How to make a future bass drop
Learn how to make your own future bass drop with Soundation — The easy-to-use online studio. Open a template and make it your own or start from scratch and use ready-to-go instrument presets, samples, and loops.
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What is future bass?
Future bass is an EDM genre that borrows ingredients from trap and dubstep but with more of a pop appeal. The vibrant drums, wobbly and lush chords, powerful basslines, twinkly arpeggios, and trendy vocal chops are prevalent characteristics of future bass music.
Over the last decade, future bass has grown into one of the most popular EDM genres with spearheading artists like Flume, San Holo, and Illenium.
Future bass drums are a combination of electronic and acoustic sounds with inspiration from house, trap, and dubstep. You can combine sounds to taste. A signature future bass sound is a tonal percussive snare. It’s also common to use heavily compressed acoustic toms for fills.
You can find future bass drum kits with included beats and samples in Soundation with the Beatmaker. Go to the Sound library, click on Beats, and search for “Future bass”.
Even though the tempo of future bass can vary greatly, the most common tempo is around 75 BPM, which in practice sounds the same as halftime at 150 BPM.
Future bass drum patterns are similar to dubstep and trap. The kick plays on beat 1 and wherever it provides a bit of bounce. The snare plays on beats 2 and 4 in a classic backbeat fashion. Add hi-hats, cymbals, and other percussive elements for extra texture and energy.
- Future bass - Beatmaker drums
Future bass chords
The chords are integral to the sound of future bass. Regular major and minor chords won’t cut it. You want to go for more colorful chords like seventh and ninth chords which sound more complex and rich.
Soundation includes an abundance of MIDI chord progressions that you can use as starting points and customize to your liking. Go to the Sound library, click on MIDI melodies and chords, and search for “Color chords” to find chord progressions suitable for future bass.
The chords will usually be paired with a supersaw, which is a synth with multiple buzzy and bright sawtooth waveforms that are detuned from each other. This makes it sound huge and fat. Go to the Sound library, click on Instrument presets, and search for “Supersaw” to find this type of sound in Soundation.
- Future bass - Supersaw chords
A nice compliment to the chords is using arpeggios. An arpeggio is when you play the chord notes individually for more movement and melody without it grabbing all the attention like a lead melody.
In future bass, the arpeggios are usually very fast and played with a square wave synth. This will give the track a pleasant sparkle. Go to the Sound library, click on Instrument presets, and search for “Squarp” to find a good preset for this.
- Future bass - Arpeggios
There are two popular bass types in future bass — The 808 bass and the Reese bass. 808 basses are used a lot in trap and it originally comes from the bass drum of the tr-808 drum machine. Reese basses are popular in drum n’ bass and dubstep and are using detuned saw waves much like the supersaw. Because of this, the Reese bass and supersaw will blend really well together.
Go to the Sound library, click on Instrument presets, and search for either “808” or “Reese” to find these sounds.
A future bass bassline is best kept simple and stable by playing the root notes of the chords. If you used one of the premade chord progressions, you can simply copy the clip over to the bass channel and remove all the notes except the lowest ones.
- Future bass - Reese bass
Every track needs a lead melody that hooks the listeners and that they can hum along to. You frequently hear this role played by vocal chops in future bass, which is when you take a vocal recording, chop it up into small pieces, and rearrange them into something new. You can use a vocal sample, record your own, or work with a singer to get the source material.
Take your vocal recording and chop it up with the Scissor tool, pitch it up 1 octave with the Pitch stretch tool, and make it play backward by right-clicking and choosing Reverse clip.
Add Distortion to make it really pop, and add Delay and Reverb for the atmosphere.
- Future bass - Vocal chop
Make it pump
The most important audio effect for future bass in Soundation is Fakie. This effect simplifies the effect of side-chain compression and makes the sounds pump to the tempo of the song.
Add the Fakie effect to almost all channels except for the drums and the groove will commence. Another perk of this effect is that it leaves room for the drums to hit even harder when they’re not masked by everything else in the mix.
- Future bass - Full mix