Ableton Live Video Tutorial Roundup! Production and Performance Tutorials w/ Matt Cellitti, Raz Mesinai, Adriano Clemente, Thavius Beck +

In this Ableton Live video roundup, we’ve compiled some of our best tutorials and Ableton Push performance videos from our talented instructors including Matt Cellitti, Dan Freeman, Raz Mesinai, Thavius Beck, Evan Sutton, Adam Partridge, Adriano Clemente, and Michael Hatsis.

Ableton Live 9 Tutorial: Audio to MIDI w/ Matt Cellitti

Of all the improvements in Ableton Live 9, the thing that excites me the most are the new audio-to-MIDI conversion tools. In this tutorial, I will take a simple guitar riff and turn it into an aggressive industrial-style synth bass by converting the riff to MIDI and using the notes to trigger Native Instruments’ Massive synthesizer.

My main instrument is the guitar, not the keyboard. I write differently when playing guitar and I come up with melodies that would never have occurred to me if I was sitting down at a keyboard controller. With these new functions in Ableton, I can now start a new track on my guitar, record my playing into Live through my audio interface, and convert my riffs into MIDI files. Then I can take my guitar melodies in new creative directions by assigning the MIDI data to control different synthesizers and samplers. Another great benefit here is that I do not have to purchase additional any gear to convert my guitar output to MIDI, everything I need is built into Live 9.

So go pick up a REAL instrument and have fun turning it into something synthetic! – Matt Cellitti

Ableton Live 9 Tutorial: How to Create 808 Style Kick Drums w/ Raz Mesinai

A common mistake I’ve seen when creating an 808 style kick drum is the immediate attraction towards the envelope for the amplitude of the oscillator and the transpose knob. A real kick drum, i.e. an acoustic one, is a round membrane, it remains round, so the envelope of the amplitude should remain full (sustain up), however a drum head is tuned with a drum key, which makes the sound either sharper or heavier by making it tighter or looser. The drum key is what the pitch envelope in Operator suggests, and by creating a sharp dip in pitch, you get a heavier kick sound. The amplification of the oscillator is where the sound comes from, so we want that round and untouched. – Raz Mesinai

Ableton Push + Live 9 Improvisation w/ Adriano Clemente (CapcOm)

In this video, I’ve made an effort to concentrate on the major features and options that users have to perform with in Ableton Push. I want to clarify that I don’t necessarily define Push as a performance controller, nor do I use it Live as a only component of my rig, it’s more a studio buddy which helps me to transport the experience of making music into a more engaging dimension and let me escape the classic keyboard-mouse setting.

That being said if you are a musician who likes to improvise, Push is one the most powerful performance tools. It offers many amazing tools, all together, and right out of the box! In the video, I start by playing a music loop as a core around which I then build and tailor a series of sequences using several techniques: step sequencing, real-time recording, loop resizing, and repeat-rolling (on the hi-hats). I then use my “AC” follow-action technique that allows me to re-trigger sections of loops in a really fast, dynamic and controlled way.

Thanks to the new Live 9 capabilities, I can record automation on the fly directly playing in the Session View, and I use this technique to create my build ups and rhythmic effects. There are also some sliced to MIDI Drum Racks which contain vocal samples. – Adriano Clemente

Ableton Live 9 Tutorial: Session View Automation + Drum Arpeggiator w/ Thavius Beck

Ableton Live 9 has a lot of new features to help improve your workflow and streamline the process of getting creative ideas out of your head and into the software. One of the new features I have found most useful is the ability to record automation directly into clips in the Session View.

In this video I use this new feature to record myself changing the quantization of my drums in real time using the Arpeggiator. This video is actually two little tutorials in one, because the idea of using the Arpeggiator to change drum quantization is something that may be new to a few of you. This particular technique can be used in Live 8 as well, so if haven’t upgraded yet you can still implement the idea of using the Arpeggiator in the way you’ll see demonstrated.

In this video I show how to slice drums to MIDI, create a one-bar drum beat, make it four bars by using the Duplicate Loop button (new in Live 9), add the Arpeggiator, change the sync rate on the arpeggiator to change the quantization of the drums, and then record myself doing this in real time directly in the clip with Session View automation (also new in Live 9). Ready for some new knowledge? Good…let’s get started. – Thavius Beck

Ableton Live 9 Tutorial: Using The New Glue Compressor w/ Evan Sutton

One of the exciting new effects in Ableton Live 9 is the Glue Compressor, which can help “glue” your mix together and create a more uniform sound. This new device was created in partnership with analog software modeling experts Cytomic, who have created an effect that aims to re-create the behavior and sound of an SSL bus compressor, which Evan explains “has been known to glue mixes together.” This compressor differs from the regular Ableton compressor in that it’s intended to be pushed a bit harder and used on multiple tracks at once, adding some punch without losing the sound’s character. In this video Sutton demonstrates how this new effect sounds on different sorts of audio tracks in Ableton Live to give you a sense of what this new compressor can do. – Evan Sutton

Ableton Push Tutorial: Live Production Techniques Part 1 w/ Dan Freeman

I come from the world of live instruments and my background is actually as a jazz bass player where I learned to have an idea of what the song would be, but create something unique and new with every performance. When I got Ableton Push earlier in the year, I decided to challenge myself to see if it could do ‘live production’. By this I mean – starting with no prerecorded loops or audio.

