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Blondie Heart of Glass


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Hi guys I hope someone can help me, one of the bands I play with is doing the Blondie song Heart of Glass. I don't know how to re-create the repetitive synth sound with the gear I have (Roland FA06 & Nord Stage), I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction please.

Nord Stage 2

Nord Lead A1

Roland FA06

Yamaha MOFX6

Nord Electro 5

Alesis QS7

Roland JV1080

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Seems like it would be pretty straightforward in the FA-06. Just set a measure of the sequencer to trigger 16th notes and loop it, assign a slow LFO (assuming you can have it free running and not retriggered) to filter cutoff. The real question is how to keep it in time live. Have to either send the drummer a click track or try using something like tap tempo.



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.

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Here's something to try.

With the Nord Stage.


Use the arpeggiator.

Set your tempo at least close as possible.

Do not use hold.

Your going to play on the beat of each measure so your going to lock on

with the drummer for just that measure. Or hold it longer if you feel it can carry through.

Then use the morph to sweep through the cutoff frequency.

and sweep it with a pedal or use the LFO.

You could sweep with a Wah too in the effects. Not as clean though.

Use the delay effect beat matched to cover up your re triggering.

Set effect amount up pretty high so you can let go and get a note after.

Salt it with some reverb.


This way your locking back on at the downbeat of each measure manually

and letting the arpeggiator take over for the measure, or for as long as you

hold it down. I would just hit on the downbeat of each measure. It's easier.


It's really the only way with a live drummer and isn't perfect but it will get you close.


I do something very similar for the Prince song Kiss that has that driving

kick/bass throb through the whole song. Listening back to it I can't tell except I know what's going on.




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Damn, I wish I'd thought of that when we did our Prince tribute concert. I butchered the living daylights out of the groove in that one.


Sorry this is OT but it might help others.

If you do it again you can use the release on the vca to get that drawn out

grunge as needed between the beats. It feels a little empty without it.

You'll need to leave something in the release of the filter and gate it off

with the VCA release.

I kinda ride it during the whole song between horn stabs, rhythmic clav noodles, and

horn stabs. Oh yea. That vibe call and answer thing too.

Also crank the delay repeats and ride it off at the breaks.

Adds a cool buildup as all those notes stack up in time.

If you have stereo it sounds killer in ping pong.


This one always gets people on the dance floor.



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I still play this song from time to time with my Ensoniq VFX (yeah, I know...old dinosaur...)


I've setup a split for the bass synth and sweeping pad.


In particular, the bass synth sound is programmed so that I trigger (play it) on key down and key up (the VFX is one of the few keyboards that has this feature). With this kind of triggering, you don't have to worry about locking to any clock, you just keep time with the band.


Not sure the Roland FA or Nord Stage can do that sort of thing, but if it can, you should give that a go.

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4:20 for a description of how it was actually done. Interesting.


(Though no real help in terms of how you will do it.... )





If it's that pulsed synth bass line that the OP is talking about, then forgive my inexperience and simplicity, but isn't this pretty much the same technique as on the Who's Won't Get Fooled Again, with two LFOs, one a square wave modulating the amp volume (I guess specifically the sustain element) and another sine or triangle wave modulating the LP filter cutoff?


Nord Stage 2 Compact, Yamaha MODX8

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I just threw this all together on a Nord Stage just because

I've never played this song for some reason.

It's all easily doable in one setup with a three way split.

The arp on the bottom like my previous hints.

The Farfisa in the middle with the Leslie in stop mode.

The Solina or ARP stringer on top with a phaser running slowly.

Nothing that's not already in the default preload.



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In my tribute band we do a couple of Blondie tunes, this one included. I'm using a Triton LE for this gig and I've found the easiest way is to get a basic sound that works for the first note, then add a single delay effect and play eights. Adjust the length of the delay so that the second note, the16ths, come in between the notes you play.


You could also do a key down/key up as Bernmeister explains above, if your hardware supports it - it's doable on the LE, but it's not as easy to play as you might imagine, which is why I now use the delay method.


Legend Soul 261, Leslie 251, Yamaha UX1, CP4, CK61, Hammond SK1, Ventilator, Privia PX3, Behringer 2600, Korg Triton LE, VB3M, B3X, various guitars and woodwinds, drum kits …

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I did a very elaborate sequence of the long version of the song for my 80's tribute band when it was still active and its members were all still alive.


I can share it if you like.


I can't watch videos at work, so don't yet know what the "secret" is that is revealed above, but I did read an article in probably Sound On Sound that went into depth at one point.

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That's strange -- I had read many years ago that the Wasp was used for the repetitive sound; not the SH-1000. Supposedly they found one cheap at a pawn shop while touring the UK.


The first time I programmed it, I used a Pattern Gate, but then I found out more about the origin of the sound and switched to the Wasp from NUSofting, after which I think I went to G-Force's impOSCar (same synth designed for the original hardware, in Oxford).


But you need a hardware synth/keyboard answer vs. a plug-in approach, so see if you have a pattern gate feature in any of them as that can be a good way to achieve that kind of pulse, using maybe a slightly resonant waveform and a mono phaser to bring the sound in and out.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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