Learn the bass with Fender’s new online course

Fender are expanding their Fender Play tuition series with bass lessons for budding bassists to hone their chops.

Fender have added bass lessons to Fender Play, the third instrument available to learn through the online tuition course joining guitar and ukulele. The lessons will teach viewers a range of styles and artists techniques with lessons covering influences from James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Maroon 5, Bob Marley, and others.

The Fender Play courses offer up bite-sized lessons which players will progress through before moving onto new techniques, harder songs, and more advanced skills. New specific lessons will cover bass-exclusive skills like slap bass, hammer-ons, playing bass with a pick instead of fingers, how to read rhythm and ghost notes.

The Fender Play courses are available on iPhone, iPad, Android, and desktop. Anyone can sign up for 30-days free at play.fender.com after which it costs $9.99/£9.99 a month or you can save money by paying for a whole year at $89.99/£89.99.

Here’s what’s new with Bass lessons on Fender Play:
  • NEW BASS INSTRUCTORS: Learn from top bass instructors Pete Griffin, Chelsea Stevens, Ozzy Carmona, Nikki Stevens, Darren McGuire, Dan Ellis, Travis Dykes and Harley Duggan; they join the Fender Play team from prestigious schools, like Berklee College of Music and Musician’s Institute in Hollywood
  • SONGS: Play favorite bass-driven songs, including:
    “Basketcase” – Green Day
    “Everlong” – Foo Fighters
    “I Got You (I Feel Good)” – James Brown
    “Move On Up” – Curtis Mayfield
    “One Love” – Bob Marley
    “Push it” – Salt-N-Pepa
    “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” – The Ramones
  • MULTIPLE CAMERA ANGLES: Easily see finger placement with “close up” shots designed for new players and a unique “over-the-shoulder” camera angle that captures the player’s point of view
  • VARIETY: Learn a blend of popular styles–including funk, rock, R&B, blues and pop
  • BASS IN CONTEXT: Leverage backing drum loops and click tracks–as featured in Fender Tune Player Pack–and learn how to lock in with the rhythm section. Many bass songs also feature corresponding guitar lessons, designed as complements, so players can practice with friends
  • SKILLS: Explore five levels and hundreds of lessons teaching reading and counting rhythm, slap bass, how to jam with a drummer, slides, walking bass, moveable patterns, playing with a pick, arpeggios, building basslines and more. Learn a skill, then play a song using those techniques
  • TOOLS: Look up concepts with the “Bass Glossary” and easily follow along with song tablature
  • TRACK PROGRESS: See progress in real time on a dashboard tracking number of songs/riffs, courses and lessons completed

Native Instruments tease the follow up to monumental Massive synth

After ten long years Native Instrument’s Massive synth is still a versatile favourite for many producers. But at last we’re getting a sequel to the phenomenal plugin.

Native Instruments have announced a long awaited successor to their amazing Massive synth plugin which has been hailed by producers around the world for it’s quality and deep customisation abilities. Over 10 years of refinement and advancements will go into the newly announced Massive X which will completely redesign itself from the original, with the original Massive team of creators behind it.

Native Instruments announced the new plugin last week to a collective cheer of producers and musicians around the world. Now we’re got our first look of the instrument in an exciting, sneak peek, introduction video. You don’t get a detailed look at it or an idea of just what it will be like but NI are promising “A Next Generation Sound Engine”.

Massive X will feature a whole new host of features and effects packaged into one new powerful instrument that will make sound creation for artists even more diverse and textured. Details are very scarce currently but Music Radar have had a lucky sneak peek at the UI and say it “has a more modular design than its predecessor, which enables synth elements to be changed and rearranged a little like Reaktor Blocks, albeit stopping slightly short of fully modular routing”.

We’ll have to wait until February until we can get our hands on it, though we will no doubt be seeing and hearing lots more before then. Massive X will be a free download to Komplete 12 owners and owners of the original Massive will be offered the new VST plugin at a discounted price.

4 free plugins that will transform your music

Plugins help you transform your music and sounds. Having a good collection of plugins on hand to enhance your music will take your production to the next level. Here are 4 of the best ones you can download without spending a penny.

