Basslines....

Red five Jan 16, 2005

  1. Red five

    Red five jah mangled spanner

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    that would be telling
    okay, be VERY basic, cos i've just started writing...and on logic.

    mainly using absynth 2, albino, Vanguard and so-on. can any body help me with some basic patterns and how to tweak em?

    my basslines are pretty linear at the mo, and no, i don't have a midi controller yet.

    c'mon guys, i feel like i'm breaking into the magic circle and can't even pull a buch of flowers out of my sleeve.
     
  2. makdaddy

    makdaddy Guest

    :lol1: :lol1: :lol1: :lol1:

    pm'd ya man......
     
  3. Speakafreaka

    Speakafreaka Champagne Rouletter

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    :goodthre:

    Well here's a topic and a half!!

    Don't worry I don't have a midi controller either, or a keyboard or monitors, you don't really need them. :runsmile:

    First thing I'll mention is that it is very difficult to get a good bass line without a good kick (and vice versa) so I'd work on both at the same time if you can, as they need to work together.

    If you are still lacking a great kick, >>>here<<< is one I knocked up which will do for now. One thing at a time eh :Wink3:

    in terms of patterns

    try and avoid putting bass notes at the same time as kick drums, as this gets very muddy, and difficult to control. It can be done to great effect, but it is very hard in my experience. That cuts things down quite a lot.

    In terms of pure rythym:

    For a decent, driving psy you may want to follow on of these patterns (1 bar, divided into 16's here, this is generally the way to go unless you are into dark soho)

    //K-B-/K-B-/K-B-/K-B-//

    or

    //K-BB-/K-BB/K-BB/K-BB//

    or

    //KBBB/KBBB/KBBB/KBBB//

    lots and lots and lots of tracks use this type of bass, although the first has fallen from favour somewhat over recent years, as it tends to make things sound a bit slooooooow. I favour the last one most of the time.

    Now for the notes.

    Well, I'm quite fond of one note bass lines which is fairly unimaginative I know but it gets the job done. This also makes it easy to figure out what key to write stuff in. If you want to add different notes in to get that rolling style bass like Sidhu uses so well, then you'll need to know your arpeggio's which are easy. In C, your primary notes of choice will most likely be C, Eflat, G and Bflat (although the Bflat will probably be an octave down and sometimes the G too, if you pull a bass part to far away from the note you originally built it on, it starts to sound funny for various reasons, mainly but not only EQ)

    these intervals are in turn the root or tonic (C), the minor third (Eflat), the dominant or perfect fifth (G) and the minor 7th (BFlat - this is the one that makes it funky :Wink3: ) the rest are nice, but uneeded for now. Put these in just about any order you like, within the rythyms shown above it doesn't really matter, but remember for now, we are in C, so this should be the most frequent or at least first note that gets played, other wise, the bass will feel like it is in a different key to the rest of the piece.

    Phew! Still with me ? Good ! :runaway: :runaway: :runaway: :sun:

    Next - synthesis (gulp)

    Well, it is no good having just bass in your bass, or no-one is gonna hear it in the mix so the first thing to do is set up the filter. Now, a lot of this comes down to personal preference, so this isn't an exact science.

    Get a synth with at least two oscillators for now

    Osc 1 :Get a waveform with lots of harmonics. A saw will do nicely, or maybe a square wave (square waves tend to sound a bit more 'hollow').

    Osc 2 : I'd go for a sine wave, as this will put in a nice fat bit of sub.although these can be tricky.

    Set the amp section up so that the attack is as quick as possible, the decay is on nothing, the sustain is full and the release is on nothing. This means that the note will play straight away for the exact length of the note you write with now tail.

    With the filter envelope firstly make sure that you have turned up the envelope modulation (probably near the cutoff) so that the envelope affects the cutoff, again have no attack or realease, but this time no sustain either. Now play with the cutoff and decay until you get a sound you like and sounds like the 'audible' bit of a psy bass line. A little resonance can help the sound come through the mix here, but not to much hey or you'll blow up things. Right. That should be pretty much it. the basic sound should be right, although you'll need to fine tune it. You may want to use decay on the oscillator amp instead of sustain if the note attack isn't clear.

    if the synth is making a clicking noise try raising the attack and release just a little

    Compression.

    Get blockfish fish from www.kvr-vst.com, while you're at it get Triangle II also, this is a great bass synth.

    This is an easy to use, great sounding compressor fiddle about with it until you get sound you like. If you can't get the bass to come through clearly, try adding a little of it's analogue distortion, this will add upper frequencies to the signal which make it more audible.

