Ableton Live Tutorial: Selway’s Techno Fundamentals Pt 4 – Create Rolling Basslines w/ Operator

In the latest installment of Techno Fundamentals, electronic music producer and Dubspot instructor John Selway teaches you how to make rolling, syncopated bass patterns using Ableton Live‘s Operator in a fast, fun, and intuitive way. For more tips on making techno, check out Selway’s previous techno tutorial, One Note To Rule Them All.

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In this video tutorial, we are going to make a rolling, syncopated bass patterns for techno in a fun, fast, semi-random, and spontaneous way. We will deliberately ignore traditional theory in a creative way for useful and fun results; being spontaneous to get started or get unstuck by creating order out of chaos.

1. Set up a very simple bass sound in Operator. Use a single sine wave. Adjust envelope, saturation, EQ, compressor, etc.

2. Play and record about a minute of semi-random notes to MIDI clip, played around bass note range. Literally move your fingers on the keys in a sloppy, fast, non-rhythmic, nearly thoughtless manner. Move up and down occasionally so there is some contrast between notes.

3. Edit MIDI notes – duplicate clip, quantize one clip to 16th notes, and leave the other as recorded. For both clips, turn loop on, set to 1/2 bar duration at first. Play clip with kick/beat and move loop through, adjust start point, and listen for different groove variations that work with the beat. Duplicate and move on, find more. Edit/move notes to change and improve as necessary. Listen with Operator set to monophonic or polyphonic. Try with glide on. Use MIDI note length effect to change durations or vary the feel. Transpose some notes high to create semi-melodic patterns. Maybe do small tweak to Operator sound to suite groove… whatever fits in a couple of minutes. – John Selway


John Selway is a DJ, producer, and music educator based in New York City. He’s released acclaimed and successful singles and remixes, both on his own and as a collaborator in with various artists including his frequent partner-in-crime Christian Smith. Most recently, two of Selway’s tracks were included in the OFF Sonar Compilation. More info at selwaymusic.net.


For further exploration of Ableton Live, check out Dubspot’s six-level Music Production w/ Ableton Live Program:

Dubspot is proud to present a new and improved Ableton Live program updated for Live 9, covering all of its latest features in a six-level, 48-class course on electronic music production.

Introducing Our New Ableton Live Program w/ Live 9

Music technology moves pretty fast, and here at Dubspot we’re committed to bringing you the best possible electronic music education and incorporating the latest cutting-edge technologies. As part of this commitment, it is with great pleasure that we are now announcing our all-new Ableton Live program at Dubspot, completely updated for Live 9! Read more about the new Live 9 curriculum here.

From the studio to the stage, learn to use Ableton Live to create, record, produce, and perform your music. Learn about linear and improvisational styles of producing electronic music as we help you master the software’s innovative interface.

After completing this program, you will leave with four completed tracks (an EP), 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: Shake Hands with Live
    • Ableton Live Level 2: Completing Your First Track
    • Ableton Live Level 3: Production Essentials
    • Ableton Live Level 4: Sound Design & Instrumentation
    • Ableton Live Level 5: Advanced Composition & Production
    • Ableton Live Level 6: Taking Your EP Global

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

Or if you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.

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  • Ableton Live Tutorial: Selway's Techno Fundamentals Pt 4 - Create Rolling Basslines w/ Operator - How To DJ Music
  • 8/6/2013

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