10 Deep House Production Tips For Beginners

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Hi guys, how’s it going? In this one we’ll be taking a look at 10 Deep House Production Tips. I recommend you follow this post from start to end, as there is a connection between the sections. There is also a video at the end of the post, applying 5 of these tips in one single track.

This is a brief summary of what we’re gonna cover:

  1. Better Chords – using chord voicing on minor 9th chords for that Deep House style sound.
  2. Better Basslines – creating transitions between the root notes of the main progression.
  3. Creating Simple Arpeggios – from the existent chord sequence with the Arpegiattor effect.
  4. Smoother Chord Transitions – by using chord inversion and chord voicing.
  5. Changing Bass Patterns – alternating between 2 bass patterns playing under the same melody.
  6. Organ Textures  – adding a harmonic element to your bass sound.
  7. Better Drums – a simple improvement of the basic pattern.
  8. Wobbly Chords – using Filter’s LFO to get that wobble effect on chords.
  9. From 4 to 8 Bars – simple extensions using a pad track.
  10. Sampling Chords – an easy way to find nice chord progressions.

We’ll be using Live 9, but you can follow this easily with other DAWs. Just pay attention to the grid settings in the bottom right corner of every image. Okay then, let’s start!

 


 TIP 1 – Better Chords


 

This one covers the use of Chord Voicing on Minor 9th chords to get a nice Deep House style organ sound.  This is demonstrated in STEP 3. The sound comes from the Organ2 Clicky Sine Operator Preset in Live 9. We’ll also cover the bass-line in the next section.

As in Episode 01 from our Deep House Explored Course:

 

STEP 1 – We start off with the basic minor triad structure: C minor in the first bar, D minor in the second bar and G minor in the last two bars. There is also some side-chain compression on this organ sound:

11

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 2 - Let’s extend the triad structures to Minor 9th chords. To get to a Minor 9th chord, add two more notes, 10 and 14 semitones above the root. If you want to use the Chord Midi Effect in Live, you can get the Minor 9th chord by using +3, +7, +10 and +14 as your input settings. For more on Minor 7th and Minor 9th chords, take a look at our 6 Deep House Chord Progression Tips post.

12It sounds like this:

 

STEP 3 – Now let’s use Chord Voicing (the process of arranging the notes of a chord in different orders) to enhance this harmony. In this example, I’ve moved the second note from each chord in the upper octave, so it is now the last note in the order. To get this chord with the Chord Midi Effect, use +7, +10, +14 and +15. You can experiment with other arrangements, such as moving both the second and third note from your chord structures in the upper octaves:

13

Notice the impact of moving the D#, F and A# in the upper octave:

 

STEP 4 – Now let’s extend this to an eight bars progression. In the sixth bar, move the D minor to F minor. I’ve also moved the G minor chords 1/8 to the left, so they’re triggered off-beat now:

14It sounds like this:

 


TIP 2 – Better Bass-lines


 

With the bass-line following the root notes from the chord progression created in the previous section, we’ll now be adding some little touches every two bars. These will be groups of 1/8 or 1/16 notes that create a nice transition between the notes of the main progression. This is demonstrated in STEP 3.

 

STEP 1 – This is going to be our six-notes bass-line pattern:

21

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 2 – Let’s add the first 4 bars from our progression. Notice the contrary motion between the bass-line and the organ (the organ is climbing to G minor, while the bassline goes down to G):

22

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 3 – Okay, now let’s create some nice transitions between these bars. Notice how we’ve used 1/16 notes in the second bar and 1/8 notes in the last bar. This adds a little bit of variation to our bass-line pattern:

23It sounds like this:

 

STEP 4 – Finally, let’s insert the full progression since the organ is playing F minor in the sixth bar:

24

It sounds like this:

 


 TIP 3 – Simple Arpeggios


 

This one covers the use of the Arpeggiator effect in Live, a quick and simple way to make a nice arpeggio from the chord progression you’ve already made. The Arpeggiator settings are displayed in STEP 2.

 

STEP 1 – Add the “Long Marimba” Mallet Preset from Live 9, or any other plucky instrument, and insert the same chord progression created for the organ track:

31

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 2 – Let’s add the following Arpeggiator Effect:

32

It sounds like this:

 

Here’s another example. Same Mallet Instrument, same Arpeggiator effect, but a different chord progression with different chord structures. The point here is that you can experiment with triads, 7th or 9th chords to create some variations between bars. We’ll take a look at these chords in the next section:

33

So this is how it sounds like: (the arpeggiator is turned on at 00:16)

 


TIP 4 – Chord Transitions


 

This one covers the use of Chord Inversion and Chord Voicing to create smoother transition between the main chords of your progression. Chord Inversion is demonstrated in STEP 4A. Chord Voicing is demonstrated in STEP 1B, using a different chord progression example.

As in Episode 06 from our Deep House Explored Course:

 

STEP 1A – Okay, let’s start from the following chord structures. We’ve got D major in the first bar, C# minor in the second bar and F# minor in the last two bars:

31

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 2A – In the first bar, extend the D major triad to D major 7th by adding C#. I’ve also double the F# in the upper octave. In the last two bars, the F# minor triad was extended to F# minor 9th:

32

With this chord progression, the second bar (C# minor) seems to be too low for a smooth transition:

 

STEP 3A – To fix this, we could try to play the entire chord in the next octave:

33

But now the chord seems to be too high for a smooth transition:

 

STEP 4A – In this example, playing the C# minor chord in its original structure does not fit with the rest of the clip. So, to create a smoother transition between these bars we can change the  bass note of the chord. This is known as chord inversion. Here we’re using the first inversion, with E becoming the lowest note from the chord.

