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Ableton Push Fast Start

Lesson 3 of 17

Sequencing Drums

Josh Spoon

Ableton Push Fast Start

Josh Spoon

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Lesson Info

3. Sequencing Drums

Lesson Info

Sequencing Drums

Let's talk a little bit about sequencing drums so alive gives you the ability of sequenced drums right here on the push this was one of the things that I really really enjoyed when I saw the demo um I have didn't really play um I guess synthetic drums I've been a drummer for years but I grew up listening a lot of hip hop and I knew about mp sees and I knew about that style and esso when I first started using live I I was using a keyboard and then I had a keyboard with the little pads and then I bought a actually a friend of mine gave me a trigger finger and I really enjoyed that but the weird thing was about it was to use to do what I wanted to do in my productions I needed not only for the drones I needed the trigger finger for the drums because that's what I really really enjoyed and then I need a keyboard toe like play keys and notes that I wanted to play and then I need to something the launch it so then I also had an a p c forty so um once I got the push for everything to be like ...

you like those commercials like we packed all of this into here uh it just put everything in there nice and easy for me so I was able to consolidate all that into one thing and have still the beauty of what I liked which was pads and what I'm used to his pads and use that for drumming and then for other things so the drum the drum sequence er and here is really really nice because you have ability to, uh, step sequence or play live and before I only had the ability to pretty much play live eso it gives you a nice interface and we'll load up some drums right here let's go with eight oh wait here so I just hit browse to get teo the instruments and I'm on a mid each track and I just hit browse and then I can go and select a kit so I'll start here on the left so you could see I can hit up and down on these state in select buttons and as you see if you it's pretty intuitive if you're trying to press up and then you see this light kind of orange you know that you can't go up anymore and that gives you orange out here you know you can go down, I can go up and down and you can get to pretty much anything in here see, I even have places my user library current projects I'm have a thing called extra packs in here and get to each individual instrument so I go back up to drum racks so the, uh screen kind of divides up into sections and so I have the ability to get to the drum rack them from the drum rack. I could say what pack I want to get into but I'm going to go right here to drum machine so it kind of shortened it for me because there's only so many characters then in this section I have the different kits that are in drum machines so I could go through and look through the kids. You can also use the encoder which I don't use much. I like to use this just go one to one so let's see? Classic eight oh eight, right? And then green is to load so it says loading usually gives you information on this third line right here. So I have it loaded and I'll press browse again to get back to my normal views here. And if you look I now have sixteen pads lit up. Then I have a section here and here that are, um that are kind of great out right now. So we have these three sections and this one up here is the sequencing right here. So we have these, um thirty two pads here and then we have these sixteen as the actual pads that weaken input notes into and then we have looped control right here, so this allows me the loop control allows me to uh played different bars so I have up to sixteen bars that aiken input notes into and then sequence that will and I'll show you that in a second, eh? So here's the drums it defaults to see one that usually live default to so you have the different no it's all in here and as you could see as I'm hitting one it's going from yellow to blue so this lets you know which one I have selected and remember I told you there's a select button, so if I hit select and then select one of these pads, it will actually select it and do it silently, which comes in handy when you're actually sequencing because if you try to hit another kick drum um while ones already playing it's kind of confusing and you're like, what was that sound she could hit select just selected and as I'm selecting one, you'll see that, uh everything changes up here on the lcd screen so like I have low cut and it's also telling me what pat I'm selecting kongolo eight await kick it away all of that I make sure I stay up with my slides here see other velocity sensitive I can get pretty low numbers and come up very responsive does not lag there's not it's, not missing anything like that um so let's sequence a beat here and the easiest way to secret to beat with push is just to select the first instrument you want to use usually the kick and we can just start in putting notes right here in the sequencer live defaults to if you look over here this the grid it defaults tio sixteenth no resolution. So with that with this grid, it means that each one of these pads is a sixteen so we have won e and to eat and three so if you want to do a kick drum on just, uh, down beats, you can just put in the notes and so I can press all these at once if I want to. So I have a kick drum running right now and if I want tio