Ableton Drum Step Sequencer for APC40 (no Max for Live)

I recently got an Akai APC40 to use with Ableton, and have been having fun with it’s features. Right off the bat I could tell that it could really use other “user-modes” like the Launchpad, which would allow you to map the grid/ clip matrix buttons to other things. Turns out that through some crafty programming Hanz Petrov of has done just that. I downloaded the APC40 script that Hanz Petrov calls the APC40-21.
The link is about 10% down from the top on this page

What this awesome script allows you to do is to press “Shift+Track Select Button) to choose one of 8 various matrix modes. In modes 3-8 the matrix sends plain old static midi notes. This can be great for hard assigning them to drum racks, to launch dummy clips like Tom Cosm’s Megaset includes, or for creating a step drum sequencer.

Check here for an article on how to install midi remote scripts and setting them up in Ableton.

Next I came across this awesome 2 part video from DMJmaChineandi about how to create a drum step sequencer for the APC40 without using Max for Live and without using tons of channels. The entire drum sequencer is contained within one midi clip on one midi channel and a second midi channel is used to create a stepping metronome if you like.

After following this very closely, I was able to create a drum step sequencer that I was satisfied with. It uses the modes “shift+7” and “shift+8” on the APC40 to give me a 1 bar long, 5 drum sequencer with 16 steps. The 5 horizontal rows of the clip launch matirx correspond with each drum. Selecting mode “shift+7” shows the first half of the bar, and mode “shift+8” shows the second half of the bar. The clip stop buttons have been remapped to show a visual, stepping metronome. As long as you “launch” the first clip in the metronome track, everything lines up. Otherwise it can get wacky is you stop Ableton and restart when the metronome is “mid sequence”.

I will save you all the effort and give you a step sequencer project to have fun with. You will need to get Hanz Petrov’s script first and follow the instruction on how to install it and set it up. Please comment if you like the step sequencer project or have any suggestions.


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2 thoughts on “Ableton Drum Step Sequencer for APC40 (no Max for Live)

  1. Hi, I worked on a uni project and made a step sequencer for the apc40 too, althought this is a standalone (using max/msp, you can run in max runtime which is free). It is only 8 step, but does have dedicated filters, delay and reverb included in the patch. thought you might be interested. There is a link in the description of my video to my wordpress blog with more details. – check it out here

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