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How to create a bassline from a drum loop

Tip of the Day: How to create a bassline from a drum loop

Did you ever feel stuck in repetitive bass loops or could not come up with something better than sidechaining long bass notes?

One trick you can use, is converting your drum tracks or basically any drum loop you can find, into catchy bass figures and there are several ways to do it:

  1. converting your audio drum loop to a MIDI file - with Ableton´s very own function “Convert melody to MIDI

  2. if your drum loop has a lot of layers, treat it like a multi-voiced pad or synth and convert it to a polyphonic MIDI file using Ableton´s “Convert Harmony to MIDI

  3. Slicing your audio drum track or a random drum loop to MIDI (there is a built-in function in Ableton “Slice to MIDI”) and get inspired by the rhythmic variety, that you might not have come up with yourself

Midi Tools Ableton


That´s not creative? Yes it is, because there might be this one bass idea captured in a drum loop, that you are about to set free and show it to the world. We are not suggesting, that you use the exact outcome of the converting process, but we definitely recommend seeing it as a source of inspiration and a starting point.


No. 1 With the technique described in 1 (on top in this articel), you will most likely get a very basic “translation” of your drum loop, highlighting the kick and the snare in your bass line.

To actually hear the automatically designed bass, just assign your favorite synth (or one of our huge-sounding bass presets for Massive or Serum) to the newly created MIDI track and give it a go!

Tip 1: Don´t use standard or boring sounding drum loops!

Go through your library or capture a cool loop with your audio tracking device, to insert a loop that has some interesting rhythms going on.

No. 2 The 2nd technique is very similar to the 1st one, but might create a more layered and multidimensional outcome, since a little hihat fill or ride cymbal can always trigger an extra MIDI note, that will spice up your bass line. Just assign your synth and start rocking out!

Tip 2: Try finding a drum loop with some additional musical info like a fuzzy synth or a crazy atonal sample - since a bass is not multi-lingual and speaks only one voice, this technique might trigger your bass to speak in a cool dialect, that no one has heard before ;) !

No. 3 This technique requires the most tweaking, since you probably do not want to create a chromatically ascending bass line every time. If you hit the “Slice to MIDI” button in Ableton, you will get a file, that is layed out on as many MIDI notes as you have cuts (or better transients) in your sample.

Slicing Audio to Midi view


But if you flatten that MIDI information, using only the notes you want for your bass and just use the rhythmically interesting parts of the generated file, you will come up with funky stuff!


Trouble finding cool Chords to your Bass Lines?

Then check out this Online Course on Harmony & Chord Progressions and learn it in your own pace with great examples!

You will learn:



1. Principles of Western Harmony

2. Theory behind Chord Progressions

3. Theory applied on real track

4. Rules and codes for "hit-song" progressions  

... and a lot more!

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