Layering Your Hats

Layering Your Hats

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Making Cool Hi-Hat Loops,

Hi-Hats within your track have a real special place. They are super quick hits, usually quite high in frequency, yet, when taken out of a song, can make the track feel really empty? How can this be?

It really is something special about hi-hats. And one has to learn to take advantage of hi-hats by adding them into your arrangement at the right timing.

Another thought towards hi-hats inside beats, and the reason why I think they fill up the beat so well, is most of the time, hats are usually played where notes are not, sometimes filling in those empty spaces. Also, because of their sharp high frequency, it helps it cut through better.

This goes even more so for the fast hi-hats. Again, notes usually play quite slow in compared to percussion loops, and especially those fast hi-hat loops having a hat on every two, or one step!

Now, being creative in your hi-hat loops is definitely important, but having a few tricks of the trade will almost always allow you to produce better beats, even if you’re in beat block mode.

Layering is talked about, especially in sound design, but not really talked about when it comes to hi-hats.

Layering Hi-Hats — Do You Just Use One Hat Only?

Have you ever thought about using a few hats to spice up your track?

Personally what I find, when I use one hi-hat, is it fills up my beat, but not like when I start using a few different hats.

The reason is because when I start using more than one hat, I will start placing them in different parts of the loop, therfore, taking up more space in the mix, and making the loop sound fuller!

This is how I come out with real busy sounding tracks. Sure, you can easily over do this, but then just take away, or dial down some volumes until you have the hi-hat loop where you want it!

There are times and places for use of just one hat, but to really take my beats to that extra fullness, high-quality production level, I add in a few to create some cool loops

Using More Than One Hi-Hat — My Special Sauce!

Now there’s a few different ways you can go about doing this.

  1. Create a random loop like I’ve done in the video
  2. Just layer hats on certain beats to get some extra expression out of them
  3. Try layering different hats on each hit, it can make them sound fuller, and bring out originality at all times of the beat!

Somethings I should of showed in this video was putting all your tracks into a SUB channel.  From there, you can EQ and compress to taste, leaving your layered hats exactly how you want them!

Changing Your Hats Note/Pitch!

While creating that shaker-like hat, there is one thing I didn’t show. I showed how to duplicate the track, then lower the second one in volume. However, that second one you lower in volume, try to change the note of this hat.

Simply do this by hitting Shift + UP on the arrow keys, with the second set of hats, the ones I duplicated, up a note, or an octave! — This is where the creativity comes in.

This really fills up your beat and keeps your percussion loops HOT!

Let me know if you start banging out that fire with those special sauce layered hats ;).

Super Hat Mini Series,

Beatstruggles had a short little series on hi-hats. In case you missed it, check out the Super Hat Mini Series post!

About The Author

GratuiTous

GratuiTous is a Christian music producer striving to perfect his skills as a beatmaker, mixer, and mastering engineer. His articles strive to keep things simple, yet touch on the topic complex enough to have a decent understanding. He also releases FL Studio email series!

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