Learn Ableton Live: music production tips and tutorials

Drum programming, design and mixing in Ableton Live

Drums form the bedrock of the majority of electronic music productions, so it’s important that you put some time and effort into getting them right.

As well as enabling you to program beats, Ableton Live also comes with a wide range of creative tools that can be used to design your rhythmic sounds, and then there’s the business of mixing them to consider. Here’s how it all works.

How to program authentic shaker patterns
Program a perkier beat with some high-end movement.

How to program realistic-sounding clave and timbale percussion parts
Authentic Latin percussion rhythms made easy.

5 steps to creating the perfect layered kick drum
For the ultimate bass drum sound, layering is an essential technique. Learn how to do it right here.

How to program and transfer authentic bossa nova beats
Get your chill on with our guide to the rhythms and grooves behind this perennial Brazilian style.

How to rogram a Chic-style beat in Live
Learn how to recreate the powerhouse beats of drummer Tony Thompson

How to program authentic live disco hi-hats
Add some cymbal-powered sparkle to your grooves.

How to program an '80s electro funk drum machine beat
Build a classic 606-style soul rhythm in your DAW.

How to create glitch-style beats in Live
Learn how to turn simple percussion tracks into glitching grooves.

How to program your kick drums so they sound right
Get your bass drum on the right track with our guide.

How to record drum fills live with a MIDI keyboard or drum pad
Programming drum fills with the pencil tool is one thing, but for an authentic performance, real-time triggering is the way to go…

How to avoid clashes when combining live and programmed beats
Bring two rhythmic worlds together with our guide.

How to layer acoustic and electronic drum sounds
Learn how to get the best of both percussive worlds.

How to enhance a kick drum in Ableton Live
If only the biggest and baddest beats will do for your re-edits, you'll need to do a little drum replacement. Luckily, it's easier than it sounds.

How to add groove to a house beat with manually-layered claps
We show you how to create shuffled claps in Ableton Live.

How to displace individual parts of a beat to change its feel
Let's take to the MIDI editor and transform a groove.

How to trim the fat from your kick drums
We show you how to make those kick drums lean and mean.

How to make acoustic drums sound bigger and more powerful
We show you how to inflate your sampled acoustic kit to the max.

How to create an electronic drum fill
Learn how to use a programmed acoustic drum fill as the basis for something more dancefloor-suitable

How to push or pull drum tracks to increase or reduce urgency
Drive your drums hard or chill them right out with our guide.

How to program an Amen-style break
Emulate one of the greatest breakbeats of all time.

Program a basic Latin rhythm with congas and bongos
Get your salsa on with our step-by-step tutorial.

How to program authentic-sounding percussion parts
Create convincing woodblock and bell parts with our guide.

How to program successful and authentic tom parts
Take a tour around these tuneful tubs with our guide.

How to rework an over-processed clap
We show you how to tame the reverb tail on an overexcited handclap.

How to make minimal percussion out of a tom sample
Turn a humble 808 tom tom into something altogether different.

How to create a drum beat using found sounds
Learn how to layer up homemade hits into a pro-sounding kit.

How to program a Motown-style beat
Learn to capture the characterful beats of soul's golden era, step by step.

How to program a Ringo Starr-style Beatles beat
Get the sound and feel of Come Together with our programming guide.

How to program a Led Zeppelin-style John Bonham beat
We take you step by step through the creation of a convincing virtual classic rock drum track.