Controlling Ableton amp modelling

amp_chain2I’ve recently ditched my zoom floor pedal, which was creating the basic guitar tones I want. The generous gift of a new laptop from my children has given me enough CPU power to look at modelling withing Ableton. The internal amp plugin has a variety of basic amps, with the usual controls.

Figuring out a foot pedal method of simultaneously switching one preset on as another goes off another looked tricky. At first, I mapped the basic” amp type” choice to a slider, which allowed me to jump through the 7 amp types. To quote from the Live website

Clean is based on the “Brilliant” channel of a classic amp from the ’60s. This amp was widely used by guitarists of the British Invasion.
Boost is based on the “Tremolo” channel of the same amp, and is great for edgy rock riffs.
Blues is based on a ’70s-era guitar amp with a bright character. This classic amp is popular with country, rock and blues guitarists.
Rock is modeled after a classic 45 watt amp from the ’60s. Perhaps the best known rock amp of all time.
Lead is based on the “Modern” channel of a high-gain amp popular with metal guitarists.
Heavy is based on the “Vintage” channel of the same amp and is also ideal for metal and grunge sounds.
Bass is modeled after a rare PA from the ’70s which has become popular with bass players due to its strong low end and “fuzz” at high volumes.
Cabinet is a separate effect that provides a selection of classic guitar cabs with optimized mics.

But, I only wanted to use certain amps so I need to find another way around the selection issue. The solution I’m using is to create an audio effect rack with the required amps added. Next, you create chain controls, divide the selector bars equally (a right click option), then map the chain slider (circled in green) to a slider. Apparently, when working this way, only 1 amp is ever using CPU power at a time, so you can add as many as you want. Since each amp is in a different chain, you can add other FX as required, such as a touch of compression on the clean chain.

amp_chain3

Each amp is then tweaked for tone, then I mapped the same fader to cover both volume and gain. I inverted the range (see below)  so that as the gain rises, the volume falls. In the map area, you can also quickly adjust min/max for each amp, since each amp model treats the relationship differently differently. Essentially, I want the tone to change as the gain increases, but not the volume.

You set the minimum volume to your basic guitar level, so you can’t fade the volume all the way out (I did this at a recent gig, it took me 5 mins to realise what I’d done and restore the sound!) Here’s the mapping for the chain controller and you repeat for each amp in the rack.

amp_chain1

No doubt this will evolve, I’ll keep you up to speed…..


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