Logic’s Drummer is an innovation that should go down in history for audio production. When people 10 years from now look back, the list of groundbreaking moments should say:
- Digital Recording
Drummer has changed my life forever. And I for one, am grateful to the Apple team for this brilliant addition.
I remember a time many moons ago having to program drums one beat at a time.
It was a dark time. An age when programming drums took hours. Placing hits brick by brick along the Piano Roll…
And no matter the amount of work I put in, those drums would sound fake as hell…
But now we live in an enlightened age. And Drummer sits at the epicenter.
AI With A Kick
Drummer is your AI buddy sitting behind the kit. A genre-agnostic chameleon that let’s you steer the ship.
You get to pick:
- The style
- The performance
- How loud, quiet, simple or complex
And so much more.
Drummer’s parts quickly adapts to your settings. Without you ever having to bust out the Pencil Tool.
And Drummer will even follow what you play.
If you haven’t begun to use Drummer yet, it’s gonna rock your world.
The Magic’s in the System
Loading up Drummer is easy. Use Key Command Option – Command – N to bring up the New Track dialog. Pick Drummer, and your preferred Genre:
What will load up is a very different looking audio region:
This region is exclusively a Drummer region. Additionally, Drummer comes with its own set of controls:
From here, the world is your drum set. Everything you could possibly need to write songs is available to you.
Looking for fast and easy? Load Drummer up just like an Apple Loop, and just run with the presets. Click the yellow + that floats next to a Drummer region to add a new region.
Or you can have Drummer become one with your song using the Drummer Editor.
Soft or Loud? Simple or Complex?
Much of Drummer’s vibe lies in this XY Pad. The XY pad let’s you sort out how loud and complex you want Drummer to perform.
The beauty is in its simplicity. Grab the yellow ball and drag it to different spots on the pad.
As you drag the ball around, the Drummer region changes. You can audition each change and find the dynamic and vibe that fits best with your song.
Once you find the right feel, you can take your vision further by adjusting the individual drums of the kit.
Would You Like Snare With That?
Adjusting drums is just about as simple as the XY Pad. All you need to ask yourself is:
What drums do I want for this part?
Do you want a kick, snare, high hat section? Or perhaps a loud, crashy section? Or maybe this is a guitar only part, but a lone kick would really help add tension?
Once you know the drums you’re after, go ahead and click each drum icon in the diagram.
All you need to know is:
Drums in Yellow = Enabled
Drums in Grey = Disabled
Looking for a touch of tambourine or shaker for a section? Add some right above the kit by clicking and highlighting as well.
Decorating With Patterns
Next focus your attention over to the sliders next to the drums. These handy switches let you pick between different drumming patterns for your song.
It’s really as easy as dragging each slider from left to right to hear different variations.
For example listening to Anders with a kick, snare and tom arrangement is too much fun.
As I slide the Toms slider around, the toms get busier and more pulsing. And the snare and kick accents even adapt to the tom changes as well.
With the Snare and Kick slider specifically, you can even adjust for half time or double time:
- Far Left = Half Time
- Far Right = Double Time
If any of that sounds like music to your ears, the part that makes my heart sing is…
Sure, all these fancy doo-dads are cool. But what makes Drummer an AI?
It’s the fact that Drummer can actually follow your performances.
Allow me to explain:
You’ve written a killer key part. It has accents, and pushes and pulls in all the right places.
An Apple Loop is cool. But it would really be a disservice to the intention of your performance.
So instead, load up an instance of Drummer. Down by the Kick and Snare Slider enable Follow:
Right above Follow is now an accessible menu. Click that menu, and choose from the list of tracks in your session for Drummer to listen to:
Drummer morphs its performance to that awesome key part.
And this works in any situation:
- Layering Drummer beats over your own software instrument beats,
- Following guitar or bass tracks,
- Following just about anything else
Drummers the world round may be out of a job…
The rest of Drummer’s controls deal in nuances.
To the right of the drum sliders are two knobs to dialing in the amount of Fills and Swing you’d like in Drummer’s performances:
- Fills = How Travis Barker your Drummer gets
- Swing = How loose your Drummer gets with the tempo
And if you click on Details in the right hand corner, you have even more control.
For more Rock, Alternative, Songwriter and R&B style drums:
- Feel: is your chosen amount Drummer Pushes or Pulls against the tempo,
- Ghost Notes: is how loud or quiet those little touches are in the performance,
- Hi-Hat: is the degree of how Closed or Open the Hi-Hat is performed. And you can even let Drummer decide by checking Automatic
And for more Electronic, Hip Hop and Percussion style drums:
You’re able to set how much Complexity, Humanity and Variation each drum component has.
