The Beginner’s Guide On How To Make A Basic Beat
Consider this post to be a continuation of my post on that details all the beat making equipment you need to get started as a producer.
At the end of that post, there’s a crucial lesson that I want to hammer home before starting this post:
It’s not the tools you have, it’s knowing how to use it.
Like I said, I spent thousands of dollars buying gear and programs that I thought would help me make better beats.
Luckily, I was able to sell most of them, but I still have some crap gathering dust in my closet, like this…
I used that thing like, maybe less than 5 times.
Did any of it help me create my masterpiece?
The answer is a big, fat, resounding…
Why? Because I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how to use them.
Which brings us to the first part of this post, and that is…
The Importance Of Music Theory When Making Beats
You see, even though I really wanted to make beats, I had absolutely zero formal music training in my life.
Never learned how to play instruments like guitar or piano when I was a kid, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re the same.
Since I had zero background in playing music before, I had no idea what I was doing whenever I opened up my beat making software.
All I’d do was mash on random keys and buttons, hoping to magically come up with something that sounded dope.
As you can guess, it didn’t work out very well.
You can even try it out yourself as an experiment if you don’t believe me.
Open up Garageband or FL Studio and give yourself 20-30 minutes to make something that sounds good.
(BTW, I should mention that FL Studio is THE tool of choice for a lot of chart-topping hip hop producers today.).
Unless you’re extremely talented, it’s just not going to happen.
You see, here’s the thing:
Before you can actually start making music, it actually helps to know the theory as to what makes music sound good.
And that’s where music theory comes in.
Go to any forum where producers hang out online and they’ll all tell you that they started making dope beats when they actually took the time to study it.
The thing with music theory?
It’s incredibly boring to learn it.
Hell, most of the resources out there practically require you to know how to read sheet musicin order to understand the lessons.
Trust me, I used to buy a ton of books about the subject
I have even more in terms of courses downloaded from Udemy and other random websites online.
But thankfully, you don’t have to go through all those books to get the benefits.
While there’s a certain science behind knowing which keys to press in order to create something that sounds good…
The best part of it is that it’s not really all that complicated to get a hang of what you need for hip hop music.
Everything you need to know about music theory can be condensed in this quick, 9-minute video.
Done with that?
Be sure to watch every second of it, because it’s you need it to understand part 2, where you’ll see those concepts start to come together.
You need to watch the second video in full as well, since the second half will show you a few techniques that will really take your beat making skills to the next level as a beginner.
Awesome stuff, ain’t it?
I almost dare you NOT to get excited with the potential of stuff you can make with just a handful of theory.
Making Beats Is Part Art, Part Science
For example, the “science” part is knowing the actual notes that go well with each other (you learned this in the previous videos).
Anybody can learn how to do that.
But the “art” part is knowing HOW to play those notes in a certain rhythm in order for it to sound good.
There’s also a certain art when it comes to choosing the sounds that you use in a beat.
For example, it wouldn’t make sense to make a beat that plays five different electric guitars in different ways and has no drums.
You can’t really teach the “art” part of making beats…
…But you can get a lot watching someone else do it.
That’s what the 3rd video is all about.
You’re going to see how to choose the instruments that sound well together and apply the lessons from the previous two videos to make a hip-hop beat.
See, the fun thing about making beats is that there’s a lot of experimentation involved.
You spend a lot of time playing around with instruments and finding out something that sounds good, and play it in a way that sounds appealing.
Next, you find another instrument that goes along with the first one, play it accordingly, and so on and so forth.
That’s what the third video is all about so you can see how a basic beat is put together:
Pay close attention to how different sounds are combined and stacked into one by playing the same melody but on different octaves.
It could make a simple melody sound “thicker” and “fuller.”
It’s the easiest thing you can do to make your beats sound more “complete” and is what I wanted you to notice in the second video from yesterday’s lesson.
Got it? Good.
Because at this point, you pretty much have everything you need to start making your own beats.
It won’t be all that at first.
Nobody makes a hit on their first try, trust me.
But with enough practice? You’ll be making some dope ass stuff in no time.
How To Get Good At Making Beats — Fast
The answer is pretty simple:
It’s by watching other producers put together beats from scratch and having them explain to you why they do what they do.
You know that I started out as a clueless rapper who had no idea how to make my own beats. You also know that despite having all the equipment and software that I needed, I still couldn’t manage to make a decent-sounding beat if my life depended on it.
It wasn’t UNTIL I started watching other producers who made beats that I liked did I start toimprove.
Slowly, but surely.
One beat at a time.
After making nothing but crap for YEARS, I was able to start making beats that I actually wanted to rap on myself in just a matter of weeks.
But here’s the problem:
Not everybody has access to skilled and experienced producers to learn from.
Good luck, and I really hope these lessons help you out!