Each plugin has an example of how it sounds when used on audio. You can hear the raw file below to see how each plugin transforms your sound.

Roughrider 2 (Vintage-Style Compressor)

Audio Damage Roughrider free pluging music production

Add some bite to your rhythmic tracks using Audio Damage’s Roughrider Compressor. Add gentle, parallel compression to your tracks, or instead add some grit and push by pushing the plug in harder. Despite Audio Damage describing the VST as having limited versatility, I adore the vintage style warmth it adds to drums, effected vocals and bass lines.

Download here for Mac and Windows: www.audiodamage.com/pages/free-downloads

Valhalla Freq Echo (Frequency Shifter + Analogue Echo Emulation)

valhalla frequency echo freq plugin free music production

This is a great delay plug in with the capabilities of a chorus/vibrato. The Valhalla Freq Echo supplies multiple changeable parameters, such as low cut and high cut controls for the feedback path, allowing for finer control over the echo decay. Drastically altering the shift and delay cleverly can yield some very weird and interesting results. Or, more simply, small alterations can lead to some beautiful modulating delays.

Download for Mac and Windows: valhalladsp.com/shop/delay/valhalla-freq-echo

Softube Saturation Knob (Saturator)

plugin free music production softube saturation

Softube’s nifty little one-knob saturator fattens up your tracks and adds distortion that works in multiple different contexts. The three modes of saturation give three different characters to the effect. I use it to add a gentle grit to drum lines and vocals, and drive it harder for warmly distorted bass and synth; bringing out certain frequencies into the mix.

Download for Mac and Windows: www.softube.com/index.php?id=satknob

Izotope Vinyl (Vinyl Emulator)

plugin free music production izotope vinyl

Izotope Vinyl is the perfect plug in for any lo-fi producer, along with a vast number of different genres. You can add various different vinyl-style characteristics to your individual tracks, such as crackling, saturation and deliberate warping. Apply as much or as little of each as you want to make your tracks sound warm, nostalgic and intentionally vintage.

Download for Mac and Windows: www.izotope.com/en/products/create-and-design/vinyl.html

Who needs music theory when plugins make songs for you now

Plugins are getting more sophisticated all the time, but when do their abilities go beyond a tool and just start making music for you?

A new MIDI plugin from developers Re-Compose could be music-maker’s best friend of worst enemy, depending on how you view it’s abilities. Their I2C8 plugin is in Re-Compose’s words an “innovative real-time MIDI generator and MIDI sequence generator for both studio and live application” and in other words, a chord generating plugin.

The plugin uses music intelligence algorithms to create patterns and chords in MIDI, essentially composing a chord sequence or even an entire song depending on how you use it. Now this could be used as a really valuable tool for producers who focus more on sound design but it takes away from one of the core elements of creating music – in fact even the core part of writing a song. But music has changed.

Now there’s still room for personalisation. You input options to decide how it creates it’s progression and then, once it has spat out it’s results you can customise each chord manually as much as you like. The plugin uses patterns to determine it’s creations and adding or changing pattern symbols automatically generates new chords for positions and creates a set of eight alternative chord sequences for your current symbols.

It’s easy to see a plugin like this as an attack on music traditionalism, or simply talent and skill. Whilst a chord generator does take away a very human element of creation, it opens up possibilities for a whole new generation of music making. In the age of electronic production music has transformed in many ways and sound design can be just as, if not more important, in certain producers workflow. This plugin isn’t meant to replace musicians but instead aid less traditionally experienced musicians.

If you’re interested in Re-Compose’s IC28 it’s available for pre-order at 30% off it’s $69 price, for just $39 until October 15th. Pre-order and find out more about the plugin here: www.re-compose.com/i2c8-chord-generator-software.html

Create state-of-the-art dance music with Korg’s new ELECTRIBE app

Korg’s powerful new iOS app has just launched for creating deep and layered dance music with a host of incredible features and tools.

It’s almost 20 years since Korg launched their revolutionary ELECTRIBE series. Their new ELECTRIBE Wave app for iOS offers powerful wavetable sounds for creating “state-of-the-art dance music” like EDM, Future, Bass, and Trap whether you’re an amateur or a pro DJ.

