How Many Instruments Do I Need for a Full Beat?
Don’t feel ashamed for asking this question, I’ve noticed that others have been searching this question as well, hence the reason for this blog post!
The short answer for all those who don’t like to read is, “Use however many beats, until YOU THINK, the beat is full and complete”.
There’s really no easier way to put it. If the beat feels full at 2 instruments, or even one, that could be your beat! Now, just cause other people may have FULL jam-packed beats, this may make you feel that you have to add more instruments in, this is not true. A true producer is one who creates, what they think, that the beat needs. Not does it fit modern day sound, but does it sound good to me?
So, that’s my short answer. Let’s go into some more detail with some pictures!
How Many Instruments Should I Have in a Beat?
How ever many instruments it takes to make the song/beat feel full/complete.
Sometimes I’ve gotten away with just one instrument, but I can also get up to 10! (Or in the image below.. 15! ;))
It all depends on the genre you’re going for, and the actual progression/melody itself. If the melody holds its own very well, adding in another instrument may actually take away from that catchy melody!
Here’s an image of one of my beats with not many instruments:
Now here’s a beat that is JAM PACKED. (15 instruments!) And yes, the beat wasn’t overloaded, each instrument fit in their own place.
Does More Instruments Mean Better Beats?
No not at all!
This all comes down to the actual melody itself, the mix job, and the arrangement of the track. (Do you have cool bring-ins, SFX, is the actual production of the beat high quality?).
For me, it’s almost a habit of “I got to add more instruments”. But I feel this works great cause when it comes time to build the beat I have tons of combinations I can work with. (From there I can always remove some of the weaker ones, or only bring them in at certain points, like the bridge, certain verses, or the chorus).
So, having more instruments gives more flexibility arrangement wise, but doesn’t necessarily mean a better, catchier beat.
Near the end of the video in, Beatmaking with GratuiTous Round 4, I took advantage of using all my instruments to try and build my intro. I tried about 4-5 different times until I got the sound I wanted. It was just a matter of finding “what instruments sounded best together”, and I was good to go! So this works great for me (it may not for you!).
Finding your own sound is tough, and this is only done by creating music that sounds good to you, practicing what the tools do, and working hard to learn different aspects of music, to use them to your advantage creativity wise.
Negatives to More Instruments in Your Beats,
Well put it this way. Mixing is hard enough with a small amount of instruments. Imagine mixing a 15 instrument track. You have to be very conservative with your EQ, knowing where to cut to allow each instrument to add their impact on the beat. So let’s put it this way:
The more instruments = The more mixing.
Mixing takes time. So the more instruments you have, the more time is spent mixing, rather than spending your time on making a new beat, marketing, or just life off the computer ;).
So What’s the Verdict! (Final Answer),
A very interesting question cause there’s really not an answer.
It really comes down to.. “Do you think the beat is complete?”.
Keep in mind, if you are working with vocals, vocals can really change the overall feel to the beat, making it feel complete. Whereas without the vocals, the beat could feel empty sounding! (Vocals can also make you change up your arrangement from what you thought you were going to go with!).
Hope that helps! — Check out more tutorials by Beatstruggles!