Guitar Music Production: Record, Edit and Mix Your Own Song | Wes Singerman | Skillshare

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Guitar Music Production: Record, Edit and Mix Your Own Song

teacher avatar Wes Singerman, Music Producer, Guitarist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Setting up Your Interface


    • 4.

      Creating a Loop


    • 5.

      Layering Sounds


    • 6.

      Experimenting with Plugin Effects


    • 7.

      Exploring Sends and Returns


    • 8.



    • 9.

      Adding a Groove


    • 10.

      Structuring and Finishing a Song


    • 11.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Take your jam session to the next level and produce your very own music.

Guitarist and music producer, Wesley Singerman, has made a name for himself in the music industry for his versatile and creative beats. As an expert at transforming simple melodies and chords into rich, reimagined sounds, Wesley’s talent has brought him the opportunity to work with musical superstars like Travis Barker, Kehlani, Kendrick Lamar, and many others. After years of professionally producing music, Wesley is ready to reveal how to use your guitar to produce your own music.

It’s time to unleash your inner music producer! From creating a basic guitar loop and building it out with cool effects and sounds to structuring your sounds into a full-blown song, this class will teach you the basics of producing music right from your computer. 

With Wesley playing along with you, you’ll: 

  • Record live audio onto your computer by using an interface
  • Create a basic guitar loop that’ll create a strong foundation for your final piece
  • Increase depth, grit, and movement in your music by using plugin effects
  • Customize and sculpt your tone using send and returns
  • Resample and rework the pitch, tone, and beat of your song
  • Craft a song with a verse, pre-chorus, and chorus

Plus, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look into Wesley’s own work and how he goes about using his guitar to write a song as a full-time music producer.  

Whether you’ve already dabbled in songwriting and want to take your music to the next level or are exploring producing your own music for the first time, you’ll leave this class with the ability to turn basic guitar sounds into a rich, well-structured piece of music. 

You don’t need to be an expert guitarist to take this class, but previous guitar playing experience and knowledge such as how to hold a guitar and basic strumming will be helpful. In this class, you’ll need your guitar, a pick, basic recording interface, a guitar cable and a digital audio workstation (DAW). Wesley uses Ableton for his DAW, but you can use any DAW you like such as GarageBand, Logic, or FL Studio. To continue your journey learning the guitar, explore Wesley’s full Guitar Learning Path.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Wes Singerman

Music Producer, Guitarist


Get ready to rock and roll with Wes Singerman. With a passion for music, Wesley has produced and written hits for some of the biggest names in the game, from Joji, Kehlani, Anderson .Paak, Kendrick Lamar to Ty Dolla $ign and more!! And that's not all – as a guitar player extraordinaire, Wesley can shred with the best of them!

But that's not all Wesley is famous for – he's also a seasoned voice actor, having lent his talents to iconic characters like Wilbur Robinson in Meet the Robinsons and Charlie Brown in several beloved specials. With his boundless energy and endless creativity, Wesley is a true force to be reckoned with. 


