To touch bass or not

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wadewalbrun
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To touch bass or not

Postby wadewalbrun » Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:22 pm

Okay, so I've got some drum software, which I am happy with, but am still relegated to playing bass on my computer keyboard. Am I better off buying a cheap bass guitar or going the MIDI keyboard route, or should I just buy some piece of software that acts the same as the drums software, only with bass? Is there even such software? I've also heard about a pedal that converts any guitar to an bass guitar.

Any thoughts or advice would be great!!


BTW - A big thanks to all who contributed to my drums thread! It was really really helpful!
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby Billy's Little Trip » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:06 pm

I've never heard fake bass that I've ever liked. Not for your style of music. If you were doing disco, I'd say go for it. But real rock doesn't support fake bass to my standards........which are low to begin with. :P
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby Kevin Mellows » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:13 pm

If you can play bass for sure get a real bass!
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby ken » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:16 pm

This might be a good time to check out the Monoprice Pbass:

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=1 ... 1&format=2
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby Lunkhead » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:32 pm

I would recommend a cheap bass, too. I'm with BLT about fake bass for most styles of music. There are things kinda like fake bass players but they just don't work as well as the fake drummers.
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby Paco Del Stinko » Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:29 pm

Ya gotta have a bass. You can set it up good enough to do what you need it to do. That one Ken is suggesting looks alright to me.
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby Lunkhead » Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:51 pm

You could also barely, just barely, scrape by with playing bass on your guitar, then pitch shifting it down an octave. Puce used to do that, and he figured out some way to make it sound awesome. When I've tried it, it sounded like crap, but not as bad as using a synth bass. I think running it through an amp simulator might cover up some of the sound quality degradation introduced by the pitch shifting.
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby wadewalbrun » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:41 pm

Lunkhead, I read a number of accounts of people who tried that same method and they mostly came up with the same shitty sound. That would have to be an experiment at best, although I read one instance where someone said that Amplitude had a guitar to bass simulator that sounded great.

Looks like my best course of action is getting an actual bass. Something new to learn, I suppose. I will have to check on EBay about a cheap used bass. Unfortunately, being left handed means always made buying a new guitar a pain in the ass.

I see that Ibanez makes some half way decent starter basses for not too much coin. Anyone have any experience with other inexpensive brands, like Dean, or Rogue?
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby ken » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:00 pm

Spud has a Rogue and I think he really likes it. I suggest you go with an off brand like SX or Xaviere:

http://www.rondomusic.com/bassguitars4.html

http://www.guitarfetish.com/Xaviere-Bas ... c_362.html

I think used Squier Basses are also usually a good deal once you set them up.
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby fluffy » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:06 pm

Synth bass can be pretty good if you have a decent set of samples and you don't try doing anything too complicated, and if you run the sound through a decent bass amp model.

Pitch-shifted guitar is really hard to get good. Logic's pitch-shifter works better if you set the mix to around 50% instead of doing 100%, but it also adds a bit of weird latency so you have to adjust the timing accordingly. Then run it through a bass amp model.

The Song Fight version of my "No Brakes" used a pitch-shifted guitar for the bass (since it's all I had available at the time) and it worked well enough. I rerecorded with a real bass for the EP release, though.

I have one of these. Very playable and sounds great.

Also it looks like for some godforsaken reason I decided to use a pitch-shifted guitar for the bass on the album version of Put Cindy Back on the Bus (even though I owned a real bass by then). It doesn't sound terrible at least, but that's about as good as I've been able to get it.
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby Caravan Ray » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:35 pm

I have a Yamaha bass I am very happy with (RBX270J) - it was only about $300 when I bought it about 5 years ago. I think there is a cheaper model too which is also quite OK. Prior to getting that - I think I always pitch-shifted my acoustic guitar for bass. A real bass is much better
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby Paco Del Stinko » Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:39 am

I've had a couple of Memphis P-style basses over the years. Inexpensive but with nice woody tone.
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby wadewalbrun » Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:43 am

This is excellent! Thanks for all the feedback! It definitely sounds like getting a real bass is the way to go. There seems to be a bit to consider. Precision type bass vs. Jazz type bass? Does it matter much? I read one of the differences is in the pickups. Tonally, is there a significant advantage of one over the other? I read Jazz bass tone is a bit thinner but more nuanced. True? Are precision basses more suited toward the rock style music I play? I've also read that Jazz style basses have strings that a closer together, and are somewhat better for playing with a pick. Since I come from a guitar background, I will probably be playing with a pick, I think at least initially. Again, is that really something to consider, or do you adapt in time to whatever you are playing?

Ken, thanks for the links!! I read some reviews of the SX basses, and they seem to quite positive. Seemingly, a lot for the money. Definitely looks like a real possibility, and you can't beat the price.

One last question, looking more broadly. With guitars, I've always started by buying low end guitars only to end up purchasing a decent one later that really satisfies me. Shouldn't I attempt to buy a slightly better bass right off the bat, and pass up that feeling like I should have better, or really, for what I'm doing now, a lower end one will most likely do quite competently and sufficiently?

