the two-bar sequence. Set this note’s velocity to 64.
5. House drum pattern
An evolution of disco, house was one of the first styles of purely electronic music to emerge. The insistence of its four-to-the-floor kick drums are juxtaposed with funky, swung hats that give it an infectious groove.
To make a house beat we’re going to use BATTERY 4’s Disco Neu Kit, with a project tempo of 123 BPM.
Put kick drums on every beat of the bar for that solid four-to-the-floor foundation, with claps on the second and fourth beat.
Put closed hats on eighth notes, with a swung 16th note hat before the third beat. Use a velocity of 86 for these.
Put open hats on the eighth notes between the beats for that classic house trope of a propulsive, syncopated accent.
Finally, add a swung 16th snare at the end of the bar for a final extra touch of funk. Use a velocity of 86 for this.
We’ll use BATTERY 4’s 808 Multiple Kit to make this beat with a project tempo of 130 BPM.
Start by putting closed hats on eighth notes for two bars, with claps on the third beat of each bar.
Now put kicks on the first and fourth beat of the first bar, and one the second beat of the second bar.
Add snares on the final two eighth notes of the second bar.
An often used trick in trap is to use hat rolls as accents. Set your MIDI editor’s grid size to 32nd notes, and replace the fourth closed hat on each bar with a roll of three 32nd notes.
To get a smoother, rolling sound, turn down the velocity of the middle notes slightly to 94 or so.
7. Drum ‘n’ Bass drum pattern
An evolution of 90s breakbeat-based jungle, drum ‘n’ bass revolves around high-speed funk-influenced electronic beats.
Load up BATTERY 4’s Backman Kit and set your project tempo to 174 BPM. Many drum ‘n’ bass tracks are based around a “2-step” rhythm which features snares on the second and fourth beats of the bar, and kicks on the first and sixth eighth notes.
Then add closed hats on eighth notes.
Without any swing, this beat has a rigid, robotic sound, so turn off your snap-to-grid and add some swung 16th note hats on the eighth and tenth 16th notes. These should be at a low volume level so that they’re just adding a subtle touch of swing that doesn’t overwhelm the propulsive rhythm of the kick and snare. A velocity level of 68 works well.
Start making drum patterns
Here we’ve seen how you can make seven different types of basic drum beats in your audio editing software using appropriate instruments, kits and patterns.
If you’d like to learn more about this subject, check out our guide on how to make a beat, along with a free collection of sounds and tools to start making drum patterns yourself. You can also learn tips for producing drums and even how to make your drum programming feel more human.