When you’re just starting out how to make beats it can be fun and frustrating at the same time. Trust me I was there. But it really is easier then you think. If you’re making a beat here are 10 tips that will get yo stated.
1. Pick a style- Know the style of beat you want to make before you start making it. Like rnb,rap,pop, etc. There have been plenty of beats that I made and could not figure out what style it was.
2. Pick A Major Artist- Think of a known artist that you would want to make the beat for. Like if you chose a style a rap, think now what rap artist do you want to make the beat for. Try to imagine that artist on your beat. This will make your hip hop beat-making experience a whole lot easier.
3. Listen To Their Song- Take a listen to the rap artist you are making the beat for songs. See the style. Get a feel for the kind of hip hop beats the artist raps over.
4. Formatting The Song- Very important. formatting is, the intro, verse, chorus, verse, bridge, etc. That’s all it is but basically you just change the order around however you feel like it. Turn on the radio and see how your favorite artist formats there song. When instruments come in, when they drop out. The most basic form to start with is, 2 or 4 bar intro, 16 bar verse, 8 bar chorus, 16 bar verse, 8bar chorus, 16 bar verse, 8 bars chorus. This is the most basic beat-making song format. This is very common in rap. If you want an even simpler way, you can create an 8 bar loop and keep it the same throughout the whole song. I have seen this done a lot.
5. Laying down the beat- I have learned that for starters, it’s easier to start with the drums. Kick, Snare, Hi hat, are always a good start. Record a pattern for four bars with those first. Then layer that with maybe some toms, cow-bell, symbols, etc. Whatever you want to use. THE DRUMS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT IN MAKING HIP HOP BEATS! Your drums must hit and hit HARD. The best way to get your drums hitting hard is by not using “pitty pat” free kits you downloaded from the internet for free. If your drums are weak, then your beat is going to be weak.
6. Laying Down A Melody- This is where most hip hop beat-makers have the most trouble. Because most eat makers can’t play the keys. For starters, you might want to learn basic keyboard skills. The major thing you need to learn are, major and minor scales. After you learn that, try and do different combinations and patterns with the drum beat you have made. Use an instrument like, a lead guitar, horns, clav, something that will stand out. Your melody can be however you want it, but for starters, you could do a 4 bar melody, or an 8 bar melody.
7. Layering The Beat- What is done a lot in beat making is layering. If you have your whole beat finished. You can go and make it sound bigger by layering. All you do is fill in some gaps, do the same pattern you did with one instrument with another instrument. Do this throughout your beat. This will make you beat sound a lot fatter.
8. Pan- Panning is basically having an instrument all the way to the right, all the way to the left, and anywhere in between. You pan for all kinds of different reasons. It gives each track its own little space in the stereo field. There are no rules for panning, put you have to do it. So just try it out and see what you like best.
9. The Mixdown- Very important! Very Important! Very Important! If you have a poor mix on your beat, then you have pretty much wasted your time. When mixing a beat, start with each track individually. Solo each track and make sure it sounds good by itself. EQ it if you have to, but if each track sounds good by itself, the whole beat will sound that much better. DO NOT DISTORT! If your master levels are in the red before you bounce to disc or .mp3, your distorting. Don’t worry about if its not loud enough. You never ever ever want to distort. If you are distorting, check any instrument that has boom or low end, Like a kick, bass, sub, etc. these tend to distort more often.
10. The Bounce- Now that you made you’re beat, Its the hottest hip hop beat ever, you want to put it on cd or upload it to the internet. When you’re exporting a beat for cd, Use .wav file. 44.1 16bit. If you want to upload to the internet use, 320kbps (the highest .mp3 quality) or 128kbps. Most websites wont accept 320kbps because the file size is too big. So go with 128kbps.
These are all just guidelines to help you get started. There are millions of ways to make a beat, But this is just to help you get your feet wet if you don’t know where to start.