let's say, uh, put in the snare now, I can just easily just put them in here if I want to add a high hat e could do that, but what I'm going to show you is, um, I can hit repeat, we talked about repeat, I'll stop in first I don't want to talk and this will automatically repeat for me and once again the grid. We'll change how much it repeat, so if you want to get I'm really funky with it or if you're a trap god, um this is the button for you right here so he has hit it is and you can see it's repeating it is repeated hits blinking the repeat to let you know that it's on ah one thing I'll say is always if something sounds weird like he tried to hit a pad and it's not sounding check your repeat because usually that's the issue because it's trying to repeat while you just hold it down and if you're trying to drum over it it'll like skip some notes on the actually so as you see it's like not registering like man what's up with my push you have the repeat on that's usually I do it too, so eso aiken start up the beat and then turn the repeat on you can't change it I got san so if I want to actually record something live I could press the record button and then with the repeat I could just hold this down and I just let go at the end of the loop and it's that simple a cz you may have noticed we have these two uh white pads that showed up this is representing each bar like I was saying so this bar right here on this by right here so one into now the thing you may notice the paths they're different colors on these high hats right here he's a kind of light these are more blue if I actually put in another note ah, well, it wasn't that bright, so if I do accent you see that one's really bright this also gives you feedback of your velocity so you'll know exactly how hard you hit something or how soft you had something as well as the repeat inputs velocity as well. So you khun have a repeated note that may not have much flavor in it, but if you just press up and down with your finger, you'll be able to get that philosophy and sell used the undo that we talked about and undo these hats so I just preston do until they went away and then I went too far on dh lost my kicked around so hits select hit the cake drove it sounds weird uh I'm going a little bit ahead, but uh, the accents on okay, so we'll go back to the hats and I'll show you again if I can't repeat oppress light so all that gets recorded in there that's what's the snare way saul press record again, you see adds a little bit more feel even though it's right on the grid and anybody have any questions about ok go so how do you use triplet on no repeat okay, so triplets undue again so have the note repeat on and you just go to any of the ones that have a t on them so sixteen thirteen three second t eighty uh forty so I could do music eighty that's too slowly for oh I think I was about the sale lyric from a line I don't know if that's copy written stuff you know the guy with the jerry curl had started like this and he was doing something on the street with the type of car all right so that's a no tripolis sixteenth and so yeah that's how you do the triple it's on there you can also do it with swing which we'll talk about two of the easiest ways just to use the triplets we have another question we're good so that's a good question all right thanks still chime in anytime have drew you know drool pitch it over to me and I'll answer your question okay so we were talking about yeah the velocity so I'll put these hats back in let's do triplets so I just had the triplets going did velocity let off on some of the notes and so you see that like I just kind of felt that and I did it but you could possibly have done that by mistake and been like all that's really cool but that's the nice thing about pushes you have um you can have happy accidents and push kind of helps you along the way supposed to if you're getting started using live or getting started making music this is a great uh device toe have to be able to help you with that um I'll tell you store my my wife and a friend were right after I got pushed they were looking at the push and asking me about it and I was telling them and I went downstairs to add toe let a friend in and they came back up and they had, like made a beat and they don't make beats or anything like that but this system of the grid and the sequence there allow you to be able to, um make music and make it in time and really get the hard things out of the way sometimes of like, wait, how do I get the kick drum toe land right on the one and patio I drum you know howto my finger drum if that's not necessarily your thing, you could easily sequence on here and you still have for your advanced people the ability to put your notes in yourself ad swing and things like that so it's really nice for all sorts of people whether you're beginning or you're really advanced. S oh yeah that's a little bit of the repeat uh let's see some other instruments in here so we can manually play in certain things so let's play the beat here let's actually do something let's add some more to this so we're not gonna have this tom hit happening over the beat that we've been hearing uh I could use the double here two double these two uh bars right here to make four bars so I did do just hit double now I have four bars it took those four bars and just copy them over and if I want to select all four bars and just what's happening here cool, so select all four bars it's far too far three bar for so I want