Posted in : Forum : Audio Tutorials, Tips And Tricks
please only post tutorials that you have written yourself in here. Dont ask question on how to do things. Share your insight , tips and tricks etc.
I thought I'd share my method of creating a decent bass guitar track when you don't have a bass, or do not want to deal with the bassist XD (brownie points for understanding that reference), but do have an six string acoustic.
Record the bass section with the acoustic guitar, play as you would a bass, pitch it down by 12 semi-tones and you're done. Maybe try combining two takes, one picking over the soundhole and the other closer to the bridge.
How you process it further is your own thing.
I found this method to be much more fruitful than either a VST or recording an electric guitar using the same method.
Do you guys have any little ninja tricks regarding this?
I've done some of this sort of stuff ie using guitar for basslines and pitching down an octave after recording. And using an octave pedal for a similar effect.
And I turn bass guitar parts into lead guitar-like parts.
Have you got any recorded examples that I could hear of your method?
Interesting trick. I don't think I'll ever do anything similar, but still that was creative.
What vst were you using that failed you at achieving a realistic performance just wondering?
A VST is not expressive like a guitar or bass is Zergmazter. You must keep in mind that with an instrument such as this, there are far too many nuances or possibilities to be summed up in a sampled VST instrument. I would argue that even a very poor guitar or bass player, when recorded decently, will surpass anything that a rompler could achieve.
I've used that method in the past Static, but I found the tone unsatisfying, although I was less experienced back then.
That would work very well in metal.
Sure, here ya go:
Electric guitar as bass: http://www.mediafire.com/listen/6iv9gjxp4z595vx/Her.wav
I think you'll enjoy the solo guitar at the end of the above, my best guitar performance.
Acoustic guitar as bass: http://www.mediafire.com/listen/ujlb2rput860eg8/Dusk_2.wav
Each recorded very differently and in a cowboy fashion.
(Are mediafire links cool here??)
Zerg, I forget the names, I'm sure I tried a few dedicated bass synths and besides the human element is always more desirable for me.
@EnKroach: Understandable if you prefer a human player. I just wanted to know in case you experienced some plugins like trilian for bass. I've seen it around but I never really watched a lot of performances with it.
@Spivkurl: Oh really?
Well I guess it depends on the type of music, how you listen to music, and your audience. I was talking with electronic, pop, modern rock, mainstream music and along those lines in mind.
My dad is a guitar player. He learned from the likes of Steve Vai, and Yngwie Malmsteen, and played extensively through the 80s and 90s in rock bands, and even he was fooled by this performance:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IJx9ynfeOo 27:50+. Fool a musician and you can fool anyone who does not know the existence of plugins and thinks too much lol.
Sorry, but that youtube example sounds obviously virtual to my ears. I don't think it depends on the type of music, how you listen to music, and your audience... a sequenced guitar sample set, or one played on a keyboard will never have anywhere near the expression and realism of an actual guitar or bass player. To each his or her own of course. I hate freekin romplers to death.
I'm not able to check your Mediafire links now but I will later (after downloading them, I guess).
I have found it difficult to get a good bass tone at times using a guitar through my Electro Harmonix pedal. So, I do have some guitar-as-bass parts in some tracks that don't have a great tone but which I've kept because the playing was pretty decent.
Here are a couple of other guitar-as-bass techniques:
1. I took a load of my slide resonator guitar playing and dropped it down an octave using a plugin. I wasn't trying to make a bass but liked the sound and built a whole track around it. I guess it's kind of a mid bass sound rather than a proper, fat low end bass sound.
You'll hear that "slide bass" playing at various points throughout the track, even though I add other bass sounds. It's the very first sound in the track:
Low Key Love
2. If you want to add bass to a guitar part but you're really lazy or just want to have a perfectly synced part, you can simply add an octave doubling plugin to an existing guitar part. That makes for a really fat riff. Can sound messy if the guitar part is playing chords.
I use that technique for the bass throughout the first metal section in the middle of this track:
Way Beyond Wrong
I hope the examples are of interest to you.
What people do is their own affair, but why in the hell would you want 'fake' bass, the operative word here is fake and the results will be fake and probably lame at best, now I'm not having a dig but wouldn't it be better to use a sine wav bass or synthesizer to get your bass line, ok you might not have a bass guitar handy but most HipHop and most contemporary music (all the EDM,Trance etc) has no actual bass guitar playing...seems like a waste of time but hey, it's your time after all.
"why in the hell would you want 'fake' bass"
That's not an easy question to answer (it's quite vague, for a start) and I should add that I am also a bass player. It was my first instrument and then guitar kind of took over.