The ELECTRIBE Wave app has been created with simplicity in mind so that there are no barriers to creating new and extensive mixes. Whilst accessibility is key with the app it is packed full of features that allow you to explore sounds, expand on ideas and flesh out projects into full mixes and tracks.

Here’s what Korg’s great new app comes packed with:

Powerful wavetable sound suitable for the latest in EDM

ELECTRIBE Wave has a sound wavetable featuring sounds widely used in the latest music creation. Unlike a PCM synth, the wavetable allows you to repeatedly play fragments of short waveforms, and change the waveform position during playback. By combining the wavetable (which features a rich variety of presets) with a powerful filter and two modulation units, you can create an infinite number of innovative and sharp sounds that cannot be produced using standard PCM synths. Even without a deep knowledge of synthesis techniques, the carefully selected parameters make it easy to craft your sound.

Improved user interface for quick composition

The familiar 16-step pad in the ELECTRIBE series enables speedy rhythm production. The ELECTRIBE Wave also features a new keyboard to play chords and scales. Even without musical knowledge, you can have fun making tracks without worrying about wrong notes. The sequencer features Groove, which can be used to breathe life into rhythm parts, as well as a special keyboard to enable smooth step input for synth parts on the graphical user interface.

Convenient chord pad that allows you to play a chord with one finger

ELECTRIBE Wave features a chord pad that allows you to play chords with one finger. If you use the “Fetch” function, it will automatically extract the chords from the song that you are in the middle of creating and assign those chords to the pad for fast and easy song creation. You can also easily assign and save your favourite chords. In addition you can use the arpeggiator to create new phrases!

Motion Sequence records and plays temporal changes in sounds and effects

The ELECTRIBE series introduced a powerful motion sequence function that remembers and reproduces the movement of the knobs. ELECTRIBE Wave now offers this function for the synthesizer/drum parts so you can create a flow of sound overflowing with originality. If you use the built in KAOSS PAD you can change the sound to drastically with a single fingertip, easily storing and reproducing temporal changes. Remember the wave table POSITION to make real time minute changes to the sound performance.

Song mode can combine patterns into finished songs

Use song mode to create a new track by simply arranging the order of existing patterns. Using only the ELECTRIBE Wave, you can take a song all the way from inspiration to completion. With audio file export, you can send a complete song or inidividual patterns to your favourite DAW, or upload to services like SoundCloud.

Korg Electribe is available  from the Apple App Store for $19.99/£19.99.

Get over 2GB of samples and loops for free

Loopmasters and MusicTech are offering over 2 gigabytes of great samples and loops to mix and play with and it’s completely free.

MusicTech have teamed up with one of the most expansive sample sites, Loopmasters, to offer hundreds of high quality and brilliant samples and loops for free. When you register for a Loopmasters account from MusicTech’s register page you’ll get their “Designer Dance Collection” added into your downloads section.

The “Designer Dance Collection” is a special bundle of one-shot sounds taken from the acclaimed Designer Dance sample Collections on Loopmasters’ RV Sample Packs label.  Inside you will find a handpicked selection of Drum one-shots, Bass Stabs, Sound Effects and Synth Hits produced and mastered by top producers and ready to load into your sampler.

In addition, enjoy the following features when you register below and download Loopcloud. (Loopcloud allows you to easily find the perfect sound from your previous Loopmasters purchases or from browsing over 5 million samples directly in the cloud).

  • Loopmasters 1GB Welcome pack (inside your Loopmasters account)
  • Bonus Loopcloud registration pack (only available inside of Loopcloud)
  • Free weekly sounds (inside of Loopcloud)
  • 500 free Loopcloud shop credits

Loopmasters are also offering MusicTech readers a 30% discount code for any purchase in the Loopmasters shop. Using the code ‘MT30’ anyime before November 8th will provide a 30% discount on any non-sale items.

So what are you waiting for? Register now and add to your collection.

Tracktion’s full, unlimited DAW T7 is now available free to all

Music makers can get excited about getting their hands on some excellent music creation software without pulling out your wallets as Tracktion’s T7 DAW goes FREE.

