Building up kick drum roll

I’m getting really frustrated with this, i’m trying to create a build up and along with it i want the kick to occasionally kick in and build up to create tension. In a drum roll effect.

I’ve tried putting the kick on every other bar, then gradually building up (see picture) but it still doesn’t sound right, it’s a very common thing to do and used in so many dance tracks i know but i really want to get this right, but have absolutely no idea.

I tried doing a youtube search for a tutorial video too but there was nothing.


is that how you do yours?

my drum rolls are sh1t but i’ve only tried a couple. i turned off fixed grid and activated triplet grid in a new track so i could add loads of little snares.

is that right or wrong do you know? there’s so many ways to do things it confuses me!

there are few ways to go about them and also depends on how fast you want the actual drum roll, but play with 1/8 notes and higher (1/16,1/32,1/64,etc)…

you’re close with your screen shot but change the quantize to a higher value as the drum roll proceeds and gradually pair the notes up - higher quantize values provide more of that mechanical effect. so for example you can go : :

1/4,1/4,1/8,1/8,1/8,1/16,1/16,1/16,1/16,1/16,1/16,1/32,1/32,1/32,1/32,1/32,1/32,1/64,etc,etc (don’t try this as per exact - merely giving a visual reference)

now, depending if you are using midi or audio (audio would probably be easier to use), apply fades to tails (or intro and tail) of all the drums that are directly following one another in quantize grid - but i think that is introduced in live 8 (i come from a cubase background so i’m always in audio)

for midi - you can automate the attack and release to give the same effect or the velocity (as you would for hi hats)

then you can automate the volume to increase (basically another velocity trick but mainly to introduce it more slick), add effects like filters or flangers, or do separate effects to each hit or pitch bend | shift as drum roll proceeds, etc…

or… you can get a bit more complicated but more in line with today’s drum rolls - similar to a miles dyson effect - with modulation and/or tempo mapping…

actually… not sure why i didn’t think of this (prolly cuz i haven’t played enough in ableton) but throw a beat repeat on your drum track (or create a new drum track redundant to your kick track - for bouncing purposes) and record the effect (keep “mix” off and use “INS” instead)

keep your chance at 100%

make sure you set the decay up a little which gives you more of that realistic bounce that you get when you strike a drum (this is similar to the fade or velocity i was speaking about before).

everything else is to taste - particularly the interval, grid, gate, and variation. the rest is creative icing.