How to play “Won’t Get Fooled Again” with Gig Performer

How to play “Won’t Get Fooled Again” with Gig Performer

(Yes, there’s a video of the complete process at the end of this article so don’t be afraid to keep reading!)

If you have been watching YouTube videos of people showing you how to play this great song and they’re busy playing 8th note chords something like this:

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then stop immediately and read on to see how this song is really supposed to be played.

So to cut a long story short, you basically play it like this:

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Yeah, that’s right, your left hand is mostly playing whole notes and in fact if the note doesn’t change, you end up holding the note down over many bars, like that very bottom A for example  (my notation skills are not great, all those A notes should be shown tied together)

So what’s going on? In a nutshell,  Pete Townsend did it by feeding the audio output of a Lowry organ into a synth and then programmed the synth (originally an EMS VCS3 and later an ARP 2500) to turn the audio on and off very quickly along with sweeping the filter cutoff frequency.

For the demo with Gig Performer, I’m going to use the new Blue3 hammond plugin along with Arturia’s ARP-2600 plugin.

Below is a picture of the connection view in Gig Performer .

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At the top we have a MIDI input block which is connected to the Blue3 hammond plugin. The audio output of that hammond plugin is connected directly into audio inputs of the ARP plugin. The audio output of the ARP plugin go into a standard Gig Performer Gain control which itself is connected to the audio interface.

Let’s quickly look at how to configure the ARP. I regret that explanations of basic topics such as VCOs, VCFs, VCAs, gates and ADSRs that form the basic elements of a subtractive synth such as this ARP are beyond the scope of this article. Many tutorials on these topics can easily be found via online search.

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Step 1: The audio input appears at the OUT jack of the preamplifier is directly connected to an audio input of the VCF via a green cable (overriding the default audio input which is a ring modulator). The audio output of the VCF is connected directly to the ARP audio outputs (brown cables) and since the cutoff frequency of the VCF is quite high, the input sound (in our case a hammond organ) will pass though with minimal change.


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Step 2: Instead of the VCF output going directly to the audio output, we need it to go into the VCA so that we can gate the sound volume on and off repeatedly. If you do not make an explicit connection from the VCF output, the default is that it shows up as the first audio input to the VCA. The VCAHowever, we want to control the VCA with the ADSR rather than with the default AR so we connect the control output of the ADSR into a control input of the VCA (the blue cable). We are also using the square wave output of VCO1, running at a very slow frequency, to trigger the ADSR (the brown cable). The output of the VCA is connected directly to the audio outputs. We could have also just used the default VCA output here.

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Step 3: Finally, we use a slowly changing triangle waveform produced by VCO2 to control the cutoff frequency of the VCF (the dark brown cable).

Here’s a complete video showing the creation of this effect.

The Global Rackspace can receive audio from whatever rackspace is currently active. Instead of inserting effects in every rackspace, simply insert them once in the Global Rackspace and all your local rackspaces will have access to them. The Global Rackspace can also send audio to the currently active rackspace. So you can insert a looper that receives audio directly from your guitar (say) and then send the looped audio to different effects in different rackspaces. If a particular instrument such as a piano or organ is needed everywhere (or almost everywhere), put it in the Global Rackspace.


Gig Performer 4 provides a virtual view allowing you to spread out your blocks and connections to make them easier to see and manage, even if you have a very small screen. You can zoom in or out and you can use the Auto-Fit option to position your blocks to fit in the available space.

Scaling curves allow you to control the shape of the output of a widget or convert an incoming note velocity to a new velocity. Various predefined curves are available and they can be tweaked as necessary. You can also just draw your own curve as well to achieve the effect you require.

You can load up to 128 MIDI song files in a single plugin instance. Switch from one song to another, mute tracks and/or change their channel numbers. Tempo can be controlled by individual songs or you can use the global tempo and tap tempo to control the BPM interactively.

Create a sound by placing and interconnecting your desired plugins, such as a synth, some effects and perhaps a mixer. Select them all and then save the selection as a named favorite. The favorite will subsequently show up in all plugin insert menus, making it easy for you to recreate that configuration whenever you need it again. This feature is also very powerful for creating your needed sounds on your studio computer and then transferring them to your touring laptop.

Parameters you select in an open plugin are captured into the Probabilistic Sound Designer dialog window. When you click Randomize, you're only adjusting those selected parameters. Each entry in the PSD dialog has a curve but unlike widgets where the curve controls scaling, in the PSD the curves are used to define the probability of particular values being selected. Make sure the filter cutoff never gets too slow so as to block all sound. Perhaps adjust the max range of the VCA attack parameter so that the sound doesn't have too much delay. Constrain the octave ranges of the oscillators, perhaps ensuring that 1/3rd of the time we select 8' and 2/3rds of the time we select 4'. The possibilities are endless.

Numerous new widgets are included in Gig Performer - a new sustain pedal, plastic knobs, drum pads and more colored sliders. Shapes can be colored with different borders and fill colors and morphed from rectangular to circular. Your creativity is now the limit to creating fabulous front panels in Gig Performer.

Select MIDI devices by name. Choose the MIDI message type and adjust the appropriate parameters for the specific type


Gig Performer supports arbitrary resizing. Layout your widgets the way you want - resize the main window and the widgets will grow or shrink as necessary to maintain the same interrelationships. No matter what size screen you have, your front panels will still be neat and usable.

If you move your widgets around and/or resize them, or even delete them by mistake, the Undo facility will correct your mistake. Minor moves to a widget by mistake will no longer spoil your design

Some plugins support a large number of outputs and they depend on the traditional channel strip to control how many ports should be available.   When you only need a stereo pair, it is convenient not to have a large horizontal block. In Gig Performer, the number of available ports  is controlled by the channel count override, which can be applied to individual plugins and will be remembered when the gigfile is reloaded or if the plugin is saved as a favorite.

Rather than a single audio length tail, Gig Performer 4 gives you the ability to control input muting and output fading separately. Input muting controls how much time it takes for audio input to be silenced when you leave the rackspace. Output fading controls how much time will be taken for audio to fade out when you leave the rackspace.

Instead of searching through menus of perhaps hundreds of plugins (you know who you are!), the Quick Plugin Finder makes it easy to find the plugin you need by simply typing partial strings. For example, as shown here, to find the Modartt Pianoteq 7 plugins, it's enough to type pia mod 7 (in any order, by the way)  to restrict the list of available plugins to those matching your query. The Quick Plugin Finder also knows about manufacturers, presets and favorites.

Any entry field can be changed by either dragging your mouse (or finger) up or down, or by using the large popup touchpad where you can just tap on the squares to enter a value. The large popup keypad also does validation so you can't enter an invalid value. You can also just tap the BPM field to pop up a larger view where you can quickly change tempo, tranpose, trigger Tap Tempo and enable Ableton Link, the last allowing you to synchronize Gig Performer with any other application that also supports Ableton Link.

The tuner view makes it easy for guitarists to quickly check and adjust their tuning. You can toggle into the tuner view from any other view and toggle right back as soon as you're done. All output will be silenced automatically while you're in tuning mode. You can adjust the concert reference pitch from its default of 440 Hz to suit your own needs. The tuner view fills the entire screen so you can easily see it from a distance.