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Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Have you ever wondered how music producers write and record music? Well, it's time to make it be. [MUSIC] I'm Wes Singerman, and I'm a music producer and guitarist, and my career has led me to work and play alongside artists such as Kehlani, Travis Barker, Party Favor, Anderson Paak, Kendrick Lamar, and many others. In this class, we'll be looking at guitar relating to music production. We'll start off by discussing some basic recording equipment and learning how to use it, and then we'll work on creating a guitar loop and building it out with multiple layers and effects. Finally, we'll add a groove to it and structure it out into an entire song. For this class, you will need a basic recording interface, your guitar, with a guitar cable and a DAW, which is a digital audio workstation such as GarageBand, Logic, Ableton, FL Studio. I will be using Ableton. By the end of this class, you should feel comfortable recording your guitar and creating songs. Let's get started. [MUSIC] 2. Getting Started: [MUSIC] Congratulations on making it to class 5. You rock. If you've been with me since class 1 or joined anytime in between, you've acquired some of the building blocks of not only guitar but music itself. Now it's time to put it all together and take a look at guitar as it relates to music production. For this, I'll be using Ableton, but any recording software will work. You'll also need a recording interface that connects to your computer, as well as the quarter-inch cable and most importantly a vision. Let's get started. 3. Setting up Your Interface: In order to record a guitar on your computer, you're going to need something called an interface. An interface is a device that allows us to connect to the computer in order to record live instruments. After opening your DAW, in my case, Ableton, open up your preferences menu and set the audio input device as being whatever your audio interfaces. I'm using a Universal Audio Apollo set to Universal Audio Thunderbolt. You should see whatever the name of your audio interface is in the menu section there. Also before you start, we want to set the buffer size to about 256 just to make sure that when we play the guitar, that the sound comes at the exact same time and we don't have what's called latency, which is when you play and then there's a delay in the sound and it comes a few seconds later. We definitely don't want that when we're recording. Now your computer should be ready to record. Let's open up an audio track and select the input that your guitar is plugged into. Check that you're getting the right amount of volume. Interfaces have something called a preempt that allows you to boost the volume or lower it so that you can achieve the optimal volume for recording. Play as loud as you're going to play. If the audio meter is hitting the red, it's too loud and the pre-amp should be turned down whereas if you're barely getting any volume, you need to turn it up. It's as simple as that. Let's check my volume real quick. [MUSIC] That's pretty quiet. I don't think it's giving you enough volume so I'm going to turn up the pre-amp here. Let's see what that sounds like. [MUSIC] This is a lot louder, but as you can see, it's hitting the red. [MUSIC] Every time I strum hard like that, it shouldn't be that loud so we got to turn it down just a little bit and we should be right in that nice pocket to record. Let's try one one more time. [MUSIC] That should be perfect. It's time to record. 4. Creating a Loop: [MUSIC] Let's create a guitar loop. I'm going to jam out on some chords using the chords that we learned from our key, in this case C major. I'm going to find something that sounds good to my ears so I'm just going to experiment a little bit. I think I want to start with a minor chord, so let me try D minor. That's nice. That's nice too. I like that, and maybe I can change it up for the second time around. That's nice. I actually really like that. In this case, I'm using the key of C and I'm starting on my two chord, which is a minor. In this case, I'm doing a minor 7, D minor 7 and I'm going to play one string at a time just to to get that nice little rhythmic feel to it instead of just strumming, it gives us something different to catch our attention. Then I'm going to slide it up to E minor 7, which is our three chord. Then I'm going to go to our four chord, F major 7. Again, I'm doing that one string at a time, strumming down and then we go back to E minor 7. Then I'm going to repeat the phrase, but I'm going to do with slightly different endings so I'm going to have D minor 7 again, to an E minor 7 and maybe this time I go to A minor 7 and a G major. The whole thing that I played sound like this. [MUSIC] That sounds great. Now that I have something I like on the dog, you can of set a specific amount of bars to be looped. We'll start with probably four or eight bars and I'm going to figure out a tempo that feels good. Most DAWs have what's called a tap button, where you can click in the tempo that you like. You just tap, tap, tap, tap and it will set the tempo for you automatically so I'm going to try that real quick. We had that. I'm going to tap that into, 1, 2, 3, 4 so it's telling me that it's about 107 beats per minute. And the way that I'm going to check to see if it's right, is I'm going to turn on the metronome. Every DAW has a metronome. Ableton has one that's right next to where I did my tap tempo and we're going to listen. That sounds about right, [NOISE] I Iike that tempo. Now that we have the tempo that we like, we're going to finally go back to recording the guitar. I'm going to give myself a four beat count which it's going to go 1, 2, 3, 4 and it's just going to start recording. I'm going to hit this recording button right at the top and it's going to give me a one-bar count in and then I'm just going to start trying to record to this Click. Here we go. That's great. Now I have a guitar part that I liked and it's ready to be looped. 