Lofi drum loops are the backbone of lofi beats. So, how do you make them?
This post covers the five steps to take to make lofi drum loops. Whether you’re going for classic lofi, chill, zen, vibey, boom bap lofi, trap lofi, or any other type, follow these steps.
LoFi Drum Loops Tempo
What BPM is used in lofi? Most lofi beats stay in the range of 60 to 90 BPM. Anything outside of that and you risk being too chill or too fast.
You can if you want however. Remember, lofi is music, music is art, and the rules can be broken.
But if you’re just starting out, stick to 60-90bpm
Action: set your DAW to somewhere between 60-90bpm. Not sure what to pick, start with 74bpm.
Simple Drum Patterns
Lofi drum loops are simple drum loops. They don’t go crazy with the hi hats like trap drums, and they don’t go crazy with percussion like reggaeton drums.
The idea is to create simple head nodding beats.
Keep the snare on the 2 and the 4. Keep the kick on the one. Sprinkle in hats. If you want more of a jazzy feel, sprinkle in cymbal rides.
But the key is to keep it simple. Lofi drum loops should be simple, but not basic. We’ll add more in the following steps to really dial it in.
Here's an example of a simple lofi drum pattern we'll start with
Action: use the following drum pattern in your DAW. It’s a simple drum loop that captures the essence of LoFi.
This drum pattern is pulled from the LoFi Drum guide.
Imperfections mostly means not playing everything perfect. A machine (like your DAW) can play everything perfectly spot on all the time. A real human comes with flaws. The timing is not perfect. It’ll be off a bit here and there.
The easiest way to do this is to add swing to your drums. Swing offsets notes by a little bit here and there.
The next way to do this is to randomize the velocity. We don’t want every note to hit the same. Mix up the velocity.
Here's our pattern with swing and velocity changes applied:
Action: add a small amount of swing to your drums and also randomize the velocity.
Vintage Effects In LoFi Drum Loops
Time to get cooking with the sounds of LoFi. At this point we have a decent lofi drum loop but we need to bake in that true old school sound. This comes down to two main areas:
- the unintended sounds that showed up in old tracks like vinyl, crackle, hiss, and pop. This was a nature of the recording gear they had back in the day.
- The warm, saturated sound older gear created
For one we can simply layer in a vinyl sample. You can also use a plugin to add this in. For two, let’s add in saturation. This will give us a warm old school feel.
The other thing we can do is roll of the high and low end of EQ. The gear back in the day couldn’t process such high or low frequencies. So we’ll do the same.
Here's our beat with Vintage FX applied. I'll ramp it up so you can really hear the difference:
At this point we have a solid lofi drum loop. But, we need to add in one more thing. Atmosphere. This is the world around us. Birds chirping, kids playing, crickets cricketting (??), thunder roaring or the sound of rain.
Layer this in with a sample and we have a solid lofi drum loop.
Here's our beat with Atmosphere sounds, in the case waves and seagulls:
Action: layer in atmospheric / foley sounds to your loop.
BONUS - Chords
Once you've gone this far, rounding out your lofi beat is quite simple. Throw in some lofi chords and you're almost there. For a simple way to generate chords, checkout our Ripchord guide.
As you can see, making lofi drum loops is pretty straightforward. The process is simple but there's plenty of room to get creative.
The main foundation is the drum patterns. Start with the LoFi drum Pattern guide and you'll be loaded with LoFi drum patterns and 300 lofi drum sounds.