Ableton Live 11 is here – with comping and more favourite features!


Pretty much exactly three years after Ableton’s last major version-release, Ableton Live 10, our all favourite Digital Audio Workstation-creators now delight the community with the announcement of Ableton Live 11. A few days ago the public beta-phase has started, I had a chance to check out and work with the new software for a couple of weeks already. And folks, I could not be more excited! In this blog post I will highlight my favourite new feature and shine some light on a few more very fine changes, overhauls and workflows.
This is by no means a full review of Ableton Live 11, but more of an introduction to a couple of long awaited features. So let’s dive right into it!

Over the years the Abletons in Berlin have achieved to get many producers and musicans to switch to their platform. Still, for a large group amongst artists, especially those, who produce their music in a more classical way, i.e. recording vocalists and analog instruments, such as real drums, guitars, string sections etc., it was lacking of certain possibilities, that other DAWs were offering for a long time.
I, as a drummer and vocalist was one of them. Whenever I needed to record drums, I felt forced to either heavily compromise or switch to another software (such as Cubase or the good old ProTools) for these tasks. The magic word is comping – and now we have exactly that in Ableton Live 11!

What is comping?

„Comping“ stands for the possibility to record different takes within a looped segment of a song, to then being presented those different takes in a visual overview and the ability to choose parts of those recordings and combine them to that one „perfect take“.

Let’s say, you are recording vocals for a song. With Live 11, all you have to do, is set your loop length in Live’s arrangement view (for example over the lenght of „verse 1“) and start recording in a cycle. Whenever a „new round“ has been recorded, Live 11 will automatically add a new lane containing the last take underneath the original track. To make those evolving lanes visible, you need to click on the track header on the right and either right-click and choose „Show Take Lanes“ or use the shortcut „alt-command-u“. If you do so before you start recording, you can see the take lanes being created on the fly. The lanes are renameable.
When finished with the recording, you can listen to all the individual takes one by one by pressing the little loudspeaker symbol found on each lane. From here you can switch to draw-mode (shortcut „b“) and use the pencil to select your favourite parts of the performance by simply highlighting them. Alternatively, you can highlight the part with the mouse (not in draw mode) and press „Enter“. The result that you create by selecting and combining the segments  will be displayed in the top-lane. Automatic and editable fades are applied to cossfade between the cuts to prevent unwanted clicks and pops.

Remember that the size of the chunks of audio you can select depends on the current grid size. To be able to freely select a grid-independent-sized part of a take, you need to turn the grid off by right clicking into the arrangement. When you finally have comped your perfect take, you can close the lanes again and will be left with with one clean track – your comped vocal track!

Comping also works on MIDI tracks.

It’s pretty much the same workflow when you are comping on a MIDI track, so just jam away on your MIDI-drums,  bass-synth, your lead solo or whatever you are recording with MIDI and then comp your take.

Apart from the „classical way“ of comping, huge creative possibilities for sounddesign, glitchy sounds etc. are coming up when creating new take lanes (right click / insert take lane“ / „alt – shift -t“ and then mixing up and combining parts by comping them together. Awesomeness!!

Combine comping with linked tracks.

If you record a multi-microphoned instrument, such as a guitar with two or three mics placed on the amp or a full drumkit – which can use up a much larger number of microphon-inputs – things can get complicated in terms of workflow, but even more regarding phase issues.
Therefore, Live 11 introduces its brandnew „link tracks“-feature: By selecting the respective tracks (for example all tracks that represent the drumkit-signals) and right click on the track headers to select „Link Tracks“, all drum signals are linked, connected, grouped together – whatever you want to call it – to be simultaniously edited. (A little icon is shown on the header of every linked track.) This regards actions such as creating or editing fades, transpose all linked signals etc., but foremost (at least for me…), the link-tracks-feature enables multitrack comping. That means, every edit done on any track (f.e. kick, snare, overheads etc.) is processed throughout all linked tracks – and they remain phase correct!

