Producing Hard Rock is one hell of a task.
Few genres demand every instrument to be as powerful as the next. One of the easiest ways to fall by the waist side when producing heavier styles is whimpy sounding drums.
Your tracks deserve so much more than that.
Let all kicks boom. Let every snare hit be like steel to an anvil. Let there be rock!
This article explores some of the best hard rock drum kit samples on the market today. Whether it’s loops from some of the genres greatest drummers or one-shots from some of the greatest sounding kits, we’ve got you covered.
Below is a short list of the hard rock drum samples we talk about in this article. Scroll down for more details or click for audio demos.
- Simon Phillips Session Tracks
- Rock Steady
- Thick and Meaty
- Heavy Rock Drops
- Mapex Heavy Rock Kit
- Scott Rockenfield Rock Drums
No two musicians are the same, everybody feels music differently, but hiring a session musician can be expensive. This is where The Loop Loft has pulled a blinder.
Simon Phillips is one of the most well-respected drummers in Hard Rock history, with his name found amongst Joe Satriani, Toto and The Who.
Simon Phillips – Session Tracks from The Loop Loft takes Simon’s phenomenal groove and sound, and injects it straight into your Digital Audio Workstation for you to manipulate even further.
This collection has been inspired by some of Hard Rock’s most celebrated, so expect to find grooves that wouldn’t sound out of place with AC/DC, ZZ Top or Led Zeppelin within. This isn’t MIDI. This isn’t a machine. This is one hell of a drummer, grooving his ass off.
This collection contains 34 different drum sessions to choose from, each with a different Hard Rock style. Each session is split into common song sections; verse, chorus, bridge, allowing you to drag and drop parts according to your goals.
As well as loops, Simon Phillips – Session Tracks also contains one-shots. The single hits allow you to embellish grooves with extra cymbal hits or to reinforce a snare by stacking different snare one-shots.
This collection is available as both Stereo Loop Sessions and Multitrack Sessions. If you’re looking to add the groove of one of Hard Rock’s best drummers, Stereo Loops will suffice. If you’re more of a tweak head and want to have control over each aspect of the drumkit, Multitrack Sessions is an incredible investment. Each session contains single hits as well as loops.
Simon Phillips – Session Tracks is an indispensable collection of loops and one-shots for producers looking to invest in the feel of one of Hard Rock’s best.
There’s nothing more encouraging when researching rock drum samples than a collection whose logo is the metal horns. The Loop Loft’s Rock Steady is a collection of 112 drum loops ranging from 90 – 162bpm.
Whether you’re looking for the explosive John Bonham sound or blistering Dave Grohl styled rhythms, The Loop Loft is there for you. Rock Steady is a no-frills, high quality, essential rock grooves pack. Perfect for any songwriter needing quick access to high-quality rock grooves. It’s so easy; there’s no need to detract from the rest of the songwriting process.
With the pack being no-frills by nature, don’t expect fancy versatility with blending individual drum elements to create the perfect balance for your loop. Don’t expect a range of multi-timbral and multi-velocity one-shots that you can retrigger in your software sampler of choice.
Do expect a very usable collection of excellent sounding Rock loops in REX format that you can hack up for your productions every need. For Hard Rock this pack lacks a little.
As much as they have the potential to be usable as inspirational start points, the meticulousness of Hard Rock processing on drums means Rock Steady isn’t rock solid in comparison to the competition as you’re boxed into the loop’s sound. Great for songwriters and starting points.
Getting the name right is one of the golden rules of marketing, and The Loop Loft has executed this to perfection with Thick and Meaty. Thick and Meaty is a collection of massive sounding drums, provided in multi-track format.
This multi-track format allows the producer to dial in the perfect balance for their production. The sound of these samples is fat, juicy and in your face. All you need to do is find the groove you want and adjust the faders to taste. The inclusion of the room sound is a particular highlight of this collection. Blending in the natural ambiance of a drum room soon turns a transient heavy drum sound into an explosive one.
Thick and Meaty allows you to adjust kick, snare, rack tom, floor tom, overheads, room mic, tambourine, African shaker, cowbell and egg shaker channels to control every aspect of the loops. If you find the groove is in the cowbell, turn it up! After all, you can never have too much cowbell, can you?
As well as the brilliant balancing features available, it’s worth mentioning the intuitiveness of The Loop Loft’s folder structure. Each multi-track session for Thick and Meaty is logically laid out. If you’re looking for a cross-stick groove for the verse, locate the verse folder and the cross-stick groove folder within! If you’re in need of that Fleetwood Mac-esque pounding Tom groove for the Bridge, check out the Bridge folder and see what lurks within.
As fantastic the features are, it’s worth mentioning this pack does have limitations. The grooves are 100bpm, and although editing is possible, the more drastic the change in BPM, the less representative the sound becomes. This collection is ideal for singer-songwriters working within the genre who need massive sounding drums, with the flexibility to control every individual component.
For this collection Drum Drops enlisted Jason Bowld; Bullet For My Valentine, Fightstar, and Killing Joke amongst many others, as the man behind the kit. Having a Hard Rock drummer behind a Hard Rock kit; the Mapex Saturn Drum Kit goes a long way to getting that Hard Rock drum sound!
