Having been inspired by Acid basslines, we explore how to create them in Live using the Analog device.
Start with an init patch and put it in sawtooth mode. I will be using only the first oscillator and first filter so the F1/F2 parameter should read F1, meaning the first oscillator is running through the first filter. Move over to the Amp1 tab and set the sustain parameter to 1.00 and the Release to 0.
It is best to have a loop playing while tweaking synth parameters; changes can be heard in real-time without having to touch the keyboard. Create a new MIDI clip. Add a single 16th note on a low note and set its velocity to zero. Create a second 16th note directly after that one and raise its velocity all the way up. Select both and duplicate them till you fill the clip. On a TB-303 Accent is either on or off, like a one bit velocity control, 1 or 0. It raises the volume of a note and changes its timbre. Acid lines are highly syncopated, accented off the beat, making this clip a great starting point.
Parameters with “<Vel” indicate that velocity is controlling something else. Still in the Amp tab, the Env<Vel parameter indicates how much velocity controls the amplitude envelope. When raised, higher velocities will result in a louder note. In this example it is set around 1.39, adding a nice accent.
Some timbre variation is needed, so make a similar change in the Filter 1 section. This one is a little more complicate because the Filter envelope controls both Cutoff Frequency(Freq mod, Env) and Resonance(Env<Vel). Start with both of these set to 2.00, but adjust them to taste as you go. Oh, don’t forget to Enable the first Filter and adjust the Freq and Resonance to taste.
The 303 is a monosynth; it has only one voice; it can’t play two notes at once. To make a 303 style line, with the signature slides, put your synth in mono mode by bringing the voices parameter down to 1, “mono” in Analog’s case.
Glide is perhaps the defining characteristic of Acid lines. Enable Legato and Glide; adjust the Time parameter to taste.
Back to the sequence to create the line. With the loop playing, shorten all the notes till you get a simple click. Then lengthen just a couple. Acid lines are characterized by strange rhythms so change some of the velocities. When a note is long enough to overlap the next note you will hear the slide, make sure some of these are in your line. Finally, create space by deleting some of the notes.
Here is a video of one possibility:
And here is the clip including the line and the Analog preset so you can download and check it out:
In a tune the line would need to evolve, changing timbre and varying notes. Next time we will look at the “global” controls of the 303 and how to incorporate those, and some creative clip variations, into a performance.
Have Fun. Make Music.