Comping and Multi-mic editing the easy, classic way, – finally in Ableton Live 11.
One happy drummer & producer here!

Follow Actions: Overhauled & finally available for scenes!

As someone who builds Live sets for performances on stage, prefering using Live’s session view, Follow Actions are a fantastic tool to automate a show-order, effects etc. – apart from all other creative possibilities they can provide. In Live 11 we finally get „Follow Actions for scenes!
Before L11 one could built a „hack“ utilising a virtual MIDI port (such as IAC Driver on a Mac or Midiyoke on PC) to MIDI-map dedicated clips to the „fire scene buttons“. Alternatively and more convenient, a nice Maxforlive solution had been available for a while now („Follow“ by Isotonic Studios) to have this feature available. Luckily, no need for all that anymore, since Live 11 does provide Follow Actions for scenes now:

By expanding the Master section to the left, you can see that every scene has it’s own dedicated number now, and next to those, slots for BPM values and time signatures become visible. All you need to do is determine the desired tempo and metrum for each scene in those slots.

Whenever you click on a scene, you are presented with a dedicated „Scene“-window down in the clip view (alt-command-l or double click on a scene to open that window). Here you will find the same editable parameters again (tempo & time signature) as well as an Follow Action -toggle-button, which needs to be clicked in order to make the individual action active. If a scene is activated for a Follow Action, the appearance of the respective fire scene button changes. The „Scene“-window has a new, more transparent look, which makes it more pleasant to tweak the usual Clip Follow Action parameters, such as probability and Action Time. Also, one new action has been added to the concept: „Jump“, which allows to jump to specific scene, since now they are numbered. Very helpfull, love it!


Next to the „Back to Arrangement“-button in the master section we now have a global Follow Action activation button, which, when not turned on, hinders any Follow Actions (scenes or clips) to be executed, independent of their individual status. When turned on, it activates all individually activated Follow Actions.

Speaking of Clip’s Follow Actions:

Yes, Clip’s Follow Actions also recieved an overhaul. The whole clip view section in Live 11 has a different, more userfriendly look, as I find.
Click on the little arrow to make the Follow Actions-tab visible, and you are presented with the new, improved FA window. As descibed regarding scene’s Follow Actions, each clip also needs to have its respectable Follow Actions-button activated in order to perform the action. The new „Jump“ action is also available here, connected to the scene number, in which the clip lives. Additionally, you find a toggle button named „Linked / Unlinked.
When „Linked“ is chosen, the Follow Action will be executed after the clip has finished playing out its full length; alternatively a new option of multplying rounds of the clip lengh can be dialed in. Again, really nice..
When „Unlinked“ is checked, the time before the action takes place can be dialed in (bar – beats – sixteenth) or, also very convenient, by moving the then appearing little flag inside the clip to the desired unlinked clip length. Lastly, there are two Nudge buttons, backward and forward, which can be used to control a playing clip`s launch time by the note value of global quantisation.

The improvements of the whole Follow Actions concept are really awesome, together with the comping features they are probably my favourite new additions to Live 11.

MIDI: Fold to Scale, Velocity, Probability & Ramdomize.

Since I mentioned the changes in clip view, I now would like to adress a couple of more new options regarding MIDI clips, which I really enjoy:
Ableton Push users have loved the „Cannot play a wrong note“ -feature (Scale Button on the Push Controller) for years now, which allows to define a key and scale from Push and then just play notes without ever producing a „wrong“ note. In Live 11 we now have an option (Fold to Scale) in the third tab of the new MIDI clip view, which allows to fold the piano roll down to displaying only notes from the chosen scale. This way you can define your scale and from there draw in any note and it will always fit into the selected scale. Still, this is only an option, of course the whole piano roll is still available. As an improvement, the classic piano roll now highlights those notes in the piano roll, that belong to the chosen (and activated) scale. The classic „Fold“ option, which folds the piano roll down to only notes which currently contain MIDI notes, is still available.
The combination of these three piano roll-views gives us a great deal of freedom, transparency and assistance, no matter how firm we are in music theory.


