Trash Drums/Alternative Percussion?

Trash Drums/Alternative Percussion?


Hey people
I’m looking for tips on instruments/stuff-lying-around-the-house I can use to create lo-fi or alternative percussion tracks. Or if you know of any (inexpensive) VST’s to help out also.

I’m doing acoustic/indie/folk stuff, don’t have a drum kit and wanting to put together authentic sounding rhythm tracks.

Here is an example (just the general trashy/lo-fi percussion-but-not-exactly-a-drum-kit ideas)


You could check out this:

BTW, have you tried just recording stuff you have lying around your home? It’s a heap of fun to do - just throw up a mic and start hitting stuff. It’s amazing the textures and other-worldly sounds you can generate by adding compression, distortion and other modulation and delay effects.

I used recordings of me hitting back of my acoustic guitar to create the subtle background percussion in the chorus of this track that I posted recently:


Great samples thanks for linking to that. Your song sounds great (Fancy mixing one of mine?! :smiley: ), but not sure I could really pick out the acoustic guitar hits. However, the close listening did reveal to me that you (and good producers/mixers in general) do layer on lots of different percussive tracks along with the drums, creating good movement.

I’ve been trying hitting various things - big french doors sound good, but I am lacking a couple of things:

  • Anything non-metallic that gives off any kind of resonance
  • Something to hit stuff with - any reccomendations? Obv drum sticks, but wooden sticks on windows/wooden tables, pots and pans don’t sound that great…


Try using your bare hands first. Other ideas - pencils on bottles are cool, rulers (great for twanging in the edge of tables). Try things that create a natural mechanical rhythm, like a stapler or clicking a retractable ball point pen. Grab some cardboard roll cores and try using those - they’re nice and resonant.


Posting another thread that might help


If I am understanding you correctly you want to end up getting a realistic “lo-fi” drum set. If it were me I would use drum samples. To make them sound lo-fi and realistic I would set up studio monitors in biggest and weirdest rooms you have and rerecord them through mics. You can either mix the room tones with the samples or not.


Hey, not so much a drum set but just going about building up a percussion track without a drum set if you get my meaning…one piece at a time I guess.

Rerecording samples through mics is a cool idea though. Could really help a VST track sit in with everything else…


Not sure why, but this just strikes me as one of the greatest quotes ever. :grin:

If you have some leftover plastic pill bottles (when you get old like me you tend to have them from the various meds), it’s easy to make shakers out of them by putting in some uncooked rice and/or dried beans. I have three I use from time to time, using large / medium / small sized bottles, for a range of timbres.

I know a percussionist in LA named Will Phillips, who gets steady gigs both in the studio and live, and a big portion of his rig is found and handmade stuff. Here’s a live shot:


Coo. I get it. With anything that “feels Fake” like synths, drums VST etc. Re-amping them through a P.A. or a guitar amp and creating some sort of room tone is the key.


Exactly - the purpose here is to add subtle movement, development and variation with drawing too much attention. Actually, with that track, I didn’t add the guitar hits until the second chorus. Here are the percussion parts solo’d: There are two “guitar back” parts panned left and right and treated with different modulation/delay effects (One of them has Soundtoys “Little Alter Boy”, which is actually a vocal fx plugin!), as well as a “shaker” part (“Hundreds & Thousands” food decoration bottle) & a tambourine part panned left and right:

Having heard the solo’d part, you might be able to pick it out a bit more clearly when it comes in…