• Hauke Frederik Pengel

    I think it is a nice tutorial but what I loved at your Snare Drum Tutorial was, that it was build totally with Live. No external Samples. This is whining on expert level though. P.S. I find the free M4L Device Kick Drum Designer from Point Blank Music School very useful. But I am going to take a look at Bazzism too.

  • TriX5tar

    Thank you for this, so helpful.

  • Viciouss Hoffmann

    Drum Lab for Kontakt seems to be a straight forward approach to do basically the same, am I right? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEqP6ycq9d0

  • jon

    Hi Lenny, thanks for the great tutorial!

    However in don’t have the ‘sine kick’ preset in my library. Did you get it somewhere special?

    • CrownECakes

      I don’t either. What’s the deal?

  • lostnthesound

    In case this hasn’t been mentioned, the kick can be tuned to any note within respective scale that matches the key of your tune. Just because your song is in “Fm” doesn’t mean your kick has to be as well–it could be in G, G#, A#, C, C# or D#. This way you can keep the pitching to a minumum (that is of course if that’s what you’re after). Cheers.

  • Javier Quiroga

    question… tunning the kick drum to the key of song can reduce your harmonic range in the mix? i mean, possibly you are masking the kick frequency with other sounds like bass, or even, the main sample. saludos!

    • Luiz Zen

      I have a similar question…

      If I tune some prominent instruments, like for instance, kick and bass and lead synth, to the same key, they will either suffer from phase cancelation or sum up to each other, creating an unnexpected result, right?

      Then the question is: should I forget the “rule” (that can be just in my mind) of always tunning everything to the same key? Yet, is there really any rule on this? Maybe tunning just some (which) instruments?


      • Lucas Graczyki

        Since your kick shouldn’t play together with the bass and leads usually take a different frequency range there’s no need to worry about phase cancelation either constructive or destructive, the idea here is that different instruments produce different waveforms or (specific timbres) of the same same tonal value or Key, so they sound nice together and without interference. My rule is, do everything on Key first and work from that point to your taste working on dissonances to get the effect desired on parts of the tune. And as the kick goes just be careful with phase cancelation when layering and you’ll be fine.
        (Feeling like I could have responded this in portuguese kk.. saw your little avatar face around here Luiz and decided to drop a word of advice… good producing brother…)

        • Luiz Zen

          hahah Thanks, “bird”! :)

  • Aaron Garabedian

    Lenny writing for DJTT!! You still working with the academy? Some great tips here too thanks!

    • Lenny Kiser

      Hey Aaron! I don’t work at the academy anymore. I’m teaching music production and performance classes with Ableton out of my studio here in SF now. Glad you found this tutorial helpful!

  • Per Jakobsen

    any hint on how i would apply some of these workouts whan i use maschine and route as audio in ableton ??

    • Lenny Kiser

      Route the different kicks from maschine to separate tracks in Ableton then group those tracks together as the kick group. Then you can apply the processing on the group (Compression and Saturation). Any necessary top kick filtering can be done on the individual tracks inside the group with the Autofilter device set to high pass or EQ8.

  • levitt

    Great article and video!

  • Ryan

    Parallel compression too!!! You have to be careful because it can make the kick way too loud, but compressing your kick drum (and your snare/clap) in parallel can do *wonders* for getting it to hit the right way without being too loud. Use the clean track for the snap and brightness of the kick; and use a compressor with a fairly fast attack, fairly long release, and fairly high (2.5-3.5:1 or so) ratio for the body and the thump. Then find the right mix between the two. It might not always work, but you’d be amazed at what it can do in the right situation! Parallel compressing my kicks and snares/claps is pretty much part of my default workflow.

  • Jim

    Great article, perfect for some stuff I’m working on now. When you guys talk about getting kick “samples” do you mean from songs, or from loop packs. I get all mine from packs or buying the maschine expansions, which are pretty good starting points. Loop packs are hit or miss though. Just curious what your starting point is. Thanks

    • Ryan

      I can’t speak for DJTT, but I wouldn’t sample my kick from a song, unless you have a really good sample of a clean drum break. Even then, your kick has been permuted by all the processing done to the track you got it from. Loop packs can be dodgy too, I don’t really use them; the key is finding a couple of really great drum sample libraries. These can be bought, downloaded for free, torrented (though you didn’t hear that from me), or even found in your software library, depending on what software you use—though those samples tend to be kind of lame.

      Without exception, every one of my kicks comes from one of two libraries I use: one is a comprehensive set of 808 samples, the other a comprehensive set of 909 samples. I got both for free! Sometimes I’ll layer another, less standard kick with my main kick to give it some character, but usually I’ll stick to the main samples.

      808 and 909 kicks are the industry standard, but if you don’t want to use those, that’s fine too. Just go hunting for great drum sample libraries. Not loops, but one-shots. That’s my .02.

    • Lenny Kiser

      Hey Jim,
      Glad you found this helpful! As far as, “samples” I am referring to single hit drum sounds from either sample packs, built in Ableton samples or anything I have recorded myself from an analog drum machine, acoustic kick drum or field recording. Sample packs can be hit or miss as some are over-processed, but some are also really good!

  • Christinaperri

    If somebody want to make a great kick drum sound so they can admit a great music development institute or rkaudio.com.

    DJ Hardware

  • IM

    One correction, Bazzism is not shareware!! It’s a paid VST/AU plugin, and Thomas is a rad dude who has made a very helpful device.

  • Joseph Wilk

    Quick addendum to tip #1 (sorry if this is covered in the video, but I am at work): the chain selector can be assigned to a macro knob, making it even easier to scroll through potential kicks. Loopmasters had a good video about it last year (I am in no way affiliated with Loopmasters): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=839Ug8q10Is

    • Rafael Marques

      Thank you!

  • Jake Hale

    I’d love to see something on making a really nice snare, which for me where you can adjust the snap/crack

    • Guy&Girl


    • http://www.antifmradio.com/ antifm

      Ill see what i can put together mate. Ill have to link you to my website that is still under development but ill try and post it here on the forums and maybe it will become another article in the DJTT website

      • Jake Hale

        awesome! KMP

    • Lenny Kiser

      Good idea!


    That guy in the first picture looks like he went crazy trying to find the perfect sample :P Great article though learn something new everyday!

    • http://www.antifmradio.com/ antifm

      The man in the photo is Frank Gossner, from Voodoo Funk. Picture was taken i think in Nigeria, by Damian Iwuagwu. You can find more on Voodoo Funk at http://www.voodoofunk.blogspot.com

      • Dan White

        Good spot! :)

        • http://www.antifmradio.com/ antifm

          with 2+ decades in this industry, i better know who’s who or im toast!

  • lupzdut

    Great tips! Sometimes I forget how important it is to not overlook the smaller details.

    • Lenny Kiser

      It’s all about the small details that make a good track great!

  • Ewan Collins

    One thing that I would add is mixing your kick and drums int the track. You can have a dodgy sounding kick that sounds like someone is hitting a trashcan, but once in the mix sounds brilliant. So essentially, don’t spend hours on making a perfect kick by itself, because the kick has to work with the other instruments. Get it sounding good in the mix primarilly. Sometimes rubbish kicks sound better than the clean-cut perfect ones.

    • http://www.antifmradio.com/ antifm

      Very good point. As a producer very early in my days, i found this out the hard way hahaha i was wondering why my kicks all sounded so muddy, and sometimes too bright

  • Sasch Halpin

    Great tip, gonna try a few of these methods now. Cheers Lenny!