5. Layering Sounds: [MUSIC] Now that we have a nice loop going, let's try and build it up a little more with some additional parts. For this, I'm still sticking to the key of C. I'm going to use my skills to find a nice melodic part that can fit over the top of this loop. Make sure you open up a new audio track for this next part and set the input of your audio track to be your guitar. I'm going to play this loop again. I'm leaving my click track on so that I have the right timing and the right rhythm. I'm going to use my scale to think of some good melodies that can work over this [MUSIC] That sounds nice. I'm going to go ahead and record that. When I hit the "Record" button, it's going to give me another four counts and then I start. Hitting the record button 2, 3, 4 and I made. [MUSIC] Great. That sounds great. Let's try adding just one more thing. I'm going to open up another audio track and again, makes sure that it's set to my guitar. I'm going to play the loop again, just to hear what we have. [MUSIC] It's sounding good. Let me think of something that I could play here. [MUSIC] Maybe something like this. [MUSIC] That sounds really cool. I'm actually going to go ahead and record that. I'm going to hit the "Record" button again, I got four counts in and then it's off; 2, 3, 4. [MUSIC] Let's listen back to what I just did. Nice, I like that. Now this is sounding much more full and less like just a guitar loop. Next, we're going to go into using some effects. 6. Experimenting with Plugin Effects: [MUSIC] In every doc, there are things called plugins that we can use. Plugins are effects or programs that do specific things. There are thousands of plugins made by different companies that you can purchase but every doc comes with its own set of plugins for you to use. For this example, I'll be using strictly the Ableton audio effects. Since we have this loop, I can now experiment with adding different effects onto the track and the great thing about this is because I recorded the guitar without any effects, I can keep changing and experimenting with different combinations of effects without hurting or changing the original take. You can add as many or as little effects as you would like. There's no wrong way to do this at all. Let's check it out. I'm going to start with this original guitar that I did. Now, I'm going to hit this little S button here, which is a solo button. That means that it's only going to play the one guitar and nothing else that I've done. I have this nice guitar we can take the click off for now since we've already recorded. In Ableton's menu there's a set of effects, says Audio Effects. We can come here, we have all kinds of delays, overdrives, fuzzies, EQs, filters, modulation stuff. Why don't I try pulling up the modulation menu? Let me see. I think putting a chorus or a phase around this might make it sound a little more interesting. I'm going to grab the chorus ensemble from the plugins menu and I'm just going to drop it right onto the track. Now, already you can hear it's making a huge difference in the sound. It starts to widen out. We got a little bit of movement. It almost sounds watery. Each plugin has its own set of controls that we can use to control how the effect is behaving. With the chorus, I'm going to turn the amount knob, which is really going to get it to sound extra watery. Now I think I like the way that sounds, but I want a little bit of reverb on it too. I'm going to go to this menu that says reverb and I'm going to pull up just a reverb plugin and I'm going to add that right at the end. Now, this is nice. We're getting some reverb. On the reverb, I'm going to increase the decay time so that the reverb is a little longer, it stretches out a little bit more. That sounded really nice. I like the way this reverb sounds, but it is a little bit strong. I'm going to take where it says "Dry/wet" and I'm going to turn it down. When we're all the way down, meaning we're dry, the effect is not in play at all and when I'm 100 percent wet, that means that I can't hear any of the original signal. It's only going to be the new signal that's being processed through the river. I don't want it all the way wet. I don't want it all the way dry. Let's try about 30 percent. Now that already sounds so much better. We're getting all kinds of new depth, all kinds of new sounds from just a couple of plugins. I'm going to keep going with this. Instead of messing with this guitar, let's try this second one that I recorded. I'm going to take this off of solo, and I'm now going to solo the second guitar that I recorded. As you can see, this sounds plane on its own. It's needing a lot of effects I'm thinking maybe a little bit of a delay, which is like an echo. I'm going to take a delay plugin then I'm going to drop it on the second track there. Already this is so much cooler. I don't like the way the delay is repeating though. I wanted to repeat on the beat. I'm going to set it up specifically to repeat on eighth notes so that it matches up a little bit more with our click. I'm going to put the click back in so you can hear it. That sounds really nice. Again, this is just a little bit too wet for my taste. I'm going to take the dry/wet knob that we have and I'm going to turn it just down a little bit more, maybe it began about 35 percent or so. Now that sounds really cool. With this, as you can see, I have an EQ that I pulled up here. If you're looking at the frequency response, this is how low the tone that you're getting is going all the way to how high the tone that you're getting is. I'm going to take some of this low-end out. I'm going to take this little thing right here and I'm going to drag it up and this is going to cut out some of those low frequencies that we don't really need for this guitar part. Now, I also like this guitar part, but I don't like that it's just right in the center. I'm going to put something called an auto-pan on it. When we pan something, that means we're moving it left or right in your speakers so that when you listen to it on headphones or speakers, you're hearing something over to the right or you're hearing something over to the left like this. Here's all the way to the right, and here's all the way to the left. I