As well as providing the world’s very best production courses and tutorials, we here at Point Blank are always trying to find ways to reward our community for their support. One of our regular methods of thanking you guys for following us is our free Max For Live plugins series and we’re proud to announce that we can offer up another brand new and very exciting new addition to the series – The Big Riff Generator, designed by our expert tutor Daniel Herbert!
Download the plugin for FREE right HERE!
Here’s the seventh Max For Live device in this current series from Point Blank. We’ve called it the Big Riff Generator and it’s capable of generating some monster riffs or funky bass lines when it’s in the mood! It only generates MIDI notes, so you’ll need to insert it just before an instrument device and choose a suitably fat sound. It bounces notes directly into the selected clip, and can produce an infinite amount of monophonic patterns. You can specify the key and select a variety of different scales and modes (if you’re interested in learning more about modes then be sure to check out Point Blank’s EMC2 course) and it also features probabilistic controls over octave leaps, rests and note repeats. You can let it explore a range of rhythmic variations or limit it to something more repetitive and it’s possible to also restrict the range of notes.
It’s great fun to see what musical ideas the Big Riff Generator can come up with, and after some playing around with the parameters you never know it might just produce that killer hook that you’ve been after. It’s not limited to pitched sounds, so try it out with drums, and as with any plugin of this nature, expect to tweak the patterns in the clip window and just use this as a starting point!
Download the plugin for FREE right HERE!
Hi, I’m Dan Herbert and I’m a course developer and tutor at Point Blank Online. I’ve been working for over 20 years as a musician, sound designer, and programer. I released tracks in the mid 90′s on Ouch, Tasty and Storm and I’ve also worked in TV and film. In this series of tutorials we’re going to be checking out the Max For Live plugin which we’ve been developing here at Point Blank. These are available for you guys to download for free. Make sure you subscribe to the Point Blank Youtube channel and also check out our free sample courses at PointBlankonline.net.
So in this video we’re going to check out the Big Riff Generator, another Max For Live device from Point Blank. This midi effect is capable of creating some monster riffs as well as some funky bass lines and inserts the randomly generated midi data directly into a clip. You might find this device useful if your keyboard playing skills are not as good as you like or you’re just stuck for creative ideas.
I’ve already covered how to install the Max For Live plugin in Live 9 at the start of the, Kick drum designer video. But for now let’s just unzip the downloaded file, so double click. And then I’m going to drag the file just before a synth. I’ve got analog already loaded here. Then I’ll open up Max For Live and then I’m just going to click on the open button here. I’m also going to just expand out the window. I’m going to create an empty clip.
So in terms of using this plugin, it’s as easy as just pressing the generate button. That has already created a number of notes. Here they are down here, so let’s press play and have a listen. Here’s a loop just for context. So the important thing to do once it’s created notes is select the actual notes and then we can have a play around with some of the settings. So we’ve got a number of parameters here.
Starting here we can define the key of the riff which is going to be created. So let’s chose C sharp for example. And then we can determine how long the riff needs to be. I’m just going to leave it on a bar for now, click on generate. Don’t like it, hit generate. So at the moment it’s just randomly generating a pattern. We can control how it randomly creates these notes using these parameters here. So if we wanted to restrict the note range and the number of different notes it creates, just pull this down to one and click generate.
Bass if you’re into your much more repetitive lines this is not a good option let’s expand out to a couple of notes. This one just going to up the octave here. And we can also choose different modes as well. Now modes is something that is covered in the EMC 2 course. It’s just ways of kind of describing scales in music. I’m going to choose major. Let’s try minor. And actually you won’t hear any difference when we’re just hearing two notes. We’ll actually hear the difference between minor and major when we start generating three notes.
Major. There we go, so we’ve got a number of different controls as well which we can use in terms of octaves. We can get it to jump up and down the octave. Now this is measured in percent, so it’s to do with kind of probability. So if I set the octave to 50 percent or close as we can get it. Then essentially 50 percent of the time the note will jump up the octave. Let’s press play.