The MIDI Velocity-Editor has also recieved a make up. The handles, which each represent one MIDI note, are now layouted horizontally, mirroring the length of each note. This makes editing the values and also editing the velocity range of each note (hold „command“ and click drag) much more convenient and visually transparent.


Another very interesting idea is the brandnew MIDI Probabilty-Editor, found in the Expression Editor Lane under the Note Tab. Both editors (Velocity and Probability) are made visible by checking their new, dedicated „Show / Hide“-buttons.
As the name suggests, in this new editor we can define a percentage of probabilty for each individual note to be played out. A supernice tool to create unexpected variations of a given idea, bring life to drum pattern (for example broken HiHat figures) or whatever one could come up with.


Together with the also brandnew „Randomize“-button under the Note Tab, which can target the data in the Velocity Editor as well as in the Probability Editor, endless and inspirational results are just one click away.


These are only a few of many great new features inside Ableton Live 11, which are amongst my very favourites for now, but there is so much more:

Some really exciting new devices, for example: The crazy „Spectral Resonator“ and „Spectral Time“, a new Hybrid Reverb (Convolutiuon & Algorhythmic Reverb -combo), or the overhauled Redux, which now- amongst other improvements – has a dry/wet control.
Also, there is MPE-support (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) for Live’s instruments Simpler, Sampler and Wavetable as well as for selected third party plugins. Racks & macros have been improved, so has the browser. So much to explore and to get creative with.

For me personally, this new version of Ableton Live is a true gamechanger, defining Ableton Live as a true “complete DAW”. I enjoy it to the fullest and can only encourage you to have a close look.

Stay happy & healthy, make music and enjoy!

Comping and all other discussed features are available for all Ableton Live 11 users,
from Live Intro to Live Standard and to Live Suite.

* Note: Ableton Live 11 is still in beta at the time of this blogpost, features may differ in detail at final release.


Groove Workshop: Bernard Purdie, the Oldschool Studio King – Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady”


Welcome to “Legendary Drummers – Legendary Grooves, edition #7!
Today’s protagonist is a truly legendary player, but also a highly controversial personality: Mr. Bernard “Pretty” Purdie.

There is no doubt, that his drumming has left a strong mark in the history of popular music, especially in Soul and Funk, but the creator of the “Purdie Shuffle” has also drawn a lot of negative attention over the years by his egocentric behaviour, exaggerated story telling and most of all by his clearly unproven claims about having recorded for the Beatles.

Nevertheless, Purdie is correctly considered one of the greats of all time, and his many influential recordings speak a clear musical language. In this bonedo exclusive workshop we are taking a close look at his drumming on Aretha Franklins iconic Track “Rock Steady” (1971), which features an irresistible Funk-Groove, that couldn’t be more typical for “Pretty’s” infectious playing, consisting of rolling ghosted snare drum notes and subtle hihat-openings, as well as a break beat section with a groove that turned out to be one of the most sampled grooves of all times.

As usual with this workshop series, you will find transcriptions, detailed groove-analyzes and re-recordings of the beats by your’s truly !

Have fun studying and playing the Funk of the legendary Mr. Bernard Purdie!

Video Workshop: Moving Paradiddles – Moving Feet. Can You Play It?


I like to practise my drums. Always have. It feels great, to tackle a technical or cognitive skill that couldn’t be achieved at the time, but after some focused and disciplined work on the instrument, is really owned.

To make practising not only fun, but also noticeably effective, I prefer using and coming up with conceptional workouts and excercises, that can offer a wider range of improvement in the long run, as opposed to simply appoach the obvious deficit.

In this new video workshop series, exclusively for bonedo drums,  I would like to present you some of my personal conceptional approaches, that have helped not only me with my own development on the drums, but have proven to be extremly useful to legions of ambitious students that I have had the privilige to teach over the years in various institutions and situations.

