Posts Tagged ‘Ableton tutorial’
Beef up the Bass with Ableton’s Corpus
I’ve been using Ableton’s fantastic Corpus effect to improve the bottom end on my kicks & and/or bass. It really can add a great dirty character to your music that can fill things out nicely. Check out this quick Video and give it a shot yourself!
Happy music making,
Ableton Bass Tutorial – Create a Richer Bass with Sampler
Here’s a quick tip in Ableton for getting more out of a short bass sample by using modulation in Sampler. Enjoy the video!
If you are a Producer’s Playground Member, you can download the Sampler preset below:
Sampler – Rich Deep Bass
Happy music making,
Best of 2013 – Ableton & Music Production Tips
Wow, this has been quite a year for myself as well as Ableton Users. I moved from Iowa City to Denver and quickly met up with some of the most forward thinking DJ’s & producer’s. I notice the people here are very open, friendly and without typical egos that are known to plague the electronic scene. From this, eventually came a residency for a night called P.U.N.C.H.I.S. at Denver’s world famous club Beta.
Being able to both play music & listen to top notch DJ’s on a regular basis has given me a massive amount of ideas and feedback on what works in a club & what moves a crowd. I get to collect my favorite ideas and apply them to my own creations. If you can’t get out in that environment, at least listen to as many DJ mixes in your style as possible. This is a great resource that gives you more of the feeling of being there: http://www.be-at.tv/
Sometimes it is true that moving yourself to a new location can bring a dramatic change if your current one isn’t inspiring you or doesn’t support the lifestyle you want. This is not to say that you can’t do wonderful creative things from wherever you are, but it sure helps to meet people face to face who have similar passions and tastes, who can give you support and constructive criticism. Just make sure that the people giving you feedback understand your “sound” and your goals. I went a long time getting feedback from the wrong people & heading in a direction that wasn’t fulfilling for me & it took me a while to even realize.
In 2013 I feel i’ve started developing a new sound that feels right to me. I expect 2014 will see this develop much further and I will certainly take you along for the ride in my best attempt to help you discover & develop your sound.
New Website design
If you are here reading this, I am sure you have noticed a visually pleasing upgrade to the website. Your feedback has been wonderful. Thanks to those who dropped me a line to tell me how much they like the new look. It’s been something I wanted to do for a while & finally was about to get it done thanks to some help from people much better at it than me. Members should notice a dramatic difference in the navigation of all of the tools & features. Members can also expect even more tools & tips coming your way.
As always, this year brought about several new discoveries I felt were worth sharing. I experimented with new production approaches, new habits and put new tools to use (See Ableton 9 below). I also share my own struggles in hopes that working these out for myself will also help you & open you further to your creative genius.
Here are some posts from last year that I feel are in the “must read” category if you missed them:
Ableton 9 & Push
We saw the release of Ableton 9 & the Push instrument. Both a huge leap forward. The new features have really opened up more creative possibilities, while also allowing me to speed up my workflow. Perhaps like you, I started getting caught up in the “too much information” trap and caught myself before my productivity suffered.
These posts below cover some of the very cool features that were added:
Here are some other notable Ableton tips to put on your watch list:
Writing a song in 24 hours
This experiment was very cool and I surprised myself with what came of it. I gave myself no more than 24 hours to create a song from start to finish. I did not take into account any legality issues, but I did give myself limits to help keep me focused. In 1 week I had a 4 song ep in a style I had never attempted before. It was very freeing & I found it really inspiring.
Here’s a video walkthrough of 1 of the tracks I made:
The “1 Hour a Day” Club
This, I must say, is the best thing I did all year. Seriously
The simple idea was to create a group of people on Facebook willing to work on music at least 1 hour a day, every day & post a snippet of your daily results. This group is completely open and free to anyone who wants to join and share. Just be prepared to hear from the group if you are slacking. It has been going for about a month now and the results for me personally have been absolutely incredible. Many other’s found the results to be pretty incredible as well. Below explains things a bit more. I’ll be posting another update soon.
I also released a new tool for Ableton called “Stutter Pads” which has had a very positive response. This gives you a great way to chop up and stutter sounds or samples & get some really cool sounds quickly. Here’s a bit about that if you haven’t checked that out:
(To those reading this early January 2014, use the coupon code: stutterme $17 to $9.99)
If I wanted to wrap up this years most important tips in a nutshell, I would say there are certain things that are incredibly important to greater levels of success with your music making.
1. Write music every day. Regardless of results, you win if you just write.
2. Have at least 1 person you trust who will give you honest feedback to your music.
3. Recognize resistance to music making when it comes & know you only have resistance because your brain hasn’t built a habit yet. Build the habit & it’ll feel unnatural to NOT make music.
