Production 101 — Tips for Editing Drums Inside of Pro Tools

Hey, what’s up guys? Welcome to another video here.

In this one, we’re going to talk about drum editing, drum production… Specifically editing drums within Pro Tools. This is how I do it.

We’re going to be using the trim tool, the edit tool, the hand tool, we’re going to be in slip mode, and I’m going to show you how to get in here, cut stuff, slice it, move it, crossfade it, so you can have perfect drum parts.

I have something I recorded last weekend, it sounds like this.

[drums]

And it’s pretty good. Pretty close, but I want this to kind of sound pretty loopy, and I want to really slide it in.

We’ve got some things here that are a little behind, forward, small inconsistencies. Depending on the genre of music, if you’re doing a jazz tune, you’re obviously not going to do this. If you’re doing a country tune, or a pop rock tune, or any kind of metal tune, you’re probably going to do a lot of this.

If you’re looking to intern for a producer, you’re probably going to end up doing a lot of this stuff. So it’s good to know how to do.

First off, we’re going to have to group our drum tracks. If you’ve never done that before, you just highlight the drums, you’re going to Command+G, which brings up the group option. Again, I’m on a Mac, so that’s the shortcuts I’m using. So Command+G.

You can see — you can name the group. Currently this is what’s in my drum group, so I’m going to hit cancel.

So now when I trim one thing, I trim all the drums, and that’s the key. You’ve got to edit these together as a group. Otherwise, you’re going to get weird phasing things, and stuff’s just going to sound jacked up.

So anyways, let’s zoom in here. Let me grab my highlight tool here, and I’m going to highlight this first track. Command+E. Makes the selection, breaks it apart, and then I’m just going to move this over, put it on the grid, my grid is going to be set to — let me put this on eighth notes.

So anyways, we’ve done that. The first one’s not so important. We can trim that out. Then I’m going to take — let’s put this back on sixteenths. How about that. Yeah.

Take this next chunk, Command+E. Hand tool, bring it back over, and then we’re going to clean all of this stuff up, and then dump our crossfade in like that.

And that’s pretty much the entire process here.

So now we can take this hit… Go to about right there. Go back. Slide this over. Put that snare hit on the bar. Clean up that fade. Dump a crossfade in. And you guessed it, you do this for every single hit.

Clean up this guy. Highlight, crossfade, pull this one back, Command+E, hand tool, bring it back, trim this, highlight, crossfade, and let’s grab this one. That’s a bad one too. Pull this back. Trim these back. Get them even. Crossfade.

I always try to crossfade as close as I can. Again, I go kind of fast at this stuff these days. I try not to spend tons and tons of time doing this.

Again, I mean, drums in all honesty, it starts with the player. Get the best takes you possibly can with the time you can. You guys may not be dealing with the best session players in the world, so find the best drummer in town and get him to come play on your sessions. Buy him beer, pay him, whatever you have to do, because that’s really where a lot of the tone and a lot of this stuff starts. Then this is just kind of tweaking things to your heart’s desire.

For pop stuff I pretty much clean and snap stuff to the grid. Pretty much all of the time. This is just part of it. When I have an intern, this is a lot of what he does.

Alright, cool. So here’s the end of our example. Move this last one over. That should work. Alright, one last crossfade, and then clean all of this garbage up here. Crossfade that. Zoom out.

Alright. So this is what it sounds like now that it’s snapped.

[drums]

Boom. And then when you’re done and your entire afternoon is blown, your sessions are going to look like this.

A couple of other things to keep in mind, you probably want to duplicate your original performance before you start chopping it up. You can do that — once they’re grouped, just hit duplicate under your playlist tabs here, and then you can have different ones, and then once it’s chopped up, I usually duplicate it again, and then I’ll render all of this and have my solid wave files.

Then you can go to Mix World and do whatever you want to do. I know this was quick, I know it’s a lot of information to throw at you, but this is pretty much the basics of it. Nothing’s really hard with this stuff. Just take your time. It does take practice.

Get in there, make a copy of your drum files, and then start slicing to the grid. I know a lot of kids here in Nashville that get a lot of work starting out just editing drums for people.

So I hope you’ve got something from this. Hit me with your questions, and I will see you in the next video. Later guys.

Mixnotes

Mixnotes

Mixnotes is a YouTube channel with tutorials on mixing, recording, business, plugins and more. We've partnered with them to feature some of their videos on The Pro Audio Files.
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