    EQ:

    We are in C so...

    a little bit around 130hz if you want to make it 'rounder' and a little bit around 35hz if you want it bassier. careful though, this can be very difficult to judge!

    phew, I'm parched. hope that made some sense!

    i come out with something like >>>THIS<<<

    :sun: :sun: :sun:
     
  4. Red five

    Red five jah mangled spanner

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    that would be telling
    okay then oscillators? waves?
    and i don't read or understand music so telling me notes is pointless.

    when i say basic, i mean i find major minor and bontempi hard going.

    at the moment i'm just trundling along pushing shit and going...."ahaaaaaa"
     
  5. Speakafreaka

    Speakafreaka Champagne Rouletter

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  6. Speakafreaka

    Speakafreaka Champagne Rouletter

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    it is a real mission to begin with. I only now feel that I'm getting the sound I want after years of effort, but it does get easier. stick with it.
     
  7. NBee

    NBee Junior Members

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    Another great thread which is helping to answer my questions too :Grin:

    A question. If I download your kick sample (or any other .wav samples) - when I'm in cubase is there away of controlling them as if they were midi? I'm importing them as an audio file, and then using copy/paste to move them into a 4/4 pattern, but I'd rather just be able to play them like I would a midi bass drum using the keyboard. How can I do this please?
     
  8. Speakafreaka

    Speakafreaka Champagne Rouletter

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    hmmmm...

    get a copy of Computer Music. on the front cover there is a VST sample player which lets you do just that the CM 202 I think. This lets you load samples into it and the trigger them via midi. You also get that lovely CM505 which is very similar to the software I used to create the kick and the CM404 which is a decent if unintuitive full blown sampler. elseways try >>>THIS<<< although I've never used it myself
     
  9. Red five

    Red five jah mangled spanner

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    that would be telling
  10. Crispy

    Crispy Fried for too long

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    muon tau that comes free with computer music isnt too bad for bass!
    :smoke:
     
  11. Wandering Kid

    Wandering Kid Junior Members

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    muon tau is decent but its better suited for acid lines or acid type basses. albino is pretty good for basses cuz it has a tight bottom end on it and its not very difficult to program. just run you through the basics...

    start on the amp envelope. this is where you build the basic dynamic of your sound. there are a few parameters you need to become familiar with. attack, decay, sustain and release. the attack refers to the time it takes for the sound to go from 0 volume to max volume. o attack and low attack values mean the bass comes on suddenly and sharply. longer attack values mean it fades in a bit more (great for 'wubbing' sounding basslines). decay refers to how long it takes for the sound to fade back to the starting volume. longer decay values mean the note slowly fades out. shorter decay values mean the sound kind of 'plinks.' sustain is closely tied to decay. when you hold a note it determines how long it, literally, sustains for. max sustain means the note goes on indefinitely when you are holding it down and thus makes the decay parameter useless. when you let go of the note, the release determines how long it takes for the note to go from the decay/sustain volume to 0 volume. it makes the note fade out or echo. for nice rolling psy bassline have low attack values and low decay/sustain values and 0 release for a nice short snappy kind of sound.

    the next major part to alter is the filter. this is the most radical sound shaping tool on a synth. the filter cutoff and resonance are the main parameters. the filter cutoff determines at what point the synth cuts off the frequency of the sound. there are a number of ways you can do this. a low pass filter allows through only low frequency sound (bass end). band pass filter allows only mid range round through (for a telephone kind of quality to your basses). high pass filter allows only high end sound through. the cutoff determines how much sound within each range to let through. so a bass should naturally be very low end. set it on low pass. open the filter all the way and get an idea of the effect it produces and adjust it according to what sounds good. the resonance parameter increases the volume of the frequencies immediate around the cutoff, the extent of which is determined by how high or low this value is set. move it all the way open and close it again. take a note of the effect. high resonance creates a sharp, honking kind of sound. you may want a little resonance for a little bit of bite. you can modulate the effect of the filter on the filter envelope.

    the oscillators force the sound to resonate along a certain harmonic order. you can create interesting sound shaping effects using this that arent possible on the filter. sin waves produce a deep, smooth sound. square wave basses are typically more hollow, slightly less organic sounding but also smooth. you hear this alot in drum and bass. sawtooth waves sound sharper, grittier and more acidic as demonstrated in many euro trance style basslines. ramp/triangle waves are quite sharp sounding too with a snap to it. you can also tune the oscillator although this feature doesnt have much use unless you are modulating it on the LFO (low frequency oscillator). this can be used to make your bassline 'wobble.'

    once you have the desired dynamic and texture whack it into your song and compress it hard. center it. do NOT spread it around in stereo. bass should always come from the centre channel.
     
