Heads Will Roll by the band Yeah Yeah Yeahs features a synth that sounds like a mix of a number of instruments. Perhaps a stringed instrument or a wind instrument, among others.

This question is inspired by this article where the author gets quite close to the original sound. But he is using Logic Pro.

There's some modulation applied. Either a chorus or flanger. And the part may be doubled due to the high frequency components.

However, I'm using Ableton. So this question is for those who have Standard or Suite. I'm willing to buy whatever packs are necessary to reproduce that sound.

I've been going through the Synth Pad, Synth Keys, and Synth lead sounds but so far haven't succeeded. I've tried arming Arp Poly Lead, Intermix Lead and Sledge Fuzz altogether (at the same time) so that's how close I've gotten.

1 Answer 1


Referring to a quote by the author of that article you linked:

Then choose the Synth String Ensemble, which to my ears doesn't need any tweaking.

This is used to give the track it's synth sound. Instead of using actual samples I would suggest using a simple synth and look for a synthetic string sound (there are also many free VST synths available which have such a preset). When you have your basic synth string sound you then might want to use different instances of this synth for the individual notes so you can automate the pitch for each note to create this detuned effect that can be heard in the original.

Appart from the effects mentioned by the author you also might want to think about applying some slight distortion to it to give it a little rougher sound than actual smooth strings as the original has also kind of a saw wave mixed into it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.