In this tutorial I will explain you how to sample a bass and play it like an instrument in Ableton. This is my way to do, so you can find other techniques.

In this tutorial we will take a single cycle bass note and load it into a sampler to allow us to play it like an instrument. Sampling allows you more creative freedom than just using an audio sample, and hopefully this tutorial will teach you a few new tricks for your arsenal.

To start you need to simply choose a bass sound you like, and then load it into a Simpler. The root note of the sound you use is very important because when it is in the sampler you will usually be playing a C note, even though the samples actual root note could be something different. So if your root note is anything except C you need to make sure you rename your track to reflect that. It is very easy to forget what it was originally and it is very important you still keep it in key.

So I’ve selected a basic bass note and loaded it into a simpler
Ableton Sampling Tutorial
Unfortunately if you hold in a key, it will only play for the length of its cycle. And that we need to fix.

Turn on “Loop” and pull the length right back. It needs to be a short cycle.
Ableton Tutorials
If you hold in a key now, you will hear short staccato notes playing constantly. This means we’re on the right track.

Adjust the start time until you find a section of the waveform that you like the sound of. You will be missing the original attack of the note, but we can fix that with ADSR later. For now we are only trying to find a piece of the audio that sounds good.

Since it is still too stabby, use the fade knob to create a fade in and out at the beginning and end of the loop. This fade will create a tremolo effect as the note plays and what is especially cool is that this tremolo will be at different speeds depending on what note you play. Higher notes will wobble faster while lower notes will wobble slower. When you start to sequence the bassline later on you will hear a difference in every note.
Ableton Tips and Tricks
Now if you hold in a key you will hear a constant note, with a slight wobble to it.

Next thing to do is set up the filter to remove some of the highs. I’ve simply dropped the frequency and resonance, and enabled the Filter envelope and made sure the actual filters Env setting is turned all the way up. On the filter envelope I’ve increased the attack so that the first time the note plays it will play properly, then the filter will engage and only the lower frequencies will play through.
Sampling and Samples Ableton Tutorials
And it is almost ready. Just set the volume ADSR envelope to taste, I’ve only increased the attack time slightly. Then make sure you voices are set to 1 so that you won’t get any phasing issues and you can bring up the overall volume.
How To Sample in Ableton Live
Give it a progression and you’re left with something sounding like this:
[soundcloud url=”″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /] The important things to remember is to spend time adjusting all your different ADSR envelopes until your sound is sitting just right in relation to the beat. It is easier to use envelopes than it is to use FX to fix problems.

Your loop length and fade points are also crucial to achieving a good sound. As well as where it starts. Did I mention you can use this technique to sample any kind of sound? Sample a short vocal sound to create a lead or sample toms to create a bass undertone.

The possibilities are endless.

[author image=”” ] Ashley Young – Former DJ turned producer from South Africa[/author]

My work as producer: Soundcloud | Reverbnation

Read more of my tutorials:
Slicing Vocals in Ableton Live – Tutorial
Splitting Frequencies – Ableton Tutorial
Creating Custom Percussion in Ableton Collision
Creating Glitch Percussion Layer in Ableton
Creating a Reverse Reverb – Ableton Tutorial




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