wanted to move between the right and left. I wanted to go back and forth. We have something on here called an auto pan, which is going to do all the work for me. All I do is just drop the auto pan on and I turn the amount up and it's going to start moving it to the left and right, all on its own. Now, this sounds great. I'm liking the way this sounds, but I think it also needs a little bit of reverb. I'm going to take another reverb and I'm just going to drop it onto the end here. I only want a little bit so I'm going to turn the dry/wet pretty much all the way down to maybe about 10 percent. I just wanted to add a little bit of extra depth to the sound. Now, this is making a huge difference already in the way that this sounds. Let's try out that third guitar point that I recorded. Let's hear the way it sounds. I'll take the click off again. Again, we're just playing clean guitar. It doesn't sound too great on its own but I think we can spice this up. I'm going to go back to my modulation effects and I'm going to try a phaser this time. I'm going to drop a phaser onto this third guitar part and it gets this nice rear sound to it. [LAUGHTER] I don't know how to really describe it, but it's a very, very cool sound. I'm going to turn the amount just a little bit down and I'm really liking the way that that's affecting this. Let's put a little bit of overdrive or something to juice this up a little bit. I'm going to pull up an overdrive plugin and I'm going to drop that onto the end here. As you can tell, that's probably a little too aggressive for where this loop is at. I'm going to take the drive amount down so that it's not so harsh. Again, I'm going to pull the dry/wet down a little bit maybe about 22 percent or 20 percent and we just get a little bit more edge from it. I ended up leaving it at 24 percent. But this is nice. We got just a little bit more bite, a little bit of movement from that phaser, and then all of these things together are hopefully going to mix really well. Let's listen. This sounds so much better than before. We have all kinds of movement now. We have all kinds of different things that are affecting the chords differently and it's really blending in a lot better than it was before. The whole point of this is that you can take any track that you record and you can add as many effects as you want in any order that you want. Essentially, you can customize and sculpt your own tone. Let's get sculpting. 7. Exploring Sends and Returns: Another way to apply effects in your DAW is by using send and return tracks. A return track is a track that contains audio effects, and the output of any track in your project can be sent through it using send controls. This way, you can apply a common effect across multiple tracks without having to put the effect on each individual track. This will save you a lot of CPU power as every new plugin that you put on takes more and more of your CPU. It also allows you to have consistent tone across multiple tracks. Typically, I will use sends for reverbs and delay. But you can use any effect or any combination of effects as a return. Again, there are no rules. Let me show you how I do it. On Ableton, there's a menu that says Create and you can basically click on that and say create a return track, which creates down here. I've already done this ahead of time. I created two, one of them I put reverb on it, and the other one, I put a delay. Let's mess with this reverb a little bit. I'm going to want a longer reverb time. Then I might turn the size of the reverb room a little bit down. I know I already put reverb on a couple of the tracks, but for now, I'm going to delete those so that I can show you how I use the sense. I'm deleting this reverb. I'm deleting this other reverb here. Underneath the volume, there's a couple of these little knobs that you can turn up to push some of that output into that return track. I'm going to do that with this first initial guitar and I'll show you what it sounds like. I'm going to start with it all the way down at zero. I'm going to play this again. Still has that chorus on there, but there's no reverb right now. As I take this ascend and push it all the way up, you're going to hear how it's getting slightly more and more effected with this reverb until when I push it all the way up, it's completely soaked in reverb. This is probably too much. I'm going to dial it back down until I get to a spot that I think is the sweet spot. Let's see. Somewhere around there sounds great. Still hearing the reverb. I also wanted to add reverb on some of these other tracks. I just literally do the exact same thing with these other tracks. I can take this guitar and I can start to move some of this ascend up, as well. Get it nice and verb down. That sounds great. I'm going to put a little bit of extra verb on this one. That's amazing. Now, this third one here. Same thing. I'm going to put not as much on this last take here. The great thing about this is I only need one reverb. Once I put it on that return track, I can then go to each individual track that I've recorded and choose how much or how little I want to push into that reverb. Because it's the same reverb, we get a consistent tone across all of the tracks that we're using it for. Try using sends and returns in your own production. Next up, we're going to get into re-sampling. 