Layout for hip hop samples, etc

While working my way through QFG courses, I also spend time in Melodics because I’m interested in hip hop and the other styles they focus on (and I love rock and funk too =) )

A lot of Melodics beats combine drum hits with samples and other types of sounds. How do people generally think about building a layout for that kind of thing?

From what I’ve seen from Melodics classes and other places (Mad Zach), people put the kick-snare-hat types of sounds on one hand and the samples on the other hand. That of course takes a lot of the value out of the two-hand QFG technique that I’m getting a lot of practice with.

I’ve tried putting the samples where the QFG toms go. That works really well when the samples are triggered on the quarter notes, because my left hand is free. I also experimented putting the samples down the line on the left hand side (I have a launchpad so extra space to work with) and similarly that works well and makes it easier to trigger left hand kicks at the same time as samples, but I’m not sure if its best yet.

Rob has some thoughts on a related subject in his ‘unconventional sounds’ vid: and in the comments he says he’s been doing more research.

Anyway, anyone have some good tips or resources for this kind of thing?

I guess it depends on how you produce hiphop. This is how I do it:

  1. Chop up the sample with serato sample, adjust the note etc., and assign the pads
  2. Hit record and play the samples
  3. Switch to the drumkit and boombapboombap

I have a conventional 4x4 drumpad though. I never ever thought of playing the samples and the drums and the “same time”.

When I need some extra sounds, I usually put them to the left bottom 2x2.

Yeah that’s mostly what I’m interested in, at least for this question: a good layout for samples and drums at the same time. Melodics calls this “Live Beat technique” but I can’t find any other reference to that term.

Here’s a good video showing Mad Zach playing drums and samples at the same time:
But again, his drumming layout and strategy is completely different from QFG’s, so I’m wondering if anyone out there has married the ideas…

I tend to keep the basic: snare , kick, hi hat in the same place as the QFG layout. It’s easier to jam if you know that certain stuff is always in the same place. I then fit other samples in the gaps (so Toms are usually ditched along with cymbals and maybe left hand closed hit hat).

When playing samples as well as drums I tend not to play alternate hands method but will probably go with drums on one hand and samples on the other. The drum patterns tend to be simpler

I think if you want to get good at finger drumming then you need to be able to do both methods. What I like about the alternate hands method is that you can play more complicated drum beats and it’s a bit easier to get dynamics going if you have a loud and soft hand.

@Robin That’s super helpful thank you.

Your point that the drum patterns tend to be simpler makes a lot of sense. But you still might have to play syncopated kicks, hats or snares, right? So you just play those with your dominant hand if you had to remove them for samples?

Yes I would just play the drums with my dominant hand. I also play keyboards a bit so playing two separate parts with different hands isn’t alien to me. I try not to think in terms of left hand / right hand but rather hands apart / hands together (if that makes sense). If the piece required say fast double kick or snare then I may use my non dominant hand to help out on those bits. Some patterns can end up being a bit of a hybrid approach to be honest.

I also sometimes use the separate hands method on drum only parts, usually on those occasions where there is say a strong percussion sound that feels like it stands out from the rest of the drums - say if you had a busy cowbell pattern. As sometimes it can be a bit difficult to try and work out (and then practice) when to play the cowbell with the left hand and when with the right hand.

My default position on finger drumming is to use the alternating hands method. But sometimes some stuff it makes more sense to use a different approach.

I would keep all the right side of standard layout plus open HH and toms. This leaves 5 spots for samples (which is enough I guess, at least for start). If you do not usually play some drums like toms, they can be exchanged for more samples

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I’ve played around with this too, lately.

If you need more trigger pads for loop slices or playing bass / notes, I found this layout a nice compromise so far:

Legend: Yellow is drum hits, blue is bass notes, white is loop slices / chops and violet are misc one trigger sounds. In the top right corner, you could keep a crash or a single-shot sound that works like a crash.

Basically I shift the QFG layout completely to the right and don’t duplicate kick, snare, hi-hat. I have a snare and a rimshot / sidestick / clap left of it. This works well enough when you have bigger pad sizes. It’s not that different to play than the mirrored layout, except that it’s tighter. But now there’s much more pads left and I can use my left hand rather freely to trigger those.