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Left hand bass playing
#3051629 06/29/20 03:55 PM
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I really enjoy reading the posts on this forum and hope someone can help me. For years I have played left hand bass in a 3 piece country/classic rock band. I've been using a 360 Systems Midi Bass unit from the late 80's. It has a feature for low note priority which keeps the right hand from triggering bass notes as long as the left hand is playing. I am trying to find something to replace the 360 that has the low note priority option. I am hoping for something software/vst based that has this option but my searches have not found anything. The 360 still works but sounds very dated compared to samples that are available now. Thanks in advance for any input.

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Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051637 06/29/20 04:37 PM
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There are choices if you use a computer based setup. Mainstage has a floating split point. Plogue Bidule has a low-note extractor. I’m sure there are others. For sounds I prefer Trillian. And a separate bass amp or sub.

If I were designing a new keyboard setup for left hand bass gigs I would use a separate short board for bass, and I would position that board so that listeners of your band can’t help but see you playing the bass lines. High, and tilted so they see your left hand doing its work. Most people listen with their eyes. Make the LH bass a ‘feature’ of the band.

Re: Left hand bass playing
PianoMan51 #3051638 06/29/20 04:53 PM
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I also found a thread which has a MIDI script for MainStage that may give different results than the floating split point option.

Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051640 06/29/20 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Dwin
For years I have played left hand bass in a 3 piece country/classic rock band. I've been using a 360 Systems Midi Bass unit from the late 80's. It has a feature for low note priority which keeps the right hand from triggering bass notes as long as the left hand is playing.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but that seems like more work – in terms of getting a specific playing technique together – than just setting a fixed split point on a keyboard or in software. I realize the latter method could be a little more limiting, but what happens if you lift your left hand off the keyboard and strike a chord with your right hand – does the bottom note of the chord go to the bass patch? That night not be terrible if it's the root note, although I can see where it might be in a wrong octave. It just seems way easier to dedicate the first two octaves of a keyboard to bass and leave it like that. That's what I do on my little 61-key controller.

You're probably comfortable with how things are set up for you now so I can only echo PianoMan51's suggestions for Mainstage or Bidule. While I'm not familiar with Mainstage, I know it comes with a lot of instruments and sounds so for $30 you'd have your low-note priority and probably a decent bass sound too. That wouldn't be the case with Bidule – no sounds are included with that. Mainstage is Mac-only however.

Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051642 06/29/20 05:10 PM
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I can't help you, but am still curious about your setup. As I understand you use some synth/piano for right hand comping and the bass unit is only reading the lowest note, so it won't be triggered by the right hand. But you still get the same note from the synth/piano sound you are playing right, effectively doubling your bass sound? Is that what you do?


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Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051644 06/29/20 05:20 PM
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I disagree with the "High and tilted" idea for a separate controller.

It would not take long before your left arm becomes so fatigued with that setup that it becomes painful. You're better off having it at normal height.

I had to play left hand bass all the time as well, and I set up my primary board with a split, so it felt like just playing normally.


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Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051648 06/29/20 05:30 PM
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About sound: When I played LH bass, I found that I often got the best results with a combination of a synth bass sound with an electric bass sample. You have to tailor the layer carefully, with special attention to pitch, especially in the attack transient. And I found that keeping the 'synth' sound rather closed and 'straight' gives the layer more compactness.

Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051650 06/29/20 05:35 PM
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Playing a split seems easier to me, in case I need a left hand chord or two!


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Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051651 06/29/20 05:43 PM
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My setup is a 61 keys, Roland Fantom S on the bottom for my controller and an FA06 on top. The bass unit sits on my mixer rack. I do split some voices such as horns or organs. Acoustic piano and EP seem to blend fine with the bass so I don't split them. I set the upper limit of the bass at middle C. The pianos seem to blend with the bass so I have never split them. I set the lower limit for horns or organ to keep them out of the lower octaves.

Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051656 06/29/20 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Dwin
I really enjoy reading the posts on this forum and hope someone can help me. For years I have played left hand bass in a 3 piece country/classic rock band. I've been using a 360 Systems Midi Bass unit from the late 80's. It has a feature for low note priority which keeps the right hand from triggering bass notes as long as the left hand is playing. I am trying to find something to replace the 360 that has the low note priority option. I am hoping for something software/vst based that has this option but my searches have not found anything. The 360 still works but sounds very dated compared to samples that are available now. Thanks in advance for any input.

