What’s up BeatMatters readers. Welcome to the “How to Make Beats” tutorial. Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be talking about the art of hip hop and pop production. My goal is to enable you to have a big head start in your production career by explaining pretty much everything I learned in the first few years of my production career. We’re going to be talking about everything:
I’ll talk about a number of different production styles and their implication on what music equipment you may want to buy.
Read about Music Production Styles.
I’ll be talking about the software and hardware that you’ll need to start making beats. I’ll go over everything from DAWs like Reason, Fruity Loops, Logic, and Pro Tools, to Effects plugins, like Waves, to monitors, audio interfaces, and microphones. After reading this section of the guide, you should be able to identify the equipment that best suites the production goals that you wish to achieve.
After years of piano lessons as well as a number of music theory courses in college, I have gathered what I believe are the most important aspects of music theory for hip hop and pop production. While I don’t believe that it is essential to know music theory to be a successful producer, a solid background will not only improve your production, it will help you clearly describe your music and your musical desires to the artists that you work with.
Laying Down Drums
If you are going to be making beats, you need to know how to lay down a good drum pattern. From drum patterns, to the best drum samples to use, to quantization techniques, in this section I’ll talk about everything you’ll need to know to start laying down hip hop drum tracks.
Laying Down Instruments
Now that you have a basic Music Theory background as well as a drum track laid down, you’re ready to move on to laying down your instruments. Here I’ll talk about the different instruments that you may want to use as well as the different kinds of instrument lines that you’ll need in your beat making arsenal.
One of the most important concepts to master is appropriate frequency spectrum representation. In other words, you need to know how to make the low end of the frequency spectrum (like kick and bass), the mids (like pianos and guitars), and the high end (like fuzzy synths) all sound clear and full. Proper sound choice and EQ are the keys to achieving a clean mix and will be discussed in this section.
Compression is one of the harder concepts to master, but it is essential if you want to know how to make beats. In this tutorial, I’ll discuss what the different parts of compression do and how to set compression to achieve the result that you want.
If you want your beats to sound natural, you often need to add a little reverb. This gives the illusion that your instruments were recorded in a real space rather than just generated by a computer. This section will discuss the different types of reverb as well as which type is appropriate to use where.
There are a number of effects that you can add when making beats that are useful to add a unique element to your mix. Delay is probably the most basic of these effects and so will be discussed in this part of the tutorial.
Why should you listen to me?
I’m not saying that you should! However, you can check out some of my music in our free drum samples section (as well as download some free drums). You can also check out some more of my work on BeatMatters TV. Here I post video beat making tutorials every week. If you like what you hear and you want to know how it’s done, this tutorial is for you.
I have been making beats now for almost 10 years and can tell you improvement is a never-ending process. I find there are still plenty of new things for me to learn. However, at this point I can confidently say that I’ve worked out the newbie kinks and feel that the lessons I’ve learned over the years may be valuable to others.
I’ve worked with legendary Hip Hop producer Buckwild. I’ve also had my music on TV as soundtrack music for the past 6 years. I now earn my living by licensing music for TV and selling beats online.
Who is this tutorial for?
If you are just starting out making beats, this tutorial is definitely for you. However, even if you have been producing for a number of years, I’m including some more advanced information in the later sections.