8. Resampling: [MUSIC] Something else that I love to do is re-sampling. This is when I take the loop that I have and I decide to chop up pieces of it like a sample or manipulate it in some way that's different from the original. There are many ways to do this, but I'll show you the way that I like to do it. On Ableton, you can set up an audio track and set it to re-sample, which means it's going to record everything that's happening in your project, but only as a single audio track. Let's do that now. I'm going to open a new audio track, and then the input, right now it says external in. But when I click this menu, there's an option here for re-sampling. When I click re-sampling, it's going to end up recording every single thing that I have going on, which at the moment is just these three guitar tracks put together. Let's try that now. I'm going to hit the record button and it's just going to do all the work for me. [MUSIC] You can see in the audio form that it's coming in a little bit differently. It's coming in as a stereo track and it's because it's recording everything that we have, including all of the effects. Now we can listen back. Before I do this, I'm going to mute the other guitar tracks that were already playing and I'm only going to listen to the new sample. Just to be extra careful, I'm going to retitle this sample. Let's listen back. [MUSIC] Perfect, it did its job exactly. Now that we have our loop as a single track with all the effects already on it, let's try experimenting with changing the pitch a little bit. If I double-click on this track right here, it pulls up with this cool menu. One of the buttons says pitch. If I just move this up and down, it's going to change the pitch by half-steps. Each plus 1 plus 2 is another half-step. If I press play, I'll show you what that does. We can either use our mouse to do this or I can use the arrow keys to do it one at a time, which is what I'm going to do now. I'm going to pitch it up and we're going to see what it sounds like. [MUSIC] This is now up a four-step. This sounds really nice. For fun, let's push it a little bit more. I'm going to go up to five half steps. [MUSIC] That's also very cool. Not sure what I like here. Let's try going down. I'm back to the original here. Let's see what it sounds like when I pitch it down. Now this is down three half steps. It's beautiful. It sounds pretty dark. I can't tell whether I like the down or the up better. Let's keep going down a little bit, see what it sounds like. [MUSIC] That's cool, but I think I liked it when it was a little bit higher up, so I'm just going to push it back to minus three. That sounded really nice to me. We can also mess with the tempo a little bit too. From here, I know we had it originally 107 BPM. But while this is playing, I'm going to see if I can maybe slow it down or speed it up and see if it sounds any better that way. Let's try it. [MUSIC] I'm going to go up to where my tempo is, and then I'm just going to use my mouse to pull it down. We're going to bring it down and down, so here's now 96 BPM, much slower. That's cool. Wonder what it sounds like when it's faster. [MUSIC] This is now 127 BPM. That's nice too. Maybe I'll find a sweet spot just a little bit slower than this. This is 124 BPM now. That sounds pretty nice. Already this is taking on a whole new life. I'm going to take it one step further and chop up this loop into smaller pieces and then play out those pieces on my computer keyboard. Let's check out what that looks like. Before I do anything, I'm going to right-click where my track is and it says sample then I'm going to freeze this track. What this is going to do is it's going to lock every change that I've made into place and prevent anything bad from happening before I decide to chop this, and then I'm going to right-click one more time and say flattened track. That's going to solidify all of the changes that I may have made, whether it be volume or effects changes or anything like that. When I right-click on the audio track, there's an option here that says slice to new MIDI track. When I click that, it's giving me some menu options. I'm going to choose half-note because I want to slice this up into half-notes. Every two beats is what a half note is. We're going to go 1, 2, then 3, 4 is our next chop, then 1, 2, 3, 4. Then for the slicing preset, I liked the built-in preset, but I'm going to do the built-in zero velocity preset because I wanted to have zero velocity, which means every time I hit a button, it's going to play the sample at the exact same volume. If I do that and click Okay, it's going to do all the work for me and chop it up onto a little drum pad. You can trigger the samples here with a MIDI keyboard or any MIDI device. But for now, I'm just going to use my computer keyboard and we're going to see what that sounds like. Starting here on the lowest sample, [MUSIC] that's a little chop right there. Then as I move up the keys, that's another chop. This is another chop. [MUSIC] We can start messing with this. We can start going pretty fast or slow or doing any type of new thing with this and see how that sounds. Let me try experimenting a little bit. We're going to have [MUSIC], I like that. [MUSIC] I'm triggering little bits of this sample. Now already this is giving me a new template like 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2. Before I move any further, I'm going to mute the original sample, the one that I re-sampled already and I'm going to tap in the new tempo that I'm hearing. I'm hearing it 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4. It's saying it's about 127 beats per minute. Maybe 128 is where I'll leave it at. Now we're still going to use that eight-bar loop, and I'm only going to use the keyboard to trigger these new samples and replay my sample into a new piece. Let's try it, four counts in 1, 2, 3, 4 then. [MUSIC] Now that was nice. I'm going to try recording this new sample using all the chops that I did. Make sure your click is on, and we're going to get a nice four-beat count in and we're going to try and run it for eight bars. Let's do it, 1, 2, 3, 4. [MUSIC] That was really nice. Let's listen back to what I did. [MUSIC] Now I like this, but if you can hear it with the click, not everything that I played is really accurately in time. What we're going to do is we're going to do something called quantizing. Quantizing is when you take MIDI notes and you snap them into the grid so that they're perfectly in time. I'm going to double-click on the MIDI notes that I did, and then if I right-click on this, it's going to say quantize. If I just click Quantize, it's going to automatically snap these to the grid so that they're perfectly in time. When I listen back to the click, it should be perfect. Let's hear it. [MUSIC] That's nice. [MUSIC] Now this is starting to sound like a beet. In the next lesson, we're going to learn how to put a groove on top of