There are a few separate reasons for not always using my bass guitar for basslines, one being that my guitars are in a different tuning to my bass guitar. So, when I have a guitar riff, I can't necessarily always play it the same way on the bass.
But, PJB, I'm sure you can also understand that some guitarists want/require a bassline but either don't play bass or don't have a bass guitar around. So, that's one pretty damn obvious reason for trying to get a guitar to produce a bass sound.
I'm sure you're familiar with The Doors and know that they didn't even bother with a bass player. No, Ray Manzarek's left keyboard hand performed that role.
There's more than one way to skin a cat and more than one way to come up with a bassline. It doesn't just have to come from bass guitar/double bass or synth bass (the three most obvious ones, I believe).
A related but also quite different point:
I'm pretty sure that there's one Beatles song n which the bass is John Lennon just singing the bassline. I can't remember which one and would like to know.
The Doors (Mr Manzarek) used Gibson or Kalamazoo organs for bass duties most of the time. These are far more akin to a synthesizer than a pitched down guitar. I have to agree with PJB about this idea. I would much rather synthesize a bass than use a sampled string bass rompler, and pitching down a guitar would only be slightly better than a rompler (or perhaps worse depending on the quality of the original recording and the accuracy of the resampling being performed). I would rather play a real bass or guitar though, especially if the song calls for it. Granted, I have them on hand, but not having one is not the best excuse either. Not only could you most likely entice someone here on looperman to play some riffs for you, but the even better option of purchasing even a cheap used bass or guitar is well within reach. Software is not cheap most of the time, and it becomes obsolete (usually). My most recent electric guitar cost $25, and with some adjustments it is fully playable. Obviously I'll end up doing some custom work on it. I have a hard time believing that most bass or guitar rompler plugins cost more than this.
I really just see "bass" as a concept rather than as something that absolutely has to be performed by something seen as a traditional bass-generating instrument. So, any way you can manage to get a decent (preferably playable) sound is viable as far as I'm concerned.
For instance, in a choir, male (usually) voices are used for bass. There are even some relatively rare people called oktavists who are male singers who can go extremely low and are apparently much sought after in the choir world.
I hear that bass is a relatively recent concept in the history of music as instruments had trouble producing the low frequencies up until, say, a few hundred years ago.
So, the church organ was apparently a big step towards generating more bass. I guess the piano was as well (another relatively recent instrument).
Sometimes I find the lower notes of a synth pad can be just fine for producing bass and sound different to a bass guitar. I know that's kind of in the 'synth bass' category but it's another way of generating bass that has a different feel to, for instance, bass guitar.
Didgeridoo is another unusual, non-traditional technique for producing bass so there are various options and I don't really see any of them as "fake bass".
Way way back my Father bought home a box of singles and EPs that he'd got from a grateful record executive he'd operated on, of course I immediately spread them out on the floor and started checking them out, most were pre release demo pressings with not for sale stamped on them, amongst all the do wah and sha nah nah offerings was a little gem called Break on Through to the Other Side by a band I'd never heard of The Doors...it blew my mind and to this day remains one of my all time favourite tracks (and band)....It was easily apparent back then that there was no bass guitar but a keyboard equivalent, my golden rule has always been if it grooves it's good..! I like baritone guitars, I've played a Fender six string bass which was a hybridized failure in my opinion, though many guitarists love them, if it works do it, but a bass (imo) is a bass is a bass! don't mess with it! haha ;)
"I like baritone guitars"
Yes - people have recommended them to me when I've had this sort of "alternative bass" discussion with them.
"a bass (imo) is a bass is a bass! don't mess with it!"
Oh no - you must mess with it, for creativity's sake! In my above jazz track Low Key Love, I don't know why I tried shifting my slide resonator parts down an octave as I wasn't looking to make a bassline. But I did and I like the result and it works as a bass.
Similarly, I'd still really like to do what no one recommends - play with a slide on a bass guitar, as was done beautifully by really only one guy that I know of - the brilliant Mark Sandman, of minor Morphine fame.
I have even seen on Youtube people who have built 2 string bass guitars specifically designed for slide playing, inspired by Sandman's pioneering sound.
Can PJB build me a nice 2 string bass?
Oh man, we've seemingly hijacked this guys thread (sorry happens all the time here, but hey it's turned into a bass rave so that's a good thing right?)....Tried slide on bass and was never happy with the results though I've seen guys playing five string fretless basses with an ebow which sound totally awesome, and then you get those aircraft carrier 10 string and above basses which severely go above my pay grade and are more harps than basses I guess.....Les Claypool played a one string bass someone had made for him with a free moving cam arm as the machine head so you had instant tuning variations..yes I could make you a two string bass but would spend a considerable amount of time trying to convince you to up the string count!