Can’t you see the possibilities? And it’s all so easy!
But What If Drummer Isn’t Giving Me the Beat I Want?
Of course, Drummer is an algorithm. And no matter how intelligent it may be, it isn’t always gonna crank out the perfect beat.
That’s why Logic gives you a way to break out of a Drummer region.
Say you’ve dialed a beat the best you can. And you even have it Following your performances. But for some reason Drummer isn’t grasping the idea.
All you need to do is convert your Drummer region to a MIDI region.
Right – Click or Control – Click your Drummer region, go down to Convert, and select Convert to MIDI Region:
Automagically, your Drummer track reverts to a Piano Roll style MIDI region:
Now you’re free to double-click that MIDI region and fine-tune the beat you’re looking for:
Aren’t all those velocities pretty 😉
Wanna switch back to a Drummer region? Go right back to the same menu and this time select Convert to Drummer Region.
Switching Drummers and Kits
Our last stop on the Drummer train is to the Library.
As of Logic Pro 10.3.2, you can view all Drummers and Kits within the menu by using Key Command Y:
The Library is wonderfully organized for easy Drummer selection.
At the top we have the current Drummer or Kit selected in the Library.
Directly beneath to the left shows you the Genres you can choose from. And to the right are the Drummers within that genre.
And directly below that are the Drum Kits available in Logic.
The Library system is fantastic. Because you can actually pick different drummers to play different drum kits.
Try it! Try picking an Electronic Drummer like Magnus and pairing him with a kit like the Four on the Floor.
But that’s not all…
In fact, you can even choose a totally different instrument in the bottom section that’s not a drum kit.
Maybe Anders would sound great on Vintage Mellotron…?
Bottom line – Logic’s Drummer is a gift for songwriting and producing.
The ability to write and produce drums with a few flicks of the wrist is mind-boggling. What once took years of skills and carpal tunnel are yours in seconds.
Enjoy! And make sure to credit Logan on your next album 😉
Why is the “follow” feature not able to work with the “percussion” drummer?
Not sure TroCat. Perhaps it’s something to expect in the next update.
Great info, thanks. Being a beginner I didn’t know any better, so (after testing tapping in drums via iPad) I immediately used the drummer personas. Until reading this post I guess I didn’t fully appreciate how crazy-good this feature/capability is.
Thanks for info about converting to MIDI for adding specific accents, etc. – I wondered about this. The first time I tried it I naively wondered if I could re-convert the edited MIDI back into the drummer persona (no reason, just looks nicer on screen ;-). Of course I lost the edits. Lesson learned. 😉
Thanks, and keep up the good work!
The Drummer tracks do look much nicer 😉 But sometimes fine-tuning that performance is key.
David Woodard says
Get article! The drummer feature has certainly changed my creative process.
I am finishing an EP in which I used the Logic drummer for the entire project. Everyone who has come into play on the tracks have asked who is drummer and have been amazed when I explain. The explanation is usually followed with “so YOU programmed those drums…?” “Well, no…” It is difficult to explain but fun showing them.
One question I do have, and you kinda alluded to it when you said “make sure to credit Logan on your next album.”
How do I credit the drummer?
Am I fully licensed to release material with Logic drummer?
David, it’s understandable you are concerned, but considering how many copies of LPX have been / will be sold, it’s hard to imagine Apple placing component-specific licensing and/or credit restrictions on this bit of magic. Not sure how you’d police it anyway. I guess that’s one for the lawyers to sort out. As for me, I DO say I programmed the drums! While that’s certainly not accurate, it’s easier for explaining to non-musician listeners. Admittedly I do try to describe Logic’s “drummer personas”… 😉
You are still programming the drums, it’s just a different interactive process with the DAW than previously. Drummer allows you to begin with/create more comprehensive templates. It is a remarkable feature. It maps samples visually in a way that is incredibly educational in terms of learning how to program drums, and if you wanted to program from scratch it is a great teacher for those who are not as experienced with drum programming, such as myself.
Hi David! Thanks so much for your comment.
I agree with Charles. My comment was more out of jest than anything. Apple and the Logic team have been kind enough to provide us with tons of sounds, presets and loops that are royalty-free.
In a nutshell – they’re yours to use! No credits required 😉
I LOVE how the performers you work with ask who played drums.
Just another reason why Logic rules 🙂
David Woodard says
Excellent advice and perspective. Thank you, gentlemen, for your replies.
