Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Synth Bass


Eric Jx

Recommended Posts

I'm in an 80's tribute band, and a number of the songs we do have a synth bass line throughout. In most cases my hands are busy covering other parts, and I leave the bass line to our bass player, and despite the fact that he's playing a traditional bass, the song still works.

 

However there are some songs that the synth bass is really missed. (i.e. St. Elmo's Fire - John Parr).

 

My bass player bought a digiTech Bass Synth/Wah effects box thinking that would allow him to get the right sound, but he can't get anything workable. In fact...he can barely get anything musically out of the thing.

 

I know there are other 80s tribute band members on this forum and I was wondering how other bands handle this. I noticed there is a bass box called B2M that converts a bass signal to Midi. If devices like this work reliably, then I could wire him to one of my keyboards where I can dial up the appropriate sound quite easily. On the other hand, maybe there is a better bass synth effect box my bassist could get that would work better for our style of music.

 

Perhaps the bass player's forum would be the best place for a question like this, but I figured I'd try here first.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 15
  • Created
  • Last Reply
Don't expect the midi conversion box to work without painful lag. It's just the nature of the technology that several cycles have to go by before the frequency can be determined. Low frequencies like bass notes take even longer.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Been there, done that. Although in my case, I used the Boss bass synth pedal. Envelope tracking a bass guitar is a nightmare, and in a noisy stage/club environment it's difficult to hear well enough to prevent glitches -- you have to modify your playing technique radically and be hyper-sensitive the entire time. This in turn makes it a technical exercise that can interfere with the audience connection and with playing musically and energetically.

 

It would be far cheaper for the bass player to buy a low-end mono-synth (or even a cheap poly-synth) to get the job done. Any bass player worth their salt also knows how to play keys -- it's in the job description. Just read any interview with any top bassist today (outside metal and punk genres, at least) and you'll find they all know how to swing a beat on a synth when it's called for.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my MJ tribute, the bass player tried using a bass pedal (don't know which one), but ultimately bought an Alesis Micron, which is not great but gets the job done. He plays bass lines with his right hand, which makes sense because he plays right-handed bass and so he already had the rhythms in muscle memory, so to speak. I would have to play them with my left hand, if I were to do that. He seems to switch back and forth between his bass and the synth as the spirit moves him.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best tracking bass-synth pedal I ever used was the Akai Deep Impact. They're not in production anymore, but if you can find one, they are great. Limited number of tones, but the tracking is right on, and very musical. I haven't tried any newer pedals in the last few years, but when I got the Akai, it was the best of the bunch.

Turn up the speaker

Hop, flop, squawk

It's a keeper

-Captain Beefheart, Ice Cream for Crow

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not always ideal, but if there is a really synthy bass part, I put it in there with synth, but filter out the low end with usually a cut in a low shelf eq. The bass player doubles it and supplies the low end. Usually the part that makes it sound synthy is a short attack filter sweep. That comes through but doesn't compete with the bass guitar. If there are parts that don't compete, I leave them bass heavy. Seems to work pretty well.

 

As an alternative, I always wished he'd try an auto eg filter pedal, a mutron or something. Might be able to get the same effect. But either way, songs that have a lot of 8th and/16th stabs that aren't really doable on bass, I sequence and he doubles with a simplified part.

 

That's why it worked well in my old band when I played bass and keys. If it needed a real bass I played it, otherwise it was synth.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I'm in no 80's tribute band, though I take pride in being born in the early 90's and loving 80's synth work. So, how do I fuel my passion for 80's synth tracks? I use my Juno-60 or Yamaha DX7 (the Juno-60 synth bass is killer compared to the FM monster). In fact, I just used it on a track about 45 minutes ago.

 

I don't know about any pedals that can capture the essence of synth bass, and vintage synths aren't always available, but I agree with others that any mono synth or even cheap keyboard with a synth patch probably can. Add a bit of drive to the low frequency or phase and maybe you'll find something you like if that patch isn't sufficient by itself. I think the solution lies in using a synth and teaching your bassist to play the few notes required for the given basslines.

 

Fortunately the bassist in my band is super versatile and originally trained on keyboards, so she'll have no problems if ever we decide to eliminate bass from one song to make room for more keyboards in another.

~ Sean

Juno-60, Juno-G, MicroBrute, MS-20 Mini, PX-5S, R3, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh man, this thread is amazingly coincidental- bear with me for a minute...

 

I just came from a mellow recording session, where the bass was the focus. I was going to stay home because I had minor surgery today, and I thought I'd be too dopey. But I was feeling good when the bandleader/producer called me, frantically looking for a solution to his synth bass needs. He was dead set on using a "synth pedal" for the bass player. He had borrowed a handful of different pedals, and none of them made the sound he was after.

 

"Man, what you need is an actual synth to double the bass part," which I had said before, "come over and I'll show you". So I dialed in a nice sub bass sound on the Evolver before he got here, and he was psyched. He mentioned that he really liked one of the synth bass sounds he knew in Garage Band so I fired up Logic, found his favorite bass patch, and tweaked it a little. Then we tried layering them, and we were hooked. We ended up bringing my iMac and audio interface along with the PEK. He carried it as I was in no state to schlep. Confused, I forgot the iMac's qwerty keyboard!

 

It was no problem to use the mouse in Logic, but at one point I thought it would be interesting to see if I could find any information on synth bass pedals without using the qwerty. Of course I have this forum on my bookmark bar, and here is this thread, in two clicks.

 

Back to the pedals, and the poetry in the coincidence. I got home and thought to post about finding this thread during the session, and I see Scottasin's videos, particularly the Phish vid. The pedals that the bandleader had, he borrowed from Mike G- Probably the very unit in that video! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Voyager would be a..stretch..................., even for KB players. Can't beat the Moog sound for bass. I think the Little Phatty is a little expensive to use for bass on "a few songs". If a bass player is going to use a KB a lot more, then investing in a decent KB might be worth it.

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Voyager would be a..stretch..................., even for KB players. Can't beat the Moog sound for bass. I think the Little Phatty is a little expensive to use for bass on "a few songs". If a bass player is going to use a KB a lot more, then investing in a decent KB might be worth it.

 

Mike T.

OK, maybe I got a little carried away with the Voyager after hearing Charlie Wilson's bass player rip synth bass lines with one and considering his may have been backlined. :)

 

Otherwise, I don't think the Little Phatty is too expensive even for a few songs. Besides, once the bass player messes around with it for a little while, they may want to incorporate it on more. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh wow, I had forgotten about Akai Deep Impact after giving up on finding one, but I did have the opportunity to try one years ago, and have heard them on recordings and on stage, and I have to agree that they got it right, somehow. I wonder how many people remember Akai used to make effects pedals?

 

Maybe check (via friend Google) to see whether anyone has done a custom shop replica of that pedal? Visit analogman.com directly, or one of the other two or three well-known custom shops, as well.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...