Multi Sampling in Ableton

Multi-sampling is the process of taking an instrument and recording notes from it and then using these recorded samples and assigning them to their correlated note. This process usually is used to improve the realism of samples of conventional instruments. An example of this is, if a musician wanted create a sampled saxophone they might choose to record every 5th note in the instrument’s chromatic scale. This would mean that each sample would be assigned to a span of five notes. If a given sample is that of an F played on the sax, the sample could be assigned to Eb, E, F, F#, and G, so that if any of these notes are played through MIDI, the F sample will be used and pitch shifted appropriately for the played note.

The instrument that I will be using to demonstrate multi sampling is a Legacy electric guitar that I purchased from an OP Shop for $50. It sounds fairly average and has been tuned according to a guitar tuning app on my phone.


I started by connecting the guitar lead to my Scarlett Solo interface and setting up an Audio track in Ableton for recording. Once this was done, I decided on a scale I would record and the notes that I would record from this scale. As someone who is fairly new to playing the guitar, I chose the easiest notes I could find on the F Major scale, these being an A, C, D and G. As pointed out earlier, it would have been better if I were to record every few notes, however, I am only a beginner guitar player and these were the few notes I felt comfortable playing. The notes I recorded were then cut up, topped and tailed and I then chucked the native Ableton tuner onto the track to check that the notes I played were indeed correct, and in tune. They were each relatively close, as pictured below, with small fluctuations in the tail and top of each note so no pitch correction was needed.1eo-lqeitosjzb57igmatqThe notes produced the following sound:

From here, I inserted a MIDI track and placed the native Ableton sampler on this track. The zone category on the sampler is then selected, which produces a window that looks like this:


This window allows me to drop multiple samples onto their correlating notes and assign them to specific MIDI zones. This means that the sampler will automatically stretch the sample to each desired note. All of the samples being used then must be selected and dropped into the region. These samples will be automatically renamed to the root audio file, so any name changes or names of notes, etc. will need to be redone before moving forward. By default, each note placed in the zone will have a root note of C. To be able to assign each individual note to a specific zone, each root must be changed to its corresponding pitch. The sampler now looks like this, with the G note root being shown.


The final step in multi sampling is to distribute each sample so that each note is played on an individual MIDI key and all notes are not played at the same time. To do this, each sample must be highlighted, right clicked and ‘distribute ranges around root key’ selected. Once this is done, Ableton will automatically trim each zone up until the next sample begins. This means that only one sample plays within its specified zone and looks like this:


That’s the general gist of multi sampling! Basically, I have used Ableton’s native sampler to create an instrument that can be played like that of any other MIDI instrument. To demonstrate this, here’s a small audio sample using the multi sample patch as intended:




How To: Multisampling with Sampler. (2017). Ableton. Retrieved 13 December 2017, from

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