Timing, Quantization & Swing

How to make your beats groove.

Timing, quantization and swing can either make or break your beat. Too much of it and your beat becomes static and robotic, too little and your beat becomes messy and weak, sounding like some random drum samples thrown together. However, with the right quantization everyone will nod their heads. Use this technique to get your drums to groove like never before.

What is the perfect Quantization method?

The answer seems simple: Swing! It is the key to bouncing drums! And what it basically does is: it makes your drums sloppy in the right way, but the theory behind this is quite extensive and complicated.

Right now, I’m not going to explain all the background information and technical details. Instead, I will teach you a simple and solid technique that you can use directly and easily to get the bounce right, no matter what software or hardware you are using!

After years of practicing, I found that you can almost always use the following rule of thumb: 

Always time the on-beat notes perfectly tight and then experiment with delaying the off-beat notes.

So, the off-beat notes should be moved a little to the right, which means that they will be played later than when timed perfectly right. With just a little trial and error, this will get you the perfect groove and feeling for your beat!

Continue to the next Quick Tip:
Panning: How to Pan Your Drums