Slicing/Shuffles/Ghost Notes - Tips & tricks


Oct 20, 2014
Preston, Lancashire
So yeah I've recently been chopping up old vintage hip-hop breaks, stretching & pitching them up till they have that snappy tone - I've found slicing at the original BPM, pitching up to 140pm, then bouncing out & putting them into a drum machine at 170-180bpm works nicely. (I usually take only the kicks & snares as one shots & add my own percussion). I like to add a low velocity hat to the top of the kick sample to give it some mid-high range & layer a few snares over the original until I have that snappy sound (also hits the mid-high ranges on the transients).

Once I've got the tones right it's on to the shuffles - I like to have the hats on beat with the shuffle between the 2nd & 4th beat (the usual DnB shuffle). One method is using a closed hat sample duplicated 4 times & pitched up or down on each layer in your drum machine - switch between samples when sequencing to produce a nice rhythm - alternatively use different samples for each hat. Variety is the spice. Also try adding an open hat at the end of a 4/8 bar to finish the break.

Tambs - I like to sample a clean hit & put these on each 1/2 beat to really speed things up! - Make sure there are no frequency clashes with the hats by tweaking the EQ & add a slight LFO as the last effect to give a slight moving motion to the tambs.

Ghost Notes - Here is the tricky part - I've been trying a few methods but recently found that bouncing out a one shot of your layered snare sample, pulling that into a drum machine on 4 separate layers & pitching each one either up or down & sequencing in-line wit the hat shuffles makes for a good sounding break - the real skill here is in the velocity & EQing, ghost notes should not be prominent in the track but add to the background groove... I've found taking some of the bottom out of the EQ helps here, also any slight change in the notes velocity can have a great effect so have a real play around with these.

Once your happy be sure to add in incidental sounds to fill your break, I've found this can be done to great effect with reverb.. Mainly on the hats, try a long decay at low volume with a low cut to filter out any clashes with the Kicks & snares.

If you've got any questions or your own tips & tricks please share them, more than happy to collaborate in the name of good drum & bass / jungle. Peace.
Hey man, thanks for posting this. All really good information and would make a great youtube demo video.
Great post. I usually program ghost notes with hihats and low-volume snare samples. Besides velocity I thinks it's a good idea to use a sample or recording of a light hit on both the hihat and snare to replicate ghost notes
Fair play for posting up your technique and if it works for you thats great but I still find there is no substitute for a good sampled break. I've found trying to make shuffles out of tweaked versions of your main drum hits tends to create a rigid machine-gun like effect.
a subtle phaser FX over some hi hats/ghost hits/perc really widens the sound up. Lots of Taxman's drum kits over the years has that wide hat sound, thanks to proper phasing processing.
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