Applies to Launchpad Pro Mk1
The steps outlined in the article below are the same steps that are covered in the video above.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to make your own drum beats using Ableton Live, drum racks and Loopmasters samples.
In a previous video, we walked you through how to download your free Loopmasters samples, and use them inside Ableton Live to remix existing projects. We also went through the Loopmasters sample pack, explaining the difference between one shots and loops. Click here to view that video.
Today we’ll be using the Ableton’s drum rack to start making out own beats using one shot samples from the Loopmasters pack.
To start, open Ableton Live. This can be any version of Live, from Live Lite all the way up to Suite.
Then, go to ‘Drums’, and drag a ‘Drum Rack’ on to an empty MIDI track.
A Drum rack allows you to load one shot samples, such as drum hits, and play them in any pattern you like using MIDI notes, and this is how we are going to start making drum patterns.
Let’s go and find some drum hits to use. You’ll remember that in each sample pack, we have a ‘Loops’ and Sounds and FX’ folder, which splits the loops from the one shots, so let’s go to ‘Sounds and FX’.
I’m going to find some house drum kits, and show you how to make a basic boots and cats drum pattern, with a bit of variation to keep it interesting. Let’s drag in a kick, clap and a hi hat on to slots in the drum rack like so. I like to rename these as I go by right clicking and selecting rename.
There we go, we now have 3 samples ready to make a drum pattern. To begin making this pattern, double click in an empty clip slot to make a MIDI clip.
Now we can see the 3 samples on the left here, and we can put notes on this grid to play these samples when we want to hear them.
The basic boots and cats rhythm has a kick drum playing on every quarter note, so let’s put that in now. Double clicking on the grid creates notes like so.
Next, we need a clap on the 2nd and 4th kick like so. Here’s what we’ve got so far.
The final step is to add in the off beat hi hats, which go here.
You can delete notes by double clicking on them, or by clicking on them so that they turn blue, and hitting backspace. Feel free to adopt an attitude of trial and error at this stage, and have fun experimenting with sounds and MIDI notes to find what sounds good.
If you want to make this pattern a little more interesting, we can add some other sounds in. Let’s grab a snare, another hi hat and a rim shot. To switch between seeing the drum rack and seeing the MIDI clip, you can use the two tabs down here.
Let’s add these new elements in the gaps in the current MIDI pattern to add some groove to this pattern. We can make the pattern longer by hitting ‘Duplicate Loop’ here.
To control the volume of each of the sounds in the drum rack, press the little triangle here and then you have a volume control for each sound.
A final tip would be to vary the velocity, essentially volume, of some of the hits in the pattern to make the drum pattern sound a little less robotic.
To do this, click on the note you wish to change, and drag this bar at the bottom up or down. The note will change colour intensity to indicate this.
Using your Launchpad, you are able to play these drum racks. I’m going to show you how to do this on a Launchpad Mini, MKII and Pro.
Ensure that your Launchpad is set up correctly with Ableton. Under Preferences > Link MIDI, you should have your settings like this. Click here to watch a full video walking you through this set up.
Ensure that your drum track is record enabled by clicking here, and then select ‘User 1’ on the Launchpad, the third button in from the right on the top row. Now, the bottom left 4x4 grid corresponds to whatever you put in your drum rack, so switch to the device view by clicking here, and you can play the samples in the rack.
You’ll notice at the moment there is no LED feedback when you hit a pad. We can set this up using a MIDI track. If you do not have an empty MIDI track, go to Create > Insert MIDI track. Then set the MIDI In to be the drum rack, and the MIDI out to be the Launchpad, and set monitor to ‘In’.
The same process applies to the Launchpad MKII, except on the lights channel, you need to set the MIDI To channel to channel 2.
To achieve this on a Launchpad Pro, ensure that your Launchpad Pro is configured correctly with Live; under Preferences > Link MIDI you should see this configuration. Click here to watch a full video walking you through this set up.
Ensure that your drum track is record enabled, and then press ‘Note’ on the top row of pads to enter the note mode. You will then see the drum rack which you can play by pressing the pads.
If you have any further questions, please contact technical support by clicking here.