FL Studio 20  –  Complete Beginner Basics Tutorial

FL Studio 20 – Complete Beginner Basics Tutorial


welcome to the FL Studio 20 complete beginners guide I’m Michael and today I’m gonna be showing you how to use this software from a beginner’s perspective simplifying the process and just making sure that you really understand the basics of the software so that you can start making music the way that you want to I’ve been using FL studio for a few years professionally mixing music producing mastering music and I’m also an FL studio power user but I do remember what it was like beginning and just how complicated everything looked today I’m just going to be simplifying the whole process so that we can just start making music and stop worrying about the software so much so let’s just get straight into it when you first open up FL studio it might look a little bit confusing but don’t worry this is all going to make sense in just a few minutes the first thing would be looking at the menus and these buttons up at the top so you’ve got your file menus and your option menus if you go into file menu this is where you’re going to be opening projects saving projects exporting your mp3s and wav files got your MIDI settings audio settings general settings all of that stuff so you can sort of configure things the way you want with your sound card with your MIDI controller I have videos showing how to set up the audio interfaces and MIDI controllers I’ll link all of that stuff in the description if you move across the top bar we have master volume and master pitch it’s best to just leave these exactly where they are and we have the transport controls here so you can either choose between your song or your pattern I’ll explain the difference in a minute and you’ve got your play pause stop and record and your tempo now you can change the tempo by clicking and dragging its left-click and drag or by typing in a value or by just choosing a set value whenever you hover over something there’s a little guide at the top left that shows you what it is says this is a metronome this is countdown before recording this is typing keyboard – piano keyboard these little options here are to do with recording and editing and they’ll make sense in no time at all the next thing we’re going to do is look over to here now this is the pattern selector the way stuff works inside of FL Studio is that you build patterns and then you arrange these patterns into songs so this is where we’re going to go to choose our patterns later on then we have a really important section here and these buttons control which wind as we see inside FL studio’ so we have options to see playlists’ piano rolls channel racks mixers and I’m just going to explain what all of this is right now so basically there’s five main sections we have at the side a browser here this contains all the samples instruments and stuff on your computer so this is where everything is stored then you have a channel rack and this is where the samples and instruments that you’ve chosen for this project are stored and this is where you create patterns then you have the playlist which is this tab here this is where you take those patterns and you arrange them and paint them and chop them up into a song then if we click up here we can open the mixer all of the audio is routed through the mixer and out through the master Channel and I’m gonna go into all of this in detail so don’t worry that we’re glossing over it and then the fifth panel is the piano roll and this is where you’re going to be sequencing your chords and your melodies so let’s slow down and do that one step at a time once more through the signal flow we have the browser which contains everything we select what we want and put it onto the channel rack we build patterns and then we arrange the patterns into a song and then all of the information all of the audio is sent through the mixer and then out to the master and that’s where your final song will be so let’s break this down really slowly and really easily so starting with these buttons up here this one here is the channel rack and a really quick tip at the start would be to select this drop-down menu and make it detached at the bottom and this means that it’s not going to keep disappearing whenever I select the playlist otherwise it just disappears and you have to go press that button again but at any time you can just press that button to open or closer this channel rack is where all of the samples and instruments in our project exist when you open up FL Studio it loads with these four samples kick through to a snare you can add whatever you want to this so if I go to the browser which is on the side and if it’s not here just drag out from the side I’m going to go to packs I’m going to go to drums kicks and you can just you see there’s so many samples here there’s kicks there’s percussion there is sound effects there’s instruments there’s anything you want but you can select what you want and I’m gonna take a kick you can just click it left click and just drag straight on to the channel rack and now it’s within our project and it’s a sample that we can use in the project if I go back to the browser I can select an instrument maybe I want a keyboard and I can just drag a piano into our project and you can see that it’s been added to the channel rack so this is where all the samples that we’re using will exist if we want to add a virtual instrument we can also just click this button down here and add a VST like a synth or we could add our own plugins going back to basics for a second if I want to see what these samples actually are we can left-click on them and then you open up this and this is called the wrapper so what this shows you is some information about the sample and then the ability to manipulate it a little bit so if I left click we can listen to the sample and there’s the option to change things like the pitch the volume and the pan at the top here I’m going to close this and go back to here these dials at the side we have one here for panning so putting the kick fully to the left or fully to the right and we have one here for volume and if I open up the channel wrapper again by left clicking you’ll see that these dials are