David Woodard says
Just received this comment this morning…I need to come up with a line for the drum question: “Yo dude. Your mixes sound really good! The sound reminds me of the Smithereens. Are those live drums?”
Haha! That is SO awesome 🙂 Apple should use that quote on their website.
Great article – and I agree with every word of praise you wrote!
Logic Drummer is absolutely incredible, the perfect balance of quick & easy to use, great sounding plus huge flexibility if you want to get under the hood.
…and to think it just appeared a couple of years ago as a free update….. just another of the many, many reasons Why Logic Pro Rules!
Seriously! I can’t help but think us Logic users made out like bandits with Drummer 😉
yes – it’s amazing….but….I so want to be able to use Ableton Live Link in connection with LPX Drummer could you imagine the epic jams you could do being able to mix Drummer Live with other people?
It’s a superlative software suite and the drum capabilities are excellent! I’m just learning to work with the Logic Pro X drums and the only shortcoming I’ve experienced is the lack of control over ambience contained in the samples. IMHO, the samples should be “dryer”, as the type and amount of ambience that’s appropriate for a particular song can vary widely. As such, I will be working on creating my own sample library. Amazing software!
Hey Sky, thanks for your comment! You actually can adjust the ambience of each drum 🙂
When you open Drummer, use key command “Y” to open the Library. In the Library you should see your currently selected Drummer, and the kit they use. For example, if I select Anders, I can see he uses the “Heavy” kit.
If I go to the bottom of the Kits, I can dig into the “Producer Kits.” Producer Kits are multi-output, more in-depth kit options. Within the Producer Kits, I can select “Heavy+.” This is Anders kit, but with more option to control the various aspects of the kit.
Now click on the Drummer Track Header in the Arrange page. You should see the Track Stack expand to show all the various parts of the kit. Click on the “Overheads” track. In the Inspector or Mixer you should see Drum Kit Designer in the “Input” field. Click on Drum Kit Designer to open the instrument.
Now when you select each drum within the instrument, you can choose to turn “Leak,” “Overheads,” or “Room” off. You can also adjust the level of each within the Mixer!
Hope that helps 🙂
Bob Hughes says
I have been using the “drummer” for a group of instrumental songs over the past few years. I love the drums in logic, excellent work with ease of use and outstanding grooves and feel. It absolutely sounds like a pro session player on your tracks. I get asked the same question… “who’s playing the kit?”
For me Drummer seems like a good first try, but it should have been expanded upon by now much beyond where it sits today. Finally, they came out with some brush techniques, for example, but I am amazed they don’t offer users the choice of stick types (the brushes can only be used in a particular beat) for ANY/all beats. I especially miss being able to use mallets. Or is this feature hiding? And there’s not much variation in cymbal technique for me. It’s very hard to create a growing cymbal burst, for example with the available tools unless, I’m missing something. And I am also surprised that there are only three toms available! They should offer many more – it was as if they had limited “space” and wanted to compromise, but there should be no need for that. And I also have been disappointed in the lack of the ability to create a good (and variable) hi-hat technique common for example in rock and maybe especially known in disco, where you hit an open hi-hat and then close it. I haven’t found any convincing examples of this technique in any of the programmed patterns, and making them has been less than satisfactory. Some amazing holes in the repertoire.
Double-clicking on the icon of the Drum Kit will display more settings. Here you can change the global settings for the whole track, including parameters such as Mix Levels, Compression Amount and Effects.
I Love the Drummer feature and use it on nearly every project I work on. Does anyone have any tips on just how to best utilize the algorithm associated with the Follow option? To me it feels like following the bass track is the strongest option for creating tight grooves. I also use the arrangement tabs to help guide the AI in its initial options. Thanks.
David Hakan says
Chris, I can’t thank you enough for this very clear introduction to Logic Pro’s Drummer. This will be a lifesaver for me since my current album (#10) is more folk-rock than folk. Are there any Apple “jam packs” available to extend the genres and styles? I agree that this is a total game changer.
How can I support your work? Is everything really free that you offer?
Ken Dottie says
Chris, Love your page…. My question is what if drummer doesn’t have a function in the piano roll that I need. Is there a way to add it? For example, as a drummer, I want the hi-hat to have an open and close effect, something similar to the “Crash R/L stop” which is listed in the piano roll. I see that there are two hi-hat foot close with a slightly different sound, one hi-hat closed and a hi-hat foot splash. Neither one of those have the effect that I’m looking for. Is there a way to add something to the piano roll? Thanks for your time.