to just work on bar three and four right now because I want to add something new to it. I just select what I want just like in live ah, when you have the loop length and you just move the little blinks to where you want it to be and then you can have that part loop is the same thing you're just using your fingers so let's add that tom part here and I'll do it manually so you couldn't hear that this last hit right here is a little bit off s o you may say, all right, well, I'm going to fix that. I'm gonna go over to my laptop and move it over well, you could do that, but on push you could easily nudge and move notes around so you just select the note or notes you want says select that note, hold it down and I think it was too early so I can nudge this we have a couple options here nudge I can make the note longer um I can't make the note longer by a finer amount and I can also set the velocity so I'm going to go and nudge this over a little bit so that one actually was really off so I'm just I can move it over just get rid of it and move it over that one back it's a goes between one hundred percent of the space to the next note is right personas well, it goes seventy five to seventy five and then twenty five back from where you are currently got you so it's really nice because you can put things in steps sequence wise and then just kind of nudge it over uh and make it a little bit more live and feeling like that says hold us down magic back measure ford I was doing an example not get thrown away move it back to where it wass all right let's have the ability to do that. I could also let's say select all these and then turned the group velocity down. So to me it sounds like tom may not actually be taken the velocity so if we look up here at the screen and the state and select I can actually choose what I want to see in this view so we have the kick drum are we have the kit right here and I could go into my selected instrument so I can hit tom and I have very similar macro owes in there but if I hit the end button I can go into that tom and then go in deeper and see where possibly the velocity is located you're looking for that there's a question that came from online josh do you make your own custom drum racks and if so to make multiple racks for different genres or just a rack of your favorite sounds uh I make my own rex and I actually I play around with different genres I don't I just I usually make iraq for a song and then if they end up working to other songs that I use them for other songs uh but usually I just make my own racks other drums that I find either online or I synthesize my own drums and then use those uh to make different sounds and stuff like that okay, you're not able to get to that and this one um some of these ones that come from live er a little bit different let's see velocity yes so it is doing the velocity it's just not much thirty five percent so let's actually turn that up to one hundred so you'd see that but that's how it would work uh actually with that let's do something that's very important which is any time you started track put a limiter on it because as you could see that just kind of like blew through size clicked on master to the master track and I gotta brows go down to limiter and then just add that so you see it's really easy to add different things and we'll talk about adding effects uh later but I just needed to add that so I don't blow through anything here so I just went back to track selected the drum kit the have here and so I'm able to nudge and I'm able to get the velocity and everything there also I was saying I can change the length so actually scroll so you could see on the computer here see all the notes if I hold this down and then do length you'll see the note changing on then when I nudge you see the note moving that's what's physically happening uh on your computer as you go through let's see here ah the touch strip allows you to navigate up and down your drum rack so if you have multiple banks of sixteen you just drag it up and move it. This one just has sixteen so there's nothing there also active up and active down we'll navigate through your drum rack as well so you have that guy there let's see way have a question from josh how do you physically locate your push device so you can get ergonomically play for long durations? So in the studio here we actually raised the desk up because josh was pretty tall so that he wasn't having to reach down that's one thing we did hear but what do you do in your studio environment or when you're playing live at home yeah, I'm usually sitting though I'd love to stand but when I when I get into it I do stand up and I just kind of lean over um but when live I uh if I remember I have a milk crate and I bring um and I use that and so that elevates it up a little bit and then ah lot of times I do forget so you there end up punched or I have a friend who has like one of those crane stands or whatever that I usually perform with and I just can I borrow your grace ten I use that but is he uh I guess I can I ask him a question but yeah are you are you told I guess is the question as well? Um it's kind of the it's kind of the that's that's kind of what we have to go through is tell people I think if you are tall, I've always trying to remember like, oh, I got to make sure that I don't look crazy one time I had the kneel at a performance because the table was so low so I look like a child playing but you know, it happens when you're tall so any