Soundfly

Home for the Curious Musician

Creating Your Own Default Template in Ableton

By Nick Chen

This article originally appeared on the Splice blog

Part of having a good workflow is maximizing the time you spend producing. Investing time to create a default template of your own allows you to start a session and instantly have all your favorite tools ready to go to make music.

The genres I like producing (trap, future bass, hip-hop) are very drum/rhythm heavy. As such, I use a lot of Ableton’s drum racks and have decided to include that in my default template. I also have different instances of Serum set up in my template as I use it on every song I produce.

One thing to keep in mind is the speed of your computer, a big template can slow down launch times, thus be mindful of creating a template that is lean, but at the same time fits your needs.

I have included a link to download my template at the bottom of this blog post.

+ Learn more on Soundfly: Produce more creative, communicative electronic drum beats with help from Ableton Certified Trainer, Dan Freeman, and a team of personal mentors in our month-long intensive course, Beat Making in Ableton Live.

Creating the Template

The idea of this template is to kickstart your production process. You want it to be open enough to start different types of projects. I usually avoid adding any loops or musical patterns in my default template for that reason.

Here’s a rundown of my personal default template, which is broken down into five different groups:

Battery, Melodic, Bass, Vox, and FX (there is also a Sidechain group)

Battery (Drums and Percussion Elements)

Tracks include: one empty drum rack, two full drum racks of trap and hip-hop samples, Sampler, Kontakt, audio tracks for loops and Palmas (Max for Live clap plugin)

Melodic (Harmonic and Melodic Elements)

Tracks include: Operator, Sample, Synthmaster 2, Kontakt, Wurlitzer (by Arturia), Absynth, Serum, and audio tracks.

Bass (Bass Elements)

Tracks include: Serum, Massive, Operator, Reaktor, and an audio track to record my Novation Mininova.

Vox (Vocal elements)

Tracks include: Sample, Simpler, and three audio tracks open for recording.

FX (Sound Effects and Transitional Elements)

Tracks include: two operators set to white noise, one Sampler, and three audio tracks.

Bonus: Put your go-to effect processing chains (compressor, EQ8, utility, etc) on tracks that you like to speed up your workflow.

Saving the Template

Once you have everything the way you want it, navigate to Ableton’s settings and go to “File” > “Folder.” Click to save using the first option that says “Save Current Set as Default” and you’re good to go!

Don’t Be Afraid to Break the Template

Having a robust template is great, but there are some factors to be wary of. Frequently using the same template over and over again can inhibit your creativity in the long run. To counter that, make sure you update your template every few months so you can keep evolving your sound.

I also recommend occasionally starting projects with a blank slate, simply add a new track and delete the rest of your template tracks. This way you are starting back at zero, which can also inspire creativity.

If you have a template that works for you, let us know in the comments!

Download my Ableton Default Template on Splice.

Whether you’re laying down demosorchestrating digital strings in your DAW, or sampling found sounds in a beat, getting a good mix on your track could mean the difference between failure and fame. Preview Soundfly’s newest and most in-depth mentorship-assisted online courses, Faders Up I & II: Modern Mix Techniques and Advanced Mix Techniquesfor free today!

And right now, if you sign up before March 7th you can get 30% off (that’s $150) with the exclusive code LASTCHANCE !

Feed your musical curiosity. Join our brand new email magazine, Soundfly Weekly.

Soundfly Partners

Soundfly partners with leading edge music education sites and services to bring you unique tips, tools, and stories to empower and inspire our community to find their sound. If you're interested in becoming a content partner, please send articles and inquiries to support(at)soundfly.com!