Learn how to DJ Drum and Bass?DnB Tutorials and mixing strategies

Drum and Bass is one among my favorite musical genres partly as a result of its such a pleasure to combine. Its quick tempo, thundering bass-line, melodic pads and complex percussion make it a improbable musical style to DJ with.

So you wish to combine Drum and Bass too proper?

I’ve created the final information to mixing Drum and Bass. The very best ideas, DnB tutorials and strategies to enhance your DJ expertise.

Virtually each Drum and Bass tune could be damaged down in to numerous layers. These layers assist create the extraordinary, melodic and rhythmic sounds of Drum and Bass.

As a result of they’re current in most tracks you should utilize some or all of them to create superb mixes. Working seamlessly from one tune to a different or chopping and altering between tracks to create your individual distinctive DJing fashion.

The layers are:-

  • Percussion
  • Bassline
  • Melodies / Stabs and Riffs
  • Pads
  • Vocals / Samples

Let’s undergo every of those to see how one can combine them completely.


Drum and Bass could be nothing with out the intricate percussion patterns. Working round 180 beats per minute, the percussive components create a texture that’s the mattress of any Drum and Bass monitor.

Its presence or absence is what creates the breaks and intense sounds whereas the off-beat kick drums are what give Drum and Bass its quick rhythmic really feel.

So you can also make good use of a number of components of the percussion in your DJ mixes. Chopping and altering between two tracks rapidly to create your individual percussion patterns (extra on that later).

The percussion can usually assist your mixes slip seamlessly between tunes should you decide simply the fitting tracks to combine. It may also be the one component of your combine that messes all the pieces up.

So understanding what percussions praise one another and which of them jar is without doubt one of the most essential elements of studying to DJ with Drum and Bass.

Right here’s some good examples of drum and bass percussion


Drum and bass instruments - BasslineWho doesn’t love a fats bass-line in a Drum and Bass tune? It may be deep and sit within the background of a tune including texture and depth or it may be in your face and intense, ruling the monitor like a freight practice. Each could be glorious.

Basslines should not current by means of your complete monitor, in reality most Drum and Bass tunes don’t begin with a bassline, providing you with time to combine between tracks simply with no clashing bass to wreck your combine.

As a basic rule bass-lines don’t combine properly collectively. They not often praise one another, its uncommon to seek out 2 that do. So I extremely advocate that make certain the bassline of your new monitor doesn’t are available in till the bassline out of your previous monitor has stopped.

Most full size Drum and Bass tracks are structured this manner for this very cause.

Try this monitor from Shy FX, probably the most memorable bass-lines of any Drum and Bass tune


Drum and bass piano melodiesNow that you’ve got your percussion and bassline your tune wants a brand new texture on high. That is the place a large number of devices, synths, easy notes and punchy stabs are available in to play.

Relying on the sub-genre of Drum and Bass you’ll discover melodies are utilized in very other ways however they almost all the time stick to 1 chosen key.

This key can both praise or actually battle along with your subsequent monitor so its essential to know what keys work collectively properly and which don’t.

Most fashionable software program pushed controllers have key change choices which typically sound good, typically sound terrible.

Most tracks don’t begin or finish with a melody layers, often returning again to simply percussion, so when the melody is current you and your viewers know the monitor has actually kicked in.  You should utilize this “marker” as the beginning or finish level of a combination, in addition to including further layers if the keys out of your two tracks match. Extra on key matching later.

You’ll discover some nice examples of melodies on this sampler. Pianos, stabs, synths, bells and extra.


Pad sounds drum and bassNot all Drum and Bass tunes have pads in them, often discovered within the extra melodic sub-genres.

These add an additional lovely layer of sound giving texture and emotion to a monitor.

These are sometimes accompanied by melodies however can cling round longer, all the time in a complimenting key.

You’ll must be careful for these as relying on the kind of pad you’ll discover some combine properly, others don’t.

Right here’s an important instance of drum and bass pads

Vocals and Samples

Drum and bass vocalsVocals have gotten more and more well-liked in Drum and Bass sub-genres, often not complete verse and refrain preparations however easy repeating vocals with delay echos and different soundbites thrown in so as to add a human layer to the tune.

As you might already know, a number of vocals nearly all the time conflict, making each unrecognisable and annoying.

Its why most Drum and Bass tunes don’t begin or finish with vocals, permitting you to combine out and in with out inflicting nasty drum and bass mixes.

Since you nearly by no means combine when vocals are current, the important thing of the vocals isn’t essential. Maintaining one set of vocals distant from one other monitor’s vocals means you’re free to swap keys, sub-genres and even combine throughout vocal breakdowns so as to add a brand new percussive layer and inventive sound.

