With the release of my newest beat tape – BEAT TAPES By GratuiTous Vol. 8 – I want to share some techniques I’ve used inside the songs!
I will update this write-up with new videos when I release fthe next FL Studio drum loop tutorial.
In this series, we’re going to be focusing on drum loops. (You’ll also learn some tips on how to create good drum loops in FL Studio.)
For additional information, here’s the book and course mentioned in the videos:
You can click on the links below to bring you to that particular section.
FL Studio Drum Loop Series – INTRO
Welcome to the drum loop tutorial series featuring my 8th beat tape!
In this video, I give a brief overview of what to expect in our future videos.
I touch on Safe Spots, my own mindset when it comes to music production, and the different organic tools we have available to us when creating drum loops in FL Studio.
These organic tools when programming drum loops are:
- Sound Placement
- Sound Selection
- Note Nudging
If you would like to see a different series or have questions, just contact me!
Video# 1 – Fundamental Relationships
The song featured in this video is called Fundamental Relationships.
As you can hear, the song has a really emotional vibe to it, yet the production as a whole is really simple in how its put together!
To start off, we cover my drum loop patterns.
I literally made one drum loop pattern which I liked, and then I selected Make Unique from within the actual Playlist.
This clones that pattern, allowing me to add/remove sounds.
On the new pattern, I press F2 and relabel the pattern to DRUMS 2.
A cool pro-tip is increasing the lightness/darkness of the new pattern’s color to differentiate between patterns on the playlist:
Next, and what I found was the completing element of this track, was the hi-hat that only played on the first beat.
It helped in two ways:
- The initial hit helped the actual drum hit harder.
- Since the hi-hat had some length, it gave the beat a full and complete sound.
This was taking advantage of one of our organic tools: Layering.
I then applied a cool quick-and-dirty trick with the hi-hat that played on every single beat.
I cloned both the hi-hat and the pattern, and made the hi-hat play on every step for a fast shaker-like sound.
I then increased the volume on the step sequencer by .5dB – 1 dB on that cloned hi-hat to add excitement to the chorus.
And what will surprise most producers here is that I actually created this whole song’s composition out of a single guitar note.
I show you how I do that in my course: Creating Organic Beats.
Video #2 – Danger She Wrote
The song featured in video #2 is called Danger She Wrote.
This is probably one of my favorite drum loops I’ve created to date.
Because of that missing last snare hit within the drum loop, it constantly gave me the feeling of a loose and unpredictable drum loop.
The percussion and hi-hats also added to that loose flavor, taking advantage of that A step when talking about the Safe Spot in-betweens.
Another cool technique I applied was chopping up my loops and rearranging them. In the video I showed I did this in the beginning, but I also did this later on in the track, too, as a type of bridge.
The final point I’ll talk about is my percussion harmony loop.
This was a creative approach; I used Harmor, dragged in a sound into the envelope section, and then created a melody out of it.
This really added a special flavor to Danger She Wrote.
More videos will be added soon to this article; stay tuned! (I’m thinking 3-4 videos on drum loops!)
Video #3 – Looking For My Love
The track featured in video #3 is called Looking For My Love.
It has a really unique sound, and I really think the cymbals within the drum loop achieved that.
In addition, how I mixed up the drum loop to have different variations gave this arrangement a nice touch, too!
Let’s talk about the cymbal cut groups; that’s a really cool trick.
So how FL Studio approaches cut and cut groups is:
- You first must assign a sound a cut. (Without that, a sound will not be able to cut another sound.)
- Next, you decide, “What sounds do you want to silence when this cut sound plays”. (You put these sounds into a cut group.)
- And finally, you’ll want to assign the same cut group to the sound you’ve assigned a cut to; that way the sound will cut itself, and have a clean sound every time you play it.
A little confusing to get your head wrapped around, but this is how you get clean cuts when you’re sampling music. I’ve just applied this technique to cymbals, instead!
Layering the big drum hit on the one of my drum loop also had a big impact, giving variety to the drum hits:
And finally, manually chopping up my loops within the playlist allowed for a fresh listen every now and then. (I find chopping up the loop this way is a quick-and-dirty way to achieve this, yet yields great results!):
Video #4 – Desires of My Heart
I decided to switch it up in terms of genre this time with a dance track.
This is honestly pretty much the most basic you can get when it comes to a dance drum loop, but I do feel the track gelled overall very well.
Let’s look at the drum loop:
In terms of layering, I barely did any in this track! (It mostly came down to parallel processing within the mixer to help beef up the drum and give the clap more impact.)
What I do want to talk about is how I layered the hi-hat over top of the drum.
With the hi-hat playing the same time as the kick drum, it just added more excitement into the overall drum loop. (Try it out yourself!)
Simply just blend in the hi-hat so it’s not too aggressive, but just enough so it’s adding a nice layer. You can EQ to taste until you get that perfect fit.
Inside this drum loop, I also reversed a clap which played over and over again; I think that reverse clap had a big part of this track’s groove:
The final piece to this drum loop was using sidechain compression on the cymbals. (Check out my compression course here!)
This is a technique I used a lot on this beat tape; it just allows for an amazing filler while keeping the groove. (Kind of similar to using white noise, but with a bit more character!)
(Again, for more information on compression and sidechain compression, you can view my compression course with the link above.)
BEAT TAPES By GratuiTous Vol. 8 Drum Loop Series – Conclusion
So that’s it for our drum loop series!
I hope these videos gave you some insight to my workflow and how I go about programming my drum loops.
Within music production, many times it’s the simple/subtle moves which are the most powerful.
When multiples of these subtle moves are made, it adds up to a really special track.
Did you enjoy this? Let me know in the comments. I’d really appreciate it.