Jump to content


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

Anyway to get a "string section" effect? - MP3 sample posted


Gruuve

Recommended Posts

Hey folks:

 

What would I need to make my bass guitar signal sound like a bass guitar signal plus a whole string section? (I would likely use the fretless for this.) The only way I can think of right off is to somehow trigger a midi sound module from my bass, but I have a feeling that's probably quite complex and probably doesn't track very well unless I'm using very high-end gear. (Am I wrong?)

 

I've hit a few items on Ebay using "midi bass" as the search key, but I'm not quite sure what I'm looking at in most cases.

 

Are there any simple analog pedals that do something like this? Is there any sort of bass-to-midi box that I could run an output to that I could use to trigger a Boss DR-5 or similar? (Analog signal to midi converter?)

 

Thinking out of the box, any other ideas come to mind? There's got to be some reasonably good, but not ridiculously expensive way to do this...

 

One thought I've had is a footpedal midi-keyboard controller (a la Geddy Lee), but even that's $300-500, and requires me to be coordinate enough to actually use it while playing... :freak:

 

Any ideas appreciated, no matter how wacky or off-the-wall! (Well, perhaps it would be a good idea to keep it within practical reason, of course... ;) )

 

TIA!

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 36
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Me thinks The Green One will have input on this.

 

Personally, I'm just wasting bandwidth.

 

There is the old Peavy midi bass. That could trigger a midi signal and do what you are seeking. They haven't been made in years though, so finding one could be difficult and expensive. A friend of mine used to have one of these. They were pretty stinkin' cool.

 

Here's one on Ebay:

 

Peavey Midi bass

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I know...I saw the Peavey midi-bass, but I really don't want to have to do it through a different bass. I know there's some Axion stuff that'll do it, but at fairly high-dollar. I realize the Roland V-bass is another option, but that's far above the price range I was considering (plus don't you have to mount some sort of midi-pickups or something on your bass?). I want to use the two existing basses I have (plus any others that I might acquire) without modification.

 

I was hoping that there's some simply analog pedal that sounds like string section :idea: but I guess no such thing exists, eh?

 

There's got to be some reasonably inexpensive bass-to-midi box or something. I'm going to keep looking...if anyone thinks of either an analog pedal or any midi-box please post it!

 

Thx,

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Dave Sisk:

What would I need to make my bass guitar signal sound like a bass guitar signal plus a whole string section?

Why?

 

The only way I can see this being possible is with a pretty advanced midi setup, which tracks your pitch and layers strings on top in harmony. Actually making that work at a gig will be a challenge and require a lot of expensive gear. And IME very few basslines are in sync with string parts which tend to act as a counterpoint with the vocals, unlike horn parts which are more likely to lock with the rhythm section.

 

You'd be better off persuading your keyboardist or guitarist to cover the string parts. Or give up your clean bass tone and play faux strings using a volume pedal and maybe some fuzz.

 

Alex

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess it doesn't have to technically be a string section. Anything that is thick and textured with minimal attack might work. Aren't there some synthesizer pedals or something that will do something like that? I guess I need to go check out the Boss SYB5 or whatever it is.

 

I've looked through the manual for the Digitech BP8 I have, and I don't see anything that might come close right off. I'm going to be out of town until Thursday, but I'll do some experimentation with that side when I get back. I doubt I'll get anything close to what I'm looking for out of it in this case however.

 

And why? Well, why not? There's a song where there's a string section part with no bass part...I was trying to think of how to emulate that section. I'm sure I'll find other uses as well as I go...

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Dave Sisk:

And why? Well, why not? There's a song where there's a string section part with no bass part...I was trying to think of how to emulate that section. I'm sure I'll find other uses as well as I go...

I wasn't saying "why?" as in "why would a bassist want to sound like strings?" as was saying "what function are you trying to achieve?" You may have noticed from my various posts and recordings that I'm not averse to the odd effect!

 

Here's what I'd do: Work out the three main string lines. Work out how to play them simultaneously as chords beyond the 12th fret. Set the BP-8 up for some subtle chorus and reverb, and set the expression pedal to be a volume pedal. With the volume pedal at zero, fingerpick the chords just before you want them to sound, and then swell and decay the sound using the volume pedal. Voila!

