Beat Making 101: How To Make Beats For Beginners

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Published By:

DJ Fierce

December 13, 2023

How To Make Beats

Learning how to make beats is a great way to develop your understanding of music and take your DJ sets to the next level.

It’s an essential skill for anyone looking to dip their toes in music production software and try something fun and creative.

Continue reading for a step-by-step guide to making beats, from choosing the first beat to introducing melodies and effects.


Beat Making 101: How To Make Beats For Beginners (Step-By-Step)

Making beats is a process that involves understanding various aspects of music and requires dedicated software and hardware.

We’ve structured this guide to introduce all the gear necessary for beat-making and cover the process from start to finish.

Now that you know our criteria, here’s everything you need to know to make beats for beginners:


Step 1: Understand What Makes A Good Beat

Before diving into learning how to make beats, it’s important to understand what elements you should look for in a good beat.

This means analyzing the use of bass lines, kick drums, and other percussive elements to see how to structure them effectively.

A great beat combines repetition and subtle variations, with percussion used to drive the beat forward and maintain momentum.

Chord progressions, vocals, and other melodies bring interest and variety to the loop and keep the listener engaged.

Most producers begin with the bass line and kick drum to establish a groove, building up additional drums and samples around this foundation.

You should also familiarize yourself with the basics of song structure, such as intro, verse, chorus, and bridge that affect emotion.

If you have a particular genre or style, listen to music within these parameters and break down how these elements are put together.

Once you understand these general compositional rules, you can take the next step in your music production journey.


Step 2: Define Your Vibe

The style or vibe of your choosing has a significant impact on the way you create beats and the variety of samples you’ll need.

While your vibe doesn’t necessarily have to strictly adhere to a single genre, you’ll want to choose a style that is consistent and clear.

Some of the best music genres for DJs include house, techno, and EDM, all of which are known for their punchy and catchy beats.

Likewise, hip-hop and trap are good places to begin since these genres have a simple structure with basic elements to string together.

If you opt for an aggressive dancefloor vibe, you’ll be looking for big-sounding drums and dynamic synths for maximum effect.

Alternatively, if you’re a music producer creating beats with a laid-back vibe, you’ll focus on natural-sounding percussion and vocals.

This decision will also affect the beats per minute (BPM), another foundation at the heart of the beat-making process.

Whatever vibe you choose, understand how it affects your sound selection across a full song so you can make a beat like a pro.


Step 3: Build A Sample Library

Your sample library represents the building blocks you’ll use when making music beats through a digital audio workstation.

If you’ve tried your hand at learning how to make mashups, you’ll be in familiar territory when compiling samples for beat-making.

A sample library includes everything from a variety of kick and snare drums to additional percussion and effects.

It can also include chord progressions and other melodies sampled from other music you want to include in your beats.

There are many sample packs you can purchase outright that offer genre-based samples that are used in music production.

If you’re just starting out building your own beats, choose a library of samples that are dedicated to your preferred genre.

More experienced (or adventurous) music producers will often compile their own samples to create beats unique to their style.


Step 4: Choose Your DAW

Once you’ve defined your vibe and compiled a library of samples, it’s time to install music production software to put it all together.

A digital audio workstation (DAW) will give you the audio interface necessary for making beats and arranging samples into a coherent structure.

There are plenty of free beat-making apps and online services you can use if you’re on a budget, such as SoundTrap and Splice.

These apps will offer a good introduction to making your own music, although with many limitations compared to a full DAW.

Software such as Ableton Live, FL Studio, and Logic Pro X for Apple users are high-end tools frequently used by professional producers.

These DAWs allow for the comprehensive manipulation and editing of samples and virtual instruments played via a MIDI controller.

They also offer plenty of scope for VSTs and plugins to add a wide range of effects to enhance your beat-making journey.

A beat sequencer is also featured in software such as Ableton Live, where all components of your beats are laid out in sequence.

With the future of DJing promising increased interaction between mixing and music production, mastering a DAW is an essential skill.


Step 5: Choose A MIDI Controller

The role of MIDI interfaces and music is well-established and is crucial for composing beats in an optimal and efficient manner.

While it is possible to manually input your beat structure and chord progression using a mouse, this can be incredibly time-consuming.

There are a plethora of excellent MIDI controllers you can pick up to speed up the process of making beats and melodies.

Producers with musical experience, including playing the piano, should opt for a MIDI controller with at least 25 keys.

MIDI controllers aren’t just great for melodies, they also make it much easier to tap out beats and get a smooth rhythm flowing.

If you’re focusing on producing hip-hop beats and don’t need a keyboard, there are dedicated MIDI controllers that utilize drum pads.

A good MIDI controller also features a range of knobs and sliders that can be synced to a DAW to manually control effects.

