Use Drummer to add more natural beats

Produce more organic percussion via the roster of virtual stick twirlers in GarageBand


As you progress with GarageBand and your compositions become more ambitious, you’ll hit a wall. This tends to happen most around drums because this is the hardest real instrumentation to capture. You need a big expensive kit and a seriously good microphone setup to get natural beats, when loops won’t cut it anymore. Help is at hand, though, as Apple has introduced a dedicated feature to assist here, known simply as Drummer.

Taken from sister music-maker Logic, composers will find a collection of 18 session player ‘characters’ across four popular genres. Each is fully customisable and accepts direction to fit your style, resulting in a much more dynamic and ‘human’ feel. Follow the steps and view the sample project to get a perfect ‘kick’ start with Drummer!


1 Add Drummer track

To start you must add a yellow Drummer track. This is the fourth option from the New Tracks menu and you may only have one per project, otherwise the option is ghosted out.


2 Download Drummers

With a Drummer track selected, click on the portrait of ‘Kyle’ the default player. Roll over another Drummer and if it says Download you must install this 5.0GB add-on.


3 Pattern presets

With them all installed, you can switch Drummers within four genres. Each has a number of preset patterns you can flick through and press Space to preview the track.


4 Accompanying tracks

Drummer works off other track recordings to be most effective. In our sample Drummer project, we have bass, guitar and synth tracks and the basic default Kyle track.


5 Presets and Follow

Choose a preset pattern that fits your style, so here we’ll pick Mixtape. In the Drummer Editor, check Follow and pick Stinger Bass to lock the beat to the bassline.


6 Using the kit

Switching the Follow track to say, guitar, changes the timing. Use the kit diagram to isolate drum or percussion types and use the sliders to dictate the amount used.


7 The X/Y pad

This bi-directional pad lets you tweak the presets basically to control how soft/loud or simple/complex the pattern plays, changing the Drummer track in real time.


8 Fills and timing

At the far-end of the Drummer Editor you can use the Fills dial to increase the amount of intricate parts. The Swing control and the 8th/16th toggles affect timing and groove.


9 Divide and rule

By editing Drummer regions in your track individually you can create more human drum sequences that adhere to different rules – patterns, drum use, fills and timings.

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