18 Ukulele Instrument Racks, created from a multi sampled ukulele. Contains easy to play chords, plucked strings, and reversed sample playback.
It's summertime and I wanted to create something that captured the spirit of hot sun, the beach and warm evenings. The ukulele originated in Hawaii, which makes it the perfect subject for my latest Ableton Live Pack!
I sampled my ukulele using a modified Rode NT5 microphone. I recorded samples of 36 different notes and 34 chords. The Live Pack I've built from those samples contains 18 Ableton Live Instrument Racks, each with Macro controls that allow you to manipulate and sculpt its sound.
A Playable Ukulele Instrument with a Few Extra Tricks
First there is the multi-sampled ukulele instrument. It contains 36 samples of single notes. Because I wanted a realistic ukulele sound, I've set it up round robin style. Every time you play a note, 1 of 3 samples will be triggered at random. That means that every time you play a sequence of notes it will sound slightly different, just like it would on a real ukulele. I've also tied the release time of each note to the velocity, so you can have longer, sustained notes the harder you hit the keys or short plucks with a softer press. The result is a very natural sounding replication.
The Macro controls allow you to spice the instrument up a bit. There's an arpeggiator, which makes playing chords and fast lines a breeze. Next you have a morphable filter, which will help sculpt away frequencies you don't want. The Moving Auto Filter control gives the instrument a moving, stereo filter. You can add in Tremolo, which will give you some cool volume effects. And finally there is Reverb and Delay to give your ukulele a sense of space.
From this instrument I've also created a Reverse Ukulele. This instrument will play the samples in reverse, creating a really interesting swelling sound that suddenly cuts off.
I've also build a pad instrument, by looping small sections of the samples. The vibration of the strings make for a nice texture to a pad, and it is an ideal instrument for long sustained notes and chords.
Easy Chords with the Touch of a Pad!
I thought it would be nice to trigger chords with the touch of one key. So I sampled a major and minor chord for A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. For each chord there are two samples: a strum, in which the notes are played by running my thumb down the strings, and a pluck, in which all four strings are plucked simultaneously. Each chord occupies a cell in a drum rack, and they can all be modified individually. You can transpose each chord so that the drum rack is in key with your song. I play a short chord progression using this drum rack in the opening of the video above.
The final set of instruments are made up of each chord stretch across the musical keyboard. This instrument is nice for hearing the chords played back at different pitches and speeds. You can adjust the way the sample loops to easily create sustained chord pads.