M4L: Max for live patch for better guitar solo

Max for Live using Pitch Bend

When using a keyboard to play guitar, you have to use Midi Pitch Bend (Pitchbend or PB) quite often to emulate the effect of bending a string on a real guitar. The problem is that PB affects the sound synthesizer, not the Midi notes. Modifying the synth sound means that every note currently playing will be bent. On a real guitar, it’s generally the highest note that is bent, and sometimes the second highest if you keep pushing on the string, far enough to hit the second string.

So I programmed a small Max for Live (M4L) patch for Ableton Live to let me bend one note only, even when playing chords.

If you use Live, this will mean something to you. Keep reading.

The device is made of two patches. The first is a little program that will identify the highest note and pass it to the second patch. The second patch receives notes sent by the first one and passes them to the synth.

To install, you have to place the first patch in front of your synth in you guitar (or other instrument) track.

Sending patch in front of synth
Sending patch in front of synth

Then, you have to create a separate track with the same instrument and add the second patch (pb receive).

Important: The two tracks have to be record enabled.

When playing, the first patch will continuously monitor the midi notes and identify the highest one, and send it to the receiving patch. Note Off commands are also monitored (actually Note On with velocity zero) to turn off the notes. The first patch will not process Pitch Bend at all. The receiving patch will, of course.

Using this device requires some practice. For example, if you play a chord like C-E-G and press the notes in the order C, E and then G, all three notes will be sent to the second patch because each one was the highest SO FAR at the time it was played. If you pitch bend, the three notes will bend. If you only want the highest note to bend when playing a chord, you have to hit the highest note first. In this example, you’d play G,E then C. It’s easy to get the muscle memory if you spend some time practicing.

Download: PitchBend High Note


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