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Right here’s a Drum and Bass combine with loads of vocals and samples.


Every layer of a Drum and Bass monitor provides a special DJ mixing alternative.  By far my favorite to mess around with is the percussion.

Kick drums are sometimes the identical sample between tracks providing you with one thing lock two tunes collectively, however the percussive devices and patterns are nice enjoyable to be artistic with.

Not like different dance music genres at decrease or related tempos, the layers talked about above could be creatively combined in, out, reduce and chopped round. DJ-ing Drum and Bass is usually all in regards to the lengthy expansive percussion and melody loops, providing you with ample time to do some actually particular combine strategies.

So right here’s a couple of to get you began. In the event you’ve ever listened to a Drum and Bass DJ combine you’ll recognise a few of these.

The Seamless combine

Seamless mixing with faders and frequenciesLet’s begin with the one which sounds fundamental and easy however is definitely usually ignored. It is because Drum and Bass tunes are sometimes intense, in-your-face sounds which lend themselves to rougher reduce mixes.

Actually some tracks actually don’t wish to be seamlessly combined along with producers creating sounds that may jar should you’re making an attempt to seamless combine.

Choose your tracks fastidiously, discover 2 tunes which have lengthy percussion intros and loads of time earlier than the bass-line or melody kicks in. If there’s some vocal samples thats fantastic so long as they don’t conflict between the 2 tunes.

To observe the seamless combine you can even create 16 or 32 beat loops in your DJ software program, providing you with infinite time to know how one can really seamless combine.

So lets get began…

Monitor 1 is enjoying, often nearing the top of the monitor, with melodies and vocals disappearing, leaving simply bass-lines and percussion, ultimately simply percussion. It’s throughout this deconstruction that your seamless combine will work finest, as usually Monitor 2 might be increase. In the event you can time the combination excellent the 2 will work in concord, handing over the baton from one to the opposite.

1. Get your tracks in sync

Begin enjoying monitor 2, beginning it on the first of 16 or 32 beats because the 4 x 4 nature of dance music is nearly all the time structured on this method.

Make certain your 2 tracks are completely beat matched, both manually (all the time ability!) or by utilizing the sync function. You’ll nonetheless must test the software program has completely beat matched because the off-beat kick drum nature of drum and bass can confuse some DJ software program.

2. Cut back excessive and low frequency

I like to recommend lowering the excessive and low frequencies on monitor 2 earlier than you convey the quantity up from zero. This helps scale back any punchy sounds or crisp excessive hats that might make it too apparent your combine has began.

3. Improve the quantity slowly

I imply actually slowly, its Drum and Bass so there’s no main rush. You’ll discover you’ll be able to nearly hear the brand new percussion of monitor 2 layered over monitor 1. Your viewers most likely wont be so conscious as they don’t know when the brand new monitor is coming in. That is what makes the seamless combine so efficient.

Now slowly enhance the quantity as much as 5o% or 60%, slowly rising the excessive frequency quantity again to its regular place. It will convey within the excessive hats which usually praise one another extra successfully than the decrease kick sounds.

4. Cut back frequency quantity on monitor 1

Drum and bass mixing techniquesIts time to start out lowering the kick on monitor 1 whereas additionally rising monitor 2’s quantity. This lets monitor 2’s decrease frequency kick drums begin to take over. As there’s loads of kick from monitor 1 you don’t must return the low frequency quantity again to regular on monitor 2 simply but.

Over the size of your combine you’ll be adjusting a number of issues. Bringing the quantity fader of monitor 2 . as much as 100% whereas lowering the quantity on monitor 1 and lowering the low frequency.

As soon as you are feeling monitor 2 is extra dominant and taking the lead in your sound you’ll be able to scale back the excessive frequency quantity on monitor 1 as properly.

5. Preserve it going

Dj tips for drum and bass mixingPreserve monitor 1 enjoying within the background, even at simply 50% quantity for so long as you’ll be able to. This retains the feel of each tracks and makes it really feel as if monitor 2 now accommodates monitor 1’s percussive components.

You may all the time loop monitor 1 when simply the percussion is enjoying. By now monitor 2 will most likely have bassline, melodies increase, some vocal samples, all including layer upon layer. Such a fantastic sound!

Mixing over breaks

Drum and Bass almost all the time accommodates intense moments of percussion and bass-line, with quieter extra emotional moments of breakdowns the place simply vocal or melody samples are current. I really like to combine over these breakdowns with a brand new percussive sound, or if the secret’s proper add a brand new bass-line on high of it. Right here’s how.

