How To Remove Drums From A Song

A few decades ago, every drummer grew up playing to songs while mimicking the drum parts that were already recorded for them. It was the only possible way, and it often made it sound weird if your drum parts didn’t match.

Technology has advanced to a point where we can remove drum parts now. It’s incredibly useful to do, as it allows you to play your own parts without being bound by the ones that are already part of those tracks.

In short, there are two ways to remove drums from a song. The best way is to use a ‘part remover’ app such as Moises or Lalal. Alternatively you can remove drums using a DAW.

In this guide I’ll give a detailed breakdown of how to do it using one of my favorite apps.

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Drumless Tracks

Before we get to apps and software that can remove drums, you should know about drumless tracks. These are tracks that have no recorded drum parts, and they’re designed for drummers to practice with.

Various websites have thousands of drumless tracks to look through, and they range in musical styles and skill levels.

Most drumless tracks are original songs. There are only a few websites that offer drumless tracks that have been created using established songs that are popular around the world.

When drummers want to find songs they love without the drum parts in them, most people tend to look for drumless tracks first. Unfortunately, you’re most likely not going to find what you’re looking for.

So, you need to find software that helps you remove the drum parts yourself. If you’re not looking for specific songs, drumless tracks are great for general practice.

No Drums vs Drums Only

When removing drums from a song, you’re going to have two outcomes. It’s important to know both of them so that you know which apps will work best for what you need.

The first and most popular reason for removing drums is to have music tracks without the drum parts in them. This allows you to play along with the songs and not have the original drum parts there to clash with what you’re playing.

The second outcome is that you can isolate those original drum parts to hear them being played on their own. I find this incredibly useful, as it allows you to listen closely to how those parts are played.

Having isolated drum parts will make learning those drum parts far easier. Most part remover apps allow you to have both of these things, but some apps work a bit better than others in one area.

How to Remove Drums from Songs

Part Remover Apps

Using a part remover app is the easiest way of removing drums from a song. These apps allow you to upload songs, and then they separate all the instrument parts for you.

A decade ago, part remover apps didn’t work too well. However, there are several apps available now that work brilliantly. It still blows my mind that they can separate individual instrument parts so easily.

The one downside of part remover apps is that you need to keep paying for them. All of them have some sort of subscription model, so it will never just be a once-off purchase. This makes sense, though, as the creators of these apps are constantly updating them.

You can get most of them on your phone, but they’re a bit easier to use in web browsers on computers.

Digital Audio Workstations

The other way of removing drums from a song is to use a digital audio workstation (DAW). A DAW is a program that allows you to create and record music. All DAWs also have extensive sound editing features, and it’s those features that will allow you to remove the drum parts from professionally recorded songs.

It’s much harder to remove drums from a song using a DAW. However, it will give you more control over what gets removed compared to part remover apps. With this method, you’re personally going into the mix and choosing which frequencies to cut out.

You need to find all the frequencies that the drums produce in a song and stop them from playing. There are VSTs that you can download that will make doing this a lot easier.

Most DAWs don’t have monthly or yearly subscriptions, so you can save money by removing drum parts this way. However, it takes a lot longer, and I don’t think the effort is worth it.

So, I’d suggest sticking with part remover apps.

Best Part Remover Apps to Use

There are dozens of decent apps to check out, but Moises.ai and Lalal.ai are my favorites. They work very similarly, but their payment models are slightly different. Check out both to see which one you’ll prefer.

Moises.ai

Moises.ai

Moises.ai is my favorite part remover app to use. The creators of the app are very hands-on, and they’ve been updating it every few months since I first heard about it.

The app has an incredible number of features, and the part remover function tends to work incredibly well. It’s a fantastic app to use to remove drum parts.

In terms of payment structures, you can start by using the app for free. You get five free tracks a month, as long as each track is under five minutes. If you want to do more, you need to pay a yearly fee.

The price is very reasonable, though. If you’re looking for an app to only use on your phone, this is also undoubtedly the best one for that.

Lalal.ai

Lalal.ai

Lalal.ai has a far more unique pricing structure, and it’s one that I tend to prefer. With this app, you pay for a select number of minutes that you can use for part separations. If you pay for 300 minutes, that means you can use the app to separate the stems of however many songs that add up to 300 minutes.

