Snare Repeat Technique

This one is for you 9th Wonder heads!

Drums can become quite repetitive after a few bars if you’re not a master at programming them. There’s so many ways to keep the drum track evolving, but let’s look at a super simple way 9th Wonder switched up the dynamics of his drums with a snare repeat. Check out the track For You from his group’s Little Brother debut album The Listening and listen to what 9th Wonder does with the snares at 0:21, 0:48, 1:05, …

What he did is a really simple 2 bar drum fill with a snare repeat. Instead of playing the snare just on the 2 and 4, you copy it to the 1 and 3 as well. It’s like the vinyl is skipping in an endless loop.

This doesn’t only work on the snare though, feel free and do the same technique on other tracks in your production as well, like the kick or the bass.

9th Wonder is not the first to do this simple, but effective technique, but he keeps you guessing when it comes in again. A beginner would put this fill every four or eight bars, which would be cool the first two times you hear it, but then it becomes a predictable pattern. 9th takes it step further…

Intro aside, he first brings in the fill the first time after 4 bars: The next time he drops it is after 8 more bars. Then it’s back to 4 bars, and straight back to 8 bars again. The pattern repeats but feels fresh each time, because your ear can’t really figure it what’s going on. On the other hand it’s not completely random and subconsciously it just feels right to you.

Someone on YouTube pointed me to this snare repeat trick a few days ago and I have already used it a few times in my own beats to spice things up. Try it out for yourself next time!

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