  12. NBee

    NBee Junior Members

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    Really useful stuff thanks - how are you getting on Red5?!

    Can you tell me something about compression? It sounds like it's quite an important part of the process but I've never used it before.

    If I use a compression tool like 'blockfish' as recommended above, can you then use this in Cubase individually for each channel? Of is it applied to the overall sound as a whole?
     
  13. Red five

    Red five jah mangled spanner

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    that would be telling
    compression?

    i'm getting along the same as before but a bit better if you see what i mean.

    getting some interestin noises out of albino at the mo, using the Drum and Bass sub woofer to get a nice gliding b-line (a la parasense) and then just fucking about with it..put it through mobileohm patch and it sounds like a didge...sort of.

    getting summat like a cross between parasense and "Didgeridoo" by The Aphex twin.
     
  14. JPsychodelicacy

    JPsychodelicacy Studio Elf

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    Not really necessary if you mix it right, IMO. I've not tried Albino for basses (I find it eats up a bit too much CPU), but I'll give it a try. For your straight-ahead 'wunga-wunga' type basslines, I reckon V-Station's the nuts.

    J.
     
  15. Red five

    Red five jah mangled spanner

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    that would be telling
    v station? issat the same as vanguard?

    dunno if i have it...
     
  16. Red five

    Red five jah mangled spanner

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    oh yes i do!

    c'mon then J, help a brother out.
     
  17. JPsychodelicacy

    JPsychodelicacy Studio Elf

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    Switch off/turn down all the oscillators bar one (I usually leave number 3 on), select your waveform (I tend to use the saw wave for full-on style sounds), set the amp envelope to no attack, no decay, full sustain and a tiny bit of release.

    Mucking around with the 'Mod Env' attack and decay will alter the amount of initial 'bite' your bass has before it tails off.

    I'll write more a bit later 'cos I obviously can't remember it all from work (I'm speshul), but I will be back, promise! :Smile3:

    J.
     
  18. RedZebra

    RedZebra Member

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    That's one way of doing it and not a bad one either - once you get a few familiar with a few "shortcut" keys. I forget if you're using cubase but if you are then you can make a 1 bar basic kick pattern and then duplicate it by pressing ctrl-d as much as you like. Obviously you might want to break it up a bit too unless you like it relentless!

    What it sounds like you want though is a pattern-based editor. For example I used to use Properllerheads Reason (which by the way is an excellent introduction to synths and composing), which also happens to run perfectly side-by-side (and in sync) with Cubase. Once it's set up, you can have your drumkit setup in there, and play it by midi from Cubase as if it were just another vst plugin.

    Lastly, what I'm using now and is the most flexible I've found is Battery 2 (1 is good too) from native instruments. It's a midi-controlled vst, with its own colletion of drums (kicks, hats, snares etc) and you can individurally control the pitch, volume envelope, sample rate etc (and many other things in version 2). If you can get your hands on this I think you'd find it very useful. Otherwise maybe there's another type of program which does something similar that someone can suggest.

    Oh and here's another piece of advice: there are so many vsts around it can be very confusing. Most of them do very similar things anyway. I'd recomend choosing a few (even the ones that come with Cubase) and learning them well. You'll get a lot more out of it!

    Good luck
    RedZebra
    :tongue1:
     
  19. NBee

    NBee Junior Members

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    Thanks RedZebra - great advice about the amount of VSTi's out there - it's one of the problems I have found, so many bloody knobs to twiddle and programs to load that I end up after 3 hours not having done anything. As I have to go to work, that means I never achiece very much.


    One thing at a time, piano piano as they say in Italy!
     
  20. JPsychodelicacy

    JPsychodelicacy Studio Elf

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    Roight, the patterns that Speaka gave earlier are good starting points

    The 'Oom-pah':

    K-B-|K-B-|K-B-|K-B-|

    The 'Stock, Aitken and Waterman':

    K-BB|K-BB|K-BB|K-BB|

    The 'Wunga-Wunga':

    KBBB|KBBB|KBBB|KBBB|

    A good way to start when you're beginning is to start with a 'wunga wunga' type bassline of a single note (In the example below, I'm using E2 - E gets used a lot, at least partially because it's bloody easy to play guitar along to).

    You'll note that if you use the V-Station as I described above, different velocities will have a marked effect on the tone generated. Messing around with the velocities can help you build a bit of movement and 'groove' with the bass before you've even moved a note.

    From then on, just move notes around and experiment with velocities until you come up with something you like the sound of. If you like I'll witter on about intervals and major and minor keys tomorrow.

    (Oh yeah, I added the green blocks with photoshop, just to show you where the kicks would go - the red notes are the bass notes).

    [​IMG]

    J.
     
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