Hi..! how is everything? hopefully you are still on fire on making electronic music. As most of you have known that nowadays producing electronic music is as simple as clicking here and there. For beginners, especially, audiohow.com would like to share how to make drum beats in fl studio. Why drum beats? yes, because in my opinion, drum beats in the base or fundamental requirement before you actually start composing a music. By having drum beats, a music producer, let say a band player can start filling it with other music instruments like guitar, bass, piano, and you name it. Drum beats become the guide for pace and tempo to keep the rhythm especially when it comes to recording. Why drum should be recorded first? that is because when recording a music, especially in band format, a beginner guitar player could not adjust himself to the tempo as sometimes his guitar playing tempo slows down and sometimes becomes faster than the metronome. However, with drum recorded first and then used as guide, a guitar player usually can adjust with the tempo better than using metronome and the music recording process would not take longer time. I think that’s enough for introduction.
I would like to start this tutorial on how to make drum beats in fl studio with a very simple project. You can further experiments with more complex drumming or beats structure and rhythm. This tutorial basically teaches how to use fl studio especially how to use certain tools in fl studio. In making drum beats in fl studio we will use pattern sequencer, piano roll, and playlist viewer most of the time.
I assume that you already had FL Studio. If you don’t have one yet, please encourage yourself to purchase one. Visit Image Line and purchase FL Studio. . Trust me, it is a worth buying Digital Audio Workstation as FL studio is easy to use, has many vst plugins, is not that expensive, and that once you purchase FL studio, you will always get the newest release of FL studio anytime the newest is launched and you just need to download the update. Are you ready? Let’s start how to make drum beats in FL studio.
How to make drum beats in fl studio
1. Open FL Studio.
By this initial step, I assume that you have already had FL Studio. Open it, and you will see the appearance. You should see a pattern maker or pattern sequencer or whatever you name it. It functions is to make drum beat or any other beat or music notes. In default, Fl studio will show you pattern maker as historically, FL Studio was used to make digital drum pattern only although it now can work greatly for music production from drums, guitars, and any other music instruments. All instruments can be edited further in Piano Roll that resembles Keyboard MIDI Controller. But, in this tutorial, we will use only pattern maker without going further with Piano ROll. Below is the screenshot of FL Studio Pattern Maker/Sequencer.
In the picture above you can see that you have four samples of basic drumming instruments offered by FL Studio, Kick, Clap, Hat, and Snare. The pattern has, in default, 4 steps with 4 sub steps. The pattern name is still Pattern 1. Later, after we write the drum beat pattern, we need to rename it. Naming is very important especially when the project is getting more complicated.
2. Making basic drum beats loop with pattern maker in FL Studio.
Start writing/composing/making the drum beats loop pattern. You can make the drum beat pattern on your own, but if can just follow the way I make one like that in the picture. In the drum beat sample above I don’t use snare, I use only kick, clap, and hat. For me, that’s just enough. However, you can experiment with snare if you would. For now, I suggest that you copy the way I instruct in this tutorial. Left click to activate the step button and RIGHT CLICK to disable the button. You can listen to the drum pattern while writing it. Press Space on your keyboard or click play button on the top toolbar. You can also set the tempo. See below:
Make sure the PAT mode is activated. It’s color is orange when activated. PAT mode means that you play the composition you make in the pattern sequencer. Just below the PAT mode is the SONG mode. The SONG mode is green when activated. SONG mode is activated to play the composition in the playlist. We will talk about playlist later.
3. Renaming the drum beat loop pattern.
Next, after composing the drum beat patterns that later we will loop it, you have to rename it by hitting F2 on your keyboard or click the down arrow button next to the pattern name and find rename/color. Then, you will see:
In the picture, I rename it as “Drum beat 1”. I rename it closely to what it is. Yes, it is drum beat. Therefore, you don’t rename it “my favorite” because that’s just misleading. Next to the name column there is little box in the right. That is the color of the patter for “Drum beat 1”. I don’t want to change the color. If you want to specify the color for certain instrument, you can or you should give unique color for each of them. For example; you give red to drums, green for guitars, blue for bass, and so forth. This feature is so handy and helpful. Use the color so that you will find it easy to locate the instruments especially when you are in the playlist window as all instruments will be in one window. You know what I mean :).
