G Funk Tutorial Day 1: Making a Beat [7 day song]
Hi, I’m Dave from boyinaband.com and welcome to day 1 of my 7 day song on G-Funk, where I’ll be going through the process of making a Dre-tastic song over wh-wha-wh-whaa? 7 days.
At the end, I’ll post the finished song and you guys can post your completed songs as video responses.
This is a sponsored 7 day song thanks to Tyson Willert – be sure to check out his totally radical tuneage on soundcloud.com/tysonwillert – you’ll find a clickable link below: http://soundcloud.com/tysonwillert
In this Reason 4 Tutorial, I’ll go through things like making a seriously heavy beat, a funky G-Funk synth bass, a whirly lead, some powerful piano, vocoder incidentals and other fx, strings. pads – basically covering the essentials of those early 90s gangsta rap tracks.
This is the 9th 7 day song, so be sure to check out the other ones too! And also, I encourage you to post your tracks on the boyinaband.com forum and share your music, make some friends and learn more about production!
So let’s get on with day 1 of the tutorial, where I’ll be teaching you how to make a G-Funk beat, with techniques like parallel distortion, EQing, compression and layering with both ReDrum and Dr. Rex.
Okay! Let’s begin.
Make sure you’ve got that mclass mastering suite ready, but keep it bypassed for now so we can get a decent mix without the master, since it can change the overall mix considerably.
Then the mixer 14:2, followed by our friend a combinator. Call it “Da Beat”, remember – Hip Hop calls for subtle alterations in spelling conventions, which actually affects the sound more than you’d think.
Inside Da combinator, create a line mixer 6:2, followed by ReDrum Drum computer. We’ll be routing the kick and snare into here so we can apply that parallel distortion I mentioned earlier, but until then keep our mind on our beats and our beats on our mind here in ReDrum.
First thing we need then is some samples – I’ve got this kit I made earlier containing two kicks, a snare and a clap. If you’re struggling for samples, check out the G Funk sample pack on boyinaband.com, which is nice and free for you to use.
But yeah, let’s link up those two kicks, I’ve got a sub-heavy kick and one with a bit more room and high end to it, combining them gives a seriously powerful kick, you’ll really notice it when I EQ the kick later on. So, hit tab to look at the back, then gate out from channel one to gate in on channel two so when you hit channel one, channel two is triggered automagically. Time-saverriffic!
Now let’s get to work on the beat, I’ll go with my favourite staple hip hop beat that seems to haunt me ever since I heard “Drop it like it’s Hot”, put the kick on the 1, 4, 7 and 11. To switch it up a little bit, take the steps to 32 so it’s twice as long, and in the next load of steps, hit the 1,4,8,9 and 11. For extra dynamic range and to make the beat a little bit mo’ natural, make the one on 8 a soft hit.
Now, copy the pattern to track, name the note lane “Da Kick” and then on a new pattern, chuck the snare on the 5 and 13. Link it up to the clap so both trigger simultaneously, then copy that too. Name the note lane “Da Snare”
Now, turn the pattern section off so you don’t get any phasing, then take a listen with the loop on. It’s reasonably “G”, but it’s missing that essential “Funk”. To add it, we’ll use some Groove.
Open the ReGroove mixer with the shockingly titled “ReGroove Mixer” button, then add in some shuffle to the first channel by opening up regroove patches in the RFSB, that’s an acronym for Reason Factory Sound Bank so I don’t have to say those four words, but I just said this sentence explaining that fact so it kinda defeated the object.
We’ll go for the MPC-60 shuffle of 64%. Since the MPC was the instrument of choice for many of the producers of the day, it’ll be nice and authentic. Well, not as authentic as having a real MPC, but I’m not about to let you borrow mine because I am actually in love with it, in a monogomous way.
Now we’ve got channel A1 channeling the funk, apply it to “Da Kick” and listen to the difference. There, now both the G and the Funk are applied, we can move on to beefing up the sounds from this… into this. Ouch, I’m pretty sure that kick just gave me a coronary embolism… and I don’t even know what that is, hang on… “an obstruction in a blood vessel due to a blood clot or other foreign matter that gets stuck while traveling through the bloodstream”… no, that’s not really relevant or logical, but I got it. Anyway, put away your medical dictionaries and move on to the EQ in part 2…
Okay, we’re back and we’re going to get our real studio engineering heads on and make this beat pop like Britney! firstly, make a merger/splitter, route the kicks through it, then into an EQ, compressor, and finally into the mixer.
