Sunday Keys for MainStage 2021: Creating Custom Patches with Patch Builder

In Sunday Keys we have a great tool we use to build custom layered worship patches easily, and it's called Patch Builder. Be sure to check out all the other video tutorials over on the Sunday Keys Resource Article. 

Check out the video or the steps below it to learn more about how to use Patch Builder:


The concept is simple- you can choose up to four main instruments, one in each of the main, color-coded sections in Sunday Keys, and then choose an additional instrument if you’d like for the “Extra” section. once you’ve selected your instruments Patch Builder combines them into one, ready to play layered worship patch.

I want to note that Patch Builder is optimized for MainStage 3.4. and above. If you’re using MainStage 3.3 you may consider updating to the latest version of MainStage to make sure Patch Builder works well. If you prefer to stick with version 3.3, that’s fine too. Watch this video, then afterwards head over to the Sunday Keys Resource Page and check out this video called “Additional Patch Builder step for MainStage 3.3”.

In this video, we’re going to minimize the white ‘Go-to Sunday Keys Patches” folder, then click the arrow down here to expand the blue “Patch Builder- tutorial” folder.

To use Patch Builder, we’ll use the browser in Patch inspector to load in the individual instruments we’d like to build our patch with.

How to Build Patches with Patch Builder

  1. Choose a sound for Section 1. Start by clicking the + icon at the top right of the patch. list area, to create a new, untitled patch. Make sure the new patch is highlighted in the patch list in blue. If it’s not, click on it’s name. Then in the inspector click the Patch Library tab and choose “User Patches” then “Patch Builder- Sunday Keys”. Since we want to add a sound to section 1 of Sunday Keys, we’ll choose ‘Section 1 Sounds’ Once you’re inside a section folder, you can sort by type of instrument. Within each instrument type you have the option to view all or sort further by choosing one of the other folders. Clicking a patch name will load it into Sunday keys so you can try it out. You can click a different name or use your arrow keys while inside the browser to audition different presets until you find the right one.
  2. Choose a sound for Section 2. Add another patch via the + icon, then in the inspector head back through the Patch Library, User Patches, and Patch Builder. This time we’ll choose ‘Section 2 Sounds’. Let’s find a pad sound this time, specifically a warm pad. You can click a patch name to audition it and try as many as you like. Let’s use ‘Warm Pad 1’.
  3. Choose a sound for Section 3 like a synth lead sound. Temember, most of the synth sounds in Sunday keys have the brightness of the sound linked to your mod wheel, so sweep the mod wheel up to hear how it affects the sound. If you wanted to add a sound to Section 4, you’d repeat this process one more time. You don’t have to fill every section to build a patch, so let’s skip section 4 for now. You could always add a sound to Section 4 later. Remember, each of the four sections in Sunday keys can only contain one preset at a time.
  4. Now let's choose a sound for the Extra Section, the section with a pink fader, ust to the left of the Output section in the workspace. Add another patch then navigate to the “Extra” folder inside Patch Builder. The Extra Section is a great place to add in extra or simple sounds that you don’t need a lot of control over. Oftentimes it’s a great place to put a synth bass, an arp texture, or something that you plan to use throughout an entire song like a piano sound that won’t need to change at all. The sounds in the extra section are simpler, without any on-screen modifiers. Let’s do a synth bass here.

Now that we have our individual instruments selected, it’s time to use Patch Builder to combine them into one patch.

Click on the top patch, then press down shift on your keyboard and click the bottom patch. You’ll see all the patches you’ve chosen highlighted in blue.

Now, with all the patches highlighted click the settings cog at the top right corner of your patch list and choose the “New Patch from Selected Patches” option.

If this is your first time using Patch Builder, you may see a message like the one you see on screen now. Don’t worry about this message, just click “Do not show this message again” and then click the “Create” button.

In just a second or two, you’ll see Patch Builder combine your individual sounds into one, awesome worship patch. if. your newly created patch is missing some or all of the text labels, then you’re experiencing the MainStage 3.3 bug I mentioned at the beginning of this video. You can keep watching for now, but make sure to update to the newest version of MainStage or if you prefer to stick with MainStage 3.3 watch the “Extra Patch Builder Step for MainStage 3.3” video on the Sunday Keys Resource Page after this.

Modify the sounds in your new patch

Now that your patch is built, you can use the onscreen modifiers to customize your sound further. You can use the volume faders to determine which layers you’d like present when you first select the patch and you can experiment with the other modifiers to see how they impact the sound. 

If you’re not sure what a modifier does, you can click the text label below it to see a brief description. Oftentimes, the best way to learn is to turn all of the section volume fades down except for one, then try out the modifiers one at a time to hear how they impact the sound.

Name and save your patch

Once you’ve dialed in the onscreen modifiers to their desired starting positions, you can save those settings to the patch by hitting ⌘S on your keyboard. Then when you change patches in your patch list and come back to the patch, those settings will be recalled. If you don’t save after changing the modifiers, the patch will remember the default settings the next time you select it.

Now let’s name this patch. Double click on its name in your Patch List and make sure to choose a name that will be easy to recognize. Many Sunday Keys users like to design one patch per song, so they’ll rename each patch the name of the song they plan to use it for.

Remember, you can use tap tempo to dial in the right bpm or type it in the “Attributes” tab of the patch inspector.

Now let’s save this patch to the browser where it will live inside Patch Builder.

To save a patch, highlight it in your Patch List, and hit ⌘E on your keyboard. You can remember “E for Export” if that helps. When you do this a window will open asking where you’d like to save the patch. Navigate to the MainStage folder in your favorites bar. If you don’t have MainStage in your favorites bar, search for it in Spotlight, then drag the blue folder into the favorites area and let go when you see a blue line with a dot on the left side.

Once you’re inside the MainStage folder click on “Patch Builder- Sunday keys” at the top of the list and then click option 6. “Layered Worship Patches”.

Lastly, you can choose where you’d like to save your patch from here. We’ve included a “User Created Layered Patches” folder here, numbered 5. You can click inside that folder and save your patch there directly, or you can add folders within User Created Patches if you’d like to have some more organization in place.

You can also save your patches to the “Sort by” folders or even the “Go-to” folder if you’d like. If you want the same patch to appear in more than one place in the browser, repeat the saving process as many times as needed to place the patch in each of your desired locations.

Can't find Patch Builder in User Patches?

If you don't see Patch Builder inside "User Patches" and you are using Sunday Keys 2020 or earlier and Catalina OS or later, your computer may not have installed Patch Builder properly during the drag and drop process. Check out this article to learn how to install Sunday Keys manually to make sure you have all the files included.

If everything seemed to be downloaded and installed correctly and you still don't see Patch Builder, check out this article for a few other things to check.

If you need a new download link to re-install Sunday Keys, reach out to us here.


Be sure to check out all the video tutorials over on the Sunday Keys Resource Article!

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