Native Instruments, Akai, and M-Audio are among the top manufacturers of controllers worth considering when researching gear.


Step 6: Create A Bass Line & Kick Drum Patterns

The drum beat and bass line are the beating heart of any good tune and are a great place to start off when making beats.

DJs who know how to DJ house music will have a head start on choosing their percussion elements for their own beats.

Begin by sequencing your kick drum since this drum beat will act as a metronome and help you feel the track’s tempo.

Then, play around with composing a killer bass line to give your beats a groove that complements the underlying beats.

You can then start layering more percussion into the loop, bringing in a snare drum, hi-hats, and other percussive elements.

As you plan out the arrangement, decide where you want drops and breakdowns, as this is where drum fills and other flourishes belong.

Whether you’re using a beat maker app to program drums or a full DAW with studio monitors, refine the drum beat until it’s on point.


Step 7: Add Chord Progressions & Melodies

With a nice drum groove established, you can start to introduce chord progressions and melodies to craft a recognizable tune.

This means you’ll need to add a software instrument track to your project and create melodies using synths and virtual instruments.

A melody or chord progression should be well integrated around the drum pattern and can be something as simple as a piano roll.

You can input your own MIDI notes via your musical instrument digital interface or play them directly on your controller’s keyboard.

While you don’t have to be an expert in music theory, a basic understanding of keys and harmonies will help your compositions.

Electronic music is well-known for its combination of unique sounds in near-endless combination complementing the drum track.

This makes melodies and chords a great opportunity for experimenting with musical ideas and getting creative with audio production.

If you’re stuck coming up with your own unique sounds, revisit other tracks from your favorite music artists for inspiration.


Step 8: Introduce Vocals And Effects

With your drums, bass line, percussion, and melodies laid down, it’s time to apply some finishing touches to your beats.

Vocal snippets and other sound effects are a great way to bring additional texture and nuance when making your own beats.

There are thousands of excellent DJ sound effects you can integrate into your beats to make them more interesting and original.

They bring more spacious and atmospheric elements of sound design and prevent listening to the same beat from becoming repetitive.

There are many plugins available for DAWs that affect sounds in a few different ways, such as adding reverb or delay effects.

These tools allow you to edit sounds and other elements in a near-infinite possibility of ways and make a beat that is truly unique.

Consequently, you don’t necessarily require a huge library of samples to work with, creating many new samples through editing.

If you have a good microphone, you can head out into the real world and record your own samples to use when making beats.


Step 9: Record Physical Instruments

While much electronic music is created using a drum machine or via music production software, you can also include physical instruments.

This could be using a bass guitar for the bass line or real drums and hi-hats for percussion instead of relying on samples.

To record music, you’ll need a high-quality microphone, so it’s worth researching the best ones for your instrument of choice.

Certain instruments work best for specific elements, for instance, recording a melody on a piano or using horn stabs.

With that said, the ability to manipulate these recordings in your music editing software opens up their potential applications.

It’s entirely possible to make beats from traditionally melodic instruments, just as cymbals can be turned into musical notes.

The best beat makers will experiment with their own instrumentals in production to create entirely new sounds.

If you have a great musical idea but aren’t a musician yourself, it’s also a great opportunity to collaborate with other musicians.

This collaborative process will expose you to many new ideas and approaches, whether helping with someone else’s song or your own.

It’s a great way to set yourself apart from the competition and network with other musical creatives in your local area.


Step 10: Mix & Master

Before your beats are ready for public consumption and featured in your DJ sets, they need to be mixed and mastered.

DJs with knowledge of how to remix a song will be familiar with the processes involved in mixing and mastering their tracks.

Mixing and mastering is where the different elements of your beats are fine-tuned with any overarching effects and EQing.

EQing involves honing the different frequency ranges of the different elements so that there’s minimal clashing.

Using compression tools delivers additional separation of these elements so that percussion, synth, and effects are clear and distinct.

Initially, your drum pattern might sound too loud and overwhelm other elements, so here’s where you bring this back into the mix.

Likewise, if chords or vocals are being drowned out, you can increase their volume to make them more prominent.

You can perform mixing and mastering in your DAW, and there are also dedicated tools tailored for the role.

These include Neutron for sculpting drums or broader tools such as Tonal Balance Control for overarching mixing.

Software such as Master Assistant will help your music sound great regardless of the speakers they’re played on at industry standard volume.



That’s a wrap on this guide to beatmaking and choosing the best software and hardware for the job.

Learning how to make a beat is an ongoing process that offers hours of fun while creating original music for DJ sets.

As new technology and resources continue to evolve, beat makers will have lots of new creative options for their future productions.


Build a library of great music with a ZIPDJ subscription for all your percussion and melody samples.

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