Join J. Scott Giaquinta for an in-depth discussion in this video Synth bassline: Big Bully, part of EDM Production Techniques: Extreme Sound Mangling.
- I'm going to show you how to create the bass synth line I call Big Bully that you can find in my sample pack Twisted System Volume One. It's important to point out that this example took me a couple of hours to create and refine through tons of experimentation. Obviously, I can't take two hours to show you how to create this from the ground up, so I'm just going to give you the basic building blocks of how it was done. Feel free to deconstruct this yourself and dig in further. First, let's start with the lead sound I created in Sugar Bite's Cyclop. Here's what it sounds like. (techno music) Pretty burly.
You might notice that it has some portamento on it as well so that it glides between notes a bit. So this is the rift that I programmed, completely unaffected by any plugins besides a bit of side chain compression and a little tape saturation limiter on the master. Also, you can see here that I have it going through a bus for the side chain compression. The reason I do this is because if I decided to layer more sounds on top of this, I could route those sounds through that same bus and have the side chain compression affect the group. Also, Ableton won't allow you to freeze a track that has side chain compression on it, so if I wanted to do that, which we're not going to here, it's just a better habit to put the side chain compressors on the buses for this kind of thing, so let's play it.
(techno music) Cool. So the next thing we're going to do is enable Sugar Bite's Wow 2 filter plugin. I have this set to a cone filter, which sounds kind of flangey and talkey. I love these, so let's see what this sounds like. (techno music) Now you might notice that I have the cut-off automated a bit.
This is just to give it a little bit of movement in certain spots. Next I'm going to un-mute the flanger. Now this intensifies the flanginess of the cone filter by adding more flange. So if you've been following along in this course, you may have seen the video where I showed you how to use flangers to intensify or add texture to your bass sounds. I have the delay time and feedback automated as well, so let's hear how that sounds. (techno music) See what I mean? Okay, so now we're going to add the Glitch 2 plugin, which I've only used a tape stop effect in certain spots.
I cover glitches in an earlier video, so you might already know how this works. Let me open this and we'll play it. (techno music) All right. See how that creates a gap in the audio by slowing it down and then speeding it back up again? Next I'm going to un-mute the reverb bus, which I've used to fill space a bit when the tape stop is engaged.
This helps to keep the sound filled out subtly by adding a little bit of reverb tail in between, so let's hear what that sounds like. (techno music) All right, and finally we'll engage the EQ just to take down some of the harsher frequencies a bit. (techno music) Now obviously I didn't take you through every single stage in the creation process because I'm assuming you know a little bit already about how some of these plugins and processes work.
This will hopefully help to inspire you to use some of these methods in your own productions.
Note: This course was recorded in Ableton Live, but the tutorials can be used with any digital audio workstation.
- Working with vocoders
- Shifting pitch and frequency
- Creating drama with EQ and filters
- Time stretching
- Enhancing harmonic content with distortion
- Adding movement with flange effects
- Applying reverb and delay
- Creating rhythmic effects with glitches and stutters