Here is part of a tutorial I recently sent to a friend who was interested in learning about Ableton Live.
“I think the best way to start out is to become familiar with the layout of Ableton. If you’ve used other programs such as Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase or Acid you’ll find that Ableton is based on the same fundamentals. I’ve attached some tutorials that are very helpful.”
1. Exploring the Arrange & Session Views
This first step is to understand the Arrangement and Session views. Take a look at this video I found for you that details how they function together.
2. Sampling Techniques
Once you’re familiar with the arrangement view, you will be ready to start sampling. Try dragging a sample you like out of itunes and and into a channel in arrangement mode. Find the bpm you feel is most appropriate for your song and adjust your master tempo. (Note: To get your sample to line up according to your master tempo you will need to warp your song.) I will include a video that describes warping. First take a look at this video that describes sampling, and beatmaking.
3. Ableton Beat Warping
Don’t let warping intimidate you. It is a process that gets easier with some practice. Ableton makes audio elastic. Meaning you can adjust the the beat and time to match perfectly at any point in any song. Once you understand warping you will never have to deal with sample timing issues again. Give it a shot! =)
By this point hopefully you’ve picked up a couple of ideas on how to start making beats. With some practice you’ll find Ableton is unlike any other audio tool out there. Use the tips they give in the tutorials and start a beat of your own. Next time I will start teaching you more in depth tricks. Along the way let me know if you have questions and I will be sure to answer them for you.