This is fantastic for drummers that don’t plan on using the app very often. You can save a lot of money by only paying for what you’re going to use, whereas having a subscription often means you don’t get as much value for your money as you could.

Step-by-Step Guide

Out of the two apps that I mentioned, Moises.ai is my preferred one. While I prefer the payment structure of Lalal.ai, I don’t think it works as well. I regularly use Moises.ai to remove drum parts, and I’m always impressed by how well it works.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use it to separate drum parts from songs that have been professionally produced and recorded.

Upload Song

Upload Song

The first step is to upload the song that you want to remove the drum parts from. Moises has two options. You can upload it from your computer, or the app can find the song saved in a cloud folder.

Just remember that you need to own whichever song you’re separating the drums from. I found the best method was to purchase the songs on iTunes.

Once you’ve found the song, you can drag and drop it into the uploader section. Remember that you can do this for free up to five times a month. You can do it as much as you want if you pay for the Moises subscription.

Choose Which Tracks to Separate

Choose Which Tracks to Separate

Once the song has been uploaded, you can select which instrument parts to remove. This is the part of the process that blows my mind the most. The software will take what you’ve selected and somehow recognize those frequencies and split them up.

The parts won’t be completely removed. They’ll be split into different stems that you’ll then have control over.

With the free version of this app, you can only remove drums, bass, and vocals. If you pay for the app, you’ll be able to break the stems down into more sections, including piano, strings, and horns.

Thankfully, we’re just looking to remove drums, so you don’t need to pay for the app to have that benefit.

Once you’ve selected which tracks to separate, you may have to wait for a few minutes. The time it takes to process will depend on how long the song is.

Remove the Drums

Remove the Drums

Once your song has been processed, you’re going to see audio files that have been split into four sections. These include vocals, drums, bass, and other. The first three are self-explanatory, and the other section will include every sound that doesn’t fall under the first three.

You’ll now have control over those stems, so you can remove the drums while leaving the other sections to keep playing.

There are two ways to do this. Firstly, you can pull the volume slider for the drums section down. The second way is to press the mute button just above the volume slider.

I sometimes prefer to use the slider so that I can still hear the original drum parts. It helps to have them playing a bit softer when I’m still trying to learn how to play to the songs.

If you pay for a Moises subscription, you’ll have a feature that allows you to slow the tracks down. This is great for helping you work out the drum parts at a slower speed.

Isolate the Drums

Isolate the Drums

If you just want to hear the drum parts being played, you’ll do the opposite thing to what we did in the last section. Leave the drum part as is, and then mute all the other sections. You can also use the sliders to make them softer but still audible.

I do this very often when I’m trying to work out different drum parts. It’s crazy to hear how many subtleties go missing when the drums are mixed with all the other instrumentation. Moises tends to pick up even the faintest ghost notes within the drum parts.

Again, you’ll have far more control here if you pay for a subscription, but I think the free version offers you enough value to continue using it.

Download a Click Track

Download a Click Track

When all the parts are separated, Moises will allow you to download the four different stems. You can also download a single track that has one of the stems removed. In this case, that will be the drum part for us.

It doesn’t stop there, though. One of the most useful things about this app is that it has a smart metronome that picks up the speed of all the parts that you’ve separated. You can download that as well. It even changes the click tempo for songs that have tempo changes.

You could be done here if you don’t want to do anything more with these stems. However, I like to put them in a DAW when recording drum parts myself. I can then mix and EQ the drums to best fit the music.

Unfortunately, you can only download the stems as MP3 and M4A files with the free version of the app. Once you pay for a subscription, you can download them as WAV files, which are far more useful.

How To Remove Drums From A Song, Final Thoughts

Removing drums from songs has become part of my daily practice routine. Once you learn how to do it with an app, it’s so easy to play along to songs you love without worrying about clashing with the original drum parts.

My top suggestion would be to use Moises.ai. It has everything you need, and it works incredibly well. However, Lalal.ai may be a more attractive choice for drummers that prefer to pay upfront for the tools they use.

Removing drums using a DAW is also possible, but it’s not something I’ve ever been able to do thoroughly. Part remover apps are much quicker and easier. 

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