This is really going to change how the kick sounds, so say your appropriate farewells, then in the EQ, turn the lo shelf up a crazy amount – it might seem completely against every convention ever, but when you hear how hard it punches you won’t even care. 45hz and full q / 15dB gain.
Now, with great power comes great responsibility, so it’s our responsibility to get rid of that annoyinglu prominent undertone on the kick. Sweep a band of freqs and you’ll find it, mine’s at 140hz, but depending on the sample you use it’ll either be different or not there at all. Notch it out fully with a 15q -full gain.
Lastly, let’s bring out that roominess again that we completely lost after bootifying the bass end of the kick. bring up 4.8khz by 1.3q 10dB.
Now on the compressor, we’re just going to give it a tiny amount of squashing to control it a bit more. keep everything in the middle – this just means that 50ms after the kick hits, anything above the threshold is brought down to the threshold by a factor of 4:1.
If you want to emphasize that tail of the sound, bring the release right down – the release determines how fast quieter sounds are brought up to the threshold, so if it’s faster you might hear those tail ends more clearly. Now, this isn’t that prominent on the kick, but you’ll definitely hear it on the snare, so let’s try that now.
just right click the ReDrum instance and make a compressor – we’re not using this one for any other samples so we don’t have to bother with a merger, we’ll just take it straight out into the compressor, then feed it back into the mixer.
So now for that punch. turn everything to 5/8ths except the attack, on 1/4 and release right down to 50ms. Now, listen with and without that compressor – you can hear the attack has been made snappier, as well as that tail end being evened up to the level of everything else.
Now let’s do some parallel distortion and really make this beat punch! Turn off the cut, then turn it to distortion mode, dmg control 3/8, p1 nearly full and p2 just over half – this makes it a nice bright distortion.
Now, apply it to the kick by 3/8 and snare by 1/2 with the aux knobs on the mixer. Punchier, but not quite there yet. Beef it up with the body section, turning reso to just below half, giving a pleasant bassy resonance, the scale to 1/2, giving somewhere between a boxy, muddy tone and a flabby one, then auto to 0 so it has no effect, and I like type E for maximum punch, but give the others a try to make sure you pick the one that’s right for you.
But yeah, listen without – and with. This technique really adds that professional punch to beats that might have been lacking a little bit of frequency content, so try it out and see if you can make your beats bang more effectively! don’t just make them sound distorted for the sake of it though – there’s a difference between a punchy beat and a distorted one.
lastly, shift-create a compressor, then route the mixer through it. Just apply 2:1 ratio with a tiny 10ms attack and a bit extra input gain to make the beat all mesh together nicely and add that last bit of artificial dynamic range.
Now join me in part 3 for the tiny last bit of the beat so we can get a natural sounding high end on this freakin’ sweet beat…
Alrighty, this isn’t going to be too hard. Unless you’re allergic to awesome beats, in which case you should probably avoid my tutorials in the future. To be honest, I’m surprised it’s taken that long for my ego to show itself in a hip hoppy tutorial.
Combinator it up, then make a Dr. Rex instance inside it. Pick a loop you like the high end from, I’ve gone for hhp12_car bomb, then preview it with the beat to get an idea of if it fits. Cut off the low end by clicking HP12 on the filter, then bring the freq to about half. Hear how it stops the low end of the beat overlapping with the beat we made in ReDrum?
Now copy it to the track, loop where appropriate, I’m just going to copy this start bit a few times so we don’t get that open hi hat sound too often in the verse, then we can bring it in often during the chorus, when more frequencies are very welcome to invade our track!
Lastly, compress it with full input gain, slightly below 1/2 thresh, and a bit of output gain to just take the overall volume up and give it a slight bit more punch to tie in with the existing beat.
And there we have it! A beat with more punch than a drunk husband who never achieved his childhood dream of becoming a professional boxer as a result of marrying his high school sweetheart who he eventually loses interest in, but stays in the marriage for the sake of not having to pay child support. Ouch, that’s pretty violent imagery, let’s make this tutorial more mainstream and instead I’ll go for “And there we are, a beat that bounces like a lowrider on a bouncy castle”. There we are, no domestic abuse in that one *and* it actually has some relevence to the subject matter!
Join me tomorrow for day 2 where I’ll drop the bass fo’ dat ass one tiiiime n’am’sayin’?