Use 3rd Party Drum Plugins with the Ableton Push Controller

Using 3rd Party Drum Plugins with Ableton Push

The Ableton Push is a super-flexible songwriting tool and its Drum sequencer view is particularly helpful for building out beats quickly. But when you add a third-party drum plug-in to a MIDI track, Push only gives you its general melodic keyboard interface, not the super-handy Push drum pad and sequencing interface. If you want to use a third-party drum module like NI’s Battery or Toontrack’s Superior Drummer with Push’s drum-programming interface, you’ll need to follow a few simple, but often-overlooked steps.


taking a drum break

Musical cross-training

If there’s one title that should be on my gravestone, it’s ‘bassist’.  I know this, it’s the foundation of who I am.  But I’ve got to admit a dirty secret – being relegated to 4 (or more commonly, 5) strings isn’t enough to quell my need to learn.  Musical cross-training is my new jam.  And I’m not sure I can stop.


NAMM Show Floor (2014)

Gear Acquisition Syndrome, or NAMM – Day One

It’s the opening day of Winter NAMM 2017, the music gear event of the year for most musicians I know.  Vendors roll out their latest drool-worthy instruments and gear. And there’s a name for the affliction many musicians emerge from NAMM with – Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS).

Umm… Gear Acquisition Syndrome?

Yep, it’s a thing. GAS’s key symptom is a relentless drive to grab your wallet and upgrade all your instruments, gear, and accessories to the shiny new hotness you’ve just played with.  When it comes to GAS afflictees, I’m pretty much a poster child – so it’s a good thing that I’m not attending in person this year.  Restraining my wallet hand is getting easier with age, but from early signs we may need medics at NAMM this year.  It’s gonna be a gear acquisition syndrome outbreak!

Here’s my first two candidates for ‘wallet magnet of the week’.


Record Great Audio with your Smartphone

3 Simple Tricks to Record Great Audio with Your Phone

There’s an old saying: Nothing ruins a great video like lousy audio. And when using consumer cameras, you’re often stuck with a less-than-optimal microphone to begin with.  But if you have a reasonably modern smartphone, you have all you need to record great audio wherever you might be.  Here’s three simple tricks I rely on regularly to help you get the most out of your smartphone, and capture awesome sound on your next project.



An armchair, post-NAMM wishlist.

I always look forward to January, and my annual trip to the NAMM show in Anaheim to gawk at the cutting edge of music hardware (and software).  When I realized my schedule wouldn’t get me to NAMM this month I was bummed, but kept my ears and eyes peeled online. Despite no significant time on the show floor this year, there were a few announcements and developments at NAMM 2015 that still caught my attention. It should come as no surprise that I’m rather focused on effects & amps for guitar & bass. Here’s my video post-NAMM wishlist, with commentary.


July 2013: My ear magnets

July was an interesting month for listening. I was a bit over-obsessed with French pop/hip-hop and the grandiose new release from Aussie prog-rock uberheroes Karnivool, but still fit in some old Beastie Boys and a spattering of west-coast American hipster pop fluff. Makes a fun mix for a bright summer’s day.