Beginner’s Fl Studio Tutorial – Learning the Basics

If you are a new user to the music creation on the computer, a good program to start with is FL Studio. The demo version of this program should suffice for this tutorial, and will possibly give you a good look at the program before you would ever consider purchasing it.

To get the demo, click here. The version of FL Studio we are going to use is FL Studio 7. (although any version should work fine) Okay, first things first.

1. To get started, double click the icon which looks like this:

(I’m pretty sure you assumed this but just to be safe.)

2. You are going to want to go to File -> New from Template -> Minimal -> Club Basic.

3. Next, you are going to want to find the “Kick” channel. This should be found easily, but here is an image to show you what exactly I’m talking about.

(*shine shine* okay, i’m not that great at photoshop, but whatever (it had to be flashy; it’s just so cool!))

4. Add four kicks by clicking once on each one of the packs of four blocks that are color coded. That sounded pretty scrambled even to me, so here’s another image.

Ok! So far, we’ve created a new project file, set up a basic template, and added a 4/4 kick drum. This is the classic making of many electronic genres! So we have a drum! That’s not really enough to call this a loop, so let’s add some bass to establish a chord progression. This might also be a good time to note, that Wikipedia is a life savor if you get stuck with any terms I forget to define.

5. Now, I will help you make this first bassline! This is a common thing in trance music. To start this, we need a bass voice (a voice is simply a synthesized or sampled channel.) To create a simple bass that is available in all versions of FL, navigate to Channels -> Add one -> BooBass. A new channel beneath the four initial ones should be created title BooBass. From here there are two ways of going about the process of adding the bassline. You can either go with the easy, but less flexible way, or the harder but completely configurable way. I’m going to show you both, but I strongly suggest you go with the latter of the two, as it will establish better habits for later.

5a. The easy way: To add the bassline the easy way click this button to start:

Then, click on the BooBass channel’s button and a menushould open. Add notes just like the ones in this image:

Now, everything should be fine to give it a test! Click the play button in the top menu. How does that sound? Ok, not too flashy, but after all, this is your first time making anything in FL! After you have done this skip to step 6, or read step 5b if you want to know how to do this the advanced way for later! (recommended)

5b. So I see me calling it difficult hasn’t dissuaded you. Great! Now I will show you the magic of the “Piano Roll!” This piano roll is much more powerful than the clumsy bar editor, and you can do a lot more with it so: here we go!

To start, right click on the blue channel named BooBass. Then, select Piano Roll (or Send to Piano Roll if coming from step 5a.) Now you should see a confusing box. To the left side there should be either a keyboard, or the names of notes depending on the demo version you obtain. Either is fine. Now, you should see columns in the main part of the window that are numbered. Now follow this image here to create what is pictured. Left click to create notes and drag on the edge of them to resize them.

After you are done, just click the “x” in the upper right corner of the window (it will be saved automatically.) Then, you will want to turn on the “repeat step sequencer” button. That button looks like this:

(it’s the one to the right of the arrow on the far left)

It should glow orange when active (leave it active)

You can now hit the “play” button at the top of the program (you should know what a play button looks like I hope :D .)

It sounds okay, but, it needs to be mixed. This requires a mixer, and luckily, FL Studio has a software one built in (actually most music sequencers do.)

6. Mixing time! Okay, this is where those bland default presets can become their full potential. I will show you how to add a simple frequency filter in the mixer for now, however. We are going to make the kick sound more underground and punchy. To do this, we will have to give it a mixer channel which is achieved by left clicking on the Kick channel, and clicking “assign free mixer track” as I’m about to in this image:

Now, the Kick has its own channel. Now you need to add an effect that will take effect to everything in the channel (the Kick in this case.)

Just click on “Fruity Free Filter” as I’m about to in this image:

Now, a new box labeled “Fruity Free Filter (Kick)” Should come up. Adjust the Freq (frequency) knob until it reads 145 hz. Now you can close this window and the mixer window. Hit play again at this time to hear what that did. If you want, you can allow it to continue playing and mess with the frequency knob while it loops. This will give you an idea of what it is doing.

7. Now you have bass and a 4/4 drum. Now all you really need to make a corny first loop is the lead! I will show you how to create a simple lead, but it’s up to you to create your own tune :D

To create a lead instrument, go to Channels -> Add one -> 3x Osc. This will create a new channel that you can add the melody to. Now use you choice of method to create a lead! (steps 5a and 5b)

8. Congratulations, you have created your first loop in FL Studio!

Of course, MUCH more can be created when you let yourself go in FL Studio! Here’s my page on Newgrounds for examples.

Hope you didn’t get lost and have fun creating music!

All images and the FL Studio, Fruityloops, and BooBass name and logos are properties of Image Line.

19 Comments

  1. Hey, this is great! Thanks for tutorial; I saw that someone was using it to make tunes, so I decided to give it a shot. When I opened it up, the whole thing was a little overwhelming. But now that I know this, it makes things a lot easier.

    Thanks!

  2. Hi there,

    Thanks for the wonderful tutorial. Really helped me a lot!

    How can I remove a ‘channel’ from the mixer once I’ve added it? For example I sent ‘Clap’ to the mixer, but if i want to delete clap, then how can I remove it from the mixer slot as well?

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

    • Right click the “Clap” mixer channel, go to file, then hit browse mixer states. Find default on the tree-view list to the left and right click that, and hit load to selected channel (or something along those lines.) That will set the mixer channel back to its default state. However, if clap is still being sent to that mixer channel, you will have to go to clap and drag the number in the upper right back to the hyphen which sets it to go straight to the master track.

  3. Epitaph64 – you have NO idea how much time I’ve wasted searching and scrounging the internet trying to find out how to clear a mixer track! Thanks very much for that fix – that’s a big relief :)

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