Get a free year on Tuts+ this month when you purchase a Siteground hosting plan from $3.95/mo
If you listen to the radio, go into upscale bars, or dance at the clubs you probably have heard Far East Movement's 'Like a G6'. Aside from the icy vocals from the artist Dev, G6 has a very memorable bass line. If you wanted to know how to recreate that sound for a remix or to have it as a sound option in your own track then read on like a G6!
Note: I will be using FL Studio but any DAW can be used if you have similar plugins.
Step 1: Find an 808
Yes that is right, get yourself an 808 kick sample. The core of the G6 sound is an 808 sample that has a perceivable pitch. Don't worry about the pitch part yet; just find yourself a classic 808 kick sound without any distortion. If you are using FL Studio then you can use the same one I used under FL Studio>Data>Patches>Packs>Drum Kit 04>FLS_Kick 04.wav; it should sound something like this...
Step 2: Tune Up
Before we can begin to turn the 808 into the sound from G6 we need to make sure the kick is in the right key so to speak. You will want to adjust the pitch of the sample to a G since like a G6 is in the key of G minor; you will need to place your notes in the correct octave as well.
Even if you are not using FL Studio the premise behind these next steps are important so do you best to recreate it. If you are using the sample in FL Studio you will want to do the following...
- Load it into a Sampler instrument.
- Adjust the pitch knob at the top of the Sampler down 740 cents. (Just under 8 semitones.)
- Under the Time Stretching menu there is a Time Stretch Multiplication knob, turn that so you are around 120-130% depending on your preference; just make sure the time stretching algorithm is set to 'Tonal'. Depending on your 808 samples you may need to shorten your sample instead of lengthening it.
Here is what your sample should sound like now...
Step 3: Bending
Now that we have ourselves a tuned 808 with enough sustain that we can perceive a pitch, we need to recreate that pitch pending sound when moving between notes. As long as you can use portamento on your sample you can recreate this in any DAW.
- In the Sampler instrument go to the 'Misc' tab.
- Under the Polyphony tab is an option called Portamento; click this check box.
- There is a slide knob next to the check box which controls how fast the pitch is bent; set it for 10-12 ms. This will give you a tight but noticeable pitch change.
If you place a few notes in, your sample should now sound something like this...
Step 4: Distortion
Now that we have created the tonal and pitch bending 808 kick we need to add some distortion to get that bite you hear in the tune. To do this route your sample to a track if it isn't already and perform the following.
- Add a Wave Shaping plugin to your first FX insert slot; for FL users this will be Fruity Waveshaper.
- Adjust the tension point so that is at 100% and wave shaping line almost makes a right angle.
- Next add a control point and place it at the very top and move it in from the left so it is at position 0.12 (12%).
- Adjust the new tension point so it is at 100%.
- Finally crank the pre and mix gains all the way up and bring the post gain down so the distortion is at a reasonable volume.
Keep in mind that wave shapers, if you completely turn them into a right angle, will give you infinite sustain and will sound awful. Try to replicate my example as best as you can if you are using another wave shaping plugin. Here is my result...
Step 5: EQ
Essentially what we have done is turn a sine wave into a square wave since an 808 is primarily a sine wave and the type of distortion we used created mostly odd harmonics. However in generating that kind of distortion you may have noticed that the one or two of the harmonics created from the distortion are so loud that at times you may hear an interval and not a single note. We need to correct this problem as well as make some general tonal adjustments to our sound.
- Insert a parametric EQ to your next FX slot; I used the Fruity Parametric EQ 2.
- Take on the EQ bands and center it around 464 Hz and make the tightest possible band you can so it only effects a few frequencies. Take this band and knock it all the way down by about 18 dBs.
- Choose another band and center it around 97 Hz and give it an band width of about 37%. Then take that band and dip it down by about 7 dBs.
- Finally take your upper most band and set it to be a high shelf if it isn't already. Set the band to 5754 Hz, set the band width to 61%, and lower the band down by 8.5 dBs.
Compare this sound with the non EQ'd version and should be able to hear the interval much clearer. Here is my version...
Step 6: Reverb and Notes
The final step is to add some reverb of your choice and place the correct notes into the sequence. For reverb I would use a large room with a decay of maybe 1 to 2 seconds and complete diffusion; I wouldn't make it too loud either.
As for the notes, they are as follows...
- G, G, G, G(up octave), D, D#, D#, D#, D# D.
For the rhythm see the attached picture (quantized to 16th notes). Here is the final result of our hard work...
Some of you may be wondering why we used a distorted 808 instead of a square wave. The reason is that the 808 has the punchy quality with the simple harmonic content and gave us the hard sound like in the track.
Now that you have this at your disposal, why not make a remix? Here is my very short and quick attempt for your amusement. Hope you enjoyed!