Tracktion’s T7 DAW is only 2 years old, releasing in 2016 at $60 for the full version of the varied and powerful Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Tracktion have now released the full DAW as freeware meaning that anyone can download and use Tracktion T7 as much as they want to craft all of their musical compositions at no cost at all. This continues a trend beginning in 2015 when Tracktion made the 5th iteration of their music software free to download and have released the next version free each year since.

The DAW comes in FULL with all of it’s features, it’s not a lite version or a trial – the whole package is free! T7 comes with unlimited numbers of audio and MIDI tracks and a professional feature set, allowing you to compose, record, edit, mix, and share your music easily.

When they launched T7, Tracktion designed a new user interface for the software which they nick named ‘Blue Steel’ because “this screen is designed for serious action”. The interface is designed so that it can pack a load of features into the screen without inhibiting your workflow or creativity. T7 saw greater visual depth and a coordinated colour palette which make it clear and simple to work on.

T7 added an awesome new feature that producers will love which they call Clip Layer Effects. It allows users to stack multiple effects and processing on an individual clip rather than using plugins for an entire track. This means that layers to clips can be active but not taking up screen space whilst you work on other elements of the track whilst remaining easily recalled for any tweaks at any time.

New Automation Patterns allows you to choose a parameter you want automating and easily select a common pattern to apply which you can tweak or leave it as is – making automation as smooth as it should be. Their LFO Modifier was also newly implemented for T7 and allows automation of any parameter on a plugin or channel control element (filter) for more expressive uses of plugins with less effects.

What are you waiting for? Download your free, full version of Tracktion 7 right now.

Control your MIDI devices on iOS with this $1 app

Who needs a MIDI controller when you’ve got an iPhone? Play and record MIDI all from this versatile app for your iOS devices.

Ribn is an iOS app that works as a MIDI controller with 8 assignable ribbons. You can assign a unique MIDI channel and CC (Continuous Controller) to each ribbon if your gear is responsive to MIDI CC messages allowing you to control your instruments, effects, racks or any other devices you have.

The Ribn app is unique in it’s ability to record and loop finger movements so you can create repeating modulations for synths and effects like a complex LFO. The app works simply by using a MIDI interface, wired or bluetooth, to connect your iOS device to MIDI gear and then selecting your interface in the app’s settings. Then you can find out which CC and MIDI channel your gear responds to and enter this in Ribn’s edit view. Then just tap and slide your fingers to control your gear.

Ribn’s features include:

• 8 MIDI CC ribbon pads
• Add modulation to your MIDI hardware synths, effects, eurorack modulars, drum machines, etc.
• Configurable MIDI channel and CC# per ribbon
• Ribbons record and loop your finger movement
• Looping can be turned off to enable standard ribbon sliders
• Choose 2, 4 or 8 ribbons
• Use a wired MIDI interface, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
• All settings are saved automatically
• Works on iPhone (including iPhone X) and iPad

Examples of how it can be used: 

• Control hardware MIDI synths parameters like the filter cutoff frequency, resonance, oscillator octave, etc.
• Control any soft synth in Ableton Live (or your favorite DAW) by connecting your iOS device to your Mac via Wi-Fi and choosing “Session 1” as the MIDI output in Ribn.
• Control your Eurorack modules by running Ribn through a MIDI to CV converter.
• Control drum machines and effects. For example, try controlling the room size of a reverb effect unit with a looping ribbon or the snappiness of a snare drum on a drum machine. The possibilities are endless.
• Daisy chain your MIDI hardware using MIDI Thru ports and assign each ribbon to a different MIDI channel. This way you can control more than one piece of hardware at a time. For example, you can assign the first 4 ribbons to a synth and the last 4 to an effect unit.

You can get Ribn on iPad and iPhone from the Apple App Store for just $0.99/£0.99/€1.09.

Creative ways to make the most of your samples

Samples give new life to your mixes, you can transform samples into completely new sounds and use them like their own instrument. Here’s some inspiration for getting more out of your sampling.

