Question about improving my overall skills as a beatmaker/producer

gt90

Beatmaker
Battle Points: 73
Hey, I've been producing music consistently since the beginning of this year and I feel like I've reached a plateau. I've learned some basic music theory and that helped improve my beats quite a bit but now I feel stuck, I'm not sure how to improve my beats and general production skills. I understand there are a ton of tutorials online but with there being so many I'm not sure where to start. Do you guys know of any resources which give an outline of things every beatmaker/producer should know or something to this effect so that I can narrow down what I should improve upon?

Thank you,

Gelert
 

OGBama

ILLIEN
What do you want/need to learn specifically?
 

crosstevsky

beats architect
Battle Points: 33
Yeah...like OGbama said, you have to be specific. I divide my learning in this categories:
1.composition(music theory, arranging)
2.sound design(sampling, programming synths)
3.mixing and mastering
I mostly use youtube and illmuzik for educating myself. You ahould know your weak areas that need improvement. If you know some music theory already i would suggest playing with sound like knowing your synth of choice or sampling if you are more into sampling. Push your self harder, practice every day. Make a beat every day and you will become better...post a beat in the showcase so we can tell you how you can improve.
 

TheGiftedOne

Nowhere But Up From Here
Depending on what type of software you're running...individual track mixing is how I've been rocking. Getting a good mix per track will help with the mixing or mastering plug-in you are using for final mixdown.
 

gt90

Beatmaker
Battle Points: 73
@OGBama Thank you for the advice. I didn't specify what I need to learn, you're right, I should've. Thinking about it, one of the things that bugs me the most about quite a few of my beats is that I feel like there is a lack of bounce/groove in them. This is strictly limited to my sampled beats, by this I mean the beats that I sampled from soul music for example. With my non-sampled beats or at least when I use ready made samples from sound packs, I can get a bounce but sometimes I feel like the song is lacking soul if that makes any sense, you guys would have to hear some of these beats to tell me if you guys agree or if I'm just overthinking something, I'll post an example in showcase. Another thing I need to learn is how to correctly add additional instrumentation to my sampled beats, I see people do it in tutorials online and they make it seem effortless, when I try something just doesn't sound right, I'm pretty sure I'm in the right key when I add additional instrumentation as well but most of the time it just doesn't gel. Could it be my choice of additional instrumentation? Could I be in the wrong key? I use software to check what key my beat is in depending on the tempo I'm working at and I understand this isn't always accurate but it seems to be accurate more often than not. Finally I need to get my basslines up to a good level.
@crosstevsky Thank you for the advice, I like the way you split your learning into those 3 categories. Thinking about it more, I do need to improve upon my arrangements and you can never have enough music theory. I definitely need to improve upon my sound design, my sampling needs to be improved but I'm not sure exactly how to improve my sampling, any suggestions for resources I should look at? Programming synths has always been a mystery to me so I definitely need to experiment more with playing around with various synths that I frequently use. Also, I definitely need to improve my mixing and mastering as mastering is a bit of a mystery to me as well. Any good resources to improve upon these? Finally, I will push myself harder and I'll post a few beats in the showcase.
@TheGiftedOne Thank you for the advice. Any good resources for mixing individual tracks for FL studio anyone? I'll take a look online to see what I can find but any suggestions are welcome.

Thank you all for the advice,

Gelert
 

Kreepmusic

Newbie
Hey, I've been producing music consistently since the beginning of this year and I feel like I've reached a plateau. I've learned some basic music theory and that helped improve my beats quite a bit but now I feel stuck, I'm not sure how to improve my beats and general production skills. I understand there are a ton of tutorials online but with there being so many I'm not sure where to start. Do you guys know of any resources which give an outline of things every beatmaker/producer should know or something to this effect so that I can narrow down what I should improve upon?

Thank you,

Gelert
well You could use Plugins for mixing and mastering to really get that warm sound ,,,and punch ,, Example ,,,VST,s /// Soundtoys plugins......Waves plugin bundle diamond or any .....Izotope 8 >.
 