this. 9. Adding a Groove: [MUSIC] So now we've recorded a loop, layered it up, added effects, and now we've chopped it up so it sounds way different than the original. Let's get a groove going on all this. All docks have their own sets of drum sounds that you can find. But there are also amazing resource websites like Splice that allow you to access hundreds of thousands of sounds, including drum sounds, loops, and samples. Typically in music, we can put a snare drum, a rim shot snap, or a clap on the second and fourth beat of a measure. So if I have something like this, [MUSIC] we have this quick beat. I'm going to put 1, 2, 3, 4; 1, 2, 3, 4; 1, 2, 3, 4. That's typically where that goes. In R&B and trap music, the groove is what we call half-time, where the snare or the snap or whatever you use will hit on Beat 3 instead of on Beat 2 and 4. So instead of this [MUSIC] 1, 2, 3, 4; 1, 2, 3, we have this 1, 2, 3, 4; 1, 2,3, 4; 1, 2, 3, 4. We'll use a snap, 2, 3, 4. That sounds good. That already sounds like a Beat 2. There we go. Figure out what groove is sounding best for your production and let's go for it. I'm going to go ahead and add a snap on mine. I'm going to go through a couple of sounds. I really liked the sound of that snap. I'm going to add, I'm just going to actually just drop the audio sample of the snap just directly into the session. When I do that, it automatically creates an audio track for me and I'm going to make sure I see the beat margins at the top where it says 1, 1.2, 1.3, each one of those are beats. So I want to make sure that my snap is on Beat 3. Then I'm going to highlight the entire bar, and I'm going to copy or duplicate this to each bar of my loop. So we have eight bars now with the snap on B3 of everyone. I'm going to go ahead and title my track snap so that I don't get confused as to what this is, and let's hear it. [MUSIC] Now the snap is great, it's a little loud. So I'm going to take the volume down. I might add a little bit of that reverb from the sound that we did earlier. Let's try it. That's really nice. That reverb is sounding great. Now this is starting to feel like a real song. Got some movement in there, it's got some groove, but it's still not done. I'm going to go ahead and add a kick drum and maybe a hi-hat or two, maybe some a little bit of percussion. See what we can get it to sound like. Let's check it out. I'm going to keep this looping for right now. [MUSIC] I'm going to take the click off because we already got this nice little sense of where the group is at. I'm just going to find the kick drum that I like. I like that one. I'm going to take that, I'm just going to drag it into my session. I'm going to start to copy and paste this. I'm going to use my commands. It's Command C for copy and Command V for paste. So already we got a little bit of nice, but the kick is too loud. I'm going to turn the kick down. Let's see what happens. We have [inaudible] I like that. That's cool. I like that. Let's listen. [MUSIC] That's really nice. I like what I did those first four bars. I'm just going to highlight the first four bars that I did, and I'm going to Command D, which is duplicate. I could also right-click and select Duplicate. But it's very important to eventually start to learn the shortcuts on your dock so that you can get all speed and you don't have to worry about constantly clicking and going into menus and stuff like that. You want the flow to continue. I have now a kick and a snap. Let's try adding a high hat. [MUSIC] Like the way that hi-hat sound did. This kick is still a little too loud. I'm going to pull it down just a little bit with the volume. Now we have a high hat. And I'm just going to start copy pasting some of the high hat stuff on here. That's also too loud. So I'm going to turn that down. I wanted like, ta-ta-ta-ta. That's nice. I like that little two bars that I did. So I copied the two bars and I just duplicated into the whole thing. Already we have three drum sounds in there. Sounds like a finished beat already. This is great. We're making a lot of progress. Let's try and add like a bass sound. So in R&B, hip-hop, and trap music, we use something called an 808, which is essentially a really boomy sounding bass. Originally this came from a drum machine that was called the TR-808. And every time they kick it, it will go [inaudible]. So now we use sounds like that to actually do our bass parts. I'm going to use an 808 to try and create a nice baseline for the track that we have. Let's check it out. I'm going to press play again so that we hear what I did. [MUSIC] Like this. Let's find a nice base. That's a nice one. Really liked the way that sounds, really deep. So in every door there's something called a sampler. Typically with a sampler we can take a single individual sound, like an 808, we can drop it in, and we can actually use our keyboard to play different notes with that one individual sound. Unable to end the sampler that I like to use is actually called simpler. We can just open one of those up. If I drop it into the session, it'll just automatically open it up. I'm going to go back to the 808 that I really liked, and I'm just going to drop it in. There we go. Now if I play on my keyboard, [LAUGHTER] it's very low. I'm going to push this up a couple of octaves. If I play different notes. So we have now an opportunity to try and find the baseline that we want to do and be able to play it out. Let me press "Play" again and we can see where we're at. [MUSIC] That's nice. So we just hit. I liked that 808 sound, but I don't like how it cuts off immediately right after I lift up my finger. I'm going to go here to where it says attack, decay, sustain, and release on the bottom. I'm going to increase the release, which is going to make it so that after I lift my finger up, the sound is going to continue on its own. Let's try this one more time. So as I lift up, you can hear how it's a little bit longer. I'm going to still increase it because I want it to be even longer than that. That's nice. That's very nice. I like where we're at. Let's see if we can record this baseline in. I'm going to press my record