4. Making new drum beats for Drum Fill.
Coming to this step means you have made the first drum beat. We need to make another drum beat for variation of fill. Attention!: Do not make a new drum fill in pattern 1 “Drum beat 1” because it will mix and we don’t want that. So, make sure that you move to new pattern sequencer. In the picture above you see two red circles. It reads pattern 2 and 2. To go to pattern 2 or another next pattern, drag your mouse pointer to the PAT box next to the Tempo box and scroll up and down using your mouse scroll. If you have no scroll in your mouse, you can click, hold, and drag up or down.
For the drum fill, I compose it like below.
That’s my example of drum fill. I know it’s ugly, but that’s for just a fast simple sample purpose to be used in this tutorial. Of course, you can make your better drum fills. You may need to get some ideas of drum fills by listening to songs and paying attention to the drum fills. Again, experiment with your creative sounds and get the most decent of yours. Don’t forget to rename!
5. Arranging, sequencing, combining the drum beats pattern
We have prepared Drum beat 1 and Drum beat fills. Next is to combine them into one sequential drum beat pattern loop. In combining drum pattern we have made earlier, we need to open Playlist as the drum beat combination will be done in FL Studio Playlist. To open Playlist, simply go to the top toolbar and find the first icon like shown below which I marked in the red curly circle. Click to open and click again to hide it. While trying to open Playlist, you can try clicking the other button, just to educate you or to show you the functions of the buttons.
6. Drawing / Paste Drum Beat 1 into playlist.
FL studio playlist is ready but it is still blank, and we need to paste some patterns we have composed earlier in the pattern sequencer/maker into the playlist. In the playlist you see Track 1, Track 2, and so forth. To put the drum pattern in to the playlist, activate the brush button on the top of the playlist window. By default, the brush button, that is to paste the pattern, is already activated, you just need to make sure that is activated or you will the wrong thing. Another thing that you need to make sure is that the pattern you want to paste into the playlist is the pattern that you want, in this sample, we need to first paste the “drum beat 1” pattern. So, look at the to top of the playlist like that of in the picture above “playlist – Drum beat 1”. Once all are checked, paste by clicking on the first area of the step. You can see that there are 4 steps in each step. Repeat the step until you have four duplicates. LEFT CLICK to paste and RIGHT CLICK to delete/erase. Then, you should see one like below:
7. Combining Drum beat 1 and drum fill
after making duplicates of “drum beat 1”, we will combine it with “drum beat fills”. To combine it, just paste the “drum beat fills” pattern into playlist in Track 1 just next to the end of “drum beat 1”. But, you need to change to pattern 2 that is “drum beat fills” before pasting it. If it is still in “drum beat 1” then when you paste it, it will paste “drum beat 1”. Therefore, you need to activated “drum beat fills” by clicking the down arrow button and choose “drum beat fills”. In the picture below, I pasted the “drum beat fills” next to “drum beat 1”. I circle the “drum beat fills” location. To play the composition, you can see that the SONG mode is activated, that means composition in playlist will be played.
That’s all the very basic tutorial on how to make drum beats in FL Studio. You can save it as a project which can be edited later or to continue working on it, or you can export it as wav, mp3, or ogg file from FILE MENU. I hope that by starting with this very basic way to compose drum beat in FL studio, you can experiment making other drum beat patterns longer and more complicated to make your masterpiece. Next, I would like to write a tutorial on how to make drum beats using vst plugin like ezdrummer or other vst instruments especially on drums both free and paid.
I know this tutorial is to basic and is only for beginners. If you have any questions of suggestions, please feel free to comment. See you in the next post.
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