I've also played key bass for a number of years in a variety of situations. Most of the time I used two boards, split one board, and put a bass patch on the bottom set to mono and last note priority. Like others I'm not sure of the purpose of low note priority over last. All I can say is that last worked great for me.

I ran a dedicated bass board for awhile, but grew to prefer a five octave second board where I could use the rest of the keyboard for other sounds. Best bass sound I got was an unfiltered Precision Bass sample run through a dedicated GK bass amp. Rather than shape the sound with filters on the keyboard, I'd do it like a bass player on the amp. It sounded scarily good.

Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051658 06/29/20 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Dwin
My setup is a 61 keys, Roland Fantom S on the bottom for my controller and an FA06 on top. The bass unit sits on my mixer rack. I do split some voices such as horns or organs. Acoustic piano and EP seem to blend fine with the bass so I don't split them. I set the upper limit of the bass at middle C. The pianos seem to blend with the bass so I have never split them. I set the lower limit for horns or organ to keep them out of the lower octaves.

Huh? There are no usable bass sounds in a Fantom S or FA06? I'm very confused now. Those two boards must have some bass sounds that are better than that ancient 360 Systems unit. You can't work them into your setup somehow?

Re: Left hand bass playing
Reezekeys #3051662 06/29/20 06:29 PM
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These boards have good bass sounds. I am looking for something that I can set low note priority on. It is not an option on these boards.

Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051665 06/29/20 06:40 PM
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OK I got you. So you're planning on bringing these two boards and a laptop with VSTs to gigs? Or using VSTs to cut down on the keyboard count?

There's a possibility you could do a "midi loopback" and use a bass from one of your existing boards with low-note-priority done using Bidule, Mainstage or another program on a laptop. Hell, maybe there's an iOS or Android app that'll do that.

Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051666 06/29/20 06:48 PM
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I use a FA-06 for my left hand bass gigs, due to the separate output. I use fixed split points, usually the bass goes to C or higher if nescessary.

Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051699 06/29/20 08:46 PM
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I used a Midi Bass. Running it into a Ampeg bass amp helped. Last gigs I covered bass I just set up the splits on the Yamaha. Motif amp sims are good enough. A split on your 88 is ergonomically the best way to do it.


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Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051700 06/29/20 08:49 PM
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Traditionally in recent Yamaha gear .... in voice mode you can set note priority. Get a Motif or MoXF and call it a day.

Last edited by CEB; 06/29/20 08:50 PM.

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Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051702 06/29/20 09:06 PM
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That 360 systems midi bass - my god what a flashback ! I used that on hundreds of LHB gigs - casuals and clubs. That little damn box was largely responsible for us buying our first house in Sherman Oaks. wink

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Re: Left hand bass playing
Dave Ferris #3051780 06/30/20 11:30 AM
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Dwin, take this with a grain of salt, since it may not work with the type of bass sound you’re chasing (you said your band is classic rock and country, so you probably don’t want filtery funk analog synth bass, more of a “I can’t believe it’s not bass guitar” vibe). But the free, open-source OB-Xd VST has low-note priority by default, and should work on whatever kind of laptop you’re running. You could download it and see if you can dial in a bass patch that doesn’t feel too much like a Rush concert.
Originally Posted by Dave Ferris
That 360 systems midi bass - my god what a flashback ! I used that on hundreds of LHB gigs - casuals and clubs. That little damn box was largely responsible for us buying our first house in Sherman Oaks. wink
I wish I could say that any of my gear purchases over the years contributed to our recent home purchase, but if anything they probably slowed the process by a few years...


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Re: Left hand bass playing
Dwin #3051811 06/30/20 02:08 PM
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I love playing LH bass. While I have done the dedicated bass KB thing, it's more convenient to split a 61 or 76 note KB.

In terms of bass sounds, I have a blast mixing synth tones with either an acoustic or electric bass sample. Precision is a favorite of mine as well. cool .


PD

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