How To Create Trap Hi-Hat Patterns in Logic Pro X

Erin Barra has a quick fix to help you produce perfect trap hi-hat patterns in Logic Pro X. Here’s how you do it…

How To Create Trap Hi-hat Patterns

Trap hi-hat patterns are cool, and lots of contemporary productions call for them. There’s something about the repeated patterns quickly switching from quarter-note triplets to thirty-second note triplets and all the subdivisions in between, that people seem to want.


Creating those sequences is really easy in some DAWs and not so easy in others. In this ‘How to’ we’ll be walking you through one workflow in Logic Pro X that makes creating trap hi-hat sequences relatively easy.

There are a number of ways to make this happen which include using an arpeggiator inserted before a virtual instrument, mapping parameters to control surfaces in Environment mode, automating rates in the Piano Roll, or creating multiple tracks each with their own subdivisions, but the easiest is using the Note Repeat function.

Creating Trap Hi-Hat Patterns: step-by-step

How To Create Trap Hi-hat Patterns - Step 1

1. For this to work well, you’ll need a dedicated track with just a hi-hat(s) inserted onto a virtual instrument such as Ultrabeat, Drum Machine Designer or ESX24. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re triggering the sample from C1 or above. From there, you’ll need to open up the Toolbar where you’ll find Note Repeat.

How To Create Trap Hi-hat Patterns - Step 2

2. Open up Note Repeat and make sure to click on the disclosure triangle to see all the parameters on the device. From there you have two options for sequencing the changes of subdivision. You can either use the mod wheel on your MIDI controller or else the keytracking function to assign subdivisions keys or buttons.

Option 1 – Mod Wheel


How To Create Trap Hi-hat Patterns - Step

If you opt to use the mod wheel on your controller, you’ll need to check the box to initialize it. If you click on the up and down arrows to the right of the word, you’ll notice that you can choose to use the pitch-bend wheel, pressure (aka aftertouch), an expression pedal or another Ctrl selection.

From there you’ll select your minimum and maximum amount for the repeated subdivision. It’s important to make sure that you have the straight subdivision selected as well as the triplet subdivision for the true trap patterns. If you’re not sure exactly what you want, set your device like the one shown in the image.

Once that’s all set up you can play the hi-hat by pressing whichever key/button it’s assigned to while changing up the subdivision by moving the mod wheel around. When you hit record it will sequence MIDI events for you at the selected subdivision. It might take you a few passes to get things just right, or else you’ll have to do some editing to create the performance that you’re looking for.

Option 2 – Keytracking

How To Create Trap Hi-hat Patterns - Step 4

By checking the Key Remote function, Logic will assign the keys from C1 to B0 to different subdivisions. This way you can play your hi-hat wherever you placed it from C1 or above, and then change up the subdivision by pressing the keys/buttons assigned to the two octaves below C1.

This only works really well if you’ve got at least a 25-key MIDI controller which will allow you to play the sample on C1, while giving you access to the other MIDI notes you need. It should also be mentioned that you need to have your controller transposed to the right octave to make any of this work. The same process of recording multiple passes and editing them together for the best performance is likely to be the best workflow here as well.

It would be nice if you could automate the repetition rate, but you can’t. If you’re the person who prefers to pencil things in, you’ll want to use an arpeggiator inserted as a MIDI device before the virtual instrument.

Additional Functionality

How To Create Trap Hi-hat Patterns - Step 5

Note Repeat will also let you vary up the velocity of the repetitions as well as gate the signal through additional controller assignments. Not all controllers send aftertouch messages, but if yours does, choose pressure for the velocity assignment.

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