linked together so they essentially just control the same thing on any button or dial in FL Studio left clicking will select it and right clicking will pull up sort of an options menu can reset it or you can copy its value or all sorts of stuff that’s really handy this little box here beside the sample tells us which mixer track it’s going to be sent to now to select one you can simply hover over this area and scroll up and down with the mouse or you can type in a value and choose which track you wanted to be sent to so let’s actually build a pattern and see how that happens so the first thing we’re going to do is to go up to this pattern thing that I mentioned earlier I’m going to just press the plus icon and we’re gonna name this pattern kick and I’m gonna click over here to just give it a color I’m going to color it red to start off with the next thing I’m going to do is take the kick sample over here I’m going to right click and I’m gonna change its color to red as well just so that it all matches up the easiest way to create a simple drum beat is to use this step sequencer here so this is the kick stamp and this is counting out the beats or steps in a bar you left-click to select a step and you right-click to delete it you can also left click and drag and right click and drag to delete so I’m going to select one on each of these 4 beats here so that we’ve got sort of four on the floor of rhythm and then on pattern mode I’m just going to press play and you’ll hear that this will loop round in this pattern if I click up here to view the mixer you’ll also see that the audio is being sent to insert one and then to the master inside the channel rack we have a few more options to manipulate this pattern we can open this graph editor here and you can see that we can choose the note of the kick so we can pitch the kick up or we can pitch the kick down we can also change the velocity so how hard the kick hits so we can make it softer and then louder again and you have control over all sorts of parameters like pitch and the panning from within here as well I’m just gonna close the graph editor by pressing this button now that we’ve created this pattern the next thing to do would be to arrange it onto the playlist so if I press this button up here to view the playlist and then I’m also going to close the channel rack this playlist is where we’re going to arrange our song and if you look up at the top left there’s some tools so you have a draw tool a paint tool a delete tool mute slice these tools are gonna help you manipulate the patterns and the audio on the playlist so the first thing I’m going to do is just left-click to draw in that kick sample and you can just keep repeating it or you could change to the brush tool and paint it across like that on the draw and paint tools left clicking will add and right clicking will take away so you can either right click or you can right click and drag to remove everything and just like with anything on Windows if you press controls ad it will undo what you’ve just done unlike other doors you don’t actually need to keep your kick or your pattern all on the same track you can actually just put them absolutely wherever you want to but it’s good organization to just keep one sound to one track and because of this I’m going to go over to the track over here and I’m going to rename and the color just to match the kick so that’s one very simple pattern but we definitely don’t have a song yet so the next thing I’m going to do is go back to the channel rack by pressing this button up here and I’m gonna add a snare and a hi-hat to this I’m gonna create a new pattern and I’m just gonna call it drums because this is gonna have both the snare and the hi-hat together because you can add both into the same pattern so I’m just gonna quickly recolor the hi-hat and recolor the snare and then I’m gonna add a snare on these beats and I’m going to fill each two steps with the hi-hat so that I’ve got the hi-hat on all of these counts here now that I have this pattern I’m gonna go back to the playlist I’m just gonna draw it straight in starting from the second bar this is where the song and pattern button are going to come into play because if I stay on the pattern button and press play all you will hear is the hat and the snare just like that but if I press the song button it takes us back to the playlist and we get to hear everything together so it’s gonna be for kicks and then all the drums are going to join in so it’s pretty boring but you can see the basics of arranging and again if I just click here go rename just going to call that drums and give it a color another thing you can do is group stuff on the playlist so you can right-click and group with the above track or you can right click and press G and it will keep grouping tracks together then if you go to the top one you can right-click and select Auto color the group so that it all stays nice and neat and tidy and organized it’s really good to stay organized with your projects especially when they get big and complicated it’s just best to know what’s going on so that you have complete creative freedom to try whatever you want looking back at the channel rack you can see how it’s easy to sort of paint in drums but this didn’t really cover that piano roll that we talked about earlier so what I wanted to show was that on each of these samples if I right click and select piano roll it’s gonna open up the piano roll that we talked to earlier this gives us really detailed information about the MIDI information in the pattern MIDI is just these notes on this virtual keyboard that’s controlling the sample or the virtual instrument we can read pitch these high hats we can adjust the very very fine timing of everything you can zoom in in any of the panels by just going to the top and scrolling in you can adjust them off the grid you can also add in extra samples that you wouldn’t be able to add in just by using the channel rack you can also control down here the velocity the panning the fine pitch and all of that stuff so if you wanted to you could do stuff like pitching down the hi-hats at the end of the phrase see what that sounds like stuff like that might make it a bit more interesting but