How To Make Professional Trap Hi Hat Rolls (+ Free MIDI Pack)

How To Make Professional Trap Hi Hat Rolls (+ Free MIDI Pack)

Hi Hat Rolls are a definitive element within trap music. It's what creates a lot of the bounce and complexity, but it can be challenging to pull off a great sounding hi hat loop, without it sounding either too basic or overbearing. Luckily we have a handful of tips from our in house producer team, who have worked on trap songs with millions of streams. Here's how it's done properly

1. Don't Overcomplicate Your Hi Hat Patterns

It's really easy to think that adding a load of really intricate, fast hi hat rolls and unusual pitch changes is what sets you apart from the top-tier producers, but this often isn't actually the case. Give "No Heart" By Metro Boomin and 21 Savage a listen:

When casually listening it's easy to overthink the song, because it sounds so good. In reality though, the hi hats are fairly simple with a (very) sparingly used pitch change or fast roll here and there. The beauty of Metro's production is that it's interesting, sounds awesome but also isn't unnecessarily complex.

2. Use a Great Trap Hi Hat One Shot

There are 3 parts to perfecting Hi Hat rolls: The MIDI, the Mixing, and the Sample. Make sure you are using Hi Hat One Shots which are short enough to be appropriate for your beat. They should ideally be fairly clicky, and even at a lower volume be heard easily through your mix. Using a longer, more "open hat" type of sample can work in some cases, but be careful when using a long sample alongside faster hi hat rolls, because you don't want it to just turn into white noise.

3. Use Velocity To Create Interesting Hi Hats

Hi Hat rolls can sound especially dry if all of the notes are the same velocity - create some variation! You can really add some extra groove to your beats quickly and effectively by making use of velocity changes throughout your production. 

4. Use A MIDI Kit

We get it, there's a lot to take on in this article. Hi Hats are deceptively difficult to master and can take a lot of extra time to perfect. If you're looking to create amazing, instant drag and drop hi hats that sound professional in seconds, then you should definitely give the Essential Hi Hat MIDI Kit a try. With 40 MIDI Files, 20 .WAV loops and a ton of great Hi Hat one shots, this pack is awesome value for what it offers, at less than the price of a coffee. We also have a free demo version available too, so you can decide which is right for you.


5. Use Automation On Your Hi Hats

A lot of you may already know that tweaking the velocity can create some really great bounce, but what you may not be doing is also using automations to your advantage. My personal favourite to really push my beats to the next level in a simple way is to make use of panning, through automation. Here's and example of how you could use panning to create something interesting:

 Panning Hi Hat in Ableton

For the faster rolls within this loop (Included in the Essential Hi Hat MIDI Kit), I have started from the center and panned one roll to the left and one roll to the right. Within the context of a full beat it isn't super obvious, but it's just another handy little trick to help make your Hi Hats interesting without just adding more notes.

There are a ton of other automation options you can use on your hi hats in order to make some more creative grooves. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Automate the reverb before the bass comes in
  • Automate an EQ on the Hi Hat track to make it sound more dark
  • Use Delay which has been automated to create some really out there hi hat rolls.

Conclusion - Trap Hi Hats Are Absolutely Vital

So there you have it, just a few quick tips on how to make better trap hi hat rolls. If you are looking to take your Trap production game to the next level, then you should definitely try out the Essential Hi Hat MIDI Kit. With the array of one shots and MIDI files included, you can create over 700 different Hi Hat Loops in seconds, by making use of the great, original samples our sound designers have cooked up.

As always, our packs are completely royalty free, including commercial use. Included with the essentials pack is a licence, allowing you to use our resources as much as you want in your music, and still keep the profit.

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