Why Using Music Loops is Good For Music Producers.
I like loops a lot!
I have even admitted to having a massive collection of drum loops, acoustic guitar loops, synth loops, bass loops, etc., which my team and I have gathered over the years.
This is because I believe that loops, particularly drum loops, can give your beats an instant edge when used correctly. So, for example, you can get professional-sounding drum tracks almost instantly with very little work.
And let’s face it, who wouldn’t want that?
Don't panic if you're new to music production and have been debating whether or not to use loops in your music production; because it's natural, especially early on, to want to see what other pro producers are doing and try to copy and emulate them.
So in this article, I'll be addressing the skepticism about using loops as a music producer.
I'll also be giving you specific details as to why I think loops are fantastic and their setbacks to help you decide whether you believe it's something you should be using.
Let's jump right in...
But before we do, you might be interested in this.
What is a Loop?
It wouldn't be fair to go right into why I think loops are awesome without defining what a loop is.
A loop is an audio clip used to repeat a song section to create a specific pattern. They are basically pre-made music arrangements (melodies, drum patterns, etc.) that don't need many additions from the loop user to make the finished beat. Simply, one can drag a loop into their DAW, add a few sounds and create a beat in literally less than 10 minutes should they want to. This is because loops have a rhythm and tone, which can certainly serve as a shortcut for rapidly building your best beat.
You can purchase loops online within sample packs or on your own.
While loops may appeal to more inexperienced producers, experienced professionals use loops in their projects.
Music loops: the best of both worlds
Why I Don’t Consider Using Loops As Cheating.
- A Loop Isn't A Complete Song
A loop isn't a complete song. This is because the producer must still carefully place the loop within a composition, sometimes stretching it according to a song's BPM, including further manipulating it if needed.
Loops can serve as shortcuts, but they aren't a substitute for learning composition and creating a refined beat.
- Learn To Steal Like An Artist
Nothing is 100% unique when it comes to music. We are all constantly consciously and unconsciously borrowing from our favorite artists and producers. Therefore, using a loop isn't "cheating" more than using a sample, borrowing a couple of notes from a favorite melody, or being inspired by someone else's work.
There's nothing wrong with including loops in your game as long as you use them in ways that feel unique to your sound.
- Producers Don't Have To Be Multi-Instrumentalists.
I like best about using loops because they push you to experiment with new instruments and sounds in ways you might not have done before. It takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication to learn new techniques to play instruments from scratch. I think it's paramount to remember that producers don't have to be incredibly skilled instrumentalists to produce good music.
Loops are one of the best tools that make this possible. While producers need to understand the basics of some instruments, using a loop can make this process much faster. In addition, producers can use this 'tool' to create the sound they want without constantly digging into each instrument's theory and technicalities.
Therefore, classifying loops as cheating is subjective and doesn't matter. You're still making a new sound, even if that includes building on top of a preexisting one.
When To Use Loops
Do you want to start using loops but aren't sure where to start? Here are a few ways I'd recommend incorporating them into your production process.
- For Improvisation: If you're using loops to find inspiration, for example, if you're not sure what sort of percussion you want in your drums or what kind of synth line you want, toss in a couple of loops, and you might get a solid pattern. Loops make excellent improvisation tools.
- References: If you like a loop's rhythm or groove but not the sound, you can use it as a reference instead. Once it's stretched to your DAW's timeline, see where different sounds fall within the grid and replace them as desired.
- As They Are Intended: You are free to use the loop in any way, shape, or form as long as you have purchased the license, even if that means simply plopping it into your timeline. If you don't want to, don't feel forced to go out of your way to alter your loop of choice drastically.
- Samples: Loops can also be used as an audio sample. Stretching the loop, pitching it up or down, or just chopping up the sections you want to use are all options. Sampling your loop is a great technique to give the audio file more of your personality.
When NOT to Use Loops
Loops have quite a bad reputation.
They do because people just, say, a drum loop as their drums. That is not a particularly good idea.
It's one thing to throw in a drum loop and get some inspiration from it before making your own drums, but building up a whole track using loops is another thing.
People's biggest fear of using loops is that people will regard their beats as unoriginal.
That's one of the reasons loops have quite a bad reputation.
So there you have it! I honestly think music loops will do you more good than harm as a producer!
If you don't use loops, you're missing out, especially if you're a beginner and even more if you're an intermediate producer.
As stated, there are times when it's okay to use loops, and there are times when it's not okay.
Loops help artists quickly express creativity in an efficient, effective way. So if you're a loop user, keep on carrying on.