The Ultimate Guide To Sampling Music Like A Top Producer!
HERE’S SOME TIPS AND TRICKS TO MAKING YOUR SAMPLED BEATS SOUND LIKE PROFESSIONAL INDUSTRY PRODUCERS!
Sampling is one of the core foundations of hip-hop music and has stayed alive for decades after it was first used. Today’s music industry's top producers have all had their share of sampling with Metro Boomin, ATL Jacob, Nick Mira, and countless more. Let’s talk about where to find samples, how to manipulate samples, and how to turn your samples into full beats!
Disclaimer: Sampling older songs can be dangerous if not done correctly. By improperly sampling copyrighted content, you are putting yourself and any artist who uses your beat at risk for takedowns or lawsuits. This is why it is important to understand copyright laws and how to properly comply with them.
WHERE TO FIND SAMPLES:
YouTube.com is one of the best resources to find underground samples to use for your beats. A great tool on YouTube that should be taken advantage of is public playlists. There are countless playlists created by YouTube users that are available to the public with a simple search.
For example, by searching “70s soul songs” and selecting “Playlist” under the filters tab, there are hundreds of different playlists available, all comprised of anywhere from 50 to 1000 songs that could be perfect for sampling.
Another great place to find samples for your beats is right here at WavGrind! At the top of this page, you’ll see a tab called “Melody Packs.” This tab contains 7 free melody packs that you can download right now. The best part about these packs is that they are 100% royalty-free! This means you don’t have to worry about copyright or splits in the case that you get a placement with one. Any beat you make with a WavGrind sample is 100% yours and you will never have to deal with copyright.
Tracklib is a subscription-based sampling website that contains samples from any genre you could imagine. You can find samples from 70s soul, to smooth jazz, to reggae, to mariachi. The point is, this website has everything you could possibly need in terms of sampling.
One downfall of Tracklib is that the samples are not royalty free. Even with the monthly subscription, releasing a song with a Tracklib sample requires the purchasing of a license as well as a percent royalty share. If you are producing for major labels, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue because the label will pay for it and it is always a positive when musicians are being paid for their work, but independent producers and artists may need to consider this additional licensing fee and percent share when deciding where to select samples.
HOW TO MANIPULATE SAMPLES:
Manipulating samples is the best part of sampling because you as a musician get to use your imagination and create a brand-new piece of art with the sample. Manipulating samples includes a multitude of different methods including but not limited to: pitch shifting, tempo shifting, reversing, chopping, adding effects, filtering, automating, and so much more. Let’s talk about some of these methods!
In FL Studio, by double-clicking a sample in the playlist, you will open up the sampler. The sampler is an amazing tool for sample manipulation and contains the easiest way to pitch shift your sample. The first step is changing the mode of the sample from “Resample” to “Stretch.” This will make it much easier to pitch shift and manipulate the sample. Next, turn the “PITCH” knob in the time stretching quadrant.
Every individual turn with the mouse scroll on this knob is 50 cents, which equals half of a half step. This means every 2 turns of the scroll wheel will pitch the sample one-half step in either direction. The full knob can pitch the sample up or down by one full octave.
If you are looking to shift the pitch of your sample to more than one octave, use the pitch knob at the top right of the sampler. This knob can shift the pitch of a sample up to 48 half steps, or four octaves.
Chopping samples is the backbone of hip-hop music. While there are many ways to chop samples, it is best to experiment with this and find a chopping style that fits you and your production. Here is a simple way to chop samples in FL Studio:
Double-click on your sample and open up the sampler. Right-click on the waveform at the bottom and select “Open in new Fruity Slicer channel” This will open the Fruity Slicer plugin and automatically load your sample into a new channel. From here, you can experiment with the slice lengths, pitch, attack and decay, and reverse selections. A common slicing method is to click on the razor button and select “beat.” This will chop your sample based on the beats instead of the notes in the sample.
Now, you can open the piano roll of your fruity slicer channel and begin to chop up your sample! You can create a brand new melody, use infrequent chops to give extra character, or leave your sample as is with the chopped processing. The best thing to do is to experiment and find out what works best for your sample!
There are many stock plugins that have great effects to use on samples. Adding effects can bring your sample to life, and create an atmosphere great for your beat. Here are a few effects to use on your samples:
Reverb is iconic for bringing samples to life. Even stock plugins like Fruity Reeverb 2 are used in hit singles and get the job done perfectly. By properly using reverb, you create a brand-new atmosphere for your sample that can change the vibe immensely.
Chorus and Flanger
Fruity Chorus and Fruity Flanger are similar plugins that have extremely powerful presents. These plugins can be used to emphasize chord progressions or elevate melodies. There are dozens of presets that can be experimented with to bring your samples to the next level.
Equalizers (EQ) are used to cut and boost certain frequencies. They can also be used to filter out whole frequency ranges to give the sample a completely different feel. While EQs are used heavily in mixing, there are also many creative ways to use one. For example, a low pass filter can give an underwater feeling to a sample and emphasize the lower-sounding instruments.
HOW TO TURN SAMPLES INTO FULL BEATS:
After you have found and manipulated your sample, it’s time to turn it into a full beat ready to be turned into a hit record. Here are some tips on making a beat with your sample.
Use Good Sounds
Everyone has heard a beat with an amazing sample followed up with amateur-sounding drums. This can be erased by using industry-standard drum sounds such as the ones we provide here at WavGrind! Using professional-sounding drums is the key to having a professional-sounding beat.
Have a Proper Arrangement
Arrangements are subjective and the term “proper” can have many meanings, especially in music, but a well-structured arrangement can bring a simple beat a long way. Leave room for an intro with your sample, have a high-energy drop that includes the most energetic part of your sample and your drums and leave breaks in the verses to rebuild that energy for the next drop.
Let Your Drums Compliment Your Sample
Putting simple trap drums over a manipulated sample is easy. What really makes the difference between an amateur and professional samplers is how well your beat and sample go together. It is important to make it obvious that you made the drums for that specific sample. An example of this is making your 808 follow a common melody in the sample, or having a snare roll go over a common percussive element in the sample.
In conclusion, there are many different places to source your samples. Once you found your sample, there are plenty of ways to manipulate it, such as using effects or chopping. After your manipulation, you need to turn it into a full cohesive beat.
To summarize, here’s how to sample:
- Find fire samples using the strategies talked about (YouTube, WavGrind, etc)
- Manipulate your sample by chopping, pitch shifting, and adding effects
- Turn your sample into a fully arranged cohesive beat with professional sounds