We all are aware of the importance of control, interdependence and balance on the kit; and the ability to percieve rhythmical structures from different perspectives. Though, from time to time we find ourselves confronted with the weak spots in our playing – and if so, it can make us feel frustrated. Even if our fellow musos don’t twig the stress we are going through with a certain groove, fill or other musical challenge, we know for ourselves  – because we have learned to hide the deficit and fight ourselves through the moment.

The here presented workout, which I call “Moving Paradiddles – Moving Feet”, is just one of many ways to train and improve the mentioned skills on the drums. The written workshop with the musical notation on bonedo is in german language only, but here you can find the english video version.

As with all practice, you can look at this concept as just some dull excercise – or you can understand it as a musical routine, a little piece of music, that you create while practising and which you can play with touch, sound, creative orchestration and instrumental joy. It’s up to you.

I recommend to place your focus on precision over speed, and constantly monitor yourself. Continuously check, how souvereign and comfortable you feel in terms of body balance, control and perception of where you are in the bar. And count out loud.
Play the excercise at  a very low volume as well as with fierce energy, just like you would play any music. And practise with a click – and definitly without!

The question is: Can you play it – and can you play it relaxed?
After a while, you will – and it can turn out be tremendously helpful with your playing

After you mastered it, go ahead and modify the excersise, change it up and make it your own. There are no limits to your creativity.

I hope you will enjoy this workout.

Groove Workshop: The Unique Touch Of James Gadson – Vulfpeck’s „Running Away“


This time I want to introduce you to one of the most recorded drummers in R&B, Soul and Motown: Legendary Drummers – Legendary Grooves # 6, presenting James Gadson.

Having been successfully active for far more than half a decade as a session drummer, producer, composer and even singer, Gadson is truly one of a kind.
Now, being in his autumn years, he is still a sought after musician, also hired by comparably younger artists such as Justin Timberlake, Beck, Feist and D’Angelo, to give their music the special „Gadson-Feel“.

In 2017 he was asked by Vulfpeck to join forces for a live studio session recording the song „Running Away“ for their latest album „Mr. Finish Line“, alongside guest-guitarist David T. Walker (Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder). What a wonderful piece of music they created here for us…

His groove and feel are once more simply impeccable, and so „Running Away“ is not only a timeless piece of new, classic soul music, but also a great stage for displaying Gadson’s huge talent to shape the feel of a tune with his magic touch.

Check out the workshop with a detailed groove analysis and some re-recordings of his contribution to this future classic, exclusivly at bonedo drums – and  simply enjoy learning from a groove-giant.

Groove Workshop: Vinnie Colaiuta & the turning 7 – Sting’s “Saint Augustine in Hell”


In the fifth edition of my workshop series “legendary drummers – legendary grooves” we are talking about the master of masters, the one and only Vinnie Colaiuta and his “turning  Ride-Cymbal-Bell” within the infamous 7/8 groove from  the song “Saint Augustine In Hell” by his long time employer, Superstar Sting.

There are countless musical reasons for the legendary status Vinnie has earned for himself in the drumming community over the decades, his breathtaking, virtuos and yet stunningly tasteful playing has inspired and impressed legions of drummers worldwide.

The workshop is dedicated to the groove for the song “Saint Augustine In Hell”, found on the 1993 Grammy Award winning Album “Ten Summoner’s Tales”. The fairly simple 7/8 groove is a perfect example for Vinnie’s ability to contribute exactly what a song needs, yet  adding an innovative touch including style and finesse.

As far as I recall, there has not been a comparable groove before this, utilizing the “moving ride cup in quarter notes” ; an idea which generates the illusion of a straight pop song-feel, playfully avoiding the usual clunkyness of an an odd meter beat.

This bonedo drums -exclusive workshop, featuring another timeless masterpiece, comes, as usual, with transcriptions, groove analysis as well as authentic re-recordings by your’s truly. Take the opportunity and learn from the drumming genius of a unique drumming hero, and let yourself be inspired for coming up with your own odd meter creations.

Wishing you great fun with the work of a true legend – Vinnie Colaiuta!