other questions I think we're good. Okay, cool. Uh let's see? So we did double um we talked about the note repeat and nudging, so I have this, uh, beat and if we remember, we actually just selected bars three and four, so if I start this back up, I can grab everything you see it's playing through the bars, and then the part that I added gets tacked on at the end because that's where I put it and it allows you to be able to, you know, just grow the process of building drums and you can focus on whatever you want to focus on and leave out what you want to leave out so you don't have to go over the computer. Tio mess with that. You could just say I want to focus on bar one, so I'm just gonna go straight to bar one and play that one I can also select just by tapping which bars I want to look at. So if I I just selected one and two and as you can see one into or kind of a light yellow and then three or four our white so this is just showing you uh these two bars in this view because of the resolution I'm on er and then if I click over here it shows me these two bars so it's very very handy very nice you know if I wanted to also I could just play these two bars I could play you know I played these two had more I could play you know sections of two or one and it all stays in time if you know this I'm not pressing it and then it's like kind of fallen out that's all nice and in time cool also what's really nice is you can not only load a drum kit but you can load instruments inside of a drum kit so if I hit select we'll see with this actually like that one would believe that not a fan of synthesize symbols so select I'll select that one and if you see I selected it it says pad selection symbol a late and I congar oh and hit brows and it will take me straight to my drum hits in the browser so I can change this to let's look at a shaker short capasa right too short so just navigated to shake her navigated down in this list and I'm gonna load with the green button never mind may have another eighties were absolutely slick rick uh hey prize the brows again to have that go back to the device view essentially right here so everything which I should midget says device gives you what you're seeing on the device for you so there's a shaker let's use the repeat here let's throw in some swing so I have this repeat happening in the eighth and I could change the throwing him out so it goes pretty far in the swing that you can go pretty deep with it and make really off kilter stuff so don't think like oh it's a grid and so it's going to be really rigid and boring it's like no you can do a lot of expressive things with this so what is it? My swing let's I like that it's pretty funky record you notice also whenever I hit record way have a red play head when records off we have a green play head also the pads are red so showing me where I'm recording and it's also showing me what pads I have been recorded we have another question from online you just use the cursor to scroll through the grid to change your bars on the grid if you've run out of pads so if you have more how do you handle that? It's a good question I haven't really used over sixteen I just kind of like five sixteen six I'll go with sixteen I also usually I use a lot of clips as well, so what's cool is you have you have essentially with push, you have sixteen clips in one clip, and then you have, like, another clip. So if you have two clips you have, if you fill in both with sixteen bars, we have thirty two bars to mess with easily on the push. Eso that's something you have to look and see. Um, but yeah, I don't know that for sure, but yeah, and good. Yeah, and the others cool. All right, so I put this ah shaker in and we put some swing on it let's see, let's try to add one more instrument and talk about some, uh, colonization here saw I'm able to shape all these sounds if I want to. I usually think wood blocks are kind of intense, so I can get to my mac rose here. This one was made by able to in this eight o eight kit, so it has a macro for each individual. Drumm er, make sure when you're trying to get to certain macron's that you have the right things selected, so make sure like I'm trying to get this club right here. So make sure you're not unlike the kit because you'll start tuning stuff on the whole kit and you'll wonder, why is this not changing anything makes you slicked club eight await and lok I like I was like the meat like really loud tones they always kind of hurt my ear so it also has a glue compressor already not to it so if you really want to get that glue and there I was messed with the attack and decay so now it's a little bit more muted a little bit softer than me got the pitch right here record that and let's say, um I don't like exactly the way I manually played that I want to fix it we have the quanta eyes as well right here and I can kwan ties the whole kit oregon kwan ties an individual instrument inside of the drum racks so if I hold down kwan ties just like a few kwan ties in live doing a right click you can get the settings menu so when I hold this down I get my screen changes I get my swing it tells me what I'm gonna kwan ties to the amount so how much I'm going to quantify so right now it's one hundred percent so it's going to put it right on the sixteenth and then if I back off of it it will do a percentage of that keeping a little bit of how I performed it ah, a lot of people ask me about this um so here's record kwan ties just like in live so this will quanta