Bassline Tutorial Day 2: Making a Sweet Bassline Bass Synth [7 Day Song]
Hi, I’m Dave from boyinaband.com and welcome to day 2 of the 7 day song on bassline! Yesterday in Day 1, I taught you how to make a bounceriffic Bassline beat, today in day 2 I’ll be teaching you how to make a sweet bass synth and a ridiculously complex sub-bass synth to make the actual bassline for this bassline song!
Okay! Let’s begin with the non-sub bass and move onto the sub later, since it’s pretty complicated and I don’t want to scare you off just yet.
Create a combinator, name it “Da Wah Bass” Since this bassline will end up sounding like someone with a some sort of a throat disorder going “Wah”.
Inside the combinator, make a thor instance, initialize it and open it up with show programmer.
I’ll just add in some notes so we can hear the synth as it builds up. I’ll talk about the choice of notes later on.
We’re going to need 3 oscillators now.
Firstly, an analog oscillator just left on the sawtooth setting – this will provide the main punch and grit of the bass sound.
Second we want a Multi-oscillator. Turn it to the square wave on “interval” detune mode, then detune it a bit. Run it through with the “2″ button. The multi oscillator makes several analog oscillators and slightly detunes them from each other to get that big, thick sound. This will widen the sound a bit – not in terms of stereo, just in terms of tone and power.
Lastly, add in an “FM Pair” Oscillator. This modulates one oscillator, called the carrier, by another, called the modulator. It can be used in lots of ways, but one of the most useful, especially in this case, is for making some sweet overtones that are a little bit more interesting than a simple high pitched pulse wave or something. A Bassline or Dubstep bassline is generally composed of the low end combined with a high pitched synth to fill out the high end.
Turn the carrier to 1 and the mod to 2. Turn the FM knob to about 3/4 of the way around – this defines the amount of modulation going on; at 0 it’ll just be a pure sine wave. Lastly, turn the octave up two octaves. If you have a listen to the sound if you change the “mod” value, you can hear that a whole host of overtones can be generated. But for now, let’s stick with 1:2 and move on.
So we’ve got the oscillators in pretty quickly, unlike the incredibly complex sub-bass that’s coming up in part 2. The harmonic overtone from the Frequency Modulation Pair Oscillator is much too loud, so turn it down in the mixer. About 12dB down should do it.
Next, let’s enter the filter. Now, this is where we’re going make the “wah” part happen. Low pass ladder filter is fine – just turn the “Env” value to full in order to make the filter envelope have complete control over the filter, and the Freq to about 300 hz to cut off the high end. We’ll be using the envelope to bring the high end in as the sound evolves.
Now, in the “Filter envelope”, turn the Attack to 500ms so the filter takes a while to open. There – that’s the bassline wah sound! But we’re not quite done yet.
In the amp envelope, turn sustain to full so it doesn’t lose volume over time. Also, give it a 90ms release just so it doesn’t end too abruptly since has enough of a tail to stop it sounding like it’s cut off too sharply.
Now that’s a pretty cool effect, but let’s focus the tone a bit more with a – Right click, create, BV512 vocoder.
Turn it to equalizer mode, then 8 band. This allows you to quickly change the sound by adjusting the bars. Turn bar 1 to remove the lowest end entirely – we’ll be filling this space in the frequency spectrum with the extremely complex sub-bass that’s coming up next, turn up the 2nd and 4th bars to just below full and turn down the 3rd bar slightly – basically, have a play until you have a tone you like. Also, try turning the “Shift” knob to adjust the tone to sound brighter or darker. I’ll take it down a few notches to make it bassier.
And there we have the synth effect!
I’ll just talk about the notes now – Notice how in this riff, I’ve got a note on every beat; this really drives along the riff. The offbeat notes are simply the C in the octave above – Bassline music doesn’t generally have lead synths so you can afford to migrate the bass into higher octaves at times if you want to get some more varied sounds. The alternating octave bass gives that stereotypical funky sound which is ideal for that cheesy feel I’m going for in this song.
Okay! So we’re done with the main bassline! Join me in part 2 if you dare for the incredibly complex Sub-Bass!
Okay, brace yourself for this one. Right click and create a combinator called “Sub”. Make a Thor instance, initialize it and swap it to a “Sine” wave, then turn it down an octave. Turn the amp envelope sustain to full so it doesn’t lose volume over time and the Filter frequency and envelope to 0 to stop it from clicking at the start of the sound.
That’s… uh… it. Well, you can turn the “Resonance” knob a bit if you feel like you haven’t done enough for this synth, maybe type a random piece of general knowledge in the name tag for thor. But in general a sub bass need not be much more complex than that.
For the notes for this one, I’ve done the same riff without the off-beat octave notes just so the sub bass drives the track.
And there you have it! A bassline with more wah than a Metallica solo and a sub-bass more complex than Cheryl Cole’s personal life.
Join me tomorrow for day 3 where I’ll be teaching you how to make two more basslines – a nice heavy “Wow” bass and a Dubstep-style wobble bass!
Until then, play around with the Vocoder’s EQ function – you can make sounds seriously different really quickly with it!
Cheers for watching!