Join Rick Schmunk for an in-depth discussion in this video Configuring the grid, part of Ableton Live 10 Essential Training.
- [Instructor] Understanding how to adjust the grid and loop length are a big help when working with MIDI notes in the MIDI editor, and familiarity with the related keyboard shortcuts will really speed up your workflow. I've opened up exercise one from chapter five again. Let's select this first clip on the pulse bass track by double-clicking on it. Now, down in the clip overview, or MIDI editor area, we can see that the grid is set at a quarter note by looking down in the lower right-hand corner. If you need to change that grid, you can right-click, and we can see that, currently, we're on adaptive grid.
What that means is, is that as you zoom in and zoom out, the grid will change with your zoom setting. If I click here in the middle and hit my plus button to zoom in, I'm now on an eighth note. Couple more times, I'm on a sixteenth note. And if I hit my minus key to zoom back out, once, I'm on an eighth note, couple more times, I'm on a quarter note. If I tab over into the arrangement view, we'll also see that the grid is showing here in the lower right-hand corner of the arrangement view area.
So if I click somewhere on the timeline here and zoom in and zoom out, we'll see the same thing. Here's plus. I'm zooming in, and now I'm on a half note, and then a quarter note, and then an eighth note. As I hit my minus key and zoom back out, the grid is changing. Let's click that clip up here on the bass track to re-display it here in arrangement view down in the MIDI editor area. Let's right-click on the background there again.
Notice that we also can set this as a fixed grid. Currently, this is set at an eighth note, and if I want to change that to a sixteenth note or a quarter note, I can do that. Then if I zoom in and out, you can see that the grid amount is not changing. I actually find the adaptive grid to be a bit annoying, so instead, I often will change the grid amount using a key command. You'll want to know where you can find those key commands, so let's go up to the options menu.
Here, you can see the five key commands for the grid setting displayed in the middle of that menu. You can also see them if you point your mouse at the grid setting in the lower right-hand corner of the clip overview, or in the arrangement view. Then if you look over in the info view in the lower left-hand corner of the program, you'll see those same key commands displayed there. On a Mac, it's all Command plus a number, and on a PC, it would all be Control plus a number, one through five.
So for example, if I want to make it smaller, I'll go Command 1, and if I want to make it larger, I'll go Command 2. I remember that by remembering that one is less than two. One will make the grid smaller and two will make it larger. Now I'm on eighth notes, and if I wanted to switch this to eighth note triplets, I can do that using the number three plus the Command key on a Mac, or the Control key on a PC. That command will toggle on and off triplets for whatever rhythmic value that you currently have set as your grid.
At times, you'll also want to grab a note and move it and have it not constrained by the grid. You can toggle on and off the grid using the number four. So on a Mac, that would be Command 4, and on a PC, Control 4. So now with the grid toggled off, we can see off down in the lower right-hand corner, and you can also see that the grid lines are now dashed instead of solid lines. Command 4 will bring that back. If you actually like adaptive grid at times and fixed grid at others, you can toggle that on and off using the number five.
Command 5 would turn it on in this case. So now if I right-click, I can see that I'm in adaptive grid, and if I go back down and hit Command 5 again and right-click again, now I can see I'm back in fixed grid. Likewise, you're probably going to want to know how to set the start and stop points on your loop, both in the loop brace in the clip overview area, and also with the loop brace in the ruler up in the arrangement view area.
I can set that start and stop point on the loop by hovering my cursor over the triangles on the right or left-hand side and clicking and dragging those triangles. Or you can also use your Command key if you're on a Mac, or the Control key on your PC, and then you can just Command-click or Control-click where you want the start point to be. If I hold down my Command key and click here around bar two right on the brace, it'll move that marker over, and then if I move down just below that, it'll move the second triangle over.
Similar to that, if I hold down Shift and Command on a Mac, or Shift and Control on a PC, I can set the end points. You can see that that's a bit messy and it doesn't automatically snap to grid. Let me drag those back to where we started, and let's talk about the loop brace up in the arrangement area. This is something we're going to use a lot when you're punch recording, or you want to have loop playback, or you want to make a loop record pass. We can, again, set the beginning and end of that by hovering our mouse over the right or left edge and dragging.
If the edge is selected, you can use your right arrow to make it longer by the current grid value, or the left arrow to shorten it. We can do the same thing if we click-select the other side of the loop brace and hit our right arrow now to shorten it, and our left arrow to lengthen it. You can also move the loop brace by the grid amount by selecting it and hitting the right arrow to move right and the left arrow to move left. You can move the loop brace by the length of the loop brace by hitting your up arrow key or your down arrow key to move it back and forth.
Adjusting the grid size is something that you'll do frequently when working in Ableton. I suggest that you practice and memorize the keyboard shortcuts as it will save time and frustration. Likewise, I find knowing how to size and move the loop brace in both clip and arrangement view speeds up my work.
- Choosing the right gear for a home recording studio
- Setting audio and MIDI preferences
- Optimizing performance
- Loading, playing, and moving clips
- Working with Live sets
- Recording and overdubbing MIDI
- Using groove quantization
- Editing pitch, velocity, and duration
- Looping audio
- Working with locators
- Creating beats with Impulse
- Building instrument racks and drum racks
- Recording and editing automation
- Creating sounds with Wavetable
- Using Max for Live devices