Building Your Song Around A Loop [Video]

| Audio Example, My Music, Pro Tools, Tips, Video

Have a great loop, but don’t know what to do with it? If you think like an arranger and producer you can actually create a rich and dynamic song built around a simple 4 or 8 bar loop. This summer I wrote and recorded an entire song around a simple guitar loop I created and I want to share some of my approach in hopes that it might spark your creativity.


Get Better Mixes By Simply Changing How You Start

The first 60 minutes of your mix will affect everything. Here's my proven method!

23 Responses to “Building Your Song Around A Loop [Video]”

    • Graham

      Recorded drums in my tiny studio 🙂 mono drum overhead, kick, snare, toms, and mono room mic.

      • holger

        well done!
        do i see right? hm 2 d on overhead?
        sounds funny. i tried it one time too. sounded not so cool.
        think i am going to try that again!

  1. Nick

    Sounds great man. Can we somewhere hear the whole song?

    Did you use drum sample on the drums? Could you share these samples please?

    • Graham

      Whole song should be out soon. Just need to put it up on SoundCloud. No samples on the drums, just recorded here in the studio.

  2. Rod

    Great song Graham. Love the way the arrangement grows. Your vocal work excels on this. Onward and upward bro.

  3. Justin Barnhart

    Sounds awesome man! What was your go to mic/pre for this? I want at least one solid outboard pre and a nice mic that can work for pretty much anything. Also what was your reasoning for the mono drum approach? Very cool idea!

  4. Roger

    Hi Graham.
    This is great, mostly because it reminds us of simple things that do work.
    It’s pretty easy to forget the basics!

    One of the greatest examples of a loop repeating over the whole song (and I mean the WHOLE song) is “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry.

    I wasn’t a big fan of that song until the day that I focused on that small “detail”. The whole song turns around 3 notes, from the verses, bridge, chorus and…the whole thing.

    I won’t say that it’s the best song in the world (or even from Katy Perry), but it’s an amazing exercice around “dressing up” 3 notes.

    Thanks for this great reminder.

  5. Kevin

    Great video, triple A stuff! Arrangement really is the big thing. My mixing skills suddenly shot up when I started paying attention to it.


    That vocal counterpoint in the last chorus is a rhythmic train-wreck. Nice work, otherwise. Kinda reminds me of Matt Hales in some spots.

    • Rod

      “….rhythmic train-wreck”. In your humble opinion..right?. I think it’s really well conceived.


    “Rhythmic train-wreck”: my experience. “Nice work, otherwise”: my opinion. No humility explicit, implicit, or otherwise intended– in any way –either way.

  8. Rob

    Awesome job and great way to show how to build a song!! It could be a good template or blueprint! It’s amazing how you can hear these “moves” in other songs too!

    • Dan Updegraff

      Listening again. Really love the brief guitar chord before chorus 2! Great volume level for it.
      Did you double take that guitar, or use a stereo delay with short (~20 ms) separation between left/right?



  1.  Reader Spotlight: Dan Dybing Fights Human Trafficking » The Recording Revolution

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
The Two Column Approach To Mixing

I'm going to let you in on a little secret, a foundational principle that is the core of my mixing...