Music Production Tips 1: Creating Your Own Samples from Scratch

Whether you are creating your own beats from scratch or creating samples for collaborations with other producers, the way you arrange your samples will be important to keep the listener interested and give the producer enough material to work with.

1. Create In The Playlist/Arrangement View

To elaborate on this point, using FL studio as an example, when creating ideas for your sample/loop it can be useful to record them onto the playlist directly rather than using the channel rack. While this tip may be intuitive for some, for many FL studio users especially, it may feel more natural to record patterns into the the channel rack rather than directly onto the playlist. This subtle change can help to change your paradigm from creating simple four bar loops to creating more complex and evolving melodies.

Channel Rack:

2. Starting With A Chord Progression

Starting with a chord progression is probably the most simple way to start composing a sample. Doing so can set the foundation of the sample and help you to come up with unique melodies. When creating a chord progression it is also useful to create two or three variations of the same chord progression. These variations can help to keep the listener interested throughout.

3. Start With Very Subtle Percussion

This is another great way of laying the foundation for samples since you’re able to get the rhythm down. Similar to the second tip, it is useful to create multiple variations of this percussion pattern that can be arranged to add rhythmic variation to your sample. An example of a very subtle percussion loop that can be used:

The percussion helps inspire melody ideas and is subtle enough that a producer can still add their own drums on top when making a beat.

4. Effects and Sound Design

Sound selection is an important aspect of producing that is often emphasized when creating beats or samples from scratch. Sound design, however, can be just as, if not more important since it can allow you to take relatively bland sounds and make them interesting and pleasant to the listener. There are a plethora of amazing effects plugins out there that can take ordinary sounds and completely transform them. A great example of this would be:

  • Portal
A granular effects plugin which can completely warp sounds and create interesting unique textures.

5. Add Subtle Textures

Adding subtle textures such as vinyl crackle, room ambience, and rains sounds can add a lot of character to your samples.