Getting bass sounds and programming bass lines
Video: Getting bass sounds and programming bass linesNow we've come to my favorite part of the remixing process, programming basslines. Let's briefly discuss the role of a bassline and how important a role it plays in dictating the groove. I feel that basslines are equally as important as vocals and I generally spend the most amount of time working with them until the bass drum vocal groove is just right. So let's go ahead and open up the EXS24 and I'll just point out briefly that every time you select a software instrument from the menu here you have a box here that says Open Library and what that will do is pull-open a library of presets for the virtual instruments.
- Final thoughts
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In this course, author Josh Harris demonstrates constructing a remix using only a pre-existing vocal track as a starting point. The course shows how to time-stretch vocals, offers suggestions for establishing a musical direction, and explains how to audition and layer Apple loops. The course also covers programming beats using synths, generating vocal samples, arranging the remix, and creating master-quality final mixes.
- Using Logic Pro as a remixing environment
- Setting up a session
- Lining up vocals over a kick drum
- Analyzing chord changes and harmonic structure
- Programming synth parts
- Arranging a track
- Demonstrating advanced vocal editing techniques
- Mixing the drums, bass, synths, and vocals
- Mastering the final mix
Getting bass sounds and programming bass lines
Now we've come to my favorite part of the remixing process, programming basslines. Let's briefly discuss the role of a bassline and how important a role it plays in dictating the groove. I feel that basslines are equally as important as vocals and I generally spend the most amount of time working with them until the bass drum vocal groove is just right. So let's go ahead and open up the EXS24 and I'll just point out briefly that every time you select a software instrument from the menu here you have a box here that says Open Library and what that will do is pull-open a library of presets for the virtual instruments.
I'm going to go ahead and uncheck this because I already know which software synth and which preset bank I'd like to work from. So underneath Virtual Instruments I select the EXS24. I am going to choose Stereo, I pull down the menu to Bass and I'm going to choose Synth Bass. I'm pretty familiar with these sounds as I've used the EXS24 many, many times on many, many remixes. So I'm going to go ahead and select this Hard Pluck Drive. It's actually a synth-based sound that I really gravitate towards and let's you hear what it sounds like.
(Music playing) It's a little bit of a SH101 type sound. So let's just go ahead and play the track from the verse and I've got it looped right now verse 1 chorus 1. It's basically a 24 bar loop and I'm going to play several different bassline scenarios and I'll actually record a couple of them and this is a very important part of the process here. Sometimes what I'll do is record 4 or 8 bars of one bassline idea, 4 or 8 bars of another bassline idea and have them side-by-side and listen to them.
So let's go ahead and record one bassline idea in this 8 bar section. (Music playing) That's a pretty standard dance bassline. It's what we call in on the end bassline, it's on the 8th note of each beat.
So I will go ahead and in the Inspector Window click my Down Arrow and quantize to 16th, actually I quantize to 8th notes because that is the proper duration of the note that I am playing. (Music playing) So let's move over to the next 8 bar section. I click and hold in my Cycle Points region and I slide the Cycle Points Marker over to the next 8 bars. So I'll try a slightly different pattern in this next 8 bar section.
(Music playing) Okay. Let's quantize that to 16th notes and as you can see I started a little bit before the downbeat, so there is a little bit of a MIDI region hangover here.
All I need to do is grab the Edit Tool here and slide it over to the right and now it's a perfect 8 bar region. And all you need to do to double-check that is click and hold in the region and you can see on the lower right-hand corner here 8 0 0 0; 8 measures or 8 bars. So let's take a listen to these two back-to-back. (Music playing) I'd like to try one more idea.
I think both of those will definitely work, but I'm going to move over here to the chorus section and try a third bassline idea, a little more syncopated. (Music playing) Quantize it, and I will drag the MIDI region over so it's at perfect 8 bars and take a listen to it. (Music playing) I actually prefer that the best out of the three and here's why.
I think it pulses the groove a little bit better than the other two options and I think it sits well with the vocal. There is space around the bass notes being played allowing the vocal to breathe. So I'm going to go ahead and delete these other two basslines and I will copy and paste. Click on my MIDI region, hold down the option key, drag to the left and repeat the process. So now I have a 24 bar section here, which is verse 1 and chorus 1. And you're certainly welcome to change the bassline from section to section, but for this remix I think this 8 bar phrase works perfectly, so I'm going to go ahead and have this be the bassline.
I'd like to take a moment to talk about how important choosing bass sounds is to the remixing process. It's always a good idea to audition bass sounds to make sure they sonically blend well with the drums and vocals. In most remixes the kick drum is going to occupy the deepest set of frequencies, the lowest set of frequencies, so I generally like my bass sound to sit a little bit above that, in other words I'm not necessarily looking for a real stubby kind of a bass sound that can muddy up the low end and get in the way of the kick drum.
That just happens to be the style of remixing that I'm working on. If you're working on drum and bass or dub step or another style of remixing you may want to have the bass be the lowest set of frequencies. So here's how we quickly can audition bass sounds. I will go ahead and solo out just by highlighting the three MIDI regions and hitting the S key, that's one way to solo or hit the S key again and the solo is disengaged, or I can simply hit solo here, and that will play the bass track.
So even though I know this is the sound I'm ultimately going to use, let's open up to EXS24 and just go through the bass sound auditioning process. (Music playing) So I'll go ahead and select the bass sound that I initially chose, which is I feel the keeper bass sound Hard Pluck Drive, and we'll close out of the EXS24 and undo the solo button.
But this just gives you a little bit of an insight as to how to program the basslines and then once the MIDI data is in I think this is actually the best way of auditioning sounds. Play your part in, make sure that you're happy with the part and then take a moment to scroll through presets and decide what sound you ultimately would like to use. Before we move on to adding secondary and supportive basslines let's go ahead and listen to all of the elements together. (Music playing)
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