A Beginner's Guide to Making Synthwave Music – Tips and Tricks

Hey there, aspiring synthwave producer! If you're reading this, then you're probably interested in learning how to make this incredible genre of music. Well, you've come to the right place! In this blog post, we'll be discussing some tips and tricks that will help you get started with making synthwave music.

First and foremost, it's important to have a good understanding of the basics of music production. If you're not already familiar with things like synthesis, sound design, and mixing, then you'll need to do some research and learn the basics before you can start making synthwave music. Once you have a good understanding of the basics, you can start experimenting with different sounds and creating your own unique style.

Artwork made by: @mr.melville on Instagram

One of the most important aspects of synthwave music is the use of retro synths and drum machines. To get that classic 80s sound, you'll need to use some vintage hardware or software instruments. Many modern synths can emulate the sound of classic 80s synths, so you don't necessarily need to go out and buy an old synth to get started. However, if you want to create the most authentic sounding synthwave music, then using some classic hardware is definitely the way to go.

Another important element of synthwave music is the use of catchy melodies. A lot of the best synthwave tracks have extremely catchy melodies that are impossible to forget. If you're having trouble coming up with catchy melodies, then try using a melody generator. There are a few different ones available online, and they can be a great way to get some ideas for melodies.

Once you have a few good ideas for melodies, it's time to start working on the production. This is where things can get a bit more technical, but don't worry, it's not as difficult as it may seem at first. A good place to start is by creating a simple drum beat. Start with a kick drum and a snare, and then add in some hi-hats and other percussion. Once you have a basic drum beat, you can start adding in synth parts.

When it comes to synth parts, it's important to use a variety of different sounds. Don't just use one synth sound throughout the entire track. This will make your track sound boring and repetitive. Instead, try using a few different synth sounds, and experiment with different ways of layering them. This will give your track more depth and make it more interesting to listen to.

Where do you start?

So, where do you start? Well, the first thing you need to do is get yourself a good synthwave soundbank. There are a few different ones out there, but my personal favorite is the Synthwave for Serum pack from Sample Magic. It's packed with over 100 presets for the Serum VST, and it's an absolute must-have for any synthwave producer.

Once you've got your soundbank sorted, it's time to start thinking about your track. What kind of mood are you going for? Is it a dark and atmospheric track, or a bright and energetic one? Once you've decided on the overall feel of the track, it's time to start layering up your sounds.


A good synthwave track will have a few different layers of sound, all working together to create the overall atmosphere. The first layer is usually a simple, repeating melody. This can be created with any synth, but I find that Serum's presets work really well for this. Just find a sound that you like and start playing around with it until you find a melody that you're happy with.

Pad Sound

The second layer is usually a pad sound. This is a sustained sound that helps to fill out the track and create a sense of space. Again, any synth can be used for this, but I find that Serum's pads sound particularly good. Once you've found a sound that you like, experiment with the filters and envelopes to create a sound that's just right for your track.

The third layer is where things start to get really interesting. This is where you add in your lead sound. This is the sound that's going to carry the melody and really make your track stand out. Once again, any synth can be used for this, but I find that Serum's lead presets are particularly good. Just find a sound that you like and start playing around with it until you find a melody that you're happy with.


The fourth and final layer is the drums. A good synthwave track will have a solid drumbeat that really drives the track forward. I recommend using a drum machine for this, as it's much easier to get a tight, consistent sound. I personally use the Arturia DrumBrute, but any drum machine will do. Just load up your drum sounds and start programming your beat.

And that's it! Those are the four basic layers that every synthwave track should have. Of course, there's a lot more that you can do to add interest and variety to your track, but those are the basics that you need to get started.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start making some synthwave music!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published