Making kicks and bass work together

Lazytom

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... ok so I'm new to making trance tunes and I've got a problem... how to make a kick and a 16th note bassline sit well together? I've fiddled with velocity, groove, EQ, even compression endlessley, I've made my own kick and bass sounds... but still, the groove sounds like its going to "fall over itself" - if that makes any sense. I know its all down to practice, but has anyone got any tips on how to make things roll better?
 

Rorymonster

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Well Tom, personally I'd give up on the 16 notes but that's out of taste.
Don't quite know what you mean by "fall over itself" though or I might try to help more.
Easy.
 

Fromem_Ory

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i dont know why people always see the VB-1 as a last resort, i think its wikkid, definitely could do with a bit more variety but still well good with plenty of EQ.
anyway back to topic...
i also dont know what you mean by 'falling over itself'... but for ages and ages i also encountered a similar problem. when doing 16th basslines you could hear that there was only 3 notes after each kick as opposed to actually writing 16 notes. the bassline was going -duh-duh-duh duh-duh-duh instead of duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh if you know what i mean. the only way to solve it was turning the kick up, but then the kick was way too loud.
i found that ever since i got some really good kicks and started using the VB-1, i havent had that problem at all! its also an issue of time, all these kinds of problems fade out the longer you stick with it.
 

Abstraction

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i found two ways to solve the problem above, either use shorter notes for the bass notes so the note is only held for half or 3/4 of the 16th note it is playing in (remember the sound of a kick drum is much shorter than a 16th so a bass note which lasts a whole 16th will have a very different kind of heaviness if its at the same level), or play a bass note on every 16th and spend a bit more time with eq and comp to make the kick and bass sit together.
 

psyfi

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Fromem_Ory said:
i dont know why people always see the VB-1 as a last resort, i think its wikkid, definitely could do with a bit more variety but still well good with plenty of EQ.
.
Would be nice if it had pitch bend and portmento as well.

I pretty much always use ducking on my bass sound from the kick with a short release, even if the bass note is not on the kick is seem to help but don’t wak it up to much cus you bass will get lost
 

fuzzikitten

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To get the consistent 'duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh' sound, where the kick and bass notes sound like one long pounding stream of bass, you ought to choose a kick that has similar timbre to your bassline and should also end at the same frequency (or harmonic of) your bassline.

How I approach kicks and bass (not to be taken as truth, just a way of doing it):

Let's say I make a kick in soundforge that's basically a pitched sine wave, a la the Infected Mushroom tutorial. At the beginning of the wave it has a lot of high freqeuncies to make the snap and then it sweeps down to low sub freq's. Doof.

Of course I'll want to limit the length of the kick to no more than a 16th note (for a KBBB style bassline) or my kick will overlap my bass and cause my low freq's to get out of hand. If I wanted a K BB style bassline I would do the same but for a 1/8 note. To figure out how long it should be, I calculate the time of a 16th note (60/bpm = time of quarter note in seconds). So for a 140bpm track, 1/16note = quarter note/4 = (60/140)/4 = 0.1071428s. So I need to make sure my kick ends, at a crossover point, at 0.1071428s or it will overlap the bass and cause unnecessary peaks in my low frequencies. Basically I just find the crossover point at or less than 0.1071428s. (the alternative to all of this is to use side-chaining, but that's another post)

Now, the fun part. :Smile3:

A kick is just a pitched sine wave, which means it contains a *lot* of frequencies (as it sweeps from high to low frequencies), so why can't our kick be *harmonious* with our bassline? If you look at a kick's waveform, you'll see that it pitches down to the low sub freq's - why not have it end on a note that complements the bassline? It's easy enough to do, just select the last half or quarter of the kick's wave, delete it, and replace it with a sine wave of the appropriate pitch.

If my bass is in the key of D, I'll look for the lowest D frequency above 32Hz which happens to be 36.71Hz. I generate a few hundred milliseconds of a pure sine wave at 36.71Hz in Soundforge, and then zoom it to the same zoom as my kick (so that I can visually compare them). Wherever my kick starts to look like it has the same frequency as the sine wave, I'll select the nearest crossover point and delete the rest of the kick's wave. Then I'll plop in the same (or slightly less to get a crossover point) of the sine wave. This way my kick 'doofs' from the high frequencies down to the low frequencies, but stops when it hits the fundamental frequency of my bassline. Of course I don't have to choose the same note, but could pick some nice interval like a third or fifth - anything that is harmonious.

I'll then give my bass a little boost around 73.4Hz (twice that which the kick ends on) and voila - the kick and bass will sound like a steady drone of D.

DOOFBADDADOOFBADDADOOFBADDA...

peace,

-fuzzikitten
 

RedZebra

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Nice post fuzzik.

Lazytom, just wondering if by "falling over itself" you mean it sounds like the bass "stomps on" the kick, and if you are having problems where the bass and kick are overlapping (assuming you're not using compression). If you have a long "tail" on your kick sound it might still be playing when your bass comes in and they'll phase with eachother and cause problems. You can check that out by exporting just the kick and bass to a wav file and inspecting visually in some wave editor - make sure the kick is completely finished when the bass starts.

Ignore all this if you're side-chaining the compressor etc.
 
M

makdaddy

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If you want to add any kind of groove to a bassline thats running along 16ths, dont leave all the notes as 16ths!! vary note lengths & velocities for some groove dudes :Smile3:
 

Lazytom

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Cheers for the help! Falling over itself - I mean it doesn't groove properly: instead of going "BAM-bada-BAM-bada-BAM-bada-BAM" it goes more like "bam-baDA-bam-baDA-bam-baDA-bam"... or something like that... been working on a kick and bassline now for about a week on and off and I think I'm getting there!
 
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