eyes as you play into your clip uh some people like this I don't like it because there is no option for you to be able to hear what you actually play on ly on lee when you're hearing it you'll hear like what you played he might go oh that was actually pretty cool I did a good job but it's going to kwan ties it and it's destroyed what you actually played so always leave this off and then quantifies later so I'll hold down kwan ties you know but the swing to zero and I'll leave it on sixteenth notes and then I'll leave it on one hundred percent so we can just hear how it goes there if I want to kwan ties an individual instrument hold down kwan ties and then hit that pad so let me go and show you on the screen here so hold down kwan ties hit the pad and you see that they snapped right in so you see it now it's like super rigid I was playing a triple it's so undue let's see let's duke wan ties you have many different options for the kwan ization you have from thirty second notes to sixteenth and triplets sixteenth uh triplets sixteenth and then down the line so it'll find out like if he did triplets and eighth notes uh you khun kwan ties it that way so has a good amount of settings also just like anything else on here you can kind of like trickett do weird stuff so you can play something weird and then try to kwan ties it and see what happens with that funkiness or you can also add swing so its sale at thirty two percent swing and then I'll do eighth triplets actually I just quantities of the whole thing because I didn't hold it down and hit a pad so let's just see what this sounds like actually sounds cool on so you can go in here and then quantifies it again and do all sorts of funky things so qantas is really nice asses well to be able to get more expressive on your drones, any other questions it's going get? I'd love to see you go through it like your workflow like I'm curious how how often you end up accidentally making something awesome versus like you going in with your experience now and saying like this is exactly what I want to dio I already have it in my head and I'm just going building on this versus just beat the creative process happening yeah the I don't know if I could make anything cool accidentally usually a water keeps that me and my nose uh usually I start out with an idea I tried at least lay down the first kicked your own so that's at least on beat and then I'd start manually inputting notes and I'll say most of time I use nudge so I try to just put him in manually and then nudge them into the position that I want them to and then after that I might use kwan ties if I just was like man I'm really messed up and let me just have a computer fix it but specifically let's see um suzanne like me just go through like just making just working on the drums and like how I just your process yeah from nothingto having a beat again eso let's sail still eat this clips I just hit delete it starts everything fresh over again ah so listen I'm gonna change the tempo here two ninety six like I told you a lot of hip hop eighty stuff early nineties alright eso I'll put the kick drum down and I'll just do one bar right here let's lay that down so that's really how is it is to just put down a beat? I did that all manually but you could do are not all of it half of it manually but you could do that um as well all sequenced if you want so select the kick drum you see, I just did uh and I'm also including ah sheet that has a couple of simple patterns that you can replicate on your push have trap e hip hop house couple other ones and really? If you've ever messed with a relate, await or anything like that, you could see that there's patterns and everything. And so here I just did. You know, I did a kick drum on the downbeat and I just skipped over to sixteenth. And then I put another kick drum so that it hits right before, uh, snare hits. So on the snare, I'll select. You see, I just have a scare on remember, I'm in a sixteenth note resolution. So it's on one, two, three, four going back to the kick drum. And I just have one on three and and then right after kind of the reverse of these first two beats, I have these snare and then the kick drum hitting again suddenly have this kind of nice play back and forth. Any questions on the right call? Then track it. And then I just put the open eye hat, which is this one but selected, I'll tell mei had selected open. I have. So then I go. Okay, well, that's cool. But you know what? No one wants to get a three and a half minutes. Maybe they didn't eighty eight, but not right now. So, uh, if I just hit double, it will double that and it's, now two bars so I can make the decision of who I wanted to play two bars of this or do I want to add a little something on top of that s o I could just add something simple ah, on the second bar so I just double clicked on the second body show the second book, so I purposefully put this note in kind of wrong, so weaken uh, quantifies it here. Well, I could also nudge it just kind of depends on how you want to work it since I only really have one note that's kind of a little bit out so I could see this notes off and aiken just like alive. You can do everything real time, so you don't have to stop. I'm kind of stopping so that you can hear me talk and I'm not talking over the drums but like this that's really far back, so to me that felt natural to actually nudge it forward past the point where on the grid it should be I just nudged it eight percent forward