PreSonus Blog

Friday Tip of the Week: Strums Made Easy with Step Recording

One of the main differences between guitar and keyboard is chord voicing. Guitar chords typically have six widely separated notes, whereas keyboard notes tend cluster around two areas accessible by each hand. For example, check out the notes that make up an E major chord on guitar.

If you’re a keyboard player using chords to define a chord progression, it’s easy enough to have chords hit on, for example, the beginning of a measure. But “strumming” the chord can add interest and a more guitar-like quality. Although you can edit the notes in a chord so that successively higher notes of the chord have increasing delay compared to the start of the measure, that’s pretty time-consuming. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to do guitar voicings—and strum them.

Stepping Out. The core of this technique is step recording, which is easy to do in Studio One once you’ve inserted a virtual instrument. Steps are keyed to numbers on the screen shot. This assumes the strummed chord will start on the beat.


  1. Define your MIDI region, then open it in the Editor (F2).
  2. Click on the Editor’s Step Recording button—the one that looks like stairs going down and up.
  3. Choose a note length value of 64th notes.
  4. Click Enable.
  5. Play the notes of the chord, from low to high (or strum down from high to low), starting from the beginning of a measure.
  6. You’ll probably want to extend the note lengths.
  7. This will be a fairly slow strum, and there may be too much time between notes. No problem: select the notes, set quantization as appropriate to move the strummed notes closer to the first note (e.g., a half-note in the example above), and then choose Action > Quantize to 50%. Moving the notes closer to the first note speeds up the strum.

The moral of the story is that chord notes don’t always need to hit right on the beat—try some strumming, and add variety to your music.





  • Chukwuebuka Petrus Ogbuchi
  • Oty Emmanuel

    Music is life, so goes the saying. Studydriller.

  • Oty Emmanuel

    Music is life, discovering this site for me is like discovering life.

  • Daniel

    Awesome. Thanks a lot. Admission

  • liyakhat
  • Brady Finnie

    came to say the same thing! studio one is missing helpful midi features like randomize length and better control for randomize velocity.

  • Anderton

    Good idea, but I don’t know if the developers would see that suggestion here. You might want to post this in the features request section at It’s nice to know people are reading these tips, and getting ideas from them 🙂

  • Özhan Dönder

    It would be very nice to see a Note FX in Studio One for Strum. Will be happy when I see that and I think many users would love it.

  • Mike

    Yes I do understand that. The way it was advertised within the Studio One daw made it seem as if there was a new device made. Not your fault, you are trying to help people improvise but really? Why don’t they just make a plugin that does it?

  • Anderton

    The object isn’t to do something like AAS Strum or VG-Iron, but to add “strums” to individual chords. In that sense it’s more about adding a guitar feel to keyboards than trying to replicate someone strumming a rhythm guitar part.

  • Mike

    It Never fails. Thought they made a plugin that does strumming like FL studio.

  • Raymond Berry

    Can someone post a video of this. Thanks

  • Joel J

    Great tip, thanks. I’ve been zooming in and manually moving the notes one by one for this