StrickMusic Tips: How to make beats Part 2
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Okay, now that we have discussed some of the technical aspects of how to make beats in my last blog post, let’s get into the nitty gritty of actually making a beat. Every producer has their own creative process. And my advice to newbie beat makers is always to experiment with your personal beat making process. For example, you may want to start with the drums one time and the next time start from a melody. Once you find that element of the beat that sparks your imagination, stick with it. Having said that, I also find myself constantly remind hip hop beat makers of one simple rule: know the genre of music and your audience. There are guidelines for each genre that generally should be loosely followed. For pop, the emphasis may not be on the drum tracks, it maybe be more melodic or energetic. For RnB, you may want to create layers of sound that compliment each other and establish a beautiful musical landscape. As for hip hop, for newbie producers it’s a good idea to start with the drums and percussion. Even a so-so track can sound amazing if the drums are programmed perfectly. (We all can think of 10 songs that fit this description)
Here’s my general beat making process:
1. Drums: If you’re going to add secondary percussion, start with that. Congas, percs, bongos, etc, are all nice subtle additions to any beat. Sometimes the secondary percussion may be a random sound or voice. It’s a good idea to start here because this determines your general key and feel for the entire track moving forward. Next, add that snare or clap. Once you get the snare hitting and have some movement going on in the beat, you can start to envision the emotion that you are trying to evoke. A great tracks is about creating a moment or feeling and generally as soon as you push the play button you can tell if the beat is moving how you want it to. Next, add the kick. Make sure it is loud and proud! (Stay tuned for my blog post about how to make beats sound great.) Finally, add the hi hats, chimes, rides, and crashes. These are the elements that really bring a beat to life and give distinction to different sections of the song. Have fun and be creative.
2. Bass: This is hip hop and you can’t have hip hop without great sound bass. Now that you have your drums hitting exactly how you want them, it’s time to make a decision. What kind of song is it? Is it for the club? Is it for the lonely traveler on an airplane? Is it a west coast track? Picking the bass sound is probably the second most important decision you have to make when learning how to make beats. Sometimes I use a sin wave some refer to it generically as an 808, while other times I may chose a bass guitar. And there are times when I use both. When you are starting out pick one and learn how it translates into the final mix.
3. The rest is up to you! —- I know I kind of left you in the wind with this one. But, the two most important elements to a great hip hop track are the drums and bass. Whatever you pull out next depends on how you are feeling and what message you want the songwriter to convey. If you are making a southern hip hop track, you might want to pull out some horns. If it’s an east coast beat, you may already have a sample you want to play around with.
“The biggest mistake by new producers just learning how to make beats is looking for “hip hop” sounds or drums. Anything can be hip hop if you program it correctly.”
When you are initially learning how to make beats it’s a good idea to build from the ground up, meaning start with the drums and bass and move up the frequency spectrum adding higher instruments last. This method will always result in a balanced well-rounded sound. An easy way to tell an amateur beat maker is if there are holes in the musical spectrum in their tracks. Use your ears and
RT @curly_headphuk: I’m going to learn how to make beats one of these days
— CoolAihhSmith (Talent But Too Dope) (@CoolAihhSmith) Fri Apr 19 2013
Who wants to teach me how to make beats?
— dajohnceari (brittany ceasar) (@dajohnceari) Fri Apr 19 2013
@SwishDaBusiness Ima show you how to make them fye trap beats
— WeTakeBandz (FreeBandz™) (@WeTakeBandz) Fri Apr 19 2013