and I'm perfectly fine with everything else in here so I can just leave that double that so now have four bars, so the third what happens when you double it's going to take whatever you in the first one and the second and double it to the third and fourth, so my third bar doesn't have that same feel is my first bar because I don't have that shaker in there it's like is copy that over it's this the duplicate of what's down here so I can just go here actually let me this was more accented so here there there there there and when you look at that she you couldn't do pretty much the similar process you'll see the grid broken up and I haven't broken up by eight so it's like a row of eight and then the same thing for another row of eight to make sixteen and so you would do the same thing I just did here which is copy what you see um and then you can just press playing on so so I play all of them let's go to the ends record that let me put it on to it's kind of like messing with me so I can hear it lead into the endings I'm just putting a drum phil ending on it let's actually just manually put that in so you can see I keep doing stuff with you know live but cool so I just put in tom philip the end of this four bar phrase so we're gonna have kind of like a turn around here so I'll hit select and I I can select each pad to see what I did so I have this one playing sixteen's on the first uh beat and then I have this pat lost my pads tom toms there we go tom mid so this tom made here that I have it on the second beat and then beat three and four are this tone so you can go in and sequence in your arrangement however you want you can have things build up over these course of four bars or like I did just have a breakdown so if I play these altogether and so there's nothing really like happening on this third one kind of having anything different so I can add something here on the third one let's see what it sounds like in concept of all four and then you can go further with that if you want to and then hit double and then I'll double those four and then make it to eight and had more beets and things on top of it there one thing to note if you're trying to get into drum programming they're two books that I recommend if you have a musical background or mainly as a percussionist one book that I recommend especially actually for anybody it's aa book called the break beat bible uh it's uh forgot the other's name um but he if you go on amazon and before it it's a really great book what he does as he breaks down old school groups and also their application to hip hop music and he also has all the group's broken down and he even goes back to kind of show how all these groups work together to a simple a similar narrative so it'll start out with you'll have ah transcription of you know, uh, the funky had heard beat or something like that, and then he'll show, like where it kind of originates from what kind of rhythm patterns and then he has different types of breakdowns of that and other songs, so if you're not to read music percussion specifically, you can look at that book and then just apply it to the push if you see like, a sixteen high hat, you could just put that there if you're new to that and you're kind of just like I would like something kind of like the push that simple it's just grids uh what it's ah one hundred and sixty drum machine patterns it's a book that's been out for a long time also you can find on amazon it has two hundred sixty drum patterns that you could use to input in and once you put him in, you can really just save them in a project and then drag him back out for later. But it allows you to start kind of understanding, sequencing and getting into that world and once you have those tools and like the basics kind like the sheet that's in the download once you get the basics, you can kind of play with it like I did. I've been listening to hip hop music for a long time and all that. And so I kind of know, like where those land and then what I can add on top of it, to add whatever flavor I want or to make it kind of sound a little bit different. Eso those were two things that I would recommend.

Class Description

Ableton’s Push Controller is not just another MIDI controller, it’s basically its own instrument. Whether using it in a live DJ set or simply speeding up your creative workflow in the studio, Push can help you program drums and melodies faster.

Learn how to take advantage of the step sequencer, note mode, and create custom maps of the entire 8x8 pad layout to maximize your production in Ableton Live in Ableton Push Fast Start with Josh Spoon. 

Josh will cover:

  • Hardware Workflow
  • Tonal Relationships in Note Mode
  • Alternate Pad Layouts in Note Mode
  • Step Sequencing in Drum Mode
  • Quantizing Drums in Drum Mode
  • Using Push in a Live Set
Josh is an Ableton certified trainer and is well known for his extensive tutorials on Push and in Ableton Push Fast Start, he will walk you through everything you need to know to get started using Push in your Live setup

If you’re using Ableton Live and have yet to incorporate a complete controller into your workflow, Josh will show you how Push can be more than just a controller, but an extension of your creative output.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Push Dummy Sheet.pdf

Push Chord Sheet.pdf

Beat Sheet.pdf

Read Me.rtf


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Student Work

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