Groove Workshop: The total Funk of Nate Smith – “Barbara”


This bonedo drums workshop-series  is called “Legendary Drummers and Grooves”. So it is pretty obvious, that a drummer, who is commonly known as “The Legendary Nate Smith” needs to be featured here at some point.

This is part 4 of the series, and Nate has been all over social media in the past years; his infectous and explosive mix of Funk-Jazz-Rock-Loop-Style-Drumming has earned him his well deserved “legendary” nickname and status amongst fans and colleagues.

Now Nate has caused another big stir by his involvement with members of the  beloved “Vulfpeck”: Bassist Joe Dart, guitarists Corey Wong and Mark Lettieri (Snarky Puppy) together with Nate formed a Vulf-Records-project named “Fearless Flyers”, and what they play is some serious Funk!
In their hard grooving track “Barbara” – featuring Ghospel-Icon Sandra Crouch on tambourine – Smith lays down an irresistable high-energy-groove-improvisation, which I here would like to bring to your attention in greater detail.

In this further bonedo-exclusive workshop we will take a look at transcriptions of he impressive Drum-Intro and the track’s main groove as well as some re-recordings, all done with great admiration by your’s truly.

I personally found it extremly inspiring to take a close look at this special drummer’s very individual and unique approach to our instrument – i hope you feel the same!

Have a look, have a listen, enjoy!



Groove Workshop: The magic of Manu Katché – “Somewhere Down The Crazy River”


This third edition of my little workshop-series “legendary drummers – legendary grooves” – exclusively for bonedo drums – is dedicated to another true drumming hero of the eighties and nineties: Manu Katché, french top-player with westafrican roots. Manu has proffered quiet a few legendary grooves to the world in the course of the years, for example while working with Peter Gabriel, Sting, Dire Straits, or for the 1987  Song  “Somewhere Down The Crazy River”,  a release on selftitled Album “Robbie Robertson”.  For the dark, atmospherical track, Katchè created a dense,  mysterious Groove, which leaves a heavy impact on the composition and stronly shapes it`s overall appearance.

The creative combination of tom-accents, snare-off-backbeats and touchy ride-bell-work  casts a spell over each groove-loving listener. When I heard “Somewhere Down The Crazy River” for the first time many yeras ago, i was  instantly drawn to it`s unique feel and was really intrigued.

In this bonedo-workshop you will find, as usual, transcriptions, simplifications and re-recordings by your’s truly, which should hopefully help making this extraordinary beat more transparent and explain, how Manu built the legendary groove.
Have fun checking out another drumming masterpiece!

Groove Workshop: How John “JR” Robinson created Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love”-Intro


Sometimes you hear a piece of music – and feel instantly intrigued. Intuitivly you know, that you just stumbled over something magic. When I heard Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” featuring John “JR” Robinson on drums for the first time as a fifteen year old, it was exactly like that for me. The percussive, dense and atmospherical feel, created in a mix of lively tracked drums and programmed percussion simply blew me away – and confused me. What’s the ingredients? What’s the patterns? And: Where the funk is the “one”?

Today, many moons later, I take the opportunity to write yet another groove workshop for bonedo drums exclusively, this time shedding some light on the mystery of this grammy award winning groove masterpiece, created  by one of the greatest players in the history of the modern drum kit.

You can find the original recording, a video with John explaining the process in the studio plus my re-recordings and transcriptions of the “Higher Love” -Intro right here at the bonedo workshop (sorry, german language only).

All you can do in one day – if you are Vinnie!


We all know, Vinnie Colaiuta is a scary monster on the drums. There is no doubt that he is amongst the very greatest of all time – and this recent session-video gives an insightful impression of his true mastership. Vinnie is tracking for Brian Eisenberg Jazz Orchestra , playing elegantly relaxed, tasteful, musical and overall impressive beyond belief.. He recorded the whole album within one day – and at 2:24 introduced this hilarious (but also helpful) brushes-to-sticks-move. His black shirt helps to “support the illusion” in forefield. Damn.

Here is the full Vinnie-in-the-studio-video from Brian Eisenberg.