let’s just keep it simple for now I’m going to now use a virtual instrument to show how a instrument pattern can be made so I’m going to click down here and I’m gonna choose GMs which is just a synth inside FL studio and with this if I make a new pattern by clicking up here I’m calling it bass if I just select these notes press play it’s only gonna give me the middle C note which is no good if I want to program the bassline so what I do instead is I go to the piano roll and you can pick whichever notes you want and then you can lengthen these notes you can arrange them however you like you can cut them up slice them the piano roll in FL Studio is amazing it’s incredibly easy to use an intuitive but it’s just important to know that the information in the piano roll is gonna be stored in that pattern and then you can just put that pattern straight on to the playlist to have it included in your song when loading new instruments it’s good to get into a habit of renaming them and recoloring them as you go so that it never becomes like overwhelming or too complicated and as you do this make sure that you’re sending it to a new mixer track as well it’s probably time to start talking about the mixer so you pull up the mixer by pressing this button up here or by pressing f9 and again I’m just gonna click down here and select detached the mixer is where you’re going to get into the sort of sound design and really interesting stuff behind seong the sounds in these patterns are gonna be sent to the mixer and then from the mixer you can affect them so you can add EQ compression delays reverbs and all sorts of artistic effects so looking at an individual insert I’m gonna choose insert for just for example this is where the snare is sent so the first thing is this dial at the top this is the panning so this is gonna send things left or right so if I play everything together you’ll notice that the snare the snare panning changes you’ve got the volume on the fader there are some options down here for polarity and swapping the left and right channels and you have a stereo separation dial so that you can make things sound a bit wider or a bit thinner on each insert you also have an effects chain here so for instance in slot one I can load up an equalizer in slot two I can load up a reverb and then you can start really manipulating your sounds in this case it’s going to be e queuing and adding a bit of reverb to a snare the signal comes from the sample or the instrument into the insert then it goes through all the effects slots and then through these sort of effects on here like the panning and the volume before each of the tracks is sent to the master and then the master channel combines them all together just like everything else in FL Studio if you right-click on one of these inserts you can rename it and you can also give it a color to stay super organized and there’s all the basic and advanced functions that you’d expect a mixer to have I have other videos detailing lots of specifics about the mixer and all the different sidechaining and routing options available to you but I don’t want to complicate this video the reason you want to separate each sound onto a different mixer channel is because the snares reverb you’re not going to necessarily want that on the kick drum or the clap or the hi-hat you’re not gonna want on your bass so you want to make sure that each sound goes to a new place on the mixer so that you can have a fresh set of effects for it set the volume right and really get into the mixing and mastering of your beat or your song going back to the channel rack and the playlist as you start adding more patterns in you’ll notice that this pattern picker at the side starts filling up with different patterns so you can select your patterns really quickly here modify them in the channel rack or select them here and then drag them into your playlist the last thing that I want to talk about is how to export or save your song so if you go back to the file menu up at the top you can save your song pretty simply just click Save As and then select a folder or a location in your computer and then to export your song you can go to the export here select WAV file or mp3 and then once you’ve chosen a location for it it will bring up this this box here now to get the absolute right settings I’ve linked a video in the description where I explain in detail what all of these are but this is the process you go through to export your song and then you just press Start and it will export the song for you just going through a really simple overview of everything we’ve talked about FL Studios split into some pretty important windows we have the browser again where all of your samples and all of FL studio’ samples and instruments are stored you can drag these straight on to the playlist or drag them into the channel rack the channel rack is going to have all of your audio all of your automation all of your MIDI information stored for your patterns then the patterns are going to be arranged on the playlists to create your song and then all the while the actual audio is going to be sent through the mixer where you can use various effects and plugins to manipulate the sounds and create the sort of sounds you want and really the best way to get used to it is to spend time and keep being open to new suggestions new ideas learn a few shortcut keys here and there and just make sure that you’re feeling really comfortable and secure inside the software so that you just feel like you are in control of it I have loads more videos which I’ll leave in the description showing different workflow tips and project templates to get you up and running and all of that stuff so please feel free to pour through any of those videos and just grab the information that you want from them hopefully this video has helped you get started in FL studio but if you do have any questions or comments please just leave them in the comment section down below and I’d love to help you out and get you up and running with this software so that you can make music just the way that you want to thank you very much for watching and hopefully I’ll see you in the next video bye for now [Music] always find a way to and [Music] see