 

Alex

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got a string section. I work every day tryin' to make it sound like one.

 

You know the problem with a string patch, even on keys? (Barking up C.Alex's tree here.) It doesn't really sound idiomatic.

 

Just because it sounds like a bunch of violins doesn't make it sound right. There are so many other factors; harmonic, rhythmic, tessitura, texture, bowing and etc. Writing the part is the challenge.

 

Ya wanna hear nicely scored strings in pop/rock music...? Check out David Gates arranging, both with Bread and in other contexts. That's real fingers playing nice things.

 

In your case, if you need this as an effect, I'd write out a sequence and trigger it. This can be very effective, and invisible to the audience. A few weeks ago I heard John Conlee and band at a private party. The sound was fuller than 4 musicians could make it. After extensive conversation with the band, I learned that they work a lot with backing sequences with both live and synth parts.

 

I know that happens a lot in modern music, but now it's moved to a country band. Not too bad...and I'll bet it's a simpler solution to your problem.

Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

huge reverb, some chorus, delay, and if you want the full effect, a regenerating pitch shift to send it stratospheric... use an ebow and you're there! I use big string-type sounds a lot of the time, and have avoided MIDI as I felt out of control with it - you're just triggering a sample, and bass strings aren't that good at it... I ended up sounding like a mediocre keyboard player. When I did it with processing instead, I found my sound...

 

FWIW, the effects unit I use is the Lexicon MPX-G2, but it's pretty far outside your budget... it'd cost more than the V-Bass

 

cheers

 

Steve

www.stevelawson.net

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by A Head with Wings:

Peavey midi-bass... Now I know what I saw Doug Wimbish do some weeks ago. Not that it kept me awake at night.

I have owned a Peavey MidiBase for over 11 years.

 

Playing Strings and bass at the same time is VERY difficult.

 

The learning curve for the Midibase, MIDI and necessary sound module is quite severe--mastering the Midibase to get the effect you want would take some time.

 

I think the Roland is a better solution; however, I agree with the others--get a real sring section or let the keyboardist handle the string fills.

 

My 2 cents.

 

[Edit: or, do what Steve Lawson suggested while I was typing.. :) ]

Steve Force,

Durham, North Carolina

--------

My Professional Websites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've got a Boss Harmonist pedal.

 

It'll give you a third and a fifth (or any other two intervals) from the note you are playing and it will do it in key.

 

Digitech makes some relatively inexpensive units as well.

 

Or you can get an Eventide Ultraharmonizer which will cost you as much as all your basses and amps put together.

 

Then you can play your string parts. Don't forget the volume pedal.

 

You could also play your bass parts with one hand and play a keyboard with the other. That's actually not a bad solution and I have done it from time to time.

 

If you really want to stretch your mind, buy some of Steve Lawson's albums and see what can be done. But he does have a few processors at his disposal. And also gifted hands and a gifted brain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm with DBB and BenLoy. After being a big fan of synth strings for years (synth are cheap and don't complain), I got to play in a string section last spring. They were mostly (very) advanced high school and college students with a couple of ringers thrown in to lead them. There is no substitute for real strings. I'm off the synth strings completely.

 

Is this for a gigging or for a recording session?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great suggestions, guys. This is for live performances in church (and I see it as a very occasional need, thus the limited budget allocation). My first idea would be to let one of the two keyboardists cover the string section part, but alas...the last time we did that particular song, neither keyboardist was available! A full string section is unfortunately NOT an option (I wish it was!). I actually toyed with the idea of sequencing the part, but that might be quite difficult to execute cleanly do to tempo and timing reasons (we get one rehearsal...sometimes...and one of the two primary drummers isn't great at picking a tempo and sticking to it.)

 

All in all, it can't hurt me at all to turn my bass into a string section when I'm not using it as a bass, right? If/when I get that working, I'll experiment with doing both at the same time. I *might* actually be able to pull that off with some practice...I've done some simple keyboard parts before when doing drums...one hand and two feet playing drums, one hand holding chords on a keyboard. It actually wasn't nearly as hard as you'd imagine, but I have a feeling doing that plus bass might tax me considerably more.

