How To Make A Wonky, Glitchy Lead Sequence In FL Studio

How To Make A Wonky, Glitchy Lead Sequence In FL Studio

In this tutorial I will show you how I made a wonky and glitchy lead sequence using 3xOsc and Gross Beat.

Here’s an audio example:

Okay. Source of this sound is – once again – 3xOsc so I just load an instance of it and start by choosing a square wave as the shape for each oscillator and setting the coarse tune to -24 semitones for each (Note that all the sounds and settings you are seeing me creating in this tutorial is made beforehand and basically I just replicate them here  – that’s what I always do with my tutorials. It took quite a lot of experimentation and trial & error to make them sound as is. I’m just saying this if you’re wondering how I know the exact settings. I don’t know them before trying & testing various different combinations):

3xOsc Settings For Wonky Lead

Next, I enable the volume envelope under the Instrument Properties tab, set the Attack time to zero, Sustain level to maximum and Release time to minimum (for now). Later on I will automate the Release for adding a little extra interest to the lead sequence.

I also raise the filter resonance level a bit (to 11 o’clock) and I’m using SVF LPx2 as the filter type.

3xOsc Volume Envelope Settings For Wonky Lead

Next, under the Miscellaneous Channel Settings, I enable the Portamento mode (enabling Portamento slides the pitch from note to note) and set the Portamento time (slide length between notes) to 0:09.

Portamento Mode For Wonky Lead

Ok. Next I head to the Piano Roll and make the sequence. I’m going to use slide notes to create pitch slides. (The Portamento mode which I enabled in the 3xOsc Miscellaneous settings tab also adds its own flavor to the slides.)

Here’s the sequence:

Wonky Sequence

Next, the Gross Beat.

First I assign the 3xOsc to a free mixer track and drop the Gross Beat to it’s effect slot.

Assigning Gross Beat To 3xOsc

Now, Gross Beat is a real-time, audio-stream playback, pitch, position and volume manipulation effect. Gross Beat stores audio in a 2-bar rolling buffer controlled by 36 time and 36 volume mapping envelopes for easy beat-synced glitch, stutter, repeat, scratching and gating effects. (Quote from FL Studio manual).

The center of all the manipulations is the Envelope Mapping Panel and it can be controlled using the standard FL Studio envelope editing features. Either the time or volume can be manipulated.

Envelope Mapping Panel Section In Gross Beat

So what I’m going to do next is I make things glitch using the time manipulation.

First I set the Snapping settings to 1/8 beat (default). Snap determines how the envelope points snap to the nearest time/volume grid division in the Envelope Mapping Panel.

Next,  I choose a Time Slot. This sets the Envelope Mapping Panel to target a time based manipulations.

Preparing The Gross Beat

Envelope data stored in the Slots can be emptied by choosing ‘Reset’ under the Mapping Options. The first slot is empty, but rest are filled with factory presets.

Clear The Slot

(When you start the Gross Beat, it loads the ‘Patterns’ preset -scheme by default meaning all the Time and Volume slots are filled with factory presets. You can empty all the slots by choosing the preset ‘Default’ from the top right corner of the Gross Beat. I’m using the Patterns -scheme because there’s a nice ready made volume preset I’m going to use).

Now to the editing.

First, I create a couple of “jumps” in time (stutters) using the Hold curve envelope. You can change the curve by right clicking an envelope point and choosing the curve type from the menu. (Hold is good for creating steps and steps in time – forwards and / or backwards – are the key for stuttering effects).

First Gross Beat Sequence

Next, I select a second slot and create a bit of a scratching style effect (plus couple of more stutters). For the scratching effect, I’ll use the Single curve envelope and tweak the tension points.

Second Gross Beat Sequence

For the third slot, I created a following manipulation:

Third Gross Beat Sequence

For the fourth slot, I used the Stairs curve (and single curve for the rest). (TIP: Drag the tension point up for less stairs and down for more stairs.)

Fourth Gross Beat Sequence

Here’s the fifth:

Fifth Gross Beat Sequence


Sixth Gross Beat Sequence

And the final (seventh):

Seventh Gross Beat Sequence

Alright. Next, I pick a volume preset titled ‘1/4 Swing’ to add a swinging gate effect to the sequence. I also use the volume knobs to tweak the volume dynamics of the Volume mapping: I wan’t a sharp attack so I just set the Attack to 0ms and for a smoother Release I set it to around 70-80ms.

