Ableton Live Rack #20: Guitar Harmonics Synth

Sam rocking out!

Sam rocking out!

I'm very excited to be bringing you the 20th Free Weekly Ableton Live Rack: "The AfroDJMac Guitar Harmonics Synth."  It's been really great bringing you these racks every week, and today is a special one, not just because #20 is something of a milestone, but also because it happens to be my birthday :)  Thanks to everyone who keeps coming back every week and to those who have been so instrumental in spreading the word about this project.  Alright let's get down to business.

So, I'm currently enjoying a visit from my family, including a surprise visit by my two little nephews.  The eldest one, Sam, is five and when he got to my house and saw some of my musical instruments, he told me he was "really good at music."  So I took him into the basement studio and after he banged out a beat on the drums, I gave him my Fender Mustang.  It was a lot of fun seeing the sense of discovery and innocence in his eyes as he banged away on the guitar, unaware that his left hand not only had to touch the stings, but also press them down on the fretboard.  By just placing his hands over the strings, he was actually producing some nice harmonics for a few seconds, and that inspired me to create this rack.  (If you are not sure what I mean by "Guitar Harmonics" check out this link).

This weeks rack was created by sampling the harmonics produced by each string at the 5th, 7th, and 12th fret.  The instrument comes set up with a macro knob that allows you to switch between the different samples, each of which has its own unique character.  This allows for some cool effects, such as holding the sustain pedal and changing the sample while you play, which creates an interesting morphing timbre.  There's a macro knob that reverses the samples, creating a swelling, somewhat glitchy sound, not unlike those from some of my favorite psychedelic  Beatles tracks (or my 3rd Ableton Live Rack: Reversed Piano").  I've also been experimenting with the Grain Delay plug-in more and more these days, and there are some macro knobs to control that effect.  Check it out and have fun!  PS. If you are not a Live user, you can still use the samples included in the download.


I hope you enjoy this rack and all the ones of the past and future.  It's time for me to go be the birthday boy.  Please leave me your comments, requests,  likes on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and if you want to do something nice for my birthday, tell a friend, post this on your blog, Tweet about @AfroDJMac, or get yourself a nice little present at the AfroDJMac Store ;)  I will leave you now with my little summer theme song, "Summer Vacation." Take care and be well.