34
It sounds like this:

 

STEP 1B – Here’s another example. D minor 9th in the first two bars, C minor 9th in the third bar and G minor in the last bar. The problem here is with the last bar. The G minor is too low to fit with the other chords, as it does not contain any notes in the fourth octave:

35It sounds like this:

 

STEP 2B – So let’s use Chord Voicing to fix this. Take the second and third note from the G minor chord and move them in the next octave:

36

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 3B – What if we use the same technique for the second bar? This adds a little bit of variation to our chord progression:

37

 It sounds like this:

 


TIP 5 – Changing Bass Patterns


 

This is an arrangement technique and it covers the use of two different bass patterns, playing a different sequence of notes, but under the same melody. STEP 1 – STEP 3 are looking at the first bass pattern. The second bass-line pattern is covered in STEP 4 – STEP 6.

As in Episode 04 from our Deep House Explored Course:

 

STEP 1 –  For the first bass-line pattern, we’ll start from this 2-bars arrangement:

51

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 2 – Now duplicate these 2 bars and insert the following 4 bars progression, A# – F – C# – D#:

52

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 3 – Finally, let’s add a small touch at the end of the second and fourth bar. So this is the first bass-line pattern:

53

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 4 – For the second bass-line pattern, we’ll start with this common 3/16 style arrangement:

54

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 5 – The second pattern will follow this 4 bars progression: F – G# – A#:

55

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 6 – Just as in STEP 3, let’s make the end of each bar more interesting. Notice the use of 1/8 notes in the first and third bar and 1/16 notes in the second and fourth bar:

56

It sounds like this:

 

So when we play them together:

 


 TIP 6 – Organ Textures


 

In the previous section, you can hear an organ sound accompanying the bass-line. This section covers a quick and simple technique to add a nice harmonic texture to your bass-line. The organ will play the same pattern of the same notes that are also duplicated 7 semitones above. You can experiment with different instruments. Just copy and paste the midi clip from the bass-line track and a +7 chord effect.

 

STEP 1 – So we’re just gonna copy and paste the midi clip from the first bass-line pattern (created in the previous section) and we’ll make a duplicate of the same arrangement 7 semitones above:

61

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 2 – We can do the same thing for the second bass-line pattern:

62

It sounds like this:

 


 TIP 7 – Better Drums


 

This one covers the arrangement of the standard drum elements to create a better drum group. We start from the basic pattern, we add a snare, some hats and a ride sample.

 

We’ll get from this:

 

To this:

 

STEP 1 – So we start from the basic pattern with the kick playing on every beat, the clap on the second and fourth and the hat going off-beat:

61

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 2 – Now let’s add a snare sample. In the second bar the snare will play a different pattern:

62

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 3 – Now let’s use some 1/16 notes to trigger two more hat samples, but with a lower velocity. If this is difficult to see, use this link for a better image:

63

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 4 – Finally, let’s trigger a ride sample on every 1/8 note. There is also a side-chain compressor on the ride sample:

64

It sounds like this (notice the sidechain compression on the ride at 00:04):

 


TIP 8 – Wobbly Chords


 

This one covers the use of Simpler’s Filter LFO to get that wobbly chord sound effect. This is demonstrated in STEP 3.

As in Episode 18 of our Deep House Explored Course:

 

STEP 1 – We start from this structure of 4 Minor 9th chords (D – A – D – G), triggered off-beat every half a bar:

71

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 2 – Now let’s move the second and third note from each chord in the next octave:

72

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 3 – Now that we’ve got the main chord progression, let’s resample this 2 bars clip into a new audio loop and drop the loop into Simpler. Inside the Simpler Instrument, select a Low Pass Filter, turn ON the LFO, its value to 24 and the rate to 1/8:

73It sounds like this:

 

STEP 4 – Finally, an EQ-Eight and a Compressor. There is also a small delay through the second return track:

74It sounds like this:

 


TIP 9 – From 4 To 8 Bars


 

This one covers a simple technique to increase the length of your arrangement from 4 to 8 bars.

As in Episode 07 from our Deep House Explored Course:

 

STEP 1 – Remember the chord progression created in section 4:

81

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 2 – Now extend these notes into a continuous line for the pad track. Notice how the second bar is no longer using chord voicing:

82

It sounds like this:

 

STEP 3 – Now duplicate these four bars. In the last bar, shift the entire chord 12 semitones up and see how this simple trick extends our beat to 8 bars:

83

It sounds like this:

 


 TIP 10 – Sampling Chords


 

This section covers one of the easiest ways to create a nice chord progression. We take a few instruments playing the same chord structure and we resample them into one audio loop. We insert the audio loop into Simpler and we try to find a nice chord progression by playing a single note on the keyboard. This is demonstrated in the first part of the next video.

 


The End


 

So there you go. We’ve seen how to get your chords wobbly, how to create better bass-lines, how to improve the basic drums pattern and how to come up with better chord progression using chord voicing, chord inversion, or by simply sampling the chords. We’ve also covered a simple way to create an arpeggio from these chord progressions.

So leave a comment below and let me know which one of these you found the most interesting? Also, there’s plenty of new posts scheduled over the next few months so it would help if you could let me know of any specific requests you might have.

Finally, if you found this post useful, don’t forget to share it!

 

Learn how to produce 20 Deep House Beats in Live 9.

 

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