How to Write a song in Ableton Live
(Master Template): Part 1 – Drums
I plan to walk you through my whole songwriting process using the Ableton Master Template & internal effects exclusively. For those who aren’t familiar yet with my Master Template, it’s a massive tool I made that give you all the tools you need to make tunes quickly & easily. I’m skipping a lot of the Ableton Template details, but I think the video will give you an idea. After you’ve completed the video, there will be a link at the bottom of the page to the next video in the series.
Now understand that this isn’t necessarily a walkthrough of the Ableton Master Template as I only planning on using what I need to make a tune, instead of trying to fit every tool into this video. I have a series of videos if you want a detailed walkthrough of the template.
I’ll try to keep my progress as consistent as possible so this series is easy to follow. At the moment, I have NO idea what will come of this experiment, but that’s how a lot of songs start anyway. You just gotta trust the the inspiration will show up when you need it.
In the video below I share the following:
The Starter Template from the Master Template kit
The starter template is something I created to make it easy to build your own template to serve your individual needs. This also makes it easier for slower computers to use the template effectively without your cpu going crazy.
The Kick maker Rack
The Kick Rack was made for easily getting a nice kick going without any trouble. You have 8 macros to tweak the Kick to get a wide range of kick sounds on the fly. I usually use this as 1 Kick layer & then use a sample on top.
The Electronic & acoustic Drum Rack instrument from the Master Template
I created this because I liked many of the kits that come with Ableton’s Impulse, but it was a pain dragging it one kit preset at a time. Since an Impulse instrument is made up of 8 samples, the Drum Rack instrument I made allows for 2 kits (16 samples) 1 Acoustic chain & 1 electronic chain. What I mean by chains is that the electronic kick, for example, allows you to scroll through every kick from every electronic impulse preset. It’s the same with every one of the 16 sample cells. It works a lot like Native Instruments Maschine. Once you’ve worked with Chained Drum Racks, you’ll never want to go back.
Creating the basic Drum pattern
I want you through the process of creating a 4 bar loop first & then dialing in the sounds I want to use. From there I use the Macros I built in the instruments to fine tune the overall sound.
Adding Drum Loops
The Master Template comes with many loops of percussion, hi hats, cowbell, shakers & more. I show how I quickly find loops to enhance the drum loop. I even use an interesting sidechain effect to get a couple loops working together nicely.
To create a more human feel I creating a groove template in Ableton’s groove pool to add a bit of randomness to the groove. It gives it a much better vibe & it’s simple trick I think you’ll get a lot out of.
New York Compression (also known as Parallel Compression)
By adding a compressor to a return track, I go through how to beef up the drums without losing the transients (transients represent the “bite” or click in the sound)
I wanted to put one of the loops in a more stereo field & I show how to get results using the utility effect & the simple delay effect. Very useful.
Since some of the instrument in the Master Template can be tough on your computer’s resources, I will be freezing tracks as I go from instrument to instrument. Freezing still allows for volume edits as well as cut, copy & paste. You can also always undo it if you need to.
Enjoy the video below:
Next check out How to Write a Song in Ableton Live part