Ableton Live Quick Tip: The Basics of Parameter Automation

Ableton Live is a simple-looking tool on its face, presenting only the essential functions in an explicit way.  However, if you dig a little deeper you’ll find all sorts of clever functionality that can make your music production life a whole lot easier.

While these things might not seem that special to people who are used to more traditional DAWs where there are lots of functions spread across numerous floating toolbars, those of us who are addicted to Live’s minimalist interface still need the ability to carry out more advanced editing features when it comes time to put the final polish on a track.

In this Ableton tutorial video, I cover some basic concepts related to recording and editing automation curves in Live.  Some of these functions will be obvious to the majority of users, but I suspect at least one or two of them might will be new to many of you, especially the newcomers to Live.

At the very least, this video will serve as a no fluff crash course on automation in Live for you veterans who might be set in your ways and looking to learn some new tricks:

Automation in Ableton Live:

Ableton Live Quick Tip: The Basics of Parameter Automation by

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12 Responses to “Ableton Live Quick Tip: The Basics of Parameter Automation”

  1. thesimplicityAugust 10, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    I never knew about the shift-drag to delete points. Thanks! That’s going to save me a lot of time cleaning up automation.

    • solAugust 11, 2010 at 4:46 am #

      good tips. forgot about the shift-drag as well.

  2. Ed McLeanAugust 14, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    Another set of handy tips, thanks Nick!

  3. Pete HoramAugust 14, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    I forgot about the shift drag. Good shortcut info too. Any chance you could do a detailed warping one? I could warp great in previous live versions but i’ve never really got it down in Live 8.


  4. Edwin James LynchSeptember 21, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    Great tips, Nick! I’ve seen parabolic curves on some tute stills – can Live do ramp in / outs with parabolic curves instead of lines?

    • NickMarch 16, 2011 at 12:38 am #

      You can do fade-ins and fade-outs in the latest version with a little bit of control over curve shape, but nothing close to what I’d like to see!

  5. horsieMarch 16, 2011 at 12:23 am #

    thanks a lot mate, appreciate it !

    • NickMarch 16, 2011 at 12:38 am #

      My pleasure 🙂

  6. rohith joshuaApril 24, 2012 at 5:06 am #

    Whenever i try to record in automation, my midi clip gets recorded over. How do i stop this?

    • NickApril 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

      My guess is that you are running a loop where Live is overdubbing the recorded information on each pass. Are you working in a clip in the Session view or are you working in Arrange view?

  7. DuaneSeptember 26, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    whenever I try to get a gradual rise from a filter I am only capable of writing in what I would describe as a square sine wave. this of course makes it impossible for me to get my rise. whats going wrong?

  8. Benny GoodtimesJuly 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Nice tutorial man. Really informative and concise. Thanks

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