Use the visible information in your software program or the change in groove in your vinyl file to allow you to see the place a breakdown may be. Its often fairly apparent as a there’s a transparent change in rhythm and depth.

Sync your tracks

You’ll want all the pieces beat matched and able to go earlier than the breakdown occurs. As there’s just one layer of percussion enjoying in the course of the break its tougher to maintain issues completely beat matched, observe makes excellent on this one!

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When it the break happens you’ve got a couple of choices. Both immediately begin monitor 2 enjoying, with percussion layered over monitor 1’s break, or wait a sure variety of beats.

Often it’s a must to wait 16 or 32 beats if the break is lengthy sufficient, however you’ll be able to convey it in sooner after 4 or 8 beats.

Drum and bass DJing technique

You may go away the excessive and low frequency volumes at 100% and your quantity fader at 80-100% for monitor 2.

The essential factor to recollect is {that a} break is often adopted by a construct up and a relax in to full percussion and bass-lines. One thing you’ll most likely wish to keep away from.

Time it completely

So the thought is to get your combine performed earlier than the break ends. You are able to do this by looping the break providing you with extra time to combine, or by being conscious how lengthy you’ve bought left and fading out or filtering out the break in order that the monitor 2 takes over.

This works properly if you understand the melody or vocals of monitor 2 kick in simply as monitor 1’s break was going to finish.

Reduce and Swap mixing for drum and Bass

This combine you don’t have any doubt heard in Drum and Bass mixes earlier than. It’s most likely probably the most enjoyable you’ll be able to have with this dance music style and there aren’t many genres that lend themselves to being chopped round a lot.

Use the crossfader

Crossfader mixing drum and bassTo chop and swap a Drum and Bass combine fashion you’ll most definitely wish to use your cross fader, most mixers have them.

If yours doesn’t you’ll wish to maintain on to each the quantity faders and be able to convey one up and the opposite down rapidly!

Have each your tracks beat matched (in fact). It’s vitally essential they’re completely synced to verify it sounds as if one monitor accommodates 2 percussion types.

Works finest over percussion loops

Chopping and switching works finest when there’s simply percussion however you are able to do it at different occasions too.

If there’s vocals, melodies or pads enjoying then keep in mind you’re going to lose these sounds briefly which might sound jarring or it may well actually add to the combination! Experiment and see what works for the tunes you’ve chosen.

If monitor 1 and monitor 2 are enjoying and on the identical beat (i.e. first of 4 beats) then flick your cross fader rapidly to trace 2 after which again to trace 1.

Mess around with if you do that flick and the way lengthy you allow the fader at monitor 2.

Get artistic!

You are able to do tremendous quick flicks catching just some moments of percussion from monitor 2, or you’ll be able to double flick catching sure elements of it.

In the event you’re feeling courageous you’ll be able to go away it on monitor 2 for a 2 or 3 beats, I often do that simply earlier than I wish to launch in to trace 2 taking up the combination.

Its an effective way to tease what tune is coming subsequent, particularly if you understand the gang will recognise it, teasing components they might know.

Choose the fitting moments

One factor to recollect is that when you begin slicing and switching your 2 tracks, its often not potential to do a seamless combine or combine over a break.

You may in fact however I discover it extra enjoyable to be a bit of rougher with the combination. Your viewers have already been handled to some fast stabs of monitor 2 and can little question be cheering to listen to extra of it. So you’ll be able to launch in to mixing to trace 2 with a extra intense method.

In the event you’re doing this then make certain monitor 2 has the identical quantity stage as monitor 1 and is able to take over the melody and pads if there are any.

There’s no level mixing in monitor 2 should you’ve bought one other 60 seconds of simply percussion. Prepare to actually move the baton with some depth!


There are many different mixing strategies you’ll be able to strive however these are my 3 favorite that are price working towards time and again. When you’ve nailed them you’ll be able to actually begin to get tremendous artistic.

An additional bonus…

Try this nice video from DJ Vodicy displaying a sophisticated mixing fashion. Mixing two breaks on the similar time handy over from one monitor to the opposite.

This solely actually works when the keys praise one another or are the identical. It’ll take some observe however is extremely efficient. Test it out

Drum and Bass, as you’ll be able to most likely inform by now, is all in regards to the layers and soundscapes. It depends closely on preserving a really structured method, components coming out and in after 16 or 32 beats. Loads of repetition and figuring out sounds that assist to construct up the bigger image.

It’s predominantly a loops and samples based mostly dance music style, excellent for DJ controllers that may enable you to rapidly create loops for your self.

This lets you be artistic and remix a monitor on-the-fly in entrance of your adoring viewers. Including complete new ranges to your mixes!