Ableton Live 10 – Overcoming the recording blockage with „Capture“


On November 2nd Ableton Live 10 was announced and will be available to the public from early 2018. The full update features countless new improvements, a sharp new 60 frame look, some brandnew devices and even a spectacular wavetable synth – plus it has tons of workflow improvements, such as the longly begged for ability to group-in-groups. But there is one new feature, that i immediatly fell in love with, as soon as i first got an early beta version of Live 10 a couple of months ago: „Capture“.

What is Capture?
We all have encountered the phenomenon of mentally choking, as soon as the „red light“ turns on. While playing around with ideas, you might find something you like (a beat, a bassline or chord progression) and then want to record it – but as soon as you try to make the recording, you cannot reproduce the exact, original idea. This is where Capture comes into place. In Version 10, Live is constantly monitoring, i.e. memorising all Midi notes played into the programm with a computer keyboard, Ableton Push or whatever inputting controller you use.


How to use Capture?
It’s actually really simple: just play music and don’t worry about preparation and the eventual pressure of recording. If you start a new set, song or project in Ableton Live 10, you now don’t have to priorly decide on a tempo, turn on the metronome and then start recording. No, all you do is play. The necessety to define a tempo up front was something i always didn’t like; especially since Ableton brought us Push, it seemed kind of counterproductive to the actual concept of the controller being an integrated musical instrument. Now you can just jam beats or other ideas and whenever you are am happy with what you played, simply click the „Capture“ Button next to Live’s Transport or press [Record] + [New] on Push. Live will create a new, looped and timed-up clip, which contains the Midi-Notes, that you have played since you selected that track and record-armed it, respectively turned it’s monitor to „in“.


A few rules with Capture.
Even though Capture is really easy to use – to fully benefit from the feature and don’t get confused with the results, let me quickly explain Capture’s behavior a bit more in detail:

– To make Capture define the global set tempo by a captured clip, simply play the notes – while Live’s transport is not running. Capture will define the tempo of the set as it interpretates the input.
– When adding another captured clip to the track or set, Capture will then interpretate this clip and again adjust the global tempo, if Live’s transport is not running.
– Opposed to Live’s transport running: Here, Capture will not set a new global tempo to the set, but stay where the tempo was set last.
– Capure will deliver the best results, if you play one more note landing on „one“ after your x-bar-long idea.
– Capture’s range of tempo-analyzing lays between 80 and 160 bpm. If you are looking for a faster or slower tempo, you will need to adjust it afterwords.
– If your first clip has a length of f.e. four bars, Live 10 will assume, that the next clip on another track that you are jamming in, will also be four bars long. If that second clip differs in lenghts, you will have to adjust it to your needs.
– You can always tell, if Capture still has something memorised by looking at the Capture button: if it’s greyed out, Capture’s memory is empty, if it is white, it indicates „press me and i will create a new clip or overdub.“
– Yes, Capture also allows overdubbing: if none of the clips in a track are playing, a new capture will create a new clip in that track containing that last jam-idea. If a clip in that track is playing while you are jamming, it will add those new notes to the playing clip.
– If you have f.e. jammed on track 1, but did not make use of the memorised notes by pressing either Live’s Capture Button or [Record] + [New] on Push, and then jam on track 2 and do capture that idea, the previous idea on track 1 will be deleted from Capture’s memory. This means, Capture will only remember what you played on a track as long as you do capture it before you capture another idea on another track.

Those „rules“ feel logical and one gets used to the mechanics of Capture quickly. In my workflow the use of Capture is implemented already and i hardly ever go „old school“ and press „record“ to lay down a spontanious idea.
Capture is a groundbreaking new feature in Ableton Live 10, which significantly supports the Idea of spontanious music-creation and helps to eliminate the known phenomenon of „red-light-anxiety“.

* Capture will be available for all Ableton Live 10 users, from Live Intro to Live Standard and to Live Suite.

* Note: Ableton Live 10 is still in beta at the time of this blogpost, features may differ in detail at final release.