4. Believe in yourself even if others don’t.
5. Share your creative goals publicly
6. Listen to a lot of music
Happy New Year and may 2014 bring you ever closer to your goals.
Evolution Music Production
Haven’t heard of Evolution Production? Either had I.
But from the last couple weeks of very productive work since starting the 1 Hour a Day Ableton Group I’ve come to make several new discoveries when it comes to music making. These discoveries have increased my music output by probably 1000% with no exaggeration at all.
Evolution Production is a term I coined for a process that has given me some pretty incredible results. Let me explain.
One of the absolute worst things a creative person can face is a blank page, a blank canvas or in our case, a blank computer screen. In fact, I’d go so far as to say we hate it so much that we will unconsciously sabotage ourselves into not finishing our music for fear of facing the mountain all over again.
For computer musicians who are trying to improve their skills, this can be a huge energy suck. You’ve just finished a track that you aren’t overall ecstatic about & here you go building something completely new, that requires a new template of sounds & tools.
Although all experience is good experience, you aren’t practicing 1 skill long enough to get proficient at it. Instead, you convince yourself you are bored, abandon your current skill set and go after that shiny new sound that peaks your interest. That is, if you can find the motivation to even get started.
This is similar to being a science fiction writer & before getting proficient at that skill, writing horror, then a mystery and perhaps a documentary next. Unfortunately, us creatives tend to repeatedly change direction or set a new goal before we ever “nail” the last one.
You know what they say about the jack of all trades. He’s not very good at any of them.
The Evolution approach
Everybody knows practice makes perfect. What they don’t tell you (although it should be obvious to most of us), is that you have to practice the same actions repeatedly until it becomes 2nd nature. As you do this, you make little tweaks that, over time, dramatically improve your results.
Here’s a tool that not only will greatly increase your creative output, but you will also notice you are continuously getting better and fine tuning your skills into creative crack.
1. The first step, and this is an important one, is to choose your direction for the long term. You are going to stick with it until you excel at it, so don’t pick something that is just going to be a passing interest for you, really think about how you want to define yourself as an artist for the next year.
2. If you have any unfinished ideas that are in this direction, it’ll be easier for you to get started, because you won’t be starting with a blank slate. If you don’t have something to get you started, collect some songs that have the vibe you are looking for, or better yet, a DJ mix since it’ll be more cohesive of a sound. work on building a template with drum sounds, bass & signature sounds that will get you started. I know this is the hard part, but you’ll really only have to do it once.
Having your sounds at the ready is extremely important if you want to have a solid workflow. You don’t want to mess around searching for sounds when you are trying to make music. It’s ok if the sounds aren’t perfect. Just make sure they are inspiring enough to get you moving.
3. Start building a groove that fits your style, get enough going on that your song sounds legit for at least 32 bars. Dial in your sounds with EQ, compression & effects that give you what you are looking for.
4. Before going into full arrangement mode save your tune. Then highlight a 4-8 bar section, mute anything that is key specific (so you don’t have key clashing) & write a new bassline, or if you prefer, a new melody (or both) using the sounds you have already just created. Save it as another tune. Now you know you won’t have a blank slate when starting the next song after your current one is finished.
5. Now when you start dialing in your new song, you will likely tweak or improve your current sounds & make small improvements to your template & change how the beats play or even the tempo. Once you get the next groove dialed in for 32 bars, repeat step 4. This way, as your are getting better at dialing in the sounds you want and improving your skill set, you’ve always got your next tune ready to go.
I’ve found myself having loads of basslines in my head recently or having a sample or 2 that I want to put to use, so instead of building up from scratch, I piggyback on my previous work, to get the idea out quickly. Sometimes during on song session I’ll have 3 new ideas that spark from it. It only takes me 15 minutes or so to get the new idea out and saved so I can continue finishing my current song.
It’s been a couple weeks now & I’ve finished the better part of 5 tracks & have 3 more grooves ready when I am done with those. This is highly motivating and also is huge in helping you develop your own sound.
Another reason this works so well is because most of your best ideas are sparked when you are already creating. It’s like the gods of creativity smile upon you when instead of waiting for inspiration, you just get your ass to work.
When you try it for yourself, you’ll realize that each song will take on it’s own life & end up sounding quite a bit different from the last. Also your template will go through so many evolutions, you you will end up with many different starting points to choose from. As long as you are continuing to listen to music & let new sounds inspire you, there is really no limit to how long you can carry on this process and how much better you will get at producing in a short amount of time.
Feel free to follow myself & several other producers taking on my 1 Hour a Day Ableton Group challenge. It’s a free group and you are welcome to join in the conversation, or take on the challenge yourself.
Happy Music Making,