How to Sample a Beat
Sampling hip-hop beats is nothing new! – But for those interested, here’s another in-depth tutorial.
P.S. – I checked what the tempo was of I’m Free.. it was 128 BPM! – So maybe that tap tempo I showed you isn’t all that accurate..
Here’s the resources mentioned from the video:
Topics Covered in How to Sample a Beat Tutorial
- What is Sampling?
- How to Actually Sample
- Sampling a personal song of mine (100% free of copyright!)
- Using Slicex to Sample
- Routing Slicex to a send – Makes sampling easier! (With effects like delay/reverb!)
- *CAUTION* – Copyright! – Sample Clearance
- Hard Parts About Sampling!
What is Sampling?
So first of all, what is sampling?
If you listen to rap, hip-hop, or even dance music, I’m sure you’ve listened to sampled beats without even knowing it!
In my opinion, Sampling is when you take a piece of audio/sound, and incorporate it somehow into your music.
The more popular version of sampling, though, is taking old classic songs on vinyl, recording that into your drum machine (MPC, Roland etc.) or computer.
Before importing the snippet into your hardware, you listen closely to a spot that really stands out to you.
After bringing this into a sampler (MPC or a VST like Slicex), you will create a melody out of another person’s melody!
Build a drum loop and bassline to compliment your chops, and you’ve now created a sampled beat!
For more info, watch the video above.
Sampling Vs. Compositions,
Awhile back, I released a blog post on the topic of “Do you Need to Know Piano to Make Beats“.
In that post, I quickly discussed that no, you do not need to know piano to make beats, because you can just play by ear, or you can sample to make your beat!
Both have their own sound, and both have been around for a very long time!
Compositions are awesome, but there’s nothing like a little ol’ sampled beat.
The benefit of original compositions that you create is just that; you own the song 100%! – You are free of copyright, and therefore it’s your product to sell, or do anything you want with it!
Sampling is a unique, in my opinion, genre, with a sound like no other kind of beat! – However, if you’ve sampled someone else’s music.. you have to be careful on how you go about selling your beat, as you do not own the copyright. (For more info, read below on “Copyright”.)
How to Actually Sample a Beat?
Back in the day, I think people just recorded their vinyl record directly into their MPC. But nowadays, technology has made things real easy! – We just record the audio into our computer.
However, there is a downfall if you don’t use vinyl (a turntable and a record) while you sample – you miss all that gritty static sound. Even vinyl emulators can’t match up to genuine vinyl static!
In your beginnings of producing, to make it easy on you, I would recommend choosing a slower tempo song.
This gives your samples a longer tail length, and that benefits you by allowing more feeling and emotion behind each slice.
Sample Clearance and Copyright Protection!
However cool, and good sampling sounds.. there is something you have to be aware of, and very cautious about.
This is called Copyright.
When you create an original composition, in other words, you’ve made up notes/chords in your track, that is your own original song. You own this 100%, and have the right to do what ever you want with it!
But when you are sampling.. if you’re not sampling your own track, you are infringing on another’s property.
This is no different than walking into a gas station, stealing a chocolate bar, and selling it in your store. It’s their product, you’ve stolen it, and are making money off of it!
Sampling with Communication – Sample Clearance
Now, there is a way around this. It starts with communication!
In order for you to use another person’s work, you will need to contact them asking if you can use their beat. They will probably ask you how you are using it, and probably want a cut of your earnings, if money is involved.
If the copyright owner gives you the right to use their composition/song, this is called Sample Clearance. If sample clearance is not obtained before selling your beat.. watch out!
There are also websites out there which make getting samples cleared much easier. Imagine trying to track down these famous people just to ask if you can use their song to chop up! – You never know if you don’t try though.. right!
So just be aware about copyright issues, and stepping on other people’s toes. Do your research, get your approval papers signed, and you’ll be working with a clear mind!
Using Your Own Beat to Sample
With us just talking about copyright, and sample clearance, now’s a good time to pitch my song to you.
In this tutorial, I used the song I’m Free, which was used in the tutorial How to Make a Song.
Also, Slicex has been a huge help to me while practicing chopping.
I produced a beat tape solely to chopping up vocals over top of new beats! I called it InstraVocals Vol. 1!
Hard Parts About Sampling
Just like any kind of audio production. You can easily hit beat block.
So how do you over come it?
I would say first, learn the basic techniques so you can easily bang out a beat quickly. These basics can include just even learning your program!
Next, I will say add effects on while you’re chopping your samples. I’ve talked about using effects to make creating melodies easier – sampling is no different!
Create a sub group/send, route your sample to that sub group, and have at making easier beats!
Hot Drum Samples
Last, but should be one of the first.
Sampled beats usually have very hard hitting drums.
Get high quality sounds by Xclusive Audio. (The makers of Organic Drum Kit I used in the video.)