Each section has an audio clip so you can hear just how these methods will transform your samples. Here’s the original audio so you can hear how it has been modified:


Transposing samples can make a considerable and unexpected change to your music and workflow. Hits and loops can be altered to create new tones and timbres, whilst keeping the transients intact. Understanding how to transpose your samples to match the key of your track is a beneficial skill to have; allowing more possibilities to use/you to make the most of a potentially limited audio library. Old sampling techniques caused unwanted speed changes during re-pitching, however many DAWs provide tools to keep your samples’ tempo intact.

stretching samples creative sampling music production sample ableton daw software pitching pitch shift
Ableton Sampler is a powerful tool for transposing clips whilst keeping the tempo intact using the ‘warp’ button.

Slicing and cutting samples is my favourite method of creatively modifying the sounds available to me. Slicing samples by transients or quantised measures is an effective and sure-fire way of re-purposing and transfiguring your melodies and drum loops. Cutting by transients allows you to construct your own drum lines using the individual hits from a rhythmic loop, as well as re-ordering melodies and hooks you may not have thought to write conventionally. Cutting by rhythmic measures can have equally powerful effects and unconventional outcomes.

stretching samples creative sampling music production sample ableton daw software cutting cut chop slice
In Ableton Sampler, various settings can be altered, including the sensitivity of the slicing as well as how the sample is sliced.

Stretching samples can yield interesting, beautiful and equally experimental results. Modifying your samples in this way means new rhythms, timbres and ways of listening to your samples. Warping clips to fit in with the timing of your track can also open more ways of modifying your sample library and allow for creative experimentation. PaulStretch takes the stretching of samples to a new level, allowing you to stretch your samples up to 800%, resulting in beautiful, choral soundscapes.

stretching samples creative sampling music production sample ableton daw software
When stretching samples, use the ‘beats’ warp setting for rhythmical loops, and the ‘complex’ setting when working with melodically complex samples.

Shredding hard or plucking soul, this free guitar amp sim sounds sick

Do you need to spice up your guitar a bit and give it some texture that it’s missing by going straight through your jack into your sound-card and onto metaphorical paper? Check out this free amp plugin.

Recording guitar is as easy as plugging your guitar into your laptop these days but if you’re going clean into your software you need some help to get those tasty licks sounding tastier. This new free amp simulator plugin offers you a range of quality tones and the best thing of all, it’s entirely free.

The simulator comes from Blue Cat who have based the 3-in-1 free amp plugin on their acclaimed, wicked-sounding Destructor amp simulation modeler. Destructor is Blue Cat’s powerful distortion and amp sim with an incredible sounding range to it’s distortion and amp tones. The Blue Cat Free Amp uses the same engine to give you a taste of just what the Destructor is capable of in the shape of 3 adjustable amps: Classic Clean, Classic Drive, and Modern Drive.

Blue Cat Audio say:

Inspired by legendary guitar amplifiers from the real world, the included “classic clean”, “classic drive” and “modern drive” amp models cover a wide range of guitar amp tones, from clean vintage sounds from the early days of electric guitar to modern high gain metal tones.

Head over to Blue Cat’s website now and nab your free amp simulators and start shredding with a whole new tone built into your PC. No registration required, just head to the site and download the appropriate version from the right-hand of the screen: www.bluecataudio.com/Products/Product_FreeAmp

Blue Cat Audio Standards:

  • Available as: Mac-AAX, Mac-AU, Mac-VST, Mac-VST3, Win-AAX, Win-VST, Win-VST3, Win x64-AAX, Win x64-VST, Win x64-VST3.
  • Native DSP code for optimal performance.
  • Full MIDI control and automation support with silent, zipper-free parameters update, advanced response control and MIDI Learn.
  • No CPU load on idle: when the plug-in is fed with silence, the processing smoothly shuts down, to optimize the CPU usage of your Digital Audio Workstation.
  • Customizable user interface with transparency management and zoom.
  • Smooth Bypass: activate/deactivate the plug-in with absolutely no noise.
  • Undo/Redo.
  • Full featured integrated presets manager.
  • Copy/paste the state of the plug-in between instances using the system clipboard.
  • Any sample rate supported.