button. It's going to give me four counts. I'm just going to try using my little computer keyboard to get some nice baselines in here. Going to get four counts in. Let's see how it goes. [MUSIC] That was great I think [LAUGHTER]. Let's quantize this. If I double-click on the thing that I just recorded, the baseline, you can see it's pretty on the grid. I did a pretty good job. But if I want it to be even more precise, I'm going to right-click and I'm going to select Quantize. Again, this is going to snap everything to the grid so that everything is perfectly in time with the drums that I've already done and with the sample. Let's listen back now that it's quantized. [MUSIC] Very nice. I'm just adjusting the timing a tiny bit more. Let's try it one more time. [MUSIC] I like the way this sounds. So right now, this is just an eight bar loop, even with all the drums and even now that it's sounding like a real beat, it's still not a full song. In the next lesson, we're going to learn how to structure and finish out a song. 10. Structuring and Finishing a Song: [MUSIC] We're almost done creating our beat. Time to take all the parts that we have and structure out a song. Typically, songs are broken up into parts like verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, etc. I'm going to create a little intro using our sample. Then when the drums come in, I'm thinking that that's probably going to be the verse. Let's figure it out. I still have these eight bar from our original sample and I'm actually just going to take this and duplicate it a bunch of times. I'm going to make it so that it's 32 bar for now. Now for the first four bars, that's what I want as my intro. I'm going to take the drums that I have here. I'm going to highlight all of them and I'm just going to delete them for now and just let the sample play by itself for the beginning. When those drums hit, that should be the beginning of the singing part or the rapping part, or whoever is going to be coming on the track. Let's listen. [MUSIC] I like this and the drums should hit right here. [MUSIC] That's nice, but I also don't want to give everything up at front. I'm actually going to mute the bass for the verse part. I'm going to mute the kick as well for the very beginning of the verse. I'm going to actually mute for eight bar so that we only have the hi-hat and the snap that's happening right on Bar 5. From here to here, it's only going to be the snap, the hi-hat, and our original sample. Let's listen to what that sounds like. We have our intro and then when it goes into the verse, we don't want to give too much away. I'm just going to get the hi-hat in there and the snap. That's really nice and it's super open for an artist to sing on top of it, or a rapper to rap on it or whatever we're going to have on this. Then after the end of this eight bars, we can bring in the kick and that eight away. That's nice. This could be maybe a second half of a verse or something along those lines. Then we got to do something right here. It feels like something needs to happen right there differently. Typically, in music we have something called a pre-chorus, which is a little broken down section or something different that happens right before the big hook. I'm actually going to take all of the drums out and I'm going to go back to our original sample. What I'm even going to do is go back to the very original guitar part that I recorded and see what that sounds like. I'm going to mute the chopped up sample that we did and instead, I'm going to unmute this very first original guitar riff that I had. When we listen to it, it's probably going to be that original pitch that we had because we started to pitch things around and do all new stuff with that new sample. But I'm going back to where we had this guitar. [MUSIC] This is much higher, but what I had done was I had pitched it down minus 3. I'm going to highlight all of these, double-click on this and I'm going to go back to this pitch and minus it down three so that it matches with the rest of the song. Now that pre-chorus doesn't come in until right about here. I'm going to slide that here and I can just delete the rest of this for now because I don't actually need any of these anymore. Maybe I'll do the same thing with one of these other guitar parts, maybe the second guitar part as well that I did. Let's listen to that. I'm going to take that I'm going to pitch that down three as well, so it matches with our sample and I'm going to bring this over for our pre-chorus. I'll delete the rest of these as well. We can get rid of this re-sampled track for now and let's just listen to what this sounds like. The track is going to build up a little bit and then it's going to break down for our pre-chorus and for the pre-chorus, it's going to sound a little bit new and different. Let me start halfway through the verse and then we're going to listen to how it sounds leading into this new pre-chorus. [MUSIC] This is sounding good. After this next round through, it's going to be the pre-chorus or the drums are going to drop out. We're going to have our new guitar parts or our original guitar parts coming in as a new thing. That sounds great. But from here we need to go into a new course. When it comes back in, I want something there to build just a little bit. Because I feel right now it's the same energy level that we had for our original versus and we really want something that's going to sound a little bit more built out. I think what this is missing is some percussion loop or something to bring a little bit more energy for the chorus. What I'm going to do is I'm going to search for my percussion loops, I'm going to search the tempo that I have. I have 128 BPM, so I'm going to type in 128 at the search bar that's at the top of the screen here and this is going to pull up everything that I have that is 128 beats per minute. Now I can find something, hopefully that will work. Let's see what this sounds like. That's aggressive, but I think if I use some effects to tame it down, it's actually going to sound really cool. I'm going to take this drum loop and I'm going to drop it in, in my session