100 thoughts on “FL Studio 20 – Complete Beginner Basics Tutorial

  1. For more detailed videos on each topic, check out my other videos 🙂

    Channel Rack – https://youtu.be/od5lD20Mnvw
    Playlist – https://youtu.be/TkTZLblecPM
    Mixer- https://youtu.be/f1wVqmhLxUc
    Drum Programming – https://youtu.be/bSrR-6BCGy4
    Recording Audio – https://youtu.be/f4tqN19EPlQ
    Side chaining – https://youtu.be/Zl-uG5oIUdg
    Export Settings – https://youtu.be/0rEnGUUJ5oA
    Shortcuts – https://youtu.be/_SS6ZYlxZ7Q
    Workflow Tips – https://youtu.be/aBzQ5KV4glE
    Free Templates – https://youtu.be/V5Lj6M1mdmI

  2. I wish it would automatically match the sound's name and color across all parts of it. Like if you rename and add a color in channel rack it should automatically display the same in the playlist and mixer. It seems by not being automatic that it would be too easy to make a mistake and label something wrong.

  3. 1:30 "….you've got your tempo"
    le me being a whiplash fan: *smiles*
    *video continues* "……..you can change the tempo by clicking and DRAGGING"
    le me: *smiles wider*

  4. what throws me off is the step sequencer. i mentally associate it with a pattern/clip whether it's being used or not. also when you do something in the piano roll and the pattern outgrows the length of the step sequencer. it's not obvious how to "shrink" the piano rolled pattern once you've gone beyond the pattern length accidentally. i'm tempted to do everything in the same step sequencer rather than dividing them up since all sound generators are on the same channel rack view. it can come in useful for visually syncopating things, but it's also a little inefficient in a way if you want to just draw a 4 on the floor kick pattern and theres all those empty sequencers on the screen.

  5. WHERE DO I GET BETTER AND NEW PRESETS…. 🙁 i want omnisphere and nexus but its so damn expensive and im pore what do i do please help me ive only used fl studio for 1 day and im lost .i went from logic to fl but i Need help please answer this question it would mean the world to me

  6. I had to watch this like five times but that’s only due to how overwhelming FL is at first, but great video man it helped a lot 🙂

  7. You've got my subscribe! I've been singing and rapping my whole life and my friends suggested me to start making rap music by myself. I'm not really into making beats but I want to learn cause it will make all my songs 100% my! Thank you so much, now I feel like I've got a chance!

  8. i've been messing around on a friends FL studio for years, finally bought it. I found your videos and instantly subscribed and have been watching one or two every night, SUPER helpful, chill and clear. Great content, can't wait to watch them all.

  9. I was wondering, there's so many different kinds of FL software to buy from the store? which one should I get for a beginner?

  10. Great video! now… the GMS sound really distorted in my mac, I searched a couple of tutorials to change in menu Options audio settings, but nothing seems to work. Tried built-in audio, and scarlett solo. What's the hardware you have? windows mac? special sound card?

  11. When I add 2 instruments into the channel rack and play them both together they don't run as smooth as they would in the channel rack. Once I add for example the kick and hi hat you can hear like a split second delay between each one. Also in the first bar it will play slightly faster. Anyone else having this problem?

  12. My GMS sounds totally different! I tried to match your settings in the plugin but the main problem I have is that the synth lasts way too long! Not sure if that makes sense.

  13. I will watch the videos serial wise so after watching one video at a time should i practise it in fl studio or after watching all the videos should i then should i start in fl studio

  14. Can all of this be done in the fruity loops version? I'd like to get into music production but I'm not financially sound enough or skilled enough to justify anything more expensive than the $99 edition.

  15. Thank you for this educational video. You really are paying it forward and helping those who wish to create music.

  16. Nicely done, but I’m just trying to make my Blue Yeti sound better for my gaming videos. Too much background noise.

  17. Only 3 minutes in and just want to say I'm really appreciative of the way you've presented this video. Your clear speech makes it easy to absorb information! Thank you!

  18. Really awesome video thanks for sharing! I'm brand new to FL studio and was getting a little frustrated by the other tutorials I found because they would skip a lot of basic stuff that's obvious to experienced users (such as where to click to open the channel mixer) but for a beginner like myself is difficult. The order in which you explain and demonstrate things is very intuitive to follow, and your video clearly shows each step from the very beginning and you explain it well. Thanks again!

  19. Having seen a few videos on FL Studio, I was beginning to think it is impossible to describe how it works in a simple way. However, you have done it! Thank you so much – this is brilliant!

  20. i need more help please, how can i download more instruments sounds ,how can i create arabic rap beat, i need to get professional in fl ,please

  21. You helped a lot!!
    I didnt get other people’s tutorials on go studio but yours was all the basics and how to use it.
    Nice job

  22. Hi, when I make a pattern with my snare for example, if I then later on make another pattern, these will blend together and i cannot separate them – can anybody help? 🙂

  23. I literally used my 17 minutes to browse through the comments just to see how people is upset with themselves ahahhahaahah

  24. I cant figure out how to use Arcade with FL at all, ive been at it for hours I literally cannot get this to work for me im extremely frustrated. is there anyone who uses Arcade with FL or does someone know of a video that would help?

  25. I have the demo version so I don’t have some of those things I don’t want to buy yet until I can do something with that lul

  26. Honestly once explained it's fairly intuitive. Thank you for breaking it down so nicely for us newbies! Can't wait to play with the full version after becoming familiar through the demo!

  27. Hi there, great video! I just have one question : would it be possible to use real-life instruments, and record those onto FL studio as well?
    for example, if I were to create a bassline on my bass, could I somehow transfer that to FL studio or would I have to program every single note onto FL studio manually? Thanks in advance!

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