Hi I’m Chris Heille, the Senior Music Product Specialist w/ Zivix, the makers of the jamstik+. I’ve been working on developing some tools for jamstik+ users working with Ableton Live, and I want to show you a cool sounding Instrument Rack you can download to try yourself. A really cool bonus to this rack is how you can map some of the macros to the accelerometer of the jamstik+ for a killer sounding delay effect.
Watch the video below or follow along with the transcript, we hope you enjoy!
This Instrument Rack is named Harmonic Waves Pad, and it’s composed of two instruments in Ableton Live - Sampler in one chain and Analog in the other. (Demo) The bulk of the sound consists of pizzicato harmonics played on a Fender Jazzmaster and run into Eventide’s amazing Blackhole Reverb plugin, and then mapped in Sampler. Analog is just providing a sine wave pad that masks the tail of the harmonics samples. There’s some reverb in each chain of the rack, and additional subtle delays.
If we solo the Sampler you can hear the Jazzmaster and Blackhole components. Then you can see I’ve added some additional reverb and delay. Soloing the Analog chain you can hear the sine pad w/ reverb and delay.
Looking at the Macros, I’ve assigned Macro #1 (which I’ve labeled Attack) to extend the attack time of the amplitude envelope of the Sampler. This will change slow the attack past the pluck of the string on the samples and make the whole patch sound more like a keyboard pad, but it still gets all of those cool harmonic tails and the color of Blackhole.
Macros 2 & 3 basically do similar things to the reverb and delays in each chain. Macro 2 (labeled Waves) adjusts the color of the noise oscillator of Analog, and both the Feedback and Wet Dry Balance of the Ping Pong delay in that chain - it’s labeled Waves because it kind of sounds like waves at the beach.
Macro 3 (labeled Tails) adjusts three parameters in the Simple Delay which will create an endless delay when you dial it up. The three parameters are Delay Time, Feedback, and the Wet Dry Balance.
Now, let’s do something really fun, let’s MIDI map the jamstik+’s accelerometer to Macros 2 & 3. Before we do that though, let’s make sure the accelerometer is set up so it’s useful. I’ll disconnect from the Mac and connect to the jamstik+ app on an iPad to dial in the accelerometer.
The accelerometer controls are accessed from the button on the main screen here. (show) Once open it you can see how to turn it on and set the range. Slide the Enable tab, leave the default MIDI Controller Number to 102 (it’s usually a conflict free CC#) and then set your minimum pitch angle. Hold the jamstik in your usual playing angle and click Set. Then move the jamstik into a vertical position and hit Set on the Max pitch angle. This should give you accelerometer values that are very low or near zero when you’re playing normally, but climb to high values as you move the jamstik into the vertical position. Cool.
Let’s reconnect to Ableton Live. I’ll use Audio MIDI setup to reconnect to the Mac, and once connected I’ll open Live’s preferences and select the jamstik as an input port for both tracking and remote input. Now let’s map the accelerometer - leaving the jamstik in the neutral playing position, click the MIDI Mapping button, then click Macro 2 “waves" and move the jamstik into a vertical position. We’ll do the same for Macro #3 “tails” - and you should be set up so the accelerometer controls both Macros moving from neutral to vertical. (demo)
This Harmonic Waves Pad patch is available for free download below. Just click download, enter your information and we will generate a download link for you. Give it a try in your own Ableton Live sessions and see what interesting performances you can make. If you’re not using a jamstik+ and want to find out more we encourage you to explore the jamstik.com website!
Playing strings and orchestral sounds with a MIDI guitar is one of the best use-cases for composers who might not be as well versed on a piano as they are on the guitar. Plus, playing string patches WITH strings just feels all the more natural and intuitive as well.