 

When I get back home, I'll try layering some effects like was mentioned. The Digitech BP8 has some harmonizer sections...I was experimenting with 5th and octave up before I left home this morning. That plus the volume pedal, reverb...hmmm...sounds like it's worth a try at least. Unfortunately, all the modulation effects are under one section (meaning you can choose between them, but not layer them). But, it's still worth a try.

 

I *might* end up just springing for a footboard midi-controller (ie. "bass pedals" type deal) if I find one used at a good price. If I'm just looking to hold simple chords, etc., that might actually be the way to go. For that matter, it doesn't even have to have the piano layout...as I understand it, even something like one of the generic multi-pedal midi-controllers (like the $100 Behringer makes) would actually work to play (for instance) the sound source in my Boss DR-5. (The DR-5 isn't a great sounding source, but like I said, it's just got to be good enough...a Casio toy keyboard isn't good enough, but the DR-5 is...) If it all (gear + me :freak: ) actually works well, then I could always step up to better sound source, controller, whatever.

 

I'm going to search out some of the "synthesizer pedals" like the Boss I mentioned above, and see if I can find some MP3 samples and such...I've never actually heard what any of those gadgets sound like, so who knows...I might find something that's awefully close to what I'm looking for (and close would work).

 

Again, thanks for all the suggestions!

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hey try a digitech bp200. they have a patch on that called strings(#39). it is not a very good simulation but it might serve your purpose. it sounds better if you fade it in and out with the controller pedal. you will have to split you signal to get your bass and the effect. but it is only $149.00 new.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It looks like my Boss Harmonist HR-2 was replaced by the PS-5. It's pretty much the same.

 

And my Synth pedal is the SYB-3 not the SYB-5. Once again, not a lot of difference.

 

I guess that $200 pedals are not such a good investment. I should have thought about that before I bought a half dozen of them.

:freak:

 

http://www.wholenote.com/images/products/Boss_HR-2_l.jpg

 

To get back to Dave's original question, if you are not playing bass at the moment when you need strings, you could save yourself a lot of agony by buying an inexpensive keyboard and just playing the parts on that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by jeremy c:

I guess that $200 pedals are not such a good investment. I should have thought about that before I bought a half dozen of them.

I'm not sure any effects processor is a "good investment" per se...they seem to be replaced by the latest and greatest (?) at a much faster rate than anything else (except for maybe all-in-one digital recorders! :rolleyes: ) Basses and amps don't go obselete in 3-5 years, but effects sure seem to! (I just can't figure why they never actually get BETTER as a whole.)

 

That said, I do believe that you can get overall better results using all analog pedals, assuming you pick all the right pedals and all the right switching stuff to tie them all together (and put them all in the right order). Of course, by the time you've done all that, you'll have spent 2-4X as much as you would have for a digital multi-fx that "does it all". It's like most tools...if it does a bunch of different things, in all likelhood, it won't do any of them as well as a specialized tool that only does one thing. (Which is not to say all analog pedals are good...they are not. There's crap that's both digital and analog! :eek: )

 

To get back to Dave's original question, if you are not playing bass at the moment when you need strings, you could save yourself a lot of agony by buying an inexpensive keyboard and just playing the parts on that.
Yeah, yeah, I know...but where's the fun in that? Anybody can bang out chords on a keyboard (even non pianists like me!)...I want to do it from my bass if possible because it's different, if for no other reason! :D

 

You might wondering why. Some of the best bass lines I've ever come up with (probably 1/3 of them) have either 1) been written to accompany a part I wrote on keyboard or 2) I wrote the bass line on keyboard, then transfered it to bass. It kind of forces me to think about it in a different way, rather than letting my left hand do what it's more accustomed to (like chosing intervals that are "comfortable"). Do you follow what I'm saying? Everyone does string section sounds on a keyboard. I want to do them on bass (unless it's just not feasible) because that'll make me think about them a little differently.

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've found samples of the Boss SYB-3, the Electronic-Harmonix guitar synth pedal, and the Ibanez bass synth pedal online. These are all pretty cool, but I think I can get pretty close to this with the envelope filter on the Digitech BP8 (as far as I can tell with laptop speakers only!). These are cool, but not exactly what I'm looking for in this case.