Fade

The Beat Hamster
Administrator
*** ill o.g. ***
Battle Points: 1
I agree with @NONONSENSEBEATS about the drums. I'm using an MPC so it naturally has that MPC swing but I still sometimes find my drums can be a bit robotic. That could also be just what the drum sounds sound like to begin with though (aka choppy).

I'm surprised you're saying that your sample-based beats lack a groove though. I would expect the opposite from synth-based.

But, I do think it all starts with drums. If you think about it - let's say you start with a famous drum break like Funky Drummer then build upon that. Guaranteed you will have a groove, so I would work on drums first and the rest should start to come together nicely.
 

gt90

Beatmaker
Battle Points: 73
@Fade I think you're right, it could be what the drums sound like to begin with.
When I use drum breaks, there is no problem in terms of getting a bounce/groove, all the drum breaks I've ever used for my sampled beats have a bounce/groove however they're a little quiet volume wise. I remember watching a video by this guy on youtube called Dubsbanger, he showed his process of using drum breaks which was great but he didn't show how he mixed them. He also said he would layer multiple kicks and snares together from drum breaks and he was talking about picking one kick that is a low kick, one kick that is a mid kick and one kick that is a high kick, I presume he meant in the frequency range but I'm not sure, can somebody who layers their kicks in this fashion weigh in on this? I did try this method of layering where I presumed he was talking about frequency ranges but I'm not sure how to properly mix the kicks and they still lack volume somewhat. Does anybody know of any good resources which specifically explains how to mix together a sliced up drum break which you layer yourself, i.e. layered kicks and snares? I've looked for such a resource but haven't found one.
Thank you for your advice as well.
 

Fade

The Beat Hamster
Administrator
*** ill o.g. ***
Battle Points: 1
Yeah dubs was on here way back! He's got some great videos but you're right, he doesn't show the mixing part. I don't know if layering will affect the bounce that much, but it could just be he's also sampling everything, so he's taking drum hits from vinyl, plus his main samples. So when you put it all together it's like it all belongs.

It could also be like if you're using drums from vinyl but then the rest of the sounds are from a VST. It's not really going to sound great together unless it's mixed just right.
 
@NONONSENSEBEATS Hmmm, I see. Could you elaborate a little bit when you say how I mix the drums and give an example of what you mean is possible as well?
Thank you for the advice as well.
I know what u mean about bounce I was having the same problem and sometimes still do, I'm still learning from scratch pretty much again but what usually helps me is like others have said, swing, also hi hat velocity. So Im always putting my hi hat on 16 levels and picking maybe 3 or so pads and knocking them out in an order i feel that helps move the beat along. Just an example would be making the hi hats that are offbeat (inbetween kick/snare etc) a little louder than those on the kick/snare, so it kinda goes... down, up,down,up.

Ghost kicks are also big for adding bounce for me. Having a kick come in at a lower volume slightly before your main kick. Alonso Majikal has a video on youtube about this.
 

ArvinArmani

DO NOT call me T-dog
Battle Points: 80
i asked this from the ILL too @gt90 ... i wasn't sure about the answers i got here so i experienced it myself : Making beats itself improves you as a beatmaker. the thing i found out was sampling doesn't improve you as much as making original beats does, i can prove that but it can take a lot of time. also 2 things that Really helped me was working with only 1 software and remaking other songs beats. because i had to remake some songs so we can put that song as the base of our own song, i have been really useful for my company there because remaking was one of my habits, i remade All of my favorite songs in fl studio, also the remaking kanye west discography project was really helpful too, also only working with 1 software because i worked a Lot with fl studio, i randomly used each setting i found on my beats so i found a lot out about it, so whenever we need something more advanced while making beats i can help a lot.

if you wanna go to a more advanced level than this, you can learn music theory and then learn 2-3 instruments. then you can be more professional.
 

gt90

Beatmaker
Battle Points: 73
@Fade Whatever happened to dubs? I see, thank you again for the advice.
@Yodsanklai Thank you for your advice, it has definitely improved the bounce/groove, great tip!
@ArvinArmani Thank you for the advice, I'll start remaking more songs.
Thank you all for your advice, I'll take it all in and continue to improve my beats.
Thank you.
 

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