“The Blue Hand” for Instant Mapping in Ableton Live

blue hand print

So you might be like “what the heck is that blue hand i keep seeing in Ableton Live?”.

The blue hand will magically take hold of the controls of the selected device… IF you have instant mapping enabled for a midi controller.

Whatever device you have last clicked on the header bar of with your mouse (or selected via key commands or midi) will have the blue hand, and will be controlled by instant mapping.

I used this guide to help me figure out how to set this up for my Novation Nocturn controller. I didn’t like the knobs being lined up numerically rather than mimicking the physical positioning of the 8 knobs in racks, so i changed the values to re-map them. I also set up my BCR-2000 controller to have a scene with a set of 8 knobs which provide instant mapping powers.

You can right-click on a device to select “lock controller” options for any available controllers. This will, as you might guess, lock that controller to controlling that device, until you deselect it. If you have more than one controller setup with instant mapping, you can have more than one blue hand. I will often temporarily lock one controller to a specific device to be able to control it while moving the view around, and using the second controller to manipulate any selected device on the fly. This is equally useful for live performance and for studio experimentation.

You can also use controllers to automatically control other things in Live.
To find out what your midi controller does in “control surface mode”, go to the menu and select “help view”.  In the  select “midi controllers” near the bottom and click on “To learn specifically about setting up MIDI control surfaces, click here.” Go to the next page and click on “Control Surface Reference“, then select your controller from the list. For these controls to operate as such, the specific controller must be selected under “midi-sync preferences”, and must not be custom-mapped.

In addition to controlling racks, you can also control any native Ableton device with a blue hand.
SO… it’s easy to control any audio effect, instrument, or midi effect rack with the blue hand if you have a controller with 8 knobs set up in a similar arrangement (2 rows of 4 knobs).
HOWEVER… it’s not at all intuitive to control devices directly with instant mapping, since it’s hard to tell which parameter is going to be affected unless you memorize them.
THEREFORE… i have made text files (just for you) which include the parameters controlled by the first 8 “instant map” knobs for each and every core Ableton device. You can reference these to see which parameters will be affected by which knob, before you even touch them. Yippee!

Here’s the lists. Click on the titles to download the text files directly:

BlueHand Controls: Audio Effects

Audio Effect Rack_
1-8: Macros 1-8

Amp_
1: Amp Type
2: Bass
3: Middle
4: Treble
5: Presence
6: Gain
7: Volume
8: Dry/Wet

Auto Filter_
1: Filter Cutoff
2: Filter Q
3: Attack
4: Release
5: Envelope Amount
6: LFO Amount
7: LFO Frequency (Hz)
8: LFO Phase

Auto Pan_
1: Modulation Frequency (Hz)
2: LFO Phase
3: Waveform Shape
4: LFO Waveform Type
5: Modulation Frequency (Synced)
6: LFO Offset (Synced)
7: Stereo Width (Random Waveform)
8: Modulation Amount

Beat Repeat_
1: Interval
2: Offset
3: Grid
4: Variation
5: Filter Frequency
6: Filter Bandwidth
7: Repetition Volume
8: Volume Decay

Cabinet_
1: Speaker Size
2: Microphone Position
3: Microphone Type
4: Mono/Stereo
5-7: –
8: Dry/Wet

Chorus_
1: Modulation Amount
2: Modulation Rate
3: Delay 1 Time
4: Delay 1 Highpass
5: Delay 2 Time
6: Delay 2 Mode
7: Feedback
8: Dry/Wet

Compressor_
1: Threshold
2: Ratio
3: Attack
4: Release
5: Auto-Release
6: Linear/Logarithmic
7: Knee
8: RMS Mode

Corpus_
1: Decay
2: Material
3: Filter Frequency
4: Filter Bandwidth
5: Bleed
6: Resonance Type
7: Gain
8: Dry/Wet

Dynamic Tube_
1: Drive
2: Bias
3: Envelope Amount
4: Tone
5: Envelope Attack
6: Envelope Release
7: Output Level
8: Dry/Wet