This collection of Heavy Rock drum loops covers many of the genres finest groovers of the last 40 years. Whether you’re looking to add a Zeppelin, feel with a contemporary sound, and AC/DC solid backbeat or something more industrial with a Nine Inch Nails loop, this collection has the loops for you.
The tempos of the loops range from 70 beats per minute up to a whopping 189bpm, as well as including grooves in 6/8 and 7/8. A true swiss army knife of Hard Rock loops!
Heavy Rock Drops contains 20 different drum tracks, split into 4 bar grooves in REX format. This allows you to drag and drop a groove you like the feel of and edit without sacrificing the sound quality. Found the perfect Thin Lizzy style groove but the kick pattern clashes with your bass guitar part? Not a problem! Slice the loop using the kick as a reference and sequence to taste! Maintain the groove without sacrificing the song or sound quality.
This pack doesn’t only contain grooves; there is also a wide range of fills to allow you to tailor the transitions of your drum tracks, too. This collection is ideal for the producer or artist needing to span the whole of Hard Rock. It is also a perfect pack for the producer looking to add the feel of a real Hard Rock drummer into their production.
Marty ‘Ginge’ Ford; known for his work with Bullet For My Valentine, Trivium, and Slipknot, was responsible for recording this sample pack. Having one of Hard Rock and Metal’s most exceptional talents capture the sounds of the Mapex Heavy Rock Kit was a masterstroke from Drum Drops.
The tone of each drum represents the genre well. Amongst the Mapex Saturn drum samples are extra snares. These snares are the Mapex Machete, Mapex Black Panther and the much sought after Mapex Black Panther Hammered Phosphor Bronze.
There are three different tiered packs available as part of the Mapex Heavy Rock Kit; Multi-Velocity, Single Hits, and One-Shots. The simplest is One-Shots, a pack for those who need one sample of each articulation. Ideal for those working with drum machines. If synthetic sounding drums is your thing (and there’s a lot of it in the harder genres!), One-Shots is an ideal pack for you.
Single Hits provides three different velocities for each articulation. If you want more dynamic realism from your Hard Rock drums, single hits are ideal. Coupled with the three velocity articulations is a range of patches for popular soft samplers. These patches allow you to program parts with the convenience of MIDI. If you want realism from your programmed Hard Rock drums, the Multi-Velocity is the pack you need. With 16 different velocity layers across each articulation and patches for a wide range of software samplers, you are spoiled for the vast programming possibilities.
The Mapex Heavy Rock Kit is ideal for anybody producing the heavier end of the spectrum. The range of packs available is superb, allowing the producer to choose the pack to suit their track. If you need to sneak a hard-hitting snare under your existing snare to beef it up, Single Hits will do you justice. If you want realistic programming options, Multi-Velocity all the way. A great pack for the heavy producer.
As far as precise drummers go, you’d be foolish to overlook Scott Rockenfield of Queensrÿche. Both sheer force and rhythm support, Scott is mentioned amongst the likes of Neil Peart, Mike Portnoy, and Stewart Copeland.
Loop Masters bring you Scott Rockenfield Rock Drums, a collection of 265 Rock drum loops played by the man himself. As stated with the Simon Phillips collection above, having access to one of Hard Rock’s greatest groovers is worth the entrance fee alone. Scott’s the kind of drummer whos hi-hat work is as addictive as his tom grooves.
If you’re looking for an authentic Hard Rock sound, this is the pack for you.
Scott recorded five full tracks; consisting of intro, verse, chorus, bridge, fills, etc., at tempos ranging between 130 to 183 beats per minute. As part of the collection, you also get 165 multi-track loops that you can mix and process to suit your every need. As if having the feel of one of Hard Rock’s greatest drummers wasn’t enough.
If the multi-tracks didn’t have you begging for mercy. Loop Masters also had Scott ‘rock out’ hard, providing 60 bonus loops, featuring some face melting grooves. That’s not even the end. In addition to this awesome collection, you also get 76 one-shots ready for programming your own beats, with soft sampler patches included for NNXT, Hallion, Kontakt, SFZ and EXS24.
Scott Rockenfield Rock Drums is a no-brainer for any producer looking for the feel of one of the genres best, but still able to control the balance and sound of each element of the loop. Whether you’re looking for grooves to kick-start your inspiration, or a single velocity sample to help add impact and reinforce a sound, you’d be foolish to overlook this pack.
Musicians in Rock bands can be quite precious over their art, and as such found it staggering at the range of high-quality Hard Rock samples available.
Listening to music within the genre soon makes it clear how synthetic the drums can sound. Having access to competitive samples you can program inside your software sampler is a must for any Hard Rock producer.
Throughout this article, we have covered the finest programmed loop collections from two of the genres greatest drummers and enough one-shots to keep you flicking through libraries and auditioning sounds, for days.
As always, the pack for you will depend upon your goals and intentions. Visit the sites above, listen to their examples and get ready to rock, hard.