Oy!! This is like a crash course in basses.

Anyway, I appreciate all the feedback. Thanks for letting me pick your brain!
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby Paco Del Stinko » Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:01 am

I think that your comments about Jazz basses having clarity are on target. P-Basses are probably beefier, in general. Similar to a humbucker (P bass) versus a single coil (Jazz). Of course, they have basses with both pickup configurations, so there's that too.The Jazz necks are more narrow too, I believe. Try a couple out, they must have lefties at the bigger stores. I have a 5-string Jazz, very wide neck. But my go-to bass is a P-type, an old "Hard Puncher" by Tokai. Neck like a baseball bat. Like the nut man that I am, I have other basses too. But we won't go there. :)

If you plan on recording and playing for a while, why not get something half decent? You do don't need to go nuts, obviously, if bass is just going to be very secondary, but you might as well get something that you enjoy and isn't a complete hunk 'o crap. Simple and solid.
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby Lunkhead » Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:55 am

I have a P-bass style and love it (a Fender P-bass Lyte). Any cheap bass will probably be fine. Also, I don't personally think that, if you can already play guitar, you'll have much to learn in order to play bass. It's basically a guitar, just pitched lower, and with four strings (or however many you get).

People have different bass styles and philosophies though. Personally, I like to keep the bass simple, and to use the bass as the bridge between the drums and the harmony (aka the chord progression, more or less, usually in rock music primarily provided by the rhythm guitar). I also like to generally play the root notes of the chords along with the guitar. I only infrequently play the third or fifth instead. And I don't really play chords on the bass much either.
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby Paco Del Stinko » Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:06 am

Lunkhead wrote:I have a P-bass style and love it (a Fender P-bass Lyte).
Hey! I have a P-Lyte too! It was a gift way back in 1990. I love it, and per this discussion, has both jazz and precsion type pickups. Active electronics too, but that's another story. Great recording bass, it'll do anyting you ask of it, really.

I'm always bouncing off of the thirds and fifths, but playing chords is almost taboo to me as well. I love writing bass lines, one of my favorite parts of recording.

Agreed in the transition from guitar to bass. Unless you want to learn slapping and all that, just keep it simple. Simple walking patterns, leaning heavily on the root note. Nice instrument to record last, if you can hold off that long.
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby Billy's Little Trip » Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:41 am

By the way, this is a good place to mention a bass plug-in for those that do record real bass. I was looking for an old school bass stomp box plug-in for our L'Occitane entry. I tried a few that were meh, then stumbled onto the B.O.D. here. >>> http://www.tseaudio.com/software/tseBOD
Image

I started out with mad overdrive because I was having a blast with it. But I ended up toning it way down for the final mix. Paco and Dee heard it on the original clip that we started working on, lol. It was wild. Anywho, it's a free download, so give it a whirl.

And good luck on your new bass adventure, OP.
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby wadewalbrun » Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:00 am

Great stuff!! Very useful. I appreciate all the feedback. There is much to think about.

BLT - Cool! I love all those VSTs, and a free, good one is even better. Many thanks!
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby fluffy » Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:04 am

fluffy wrote:Also it looks like for some godforsaken reason I decided to use a pitch-shifted guitar for the bass on the album version of Put Cindy Back on the Bus (even though I owned a real bass by then). It doesn't sound terrible at least, but that's about as good as I've been able to get it.

Hm, actually half of the songs on Love and Monsters that use bass used a pitch-shifted guitar. I guess I hadn't bought the Rogue yet (I did have my fretless at the time but I have never found it very fun/easy to play, so I only used it on occasion).

I don't think anyone ever called me on it, either, so, chalk one up for using a pitch-shifted guitar (or for having nobody listen to your music).
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby wadewalbrun » Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:36 am

Fluffy, do you still have the Rogue? Are you generally happy with it?

What were you using to pitch shift? Was it an actual pedal? I looked around for a decent octave VST and was quite disappointed by the quality. Stuff just sounded horrible.
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby fluffy » Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:44 am

wadewalbrun wrote:Fluffy, do you still have the Rogue? Are you generally happy with it?

I do, and I am. It's a lot of fun to play.

What were you using to pitch shift? Was it an actual pedal? I looked around for a decent octave VST and was quite disappointed by the quality. Stuff just sounded horrible.

Just the basic pitch shifter plugin that comes with Logic. I don't know if it's based on someone else's or what.
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Re: To touch bass or not

Postby ken » Thu Jul 17, 2014 3:36 pm

wadewalbrun wrote:Ken, thanks for the links!! I read some reviews of the SX basses, and they seem to quite positive. Seemingly, a lot for the money. Definitely looks like a real possibility, and you can't beat the price.


Monoprice is offering 10% off Musical Instruments and Pro-Audio Gear after Coupon Code: "NAMM2014N" (Exp 7/17). Additionally, get an extra 12% discount after Coupon Code: "2MP12" (Exp 7/17). Shipping starts at $2.95, however if you live in California you can get $5.63 Overnight Delivery no matter how much you order. Tax in CA.

So you save $33 on a $150 bass.
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