EQ Eight_
1: Activate Filter 1
2: Activate Filter 2
3: Activate Filter 3
4: Activate Filter 4
5: Activate Filter 5
6: Activate Filter 6
7: Activate Filter 7
8: Activate Filter 8

EQ Three_
1: Low Gain
2: Mid Gain
3: High Gain
4: FreqLow Crossover
5: Low On/Off
6: Mid On/Off
7: High On/Off
8: FreqHi Crossover

Erosion_
1: Frequency
2: Noise Bandwidth
3: Erosion Mode
4: Amount
5-8: –

External Audio Effect_
1: Dry/Wet
2: Output Gain
3: Input Gain
4-8: –

Filter Delay_
1: Frequency 1
2: Bandwidth 1
3: Beat Division 1
4: Offset Percentage 1
5: Feedback 1
6: Pan 1
7: Volume 1
8: Dry Volume

Flanger_
1: Highpass Filter
2: Dry/Wet
3: Delay Time
4: Feedback
5: Envelope Amount
6: Envelope Attack
7: Envelope Release
8: –

Frequency Shifter_
1: Frequency (Coarse)
2: Frequency (Fine)
3: Modulation Mode
4: Ring Mod. Frequency
5: Drive On/Off
6: Drive Level
7: Wide On/Off
8: Dry/Wet

Gate_
1: Threshold
2: Return
3: Flip On/Off
4: Lookahead
5: Attack
6: Hold
7: Release
8: Floor

Glue Compressor_
1: Threshold
2: Ratio
3: Attack
4: Release
5: Soft Clip On/Off
6: Range
7: Dry/Wet
8: Makeup

Grain Delay_
1: Frequency
2: Pitch
3: Delay (ms)
4: Sync Offset Percentage
5: Random Pitch
6: Spray
7: Feedback
8: Dry/Wet

Limiter_
1: Gain
2: Ceiling
3: Release
4: Auto Release On/Off
5: Stereo/L-R
6: Lookahead
7-8: –

Looper_
1: ? (weird behavior)
2: Speed
3: Reverse On/Off
4: Quantization
5: Input->Output
6: Song Control
7: Tempo Control
8: Feedback

Multiband Dynamics_
1: Master Output
2: Master Amount
3: Time Scaling
4: Soft Knee On/Off
5: Peak/RMS Mode
6: High Band Activator
7: Mid Band Activator
8: Low Band Activator

Overdrive_
1: Frequency
2: Bandwidth
3: Drive
4: Tone
5: Dynamics
6-7: –
8: Dry/Wet

Phaser_
1: Poles
2: Color
3: Dry/Wet
4: Frequency
5: Envelope Amount
6: Envelope Attack
7: Envelope Release
8: Feedback

Ping Pong Delay_
1: Frequency
2: Bandwidth
3: Delay (ms)
4: Sync Offset Percentage
5: Time/Sync
6: –
7: Feedback
8: Dry/Wet

Redux_
1: Bit Depth
2: Downsample Mode
3: Downsample (Hard)
4: Downsample (Soft)
5: Bit Reduction On/Off
6-8 –

Resonators_
1: Input Filter Frequency
2: Width
3: Gain
4: Dry/Wet
5: Decay
6: Note 1
7: Color
8: Gain 1

Reverb_
1: Input Frequency
2: Input Bandwidth
3: Predelay
4: Spin On/Off
5: Spin Rate
6: Spin Amount
7: Shape
8: Decay Time

Saturator_
1: Drive
2: Color Base
3: Color Frequency
4: Color Width
5: Color Depth
6: Output Level
7: Dry/Wet
8: Curve Type

Simple Delay_
1: Beat Division L
2: Beat Offset Percentage L
3: Millisecond Delay L
4: Beat Division R
5: Beat Offset Percentage R
6: Millisecond Delay R
7: Feedback
8: Dry/Wet

Utility_
1: Width
2: DC Offset Off/On
3: Invert Phase L
4: Invert Phase R
5: Channel Mode
6: Panorama
7: Mute On/Off
8: Gain