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

C. Alex:

 

I was reading your post again. Layering string section chords on top of a bass root note does seem kind of daunting, eh? I've got a mental picture that might work:

 

Some sort of pitch-to-midi device that can simply detect the single note being played on the bass, plus a pedalboard where you've got a pedal for a variety of chord types. So, if I wanted to play say a G on bass, and have the string section play a G major chord, I'd pluck G on the bass and step the major chord pedal.

 

This would get quite complicated if I were playing anything other than roots, though....hmmm....thoughts? I'm sure this doesn't exist as already-put-together kit, but I wonder what the possibilities are of putting together pieces that would work together to accomplish this?

 

I'm assuming here (and I think this is correct) that any bass-to-midi converter gadget that I might find probably wouldn't work with anything other than single notes on bass (no chords, etc.), and probably only work well with long, sustained notes. That still might be enough to get me pretty close to where I *think* I'm trying to go... :freak: Anyway, I'd be very interested in your thoughts on this approach.

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can do the intellegent harmoniser thing with my MPX-G2, and can set it so I can change the chord time at the touch of a button...

 

The cheapest way to do this would be with one of the Digitech vocalist processors, which are designed for doing your own BVs... That with the BP8 should get you close to the sound you're looking for

 

Steve

www.stevelawson.net

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It just occurred to me that the old Boss DR-5 I have has an analog input for pitch-to-midi. Hmmm. I tried it a few times with my old 4-string Yamaha BB300 bass, but I haven't tried it in years with either of my currently used basses. I may have a simple solution already sitting in my practice area. If I recall, it didn't track very well, but then I doubt I was playing long, sustained parts like whole notes. I'll have to give this a try when I get home...

 

Yeah, the footpedal keyboard controller is starting to look more and more like it might be the best answer...

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think the technology to do decent strings on a midi-bass unit is there yet. Roland or Yamaha may have a solution to this ready to go by 2008. In the meantime, I'd hire a young keyboard player or go with sequenced tracks like the man suggested. They're hard to find, but there are drummers who can play along with pre-recorded sequences.

:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a "String" preset on my DigiTech BP200 multifx that does an interesting orchestral effect. It plays several notes in unison. I think it does mostly three notes, all within a three octave range. All the notes are pitched higher than the original bass note. If you aren't playing a terribly fast run, this effect works well.

 

I'm not sure how it's all filtered through. I'll post more later after I have a chance to look at my unit. Maybe post a quick mp3 sample or two in my Yahoo! briefcase if you like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Dr. Taz:

Maybe post a quick mp3 sample or two in my Yahoo! briefcase if you like.

Taz, that would be awesome! I've looked for a sample of this effect on Digitech's site, but I didn't see anything right off...

 

What's the effect called again? I wonder if it exists on the BP50 or BP80? I'd hate to buy a second multi-fx, but if it's the best all-around option, I'll consider it.

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey folks:

 

I got this reply from someone on DIYStompboxes.com:

 

You could use a phase-locked loop frequency follower with a series of dividers in the loop to generate several octaves of digital sawtooths above the bass fundamental, send each to a filter bank to simulate a generic string timbre, delay/chorus each, mix the results, and then envelope-shape the signal to get a bowed attack/decay. That should do it!

 

My reply was "huh?" (the poster hasn't responded yet though). Can help me figure out this answer? What is a phase-locked loop frequency follower? Is it like an octaver or hamonizer? By filers I assume he means EQ...any have any idea what curve to apply? What does he mean by envelope shaping?

 

As soon as I get a response from this poster (that board isn't nearly as active as this one!), I'm going to ask him how much he'd charge to build one! I'm thinking probably the best way to get the right flexibility in terms of using/bypassing would be to have 2 footswitches, one labeled "Bass" and the other labeled "Strings". If you have bass on and strings off, that's essentially the bypass...bass off and strings on, you get only the string section signal...bass on and strings on, you get both. If the two footswitches are close enough together, it shouldn't be too difficult to step on both footswitches at the same time (to switch from bass to strings-only, or vice versa). What do you think?

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

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

×
×
  • Create New...