Swing Volume Slot Preset

Next, I use automation clips for automating the slot selection. (There’s many ways to automate the slot selection. Refer to the FL Studio manual for alternative methods.) But first I go to the Playlist and extend the sequence:

Extending The Wonky Sequence

Then I head back to the Gross Beat and create the automation clip by right clicking on the first time slot and choosing ‘Create automation clip’ from the menu:

Create Automation Clip For The Slot

I’m going to use separate automation clips for each slot selection automation so in the Playlist I use the copy / paste / make unique methods to create unique clips (copy is done by left clicking the automation clip in the Playlist, paste is done by right clicking and making unique by right clicking the top left corner of the clip and choosing ‘Make unique’ from the menu).

Making Automation Clips Unique

Now I open the Gross Beat again, copy a slot ‘value’…

Copy Slot Value

…and paste the slot value to the automation clip envelope point(s).

Paste Slot Value

I repeat the process for each slot so in the end I have automation clips for every slot selection:

Slot Selection Automation Ready

Ok. Next I’m going to automate the Release controller of the 3xOsc volume envelope so I’ll open the 3xOsc, go to the Instrument Properties tab and Volume Envelope tab and create automation clip for the Release controller:

Automating The 3xOsc Volume Envelope Release Controller

In the Playlist I edit the Release automation envelope as follows (This’ll extend the Release time. This is all just for adding a little nuance to the glitch sequence.)

3xOsc Volume Envelope Release Automation Envelope

Okay. As a final touch, I use compression to add more sharpness / snap and to tighten up the whole sequence (dynamically speaking). I’ll use Fruity Limiter for that so after dropping it to the 3xOsc effect slot I set it like this:

Wonky Sequence Compression Settings

Slow Attack time is the key for snap and sharpness.

That’s about it. Now go and make some twisted, wonky and glitchy sequences! 😎

Watch the video version below:

Download The FL Studio Project File (Requires FL Studio 10.0.9 or later to open properly)

Download The Piano Roll Score For The Lead Sequence

Download The Gross Beat Preset File (Includes the time manipulations I made for this project plus the factory presets for rest of of the slots)


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  1. Thanks dude so much for this tutorial. There aren’t many tutorials for gross beat, at least not many good ones, and this just helped me with everything I needed to know about it. One more reason I come to you to for the how to’s.

  2. Great tutorial. Now I understand how to use Gross Beat properly. It helped a lot!

  3. Surta Oleg on

    Petri,you always make awesome tutorials!!
    Your website is one of my favorite place in the whole internet!!!! must know about midi effects in Ableton such as Chord,Scale and more….this effects help to make harmonious music…if Fl studio have such effects,you must make tutorial about it!!
    You are greatest teacher!!!

    • Thank you very much!

      To your question:

      I don’t know if this helps, but there’s pre-defined chord/scales types in the Piano Roll. Click on the Piano Roll Options button (it’s on the top left corner of the Piano Roll window) and under that go to Chords and select a chord or scale you wan’t. Now you can draw chords to the Piano Roll. Or more quicker way: right click the Draw tool in the Tools menu, pick a chord and draw.

  4. jonathan figueroa on

    Mind if I use the sequence in a dubstep song? I’ll give you credit for your work
    and btw ur AWESOME!!!!! :p

  5. This just screams moombahton to me

    /me runs to FL, gotta get those ideas down before I forget

  6. coooooool… funny mouse dancing πŸ˜‰
    I used to be Cubase user, but after I watched your video tutorials I decided to use FL…
    many thanks man…

  7. Maaaan thank you so much!
    It was in less than 20 minutes that I learned how to do glitch, thanks to you.

  8. hi! great tutorial. just one question. when i import some sounds (for example a 808 bass ora ansare) in fl studio and double click on them… i cannot see all the functions you have for the instrument properties tab (plugin-smp-ins-misc-func). i just have two function and i can’t understand why. van you help me?

  9. hi great tutorial!
    just on question! when i import a sound on fl (a 808 bass for example) and double click on it to see the properties and functions i just can see a couple of functions and not all the functions you have (for example plugin-smp-ins-misc-func)
    can you help me?