Hi-Hat is an inevitable part of almost any drum section, either of live drums or software drum machines. When it comes to drum samples, using one hi-hat with the same dynamic characteristics could result in a dull and lifeless sequence. We can learn a lot by listening to how a live drummer plays his hi-hat sequence and striving to mimic those changes in velocity, groove, and many other aspects to create something interesting. In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a dynamic hi-hat sequence.

As usual, we have prepared a short sequence in our SoundBridge: DAW with most of the elements of the full mix, but without the hi-hat. Let’s listen to it.

This is a picture of my mix before creating the hi-hat sequence.
~Full Mix – Without Hi-Hat sequence

To initiate the hi-hat sequence, we will choose a mono-sounding hi-hat sample and make a simple 16th beat pattern with a slight variation in velocity.

This is a picture of the first hi-hat audio channel and its changes in velocity level.
~Hi Hat 1

When compared to the previous hi-hat sequence, the new one’s hits will be placed where the mono hi-hat velocity is lower. By doing this, we will create a groove and introduce more movement to the overall sequence.

This is a picture of the first and second hi-hat audio channels and their hits positions.
~Hi Hat 1 & 2
Dominant hi-hat sample

For the third layer of our hi-hat sequence, we’ll use a dominant hi-hat sample that will be placed on every 1/8 beat. This hi-hat should ideally have a longer decay than the others.

This is a picture of all 3 hi-hat audio channels and their hits positions.
~Hi Hat 1,2 & 3

To continue improving our hi-hat sequence, we can add all of the channels to a new group and process them all together with some room reverb and compression. As you can see in the image below, we chose the SP2016 Reverb by Eventide and the API2500 compressor by Waves Audio, but this is purely a matter of taste, so feel free to select the effects you like.

This is a picture of SoundBridge sequencer as well as reverb and compressor effects used on the group hi-hat channel and their settings.
Hi-Hat Sequence – Group Processing

Finally, let’s hear how our hi-hat sequence sounds in the context of the full mix.

~Full Mix – Processed Hi-Hat Sequence

If you liked this article, here are some more on hi-hats: