Welcome to our guide to electro drum patterns and 808 drum programming techniques. There’s 7 electro patterns below all with screen shots and audio previews, feel free to use them and change them/ edit them as you want.
I’m a massive fan of electro, especially the Roland tr808 drum sounds, and taken influence from them for this article… artists like Drexciya / Elecktroids, even Kraftwerk, Juan Atkins/Cybotron, as well as Underground Resistance, Aux 88, Dopplereffekt, and more modern releases by DMX Krew, Helena Hauff, The Exaltics, Jensen Interceptor, Dexter, Steffi, Anthony Rother, Gesloten Cirkel and Legowelt.
Here’s one of the 7 patterns (you can hear the rest below)…
See also: Techno Drum Patterns and Programming Tips, Drexciya Electro Beat Tutorial, Trap Drum Patterns, How To Make Dubstep, UK Garage Drum Pattern, Drum And Bass Drum Patterns, Hip Hop Drum Patterns, House Drum Patterns, Dub Techno Tutorial: 4 Ingredients, Studio Brootle 909 Sample Pack, Studio Brootle 808 Sample Pack, Free Techno Kick Sample Pack.
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Electro Drum Programming Tips
Here’s a couple of tips for programming electro drum beats:
- Layer the snare and the clap on the 2 and 4 count for those huge oldskool hits.
- Add global or bus effects FIRST, so you program the beats through it. The same goes for swing. And even pads or drones: if you have constant, long sound in the background it can change the feel of the drums, so you want to program the beats with the pad or drone playing (for example adding high frequency noisy drone later on in the production process will hit at the same frequency as the snares and can make them sound louder, or even drown out some hi hats). So program the drums with other elements in mind or be prepared to change them later.
- Use effects sends so all the elements have the same delay and reverb settings. In Ableton you can add reverb and echo / delay to the drum rack itself. I cover how to to that in our Techno Drum Patterns and Programming Tips article. Using one reverb or delay for the entire beat gels it together. I really like a 2/16 delay for bouncing electro, with all elements using the same rhythmic delay.
Electro Drum Pattern 1 – Simple And Saturated
This is a really simple 808 beat with few elements, but all are beefed up so it bangs!….
The clap and snare are layered – they always hit at the same time. They are both sent to a convolution reverb too (using the ‘BM7 Berliner Hall’ preset in Ableton/Max). The entire Drum Rack is then Overdriven slightly. Note: this effect comes after the reverb is already added so it brings out the clap/snare’s reverb tail even more. You can see these in the screenshot below:
Electro Drum Pattern 2 – OldSkool / Cowbell
This is influenced by oldskool breaking electro, it’s so over used but I love the cowbell!. I beefed up the kick by adding a ‘Drum Rack’ unit in Ableton to just the kick channel. I added Convolution Reverb to the Cowbell, Clap and Snare. Then I added overdrive to the entire Drum Rack to gel the beat together and give it a bit more grit.
Electro Drum Pattern 3 – Rolling / Delayed 808s
This has a rolling effect from adding at 3/16 delay on the snare, clave, clap and kick with an Echo Unit on the effects send on the drum rack, plus a reverb too. And then overdrive added to the whole drum rack.
Electro Drum Pattern 4 – Bouncy / Simple
A simple bouncy 808 electro pattern with just hats, kicks, clap, snare and rim shots at the end of the bar. It has some overdrive added to just the kick and some convolution reverb and echo effects sends.
Electro Drum Pattern 5 – 808s Sounding Like Acid And A Chord
For this one I wanted to try to make the toms sound like an acid bass line (using mid and low toms) and I processed the cowbell to sound like a chord (by adding a Resonator to it, then reverb). It has Echo and Reverb on the internal effects sends. It has Rumble Kicks under the kicks (a technique used in techno where reverb is added to a kick drum to make a sub bass) to give it even more booming bass, you can find these in our 808 sample pack or you can make your own here.
You can see the resonator settings used on the cowbell below (this is then sent to a reverb send):
Electro Drum Pattern 6 – Electro With Reverb Rumble
I used a reverb unit on the internal drum rack effect sends, then the whole rack is processed with a Drum Buss unit and Overdrive, to bring out some transients and add some drive saturation. This also uses rumble-sub samples for sub bass (which I saturated more and low-pass filtered them down).
Electro Drum Pattern 7 – Off Beat Claves
This has a reverb send for the clap and snare, and saturation on the kick. The beat is accentuated with off beat claves, which use the reverb send too.
Other Things To Try…
For more on drum programming, see all our other drum pattern guides.
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Download The MIDI Files:
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