If creating and controlling loops is tough then its not going to be straightforward to be artistic. So that you’ll want a controller that has all the pieces you want proper there in entrance of you.

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Roland DJ-505 DJ Controller

Roland DJ-505 DJ ControllerFor tremendous artistic loops and drum patterns look no additional than the legendary Roland Dj Controllers.

The 505 truly has drum machine loops inbuilt so you can’t solely loop elements of the tracks you’re enjoying however add your individual drum loops on high.

It really works completely with Serato DJ, one of many business customary DJ software program apps.

With 2 decks proper in entrance of you there’s no finish to the creativity, all of the buttons it’s essential rapidly launch a loop, bounce to a scorching cue you’ve created in your tracks, resize a loop pattern, add your individual drum samples and fast reduce and swap between drum and bass tracks, its all there for you.

No must configure software program that will help you. This makes it properly well worth the price ticket. Try the newest costs of the Roland DJ-505 DJ controller right here.

In the event you’re on a tighter funds then try the DJ-202 controller as properly which is lower than half the value however nonetheless packs some nice looping options.

Native Devices Traktor Kontrol controllers

I personally am an enormous Traktor fan and there’s no higher {hardware} producer than Native Devices for looping DJ controllers.

They create arguably probably the most intuitive DJ controllers accessible so should you’re trying to get artistic along with your Drum and Bass DJ strategies look no additional. There’s a few nice choices I can positively advocate.

Native Devices Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3For these on a funds however nonetheless need a wealth of looping options proper at your fingertips try the S2 Mk3.

2 decks of precision DJ controls with the power to leap to loops and cues, create new cues on the fly and seamlessly bounce between a number of loops with Traktor’s highly effective loop software program. For the newest worth and buyer opinions test it out right here.

Native Devices Traktor Kontrol S8 DJ Controller

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8 DJ ControllerFor the last word in creativity it merely doesn’t get higher than the S8. You may apply results to a number of loops enjoying on the similar time.

Modify and choose loops with ease and get tracks within the “Stems” format which let you fade out layers of the monitor together with percussion, melodies, vocals and pads!

It doesn’t get higher than that. That is the controller I might most positively go for should you’re severe about DJ-ing Drum and Bass. For the newest worth and consumer opinions go right here.

For these on a decent funds

Numark mixtrack pro 3Check out the Numark Mixtrack Professional 3 which has some entry stage looping controls and capabilities.

It’ll positively get you began and is suitable with Serato DJ mild so an important controller to get began with.

Take into accout you might quickly out-grow the artistic limits of this controller so its all the time price serious about what the next step may be. For the newest costs go right here.

As I’ve talked about Drum and Bass DJing is all in regards to the loops of percussion, melody and vocals. So you’ll be able to actually go to city and be artistic by chopping up your favorite tunes and transforming them to fit your fashion. This takes some preparation in your half however is properly price it.

Add scorching cues and loop markers

Firstly it’s essential load a tune in to a deck in your software program, then skip ahead to the place you’ll be able to visually see a change within the waveform sample. You may in fact take heed to the monitor however should you’re pushed for time simply bounce forward.

Use the software program to precision mark with the new cue or loop instrument the place there’s a change within the tune. Both bassline, melody or vocals coming in.

Hot cues and loops DJ advice

I like to recommend creating at the least one loop cue that’s simply percussion, you’ll use this greater than some other loop.

You might create a loop cue only for a brief vocal pattern that you would add results to when mixing over different tracks. This could sound nice with filters, reverb and delay echos added.

For simply scorching cues I like to recommend having one when the bassline begins, one in the beginning of a breakdown and one in the direction of the top the place the tune returns to simply percussion. The final may be a loop as this is useful for lengthy prolonged seamless mixes.

Be sure you do that for each monitor in your library in order that if you’re prepared to combine you’ve bought the new cues and loops at your finger ideas. With the fitting controller you’ll be able to bounce immediately to those after which bounce again once more, restructuring the monitor to fit your combine.

Now that you just’ve ready all of your Drum and Bass tunes for the last word DJ set you’ll be able to much more artistic with results inbuilt to your DJ software program.

Best effects for drum and bassTraktor particularly does an important job of this with a number of impact layering potential.

Some results work higher than others so right here’s a useful listing of these I like to recommend making an attempt.

  • Beatmasher
  • Delay
  • Filter
  • Flanger
  • Reverb
  • Noise

There are lots of extra however these are the results I am going again to time and time once more. With Traktor you’ll be able to even group results to create one new impact thats straightforward to regulate. I like to recommend taking a look at this web page all about Traktor 3’s impact capabilities.

I extremely advocate you watch this video to see loops, cues and results in motion.

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