It definitely took a lot of practice, and it feels like a really intense version of DJing. When it works it’s fantastic, but if you fail, it’s pretty evident. In learning to do this live production set, I learned a couple of techniques on the Ableton Push which that I will discuss in the next video. These will help you get some basic idea of ways in which you can use Push for production and or performance. – Dan Freeman

Ableton Push Tutorial: Live Production Techniques Part 2 w/ Dan Freeman

The purpose of Push (recently released alongside Ableton Live 9) is to take digital production back to the physical realm, so producers can spend more time with their hands on an instrument instead of a keyboard and mouse. When I got Push, I thought it might be the right instrument for something I’ve wanted to do for a while–live production. Live production means starting out with no prerecorded tracks and creating a tune so quickly that it sounds like a performance.

In the Ableton Live set that I use for live production, all I have are some Drum Racks full of samples, and some synth pads and leads that I built with Ableton’s instruments. In addition to Push, I’m also using a Korg nanoKONTROL 2, which controls a set of DJ effects in my Master track. (These are effects that, as a Level 6 Dubspot instructor, I have my students build.) I also have some headphones which play a click track–this is handy for moments in the set where the music drops out and I have to play something in time. The only track that’s prepared in advance is a sidechain kick. The sidechain kick can’t be heard–it’s used to make the music “pump” in time. (This is covered more extensively in our six-level Ableton course here in New York and online.)

There are two ways to program drums using Push: press Record and play the drums in real time using the pads, or use the step sequencer. For live production, I favor the step sequencer method. Once the beat is programmed, it’s easy to create variations. The Double button will make the drum pattern twice as long. Once the pattern is doubled, the Loop Length buttons allow me to move the loop brace, and modify one or more bars of the beat. Once some variations are created, I can use the Loop Length buttons to jump between them. – Dan Freeman

Ableton Live 9 Tutorial: How to Build an Instrument Rack for Drum Programming Pt 1

A Live Instrument Rack is a powerful tool for creating custom devices such as big synths, pads, leads, and drum kits. The first part of this tutorial demonstrates how to create a complex Instrument Rack that will allow you to make sounds found in trap music like varied hi-hat patterns, rolling tuned snares and big sub kick sounds. Even if you’re not into trap, this tutorial is a helpful introduction to building complex drum kits using instrument racks. - Adam Partridge

Ableton Live 9 Tutorial: Warping Pt 2 – Tracks That Don’t Start w/ Drums

Dubspot instructor and Ableton Certified Trainer Michael Hatsis a.k.a. !banginclude finally returns with a follow up to his previous tutorial video explaining some essential warping tips and techniques in Ableton Live 9. In part one, Hatsis used a standard house track with a 4/4 drum pattern to explain how to set Live’s Warp preferences and determine track tempos. Here in part two, he delves further into more creative tips for warping.

Ableton Live Tutorial: Soundboy Death Ray w/ Raz Mesinai Part 1 – Drum Rack!

In the three-part Soundboy Death Ray video tutorial, composer, sound designer, and educator Raz Mesinai explores unorthodox production and performance techniques using Ableton Live. In the first part, Raz shows you how to design a versatile drum rack using Ableton Operator. Check out the second installment here and stay tune for part three!

Ableton Live Producer Certificate Program

The flagship of our music training, with every Ableton Live course offered at the school. After completing this program, you will leave with a portfolio of original tracks, a remix entered in an active contest, a scored commercial to widen your scope, and the Dubspot Producer’s Certificate in Ableton Live.

What’s Included:

  • Ableton Live Level 1: Beats, Sketches, and Ideas
  • Ableton Live Level 2: Analyze, Deconstruct, Recompose, and Assemble
  • Ableton Live Level 3: Synthesis and Original Sound Creation
  • Ableton Live Level 4: Advanced Sound Creation
  • Ableton Live Level 5: Advanced Effect Processing
  • Ableton Live Level 6: Going Global with your Music

This program is about learning Ableton Live by going through the entire process of being an artist, by developing your own sound through a series of sketches and experimentation. You will also learn the ins and outs of this powerful software through a series of exercises designed to help you master the steps involved in producing your own music. After a level of getting familiar with the tools that Ableton has to offer, you will then develop your sonic ideas into full-length tracks. You will be exposed to a variety of approaches to arrangement and composition, storytelling techniques, ways of creating tension and drama in your music. At the end of the day, it is the sum total of your choices as an artist that define your sound, and levels 2 – 6 will give you the experience of actually completing tracks to add to your portfolio.

Start dates and information about payment plans can be found here.