What we’re going to do is restrict the note range back down again and generate pattern. Create a new one. If you actually want to create a lower bass part then let’s pull down the transposers, drop it down by an octave. So the actual rhythm it’s actually playing back is determined by this slider here. Now if we’ve got it fully selected over the whole slider then you’ll get a wide variation of rhythms. If we want to kind of have fast rhythms if we just select over this part of it and click generate. A little bit too low. Generate. Generate. And we can get quite a lot of variation for adjusting the octave percentage.
So if it’s below 50 percent then it’s more likely to be a low note. And if we set it above 50 then the notes are more likely to jump up the octave. We can also introduce rests to it, and that’s a really important part of music. When we start to introduce rests then we’ll start to introduce a element of groove. [??], bit [??] right up. Then you get less notes. When you bring it down, you get more notes and less rests.
If we want to we can also change the length, the duration of these notes. Let’s just pull down the gate setting here and generate. Or we can extend the notes. And obviously depending on your amp envelop settings is whether the note length will have any impact on the sound. That’s something we look at in the Ableton Sound design module. The slider here also allows us to kind of go for longer notes as well. So I’m just going to change the settings here. Let’s put the gate back to 100 percent, bring the rests down and the octave. Expound out the note range and let’s click on generate.
So at the moment my synth sound this has got short decay. So now we can kind of create melodies. It could be kind of sustained pat sounds, whatever you want. Let’s just try minor [??] for that as well. So remember when you’re creating these patterns a lot of it will depend on the settings within the actual synth that you’re actually playing the sounds on. So let’s just pull this back to kind of a tighter sound again. Give it a little more on the decay. And look at some of the other controllers. We’ve also got some note repeat. Now this will work best with the kind of faster settings here.
Let’s just open up the clip window. So with that repeat set to zero the notes are changing constantly. If I increase the note repeat what we should find is it’s much more repetitive. So gain percentage so 50 percent of the time the notes should be the same. So if you like it really repetitive pull down the note range and increase the note repeat value.
The other menu which we haven’t really looked at yet is this random and stagger. And this is related to how it randomly generates the notes. If we choose random then essentially completely according to the note range. If we choose stagger then we can make a riff which has very small leaps but over the duration of the riff might actually go up the whole octave. Let’s click on generate and see what happens here.
increase the stagger, so the actual leaps apart from this octave here are fairly small so let’s try it again. So you can hear it in this riff [??] it’s got small intervals. Here’s a good example, the difference between each jump is actually quite small, three notes maximum. But over the duration of the riff, it obviously goes up by nearly a whole scale.
We can also increase the length of the riff, let’s try a two bar riff here, generate. And you can also do four or eight bar riffs as well. So this is the Point Blank Big Riff generator. It’s great fun just to play around with and see what riffs it will generate. Sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re not so good. Sometimes it requires some tweaking sometimes it doesn’t. It really depends what you’re after also what synth it’s triggering as well.
At Point Blank online you’ve go two methods of interaction with your tutor. Firstly, you’ve got the weekly online master class which is in real time. And then also we’ve got feedback on your assignments, and that’s known as DVR.
So the online master class is a one hour session you get with your tutor every week. You can ask questions about lesson content. You get instant feedback and also demonstrations on the fly from their computer desktop with our streaming technology.
DVR stands for direct video response and the concept is really simple. You upload your Ableton Logical key based project file to your tutor. He downloads it and then pushes record on the screen capturing software, and evaluates your work, basically giving you one-to-one feedback. You see all of the mouse movements and any parameter changes made by your tutor. It’s kind of like sitting in the studio, over their shoulder, watching what they’re doing whilst they work. We’ve found the DVR process has truly revolutionized the way that we teach you online, and the results speak for themselves. Book your place on the course now, by visiting POINTBLANKONLINE.net.