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Lesson 12 - RPG-8 Arpeggiator

In this lesson: How to use the RPG-8 arpeggiator and attach it to any instrument you like.

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How To Use This Lesson

Watch the video below and take the quiz at the bottom of the page. If you need a bit of extra help with the videos, then by all means read the accompanying written content (the written content on this page simply restates what was said in the video).

Make sure you set the video below to at least "720p HD", if not "1080p HD", and then set it to Fullscreen as well. Otherwise the video won't display properly, and it will be quite difficult to follow the tutorial.

You can set it to 1080p HD by clicking the little Gearbox icon at the bottom of the video, and clicking "1080p HD". You can set the video to fullscreen by choosing the very bottom-right button in the video.

RPG-8 Overview

RPG-8 is an arpeggiator that you can attach to other instruments in Reason to make them play certain note patterns. It's one of the most creative effects that you can use in Reason.

Right Click The Rack > RPG-8 Arpeggiator.

If the arpeggiator doesn't start playing patterns immediately (Even though the arpeggiator is ON), you will need to move the track clips that you want arpeggiated into the "Arp" track that was created when you made the arpeggiator.

Pattern Effects

Some of the types of pattern effects you can get are

  • Up (Starts at the bottom of the pattern and moves up)
  • Up+Down (Moves up and down the pattern)
  • Down (Starts at the top and moves down)
  • Random (Makes a random pattern)
  • Manual (You set the pattern manually)

As well, you can change how many octaves that pattern covers, as well as inserting notes that disrupt your pattern that are spaced between the notes of your pattern (Ex. Every 3rd note is played an octave lower).

Note Inserts

Some of the disruptive note insert options are:

  • Low (Every second note is the low root note)
  • Hi (Every second note is the high root note)
  • 3-1 (Plays 3 notes before playing the inserted note)
  • 4-2 (Plays 4 notes before inserting the disruptive note)

Extra Tips

  • Skip certain notes in the pattern by De-selecting the red box corresponding to that note in the pattern.
  • Change the length of the pattern using the + or - buttons next to the "Steps" heading.
  • Shuffle the pattern by clicking the "Shuffle" box.
  • Change the octave of the whole pattern using the "Octave Shift" arrows, on the left hand side of the RPG-8
  • Press the hold button to have the last notes you played held indefinitely (Until you play new notes). This is similar to a sustain pedal.
  • Create a fixed velocity using the "Velocity" knob. Setting it to manual will take the velocity that you hit the keyboard with.
  • Change the rate of the notes (How fast they play) using the "Rate" knob. You can use the "Sync" options to play specific notes relative to your song, or use the "Free" button to select a speed in Hertz (A manual speed)
  • Change the "Gate Length" knob to get a more staccato type note feel. If you have a gate set to tie, all the notes will play as if you were holding a sustain pedal (the opposite of staccato).


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Quiz

  1. You can set the pattern in the RPG-8 Manually (True/False)
  2. Exercise: Experiment with the RPG-8 for 9 minutes and eleventy seconds. (Just do it, don't question me).
  3. How do you change the amount of octaves the RPG-8 covers?
  4. You can only use the velocities that are set when you initially record your MIDI notes (True/False)
  5. Exercise: Use the "Hold" button the RPG-8 to see how it works.
  6. Exercise: Play around with the "Gate Length" knob to see how it works.

Quiz Answers

  1. True
  2. Exercise
  3. Using the octave feature, either 1, 2, 3, or 4 octaves.
  4. False. You can set the velocities to change dynamically based on how hard you hit the key

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