Tutorial: Nanoloop by Big Chip

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Ok I made a small tutorial that will hopefully help people who are finding it hard to work Nanoloop out get started with it. This is a sort of work in progress at the moment as stuff will be added as i go along. This tutorial is for v1.3

Oh and I'm not going to cover every single function this is just meant as a guide to help people get started.


[edit] What you will need.

A Game Boy, This can be one of the old big ones a pocket or even one of the colour ones. You will also need a nanoloop cart which can be obtained from Oliver Wittchow (the maker of nanoloop) at the nanoloop website

Unlike LSDJ, nanoloop comes on its own cart so you don't have to worry about putting roms onto carts using transfering wotsits and such.

[edit] Putting in a note and changing the pitch

Here is where you will learn to put your first notes into nanoloop (yay). the screen you have in front of you now should have a grid of 16 squares on, each one of these represents one beat and they play from top left to bottom right. For the purposes of this tutorial i will be referring to them by number, 1 being the top left and first beat 16 being the bottom right and last beat, Like this.

1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16

You should also see the letter r in the top left of the screen this means you are in the r channel. there are 4 channels in nanoloop r,l,s and n. r and l are both pulse channels s is a wave channel and n is just noise.we will come back to these later.You place notes in the squares by pressing B and you can remove them by pressing A. So lets put a note in squares 7 and 15 by moving your cursor to those squares and pressing B. Great we now have 2 motes playing but they are both the same and that just wont do. To change the pitch of a note you need to make sure we are using the correct too so press select and in that first menu you see move your cursor to the one that looks like a musical note and press B, this tool is the one used to change the notes being played. Ok lets edit one of your Notes, Move your cursor over the note you put in square 15 and hold B and then press up or down. You will hear the note get higher or lower by one step and if you press left or right it will get higher or lowe by a whole octave. change both notes to be ones you like wether they be the same or differant its up to you.

There you have it you just put your first notes in.

[edit] Lets make a drum beat shall we?

Right now we are going to make a drum beat using the r and n channels.First we are going to make the bass drum in the r channel.

[edit] Making the bass drum

On the same screen where the 2 notes you just put in are put another note in slot 1 and then change it to be the deepest possible note there is. Makes a nice bass sound doesn't it but not much good for bass drum. Press select and move your cursor to the icon that looks like 2 hollow rectangles and press B. What there should be in the boxes you put notes in now should look like the two rectangles next to each other. This tool is for pitch bend and we are going to use it to make this note we just put in slot 1 sound more like a bass drum.

Move your cursor over the note you put in slot 1 hold B and press Down on your D-Pad. the rectangle on the right should move down a notch and as you keep moving it down you should start to hear the note changing. Press down until the rectangle is all the way at the bottom of slot 1 and then still holding B press Left on your D-pad to move it all the way to the left so both rectangles are underneath each other. This is the basic way i make a bass drum in nanoloop there are other ways of doing it but I'm not going to go into this here.

Ok so you have your first bass drum hit in slot 1 now we need another one in slot 9. This time rather than doing all what we have done before we are just going to cut and paste the note from slot 1 into slot 9. To do this move your cursor over slot 1 and press A, Dont panic your note has disappeared but now we can get it back. Still in slot 1 press A again and lo and behold your note is back, this is because A not only functions as a delete button but will store the last note you deleted ready to be pasted back wherever you like. So now you have the bass drum stored ready to be pasted in anywhere you can move your cursor to slot 9 press A and there you have it 2 bass hits.

[edit] Making the symbals and the snare

Ok so we have the 2 bass hits in now we need some cymbals and snares to go in there as well and to do this we will use the n channel. Ok to get to the n chanle press select to bring up the menu again and this time press up in your D-pad and you should see the r in the top left corner change, keep pressing until it changes to an n. Now move your cursor to the icon that looks like the musical note again and press B and now we ar in the n channel ready to put in some notes.Lets do the high hats first, move your cursor to slot 3 and press B this should give you a fairly good sound for a high hat (its that easy) and then put a note in slots 7, 11 and 15 also. For the snare move your cursor to slot 5 and place in a note. Now hold B and press up a few times and you will hear the sound of the noise change, Keep pressing up until you find a spot that you think sounds good as a snare drum. Once you have the snare in slot 5 you can cut and paste it into slot 13 just like you did with the bass drum using the A button.

You should now have a high hat in slots 3, 7, 11 and 15 and a snare in slots 5 and 13. you should also be hearing your 2 bass drum hits and your 2 notes you originally put in earlier in the tutorial. Now seems like a great time to save what we have done.

[edit] Saving what we have done

Wow cool what we have so far sounds ok but if you turn your gameboy off you will loose it unless you save it *gasp* so here is where i will tell you how to save your stuff.Press select to get the menu up and then select again to get up the second menu. Move your cursor to the icon on the far left of the screen and press B. What you should now see is a screen with r,l,s and n down the left side of the screen with each followed by a series of number and letters a bit like this:

r 0123456789abcdef

l 0123456789abcdef

s 0123456789abcdef

n 0123456789abcdef

And in the top right you should see the number 0. The letter down the left side represent the channels of nanoloop (all 4 of them) and the symbols 0 to F represent the 16 save slots for each channel. the 0 in the top right represents which bank you are in and there are 16 (0-F) banks. So you have 16 lots of 16 lots of save slots for each channel. (this may confuse you at first but its not so bad.)Right we have put notes in the n channel and the r channel so we need to save those in save slots for the r and n channels. Here is where a few people trip up you cant save in the save slots marked 0 these are reserved for blank loops so you can start or finish songs so we will need to save in the slots marked 1. Move the cursor using the D-pad till its over the slot in the row for the r chanle marked 1 and then press B+Down, the cursor should squash for a second then spring back up this means that you have saved successfully. Now move your cursor to slot 1 for n and do the same. You have now saved both your loops you made.

Once you have turned your gameboy off and then on again you will be faced by blank loops again don't worry you can load then by going back into the save menu again (select twice icon on the far left) and then moving to the slots you save your loops in and pressing B+UP DO NOT PRESS B+DOWN BY ACCIDENT YOU WILL SAVE SILENCE OVER WHAT WE HAVE JUST DONE AND YOU WILL HAVE TO START AGAIN!

Ok this seems like a good time to have a break smoke a fag and put the kettle on. Ill cary thins on later.

Chip xx