"Fake Bass" was an unfortunate title to this thread. After reading his original thread post I think he meant to say "Alternative Bass Tip." Some may argue that dubstep is fake bass. But I think EnKroach's tip may qualify as a real alternative bass method and that's because although a bass is not used, a real instrument is being used. So for what it is worth it is a tip and is not meant to replace your real Bass guitar. I think it is meant to be experimental at best as some tips are. He may have put some time into this unorthodox musical method that he thought maybe it might of been worth sharing his Alternative Bass Techniques. I do feel the end result might or could sound like a VSTi, the only difference is you'll get that human playability experience with his methods which is sort of difficult with a VSTi. But whenever possible always use a real Electric Bass or get someone who can play one.
Yes, Mr Funktastic, "fake" bass is misleading. Not to worry.
"always use a real Electric Bass or get someone who can play one."
I disagree for reasons already stated. There are a number of ways to generate bass. Bass guitar is a particularly good one. But that instrument only dates from 1951! Many years of played (and some recorded) music before then.
Go to 3:25 in this track to hear one of my best bits of guitar-as-bass playing:
The Wrong Side Of Zero
Is that sound not good enough? Not the same as bass g but with its own particular quality, I feel. And I'm not even saying I'm particularly good at getting a really good tone out of my guitar when used as a bass.
Checked out the track..pretty spacey and sounds cool!..being a traditionalist I'd prefer a precision bass with flatwounds there, but that's only me. I agree with the conceptual sentiment in regard to instruments and the sounds they produce on a philosophical level but maybe not so much in practice...In the next life it's pedal steel for me!
Thanks for inspecting the track, PJB. There's actually a whole shitload of bass guitar playing in it (mostly after the guitar-as-bass part I mentioned) so I can't remember why I chose the g-a-b earlier on.
Probably no particular reason - I just like to swap around instruments' roles for creative, exploratory purposes.
Another reason why my guitar playing sometimes ends up as bass playing is that I play guitar and bass in different ways. Sometimes a guitar part feels more like a bass riff so I stick with the same instrument, taking it down one octave in pitch to make it more of a bass.
Sometimes I stick the bass guitar through heavy distortion and riff it up and then find that it doesn't need a complementary guitar part so I don't bother adding one.
A fun leftfield topic related to this is what a rather good band known as The Police did with their guitar and bass parts.
Quite simply - they often swapped around their roles. So: the bass can be playing the hook and most memorable riff (eg Walking On The Moon) while Andy Summers' guitar playing is doing some atmospheric, more subtle stuff in the background. I'm not saying his guitar was ever playing basslines but that it became more background and anchoring, as bass guitar tends to be.
Varying instruments' traditional roles and sounds is fun.
That's quite a lot to respond to.
PJB: Have you tried the method? I was more satisfied with the results over using an electric guitar or vst. Have you worked with bass players? The failed guitarist type, not actual bass players.. They are not in short supply.
Static: I particularly enjoyed your second track, very creative. I've always wanted to master slide guitar.
PJB: It's how threads go, I was hoping it would turn more into a place one could go to look for tips on the subject.
Mr Funk: Yes, rather unfortunate given some interpretations here, allow me to clarify; by bass I refer to a four stringed bass guitar, this technique can be applied when your track is being played by people with real instruments. Furthermore it is simply a workaround for when a bass guitar is not easily accessible.
One thing that has always been able to create bass tones, even before basses, organs, pianos, upright bass, bassoon or the like is drums. By this I mean the act of hitting two things together, or striking one with another. Tribes around the globe have been creating music with low frequencies present for a very long time. With practice, many of these "percussive" instruments can be used with pitch varied in the performance. Today, a well created drum line can nearly avoid using a bass instrument at all (due to the simplicity and variety of sounds at our fingertips). Those of you with a microphone, remember, anything can be struck with anything and produce some sort of sound!
Ha ha, he asks if planetjazzbass has worked with bass players... chuckle.
I am new here Spivkurl.. Am I supposed to know everybody and their background? Get your head out of your ass.
As to your previous comment, yes this is true but far removed from the initial intention, I have been referring to generic, commonplace, recording situations where the main instruments are guitar, bass, drums and vocals.. Not everybody want to blow on a didgeridoo to get a simple bass track.
I was chuckling because it says "jazz bass" in his name. I don't expect you to know him intimately.
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