Vinyl Distortion_
1: Tracing Model Frequency
2: Tracing Model Bandwidth
3: Tracing Model Gain
4: Crackle Density
5: Pinch Frequency
6: Pinch Bandwidth
7: Pinch Gain
8: Crackle Volume

Vocoder_
1: Formant Shift
2: Attack
3: Release
4: Stereo Mode
5: Output Level
6: Gate Threshold
7: Envelope Depth
8: Dry/Wet

 

BlueHand Controls: Instruments

Drum Rack or Instrument Rack_
1-8: Macros 1-8

Analog_
1: Oscillator 1 Level
2: Oscillator 1 Octave
3: Oscillator 1 Semitone Transpose
4: Oscillator 1 Shape
5: Oscillator 2 Level
6: Oscillator 2 Octave
7: Oscillator 2 Semitone Transpose
8: Oscillator 2 Shape

Collision_
1: Mallet On/Off
2: Mallet Volume
3: Mallet Noise
4: Mallet Stiffness
5: Mallet Color
6-8: –

Electric_
1: Mallet Stiffness
2: Mallet Force
3: Mallet Noise Pitch
4: Mallet Noise Decay
5: Mallet Noise Level
6: Fork Color
7: Fork Decay
8: Fork Level

External Instrument_
1: Gain
2-8: –

Impulse_
1: Slot1 Start
2: Slot1 Transpose
3: Slot1 Stretch
4: Slot1 Saturator Drive
5: Slot1 Filter Frequency
6: Slot1 Filter Resonance
7: Slot1 Pan
8: Slot1 Volume

Operator_
1: Oscillator A Attack
2: Oscillator A Decay
3: Oscillator A Sustain
4: Oscillator A Release
5: Oscillator A Coarse Frequency
6: Oscillator A Fine Frequency
7: Oscillator A Volume < Velocity
8: Oscillator A Level

Sampler_
1: Global Volume
2: Global Attack
3: Global Decay
4: Global Sustain
5: Global Release
6: Global Volume < Velocity
7: Global Envelope Rates < Velocity
8: Global Envelope Time

Simpler_
1: Volume Envelope Attack
2: Volume Envelope Decay
3: Volume Envelope Sustain
4: Volume Envelope Release
5: Sample Start
6: Loop Length
7: Sample Length
8: Loop Crossfade Amount

Tension_
1: Excitator Type
2: String Decay Time
3: String Inharmonicity
4: String Damping Amount
5: Hammer Mass
6: Hammer Stiffness
7: Excitator Velocity
8: Excitator Position

 

BlueHand Controls: Midi Effects

Midi Effect Rack_
1-8: Macros 1-8

Arpeggiator_
1: Style
2: Groove
3: Offset
4: Synced Rate
5: Retrigger
6: Beat Retrigger Interval
7: Repeats
8: Gate

Chord_
1: Shift 1
2: Shift 2
3: Shift 3
4: Shift 4
5: Shift 5
6: Shift 6
7-8: –

Note Length_
1: Time Mode
2: Unsynced Length
3: Synced Length
4: Gate
5: On/Off Balance
6: Decay Time
7: Key Scale
8: –

Pitch_
1: Pitch Transposition
2: Accepted Note Range
3: Lowest Accepted Note
4-8: –

Random_
1: Chance
2: Choices
3: Scale
4: Sign
5-8: –

Scale_
1: Base
2: Transpose
3: Processed Range
4: Lowest Accepted Note
5-8: –

Velocity_
1: Drive
2: Compand
3: Random
4: Mode
5: Out Hi
6: Out Low
7: Input Range
8: Lowest Accepted Velocity

 

blue thumbs up

 

ps In order to allow for selecting the first device in an audio track just by selecting the track it is in, check this out: www.ableton.com/answers/controlling-the-focus-of-the-blue-hand

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2 thoughts on ““The Blue Hand” for Instant Mapping in Ableton Live

  1. Pingback: The Economics of Midi-Learning 4 iOS – Ocsprey

  2. Pingback: ALL Free VST Effect Racks for Immediate Release as of Now | PerforModule

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