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The Basics of music production

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Plenty of times a week I'm asked how I make beats, and usually I'm happy to help. But it does get a bit irritating having to repeat myself over and over and over....

So I'm going to give you the basics of making beats. You don't necessarily have to be experienced to make beats, but you have to have some clue of what you're doing. Nowadays, the majority of producers (famous and non-famous) use DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations), such as Fruity Loops, Logic Pro, Reason, Cubase, Ableton, ProTools, and a looooong list more of them. These just happen to be the most popular and widely-used out there, which vary in price. I personally use Fruity Loops 12 (shortened as FL Studio or just FL 12), but you're free to use whichever one or ones that works with you best.

Now, there are a few fundamentals every producer should know about:

1) VSTs, aka virtual studio technology (or plugins), are the cool tools you can use to make your instruments with and effects to make the instruments sound even cooler. There are thousands of plugins to choose from, with a fat load of them being free and others that cost you a bit of cash. Either way, they're a DAW's best friend, and it's important that you get a load of them in your DAW as soon as possible.

Side note: Some DAWs have stock plugins, such as FL Studio, so if you're starting out you're not left in the middle of the desert

2) Drum kits/sound packs are a producer's second best friend. These basically are your exit way out of the stock sounds that your choice of DAW provides. Most drum kits you can find on various websites are free to download; in some cases they'll be priced, but I don't see myself buying one anytime soon. Some sound packs are influenced off of a specific producer(s), such as Dr. Dre, Timbaland, DJ Premier, and so on and so forth. Others just have the name that describes the kit itself (e.g. techno loops, old school drums, twerk sounds, etc.). So make sure to find a couple of drum kits to entertain yourself with, and make sure you get plenty.

3) Sampling: This is a big issue with a lot of producers nowadays, so make sure you read this closely and carefully so you don't get in trouble in the future. People tend to sample from songs and not give credit when it's due, then when they make profits off of the sample they'll face some legal troubles. I doubt by reading this blog you're planning to make money already starting off, but even as a starter you should know this: Always clear a sample before selling your beat. Once you do that, you're free to sell your beats with the sample and with no legal issues. You can also make free beats with samples if you'd like; then it's not necessary to have to clear it. Just make sure to credit who the artist is and the song you're sampling!

Hopefully these few tips can give you at least a better understanding to begin producing music. There's a lot more to cover, but these are the absolute must-knows before hopping into your DAW and creating some beats. These links below offer a wide selection of VSTs and drum kits that you can use for free.

Free Drum Kits and VST websites:

Free Drum Kits, VSTs and More Here

Free Drum Kits and VSTs

VSTs for Free

500+ VSTs for Free

Free VSTs and More on Producing


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