Using one shot kits are a great way to enhance your beats with unique and professional-caliber sounds without having to shell out hundreds of dollars for the latest VSTs.
In case you’re unfamiliar, a one shot kit is a collection of non-looped samples (usually instruments like bells, plucks, keys etc.) that come in the form of a single note being played (hence the term “one shot”).
This allows you to upload the one shot into your DAW’s sampler and play it as you would a VST instrument.
One shots have the added benefit of reducing the necessity of having crazy sound design knowledge. Having said that, knowing your way around some basic effects plugins will definitely come in handy in transforming one shots for various purposes.
Here are five tips for getting the most out of a one shot kit:
Tip #1: Use One Shots As Transition Sounds
Not every one shot needs to be loaded into your DAW’s sampler to be used as a lead instrument. Sometimes certain one shots serve better as transition sounds, signifying the start of a new section of your beat like the hook or verse.
If you’re into making Rod Wave or NBA YoungBoy type beats, TB Digital's DIGITAL INSTRUMENT Vol 1 comes with a whole folder of those unmistakable wah wah wah guitar stabs, perfect for soulful, “pain music” beats.
Pitch the sample up or down as needed so that it matches the key of the beat you’re making.
Here's a Guitar Shot:
And here it is pitched up and placed as a transition:
Tip #2: Add A Delay Or A Reverb Effect To Your One Shots
One shot samples may occasionally come with time-based effects already added. Even if they do (but especially if they don't), try adding a delay or reverb effect to the one shot melody you’ve made.
This will give the melody more warmth and take up additional frequencies in your mix, making even the most basic melodies sound fuller, more interesting, and colorful.
Here’s a before and after comparison using an African Dolo Shot from DIGITAL INSTRUMENTS One Shots Vol 1:
Progression without reverb:
Progression with reverb:
Tip #3: Sculpt With EQ
EQing out certain frequencies in a melody can greatly alter the final sound.
If you’ve created a melody with your one shot kit and you’re looking to add some variation to it, try adding both a high pass and a low pass EQ filter.
You’ll get a more muffled sounding melody that can be used for the verse section of your beat.
Doing this ensures the artist will have a ton of space to spit more lyrical fire than Dylan 🔥
So take a Bell Shot:
Make some chords:
And dial in some heavy EQ:
Tip #4: Use Phrases To Add Variation To Your One Shot Melodies
Some one shot kits come with folders full of short melodic phrases, introducing a ton of additional possibilities.
hello Music Theory defines a musical phrase as a single unit of music that makes complete musical sense when heard on its own. It is most notably heard as a melody and it is made up of smaller units, like motifs, cells, or individual notes.
Phrases you’re most likely to hear in one shot kits are with instruments like flutes, guitars, pianos, as well as vocals.
These small riffs can be placed at key moments within your beat to add variation, such as the second half of the hook.
They can also be used to signal a transition from one section of your beat to another.
Tip #5: Use One Shots In Conjunction With A MIDI Kit
If you’ve found the perfect sound from your one shot kit but can’t come up with a melody on your own, MIDI kits are your plug 🔌
All you need to do is pickup a MIDI kit full of MIDI clips that can be loaded up and used in conjunction with your one shots to create that Cubeatz-level heat.
Take a Bell Shot:
Drag in a Melody MIDI over your beat:
Cheat codes on cheat codes 😈
Today we used One Shots from TB Digital's DIGITAL INSTRUMENTS Vol 1, which is perfect for those NBA YoungBoy and Rod Wave type sounds. Make sure to check out Ikari's GOD OF WAR Orchestral Sample Pack for some incredibly epic one shots and drums. Lastly, 24K MOOD Guitar Samples has over 100 Guitar One Shots and FX!