Tutorials / 15 March 2021

How to make a jump-up beat on BandLab

How to produce a jump up beat on BandLab

What’s a jump-up beat? Jump-up is a stripped-down subgenre of drum ‘n’ bass that puts the emphasis firmly on catchy bass lines and rolling, unfussy beats.

The sound of jump-up has evolved over the decades, emerging with bouncy, hip hop-infused tracks like The Ganja Crew – “Super Sharp Shooter” and Aphrodite & Mickey Finn –”Bad Ass!” In the 90s. The 00s sound of jump-up focused on incessant beats and midrange-filling bass sound as heard in Taxman – “Too Bad” and Original Sin – “D for Danger”. In the 2010s the sound of jump-up saw the beats pared back to their most functional with ever-more abrasive mid-range bass sounds taking centre stage in tracks such as DJ Hazard – “Bricks Don’t Roll” and Macky Gee – “Tour”.

Contemporary jump-up beats have stripped away most of the original breakbeat essence of drum ‘n’ bass, instead, focusing on clean one-shot kicks, snares, rides and hats, keeping the mixdown clean for those pervasive screeching midrange bass-lines. Take for instance Ben Snow & DJ Phantasy –”Mind Warp“, where the “Amen break” is used as a fill, and the majority of the track is focused on on-shots.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to create a jump-up beat from scratch in BandLab, a free online digital audio workstation that allows you to share your beats with friends anywhere in the world. BandLab can be accessed on both smartphones and web browsers, making it easy for collaborators to add vocals to your tracks. 

Here are six easy steps that show you how to make a jump-up beat that you can use as a foundation for your own track. You can open this project yourself by forking the beat below and use it for the basis of your own productions!

1. Setting up the project

Once you’ve created a BandLab account and logged in, you can use the + Create button to make a new project. We’re going to start with a snare sound, and we’re going to source it from BandLab’s loop library. Click the Browse Samples button, then click the Loops tab, and enter ‘snare’ into the text search field.

Locate Snare 43, which has the full yet clean sound we’re after, so drag it onto the arrangement window. The Snare 43 sample has a tempo of 125BPM, so BandLab automatically sets the project tempo to 125BPM.

2. Setting the tempo

The 125BPM tempo is too slow for DnB, so set the project tempo up to 175. You can do this by clicking on the tempo parameter and entering the new value. BandLab will ask you if you’d like to adjust the existing audio regions to the new tempo. Click the Adjust button to time-stretch the snare loop. 

3. Getting a consistent snare sound

You’ll notice that snares one and three have a slight lead-in and aren’t as snappy as snares two and four. So, let’s replace them. Make sure View > Snap to Grid is enabled, and place the playhead on 1.4 by clicking the timeline.

Then, right-click the audio clip and select Slice, or press [s] on your keyboard. Next, put the playhead on 2 and slice again. Now you can delete the rest of the audio clips.

If you double-click the audio clip to bring up the Editor you’ll see that the snare doesn’t exactly fall on the beat, and if fact plays a little late. Accurate timing is essential for DnB beats, so use the handle at the bottom left-hand corner of the clip in the Editor to the start of the beat, then move the audio clip to the left so it plays precisely on the beat. 

Now you can replace the deleted snares by duplicating the remaining snare. This can be done by holding [option] on Mac or [alt] on Windows and dragging the audio clip.

4. Adding a kick, and balancing it with the snare

Now we need to add a kick. In the loop library’s text search field enter ‘dnb kick’ and drag Kove DnB Kit 3 Kick onto a new track in the arrangement. Drag on the timeline over the first two bars to loop them.

You’ll notice there’s a slight glitch at the end of the second bar where the next kick starts to play. We can remedy this by slicing the kick loop at 2.4, and deleting the audio after that point. The snare is too loud relative to the kick, so turn the snare track down to -6dB.

5. Adding highs with a high-hat loop

In the Loops text search field enter ‘hats’, locate Cherry Hats 01, and drag it into the project. The fourth beat of this hi-hat loop has a roll on it that doesn’t really fit the vibe, so chop the loop at 1.3 and delete everything after that. Then, use the loop handle at the top right-hand corner of the audio clip to loop the first two beats for the rest of the two-bar sequence. Turn the hat track down to -3dB so that it’s not too loud for the kick and the snare.

6. Finishing the beat off with a ride

Let’s add a ride cymbal to our beat. Click the + Add Track button and select the Instrument option. Open the Instrument page, and set the instrument to Drum Pads and DNB Kit. Right-click on the instrument track and select Create Region to add a MIDI clip.

Double click this to bring up the Editor page, and double-click to add ride hits on each beat. Turn the DNB Kit track down to -3dB to balance it with the rest of the elements. 

You now have a rolling two-bar groove that can serve as the foundation for your own jump-up beat. Remember, you can open this jump-up project and experiment with it yourself. Have fun!

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Read more: Beats from scratch: How to produce a Lil Uzi Vert style beat on BandLab

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