Video: Using Ableton Live with Your Band

Ableton Live is an immensely popular tool for synth players and DJs for obvious reasons. But if you're a member of a full band that plays more traditional instruments – like guitar, bass, keys and drums – you might find yourself wondering how Ableton Live can, if at all, be useful to you.

In the short video above, we had a couple of members of the Reverb staff demonstrate how to manipulate some of Ableton Live's most useful features for full-band play.

Set the Tempo

Setting the tempo for your song is one of the easiest ways to guarantee a clean performance. It not only keeps the drummer from speeding up or slowing down, but ensures that the rest of the band is staying accurate, too. Usually, if you set a tempo on your computer and fall off of it, the rest of your track will be essentially ruined. Ableton Live works differently – instead of dictating your tempo for you, Ableton follows the tempo of your song by listening to a steady hit through a microphone. That hit can be a tap on your hi-hat, the kick on a bass drum, or even a verbal "boom, boom, boom" spoken into your mic. This keeps your track dynamic and exactly where it needs to be speed-wise. Bottom line: Max for Live devices in Ableton make setting a click from audio input a snap.

Start Your Backing Track Loop

Backing tracks can be immensely useful for recording, jamming, or playing live in a full-band setting. Having a backing track you can flip on allows every player in your band to be substantially more dynamic with their playing without losing the foundation of what the core of your tune is supposed to sound like. The advanced sequencing abilities of Live's Session View allow you to perform backing tracks dynamically, ensuring an expressive and flexible performance.

Build Your Bass Tone...

As one half of the rhythm section, your bassist's tone is immensely important. Often – and as seen in this video – the bassline can be a driving force throughout your track that sets the groove for your entire song. Ableton Live allows you to build out and modify a tone stack for any instrument with a variety of effects and macro controls that can be perfectly recalled again and again.

...With Realtime Expression Control

Not all of your tone modification is at the mercy of your mouse. You can use a variety of inputs, such as an expression control pedal, to modify your sound as you're playing and adjust the parameters in Ableton Live in realtime.

Hundreds of Instruments at Your Fingertips

Ableton Live transplants the tones of hundreds of instruments and their variations directly into your band's lap. If one of your song's require a robotic, synthesized-sounding electric keyboard, you can achieve that on the same MIDI controller that can produce the sounds of a grand piano. All it takes are a few adjustments to an Instrument Rack or device. In fact, you're able to dedicate each of your MIDI channels to its own instrument, making switching between them as easy as clicking a button.

Ableton Software and Hardware Shop Now
comments powered by Disqus

Reverb Gives

Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music.

Carbon-Offset Shipping

Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments.

iOS app store button
Android play store button