so that it's right below all of the other drums that I've already done here. I'm going to extend it out so that's the length of our chorus. Now, I already know that this drum sound is going to be way too loud. Right ahead of time, I'm just going to pull this back. I'm going to probably lower it about 10 decibels or so. Then I'm going to use some of that reverb return track that we had and I'm going to send a little bit in there so that it gets a little spicier sounding and let's hear what this sounds like. It still might be too loud, but let's check. [MUSIC] It's a little too loud still and I also put a little too much reverb on it. I'm going to take down the reverb a little bit and I'm going to pull down the volume even more to probably about minus 18, minus 20. I just want it to be a little texture in the background to just add some extra grid and spice to the current drum loop that I already had in there. Let's listen one more time. [MUSIC] Now, that's great, but there's some high pitch sound that's in that drum loop that I'm not really too fond of. What I'm actually going to do is I'm going to go back into my audio effects and I'm going to find a filter. Now a filter is basically just a pretty hardcore equalizer that you can use to take out a bunch of high-end or take out a bunch of low-end or even both. With this, I just dropped a filter onto that drum track and let's just listen to only the drum track for a second. [MUSIC] This is a high pitch sounds that are a little jotting. As I move this filter down, you're going to hear how it take some of those sounds and it just darkens them a little bit. Now that's great. I'm actually going to take my EQ that I have here as well and I'm going to remove a little bit of the low end as well. Let's listen one more time. [MUSIC] If you look on the EQ, every time that beeping sound happens, you can see this one little frequency just going really strong. I'm actually going to take one of these markers. I'm going to push it up just so that I can make sure that's the same spot that I'm trying to get rid of and instead I'm just going to pull it down. As I pull that down, it's going to start to quiet and calm that frequency a little bit. Let's listen one more time, make sure that it's the way we like it. [MUSIC] That's so much better. Now that I've done that I could probably move the volume back up just a little bit. Maybe push it back up to maybe 18 or minus 17 decibels. Let's listen. [MUSIC] I could even turn it up just a little bit more. That's pretty nice. I like that. We got a little groove, it's pretty subtle. Here's what we have so far. We have an intro [MUSIC] and the intro is really nice, we have drums coming in here for the verse. Just that nice hi-hat and snap. You can already hear somebody, imagine your favorite artist singing on this. Here we got the bass and the kick drum coming in. All that low-end comes in all at once. It's really nice. Here we're going to be leading into the pre-chorus. Everything strips back. We're putting another section in here. Get a little moment of peace before the chorus comes back in and then we got the course. It's going to hit them a little harder than the verse is. There it is, this is a nice chorus. We structured out our song. We have the verse, we have the pre-chorus, and we have the chorus. I'm actually going to go through now, I'm going to highlight the entire song that we have. We have from the verse going all the way to the end of the hook, I'm going to leave the intro out. But from the verse all the way to the end of the hook I'm going to highlight every track, every part of this and then I'm just going to Command D, which is also known as duplicating. I'm going to duplicate this a second time through because after the first chorus, we're going to want to go back to the verse and then back to the pre-chorus and then do another chorus at the end. Typically, the second chorus is twice as long as the first. I'll go here to where the second chorus happens. I'm going to highlight this and then I'm going to Command D that one more time so that we have a doubled chorus where the length is double. Now if we listen, we have this intro.[MUSIC] We have the nice verse that comes in, hi-hats now. This is really nice. Then second half of the verse here. Then after this, we're leading into the pre-chorus. We have that new section and then pre-chorus. Got this nice little moment of peace. Then we're going to hit them hard with the chorus. Here goes chorus 1, 2, 3, 4 and then chorus. Nice, I like the way this is sounding. After we do one of these choruses, we're going back to the verse. This time it's second verse. Let's make sure that it sounds clean verse. You see how by removing we only have a few tracks that are in this, but by taking away things, putting them back, trying to change things up a little bit, every few bars are going to sound a little bit different. It sounds like we're building. It sounds like we're removing, taking away things and it really helps us structure our song out. If you really want to go super in-depth, what we can do now that we have the song structure is we can go back and actually re-record more guitar parts, more synth parts. You can add certain effects. There's things like risers that go into the next sections. There's so many things that you can do to really make your song sparkle and to totally finish it out. But for right now, we have this nice beautiful song structure. It's two minutes and 30 seconds, and it sounds like it's ready for an artist to hop on it. 11. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] What a vibe. We've created a loop, layered our sounds, added some effects, chopped it up, added a groove, and gave it some structure, and now we have a song. Now, it's time for you to give it a try on your own. You guessed it, your class assignment is to incorporate what you've learned into your very own song and submit it in the project gallery. This is where our journey together ends, but it's really just the start of your journey. It's been an honor teaching you and I can't wait to see what music you'll make. I'm West Singerman, and I'm out. Thank you.