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Thread: How to effectively simulate bass guitar with MIDI keyboard?

  1. #11
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    I had to smile so much when I read the posts above. Are we really suggesting that somebody who has never owned a real instrument should BUY one and use that, even a cheap one, because that will sound better? The people who can play a real bass will understand the fact that a real instrument, even a poor one, can sound great with a bit of treatment, but the key feature in this approach is being able too play the damn thing well - and if you can't or have never tried but maybe, just maybe, have the talent for it - you might discover you are a terrible bass player. When you are a reasonably good musician, then key switch sample control is an excellent system, but some people cannot do it properly. It rarely works to record the notes, then go back and do the key switching. That jump from a legato patch to a staccato one needs to be done musically - so not only do you switch to the shorter attack version, you also play it differently - it's the same as the 6 string guitar samples with all their playing styles. The left hand doing the key switching MUST work with the right hand doing the playing.

    Most bass parts in songs that get identified by bass players as 'artificial' or my pet hate description 'MIDI' (unfounded in my view as MIDI has little to do with the sound) are simply badly done - that's it. It's not the tone (some of my real basses suck). It's not the notes. It's not even the articulation of the playing. It's the combining of these into a string of notes that a real player would never have produced in almost every aspect.

    I play keyboards, my friend plays piano. I will never sound like him. He only sounds like me on a very bad day. Nothing to do with the piano we are playing.

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  3. #12
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    Well yes Rob I AM suggesting that the guy* get a BASS and put his lines down that way. There can surely be few people who reach their teens and have SOME feel for music that have not handled and messed with a 6 string guitar? I put bass in upper case because, unlike a sixer, it is pretty easy to fret the strings and make a decent sound and bass lines can be VERY simple and of course built up. My point being that although it is I am sure possible to get a convincing bass G sound with MIDI a real instrument, even a cheap one, does it instantly without so much faffing. There IS something about a plucked string that is very hard to simulate in other ways. Bowed strings pretty easy, struck,piano, harder but doable. The massive transient of the bass is hard to get right IMHO (why they fork speakers so easily!).

    This thread is moot and topical for me. My son is home from France and has rarely been off his prezzie. A pretty juicy laptop now kitted out with Samplitude Pro X3 and Independence Free sampler. He has showed me some guitar phrases he has put down. He loves them but they don't convince me. The SAD thing is...HE is a brilliant guitarist and has a very playable Mex Strat here! Just wants to play with software!

    *Said guy has said he wants to get a bass and guitar when funds permit.

    Dave.

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    I know an excellent guitarist - plays stadiums with big names all over the world, and he is a rubbish bass player. I've been playing bass instruments since I was 8, and have lost count of the people who just cannot play bass properly. Sadly, natural talent is quite rare, and people still take up bass because they think it's easier than guitar. It isn't. A good bass player can produce good bass from a keyboard. A good pianist cannot produce good bass from a guitar, unless they have the aptitude. I've not changed that opinion since 1974 when I bought my first bass. Some folk can, some can't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    I know an excellent guitarist - plays stadiums with big names all over the world, and he is a rubbish bass player. I've been playing bass instruments since I was 8, and have lost count of the people who just cannot play bass properly. Sadly, natural talent is quite rare, and people still take up bass because they think it's easier than guitar. It isn't. A good bass player can produce good bass from a keyboard. A good pianist cannot produce good bass from a guitar, unless they have the aptitude. I've not changed that opinion since 1974 when I bought my first bass. Some folk can, some can't.
    WTGR I (and I think others in this thread?) am not talking about "technique". I was a bass player and the punters stood for it. My son has played bass in bands (till they found out he was a MUCH better lead guitarists than the incumbent!). He also plays classical guitar and I can post a bit of "his " Bach and you can decide how good he is.

    No, my meaning is that getting the SOUND of a bass is far easier IMHO from the instrument than faffing about with synths. As I understand it the chap just wants to put some lines down that sound like a bass? He does not expect to come across as Jacko P!

    Dave.

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    I do take your point, and that was my first post's content - how to do it via a keyboard. I just had to laugh when I heard the suggestion that playing a bass would be better, and unless you already play, is just a bit crazy! If you can play - then why would you do it via a keyboard, you'd just play it - I assumed, perhaps wrongly he can't play the bass, hence the need for a MIDI tracked version.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    I do take your point, and that was my first post's content - how to do it via a keyboard. I just had to laugh when I heard the suggestion that playing a bass would be better, and unless you already play, is just a bit crazy! If you can play - then why would you do it via a keyboard, you'd just play it - I assumed, perhaps wrongly he can't play the bass, hence the need for a MIDI tracked version.
    Heh! Do you know "36 24 36" ? Jet Harris of Shadows fame had a bit of a hit with it. Well, that is about as good as I got and it is a tricky little riff that I would not expect a newb to be able to play for quite some time but, "bump-BUMP-bump-BUMP..C and G di dah I reckon anyone could master in an hour and a musical person would keep decent time and they would be doing simple runs and fills in next to no time.

    But! Been a LOOOONG time since I made music and I was never THAT good anyway (but I COULD build amplifiers!) so I shall shut up now before hoof gets any closer to gob!

    Dave.

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    I am absolutely suggesting he get a real bass and learn to play it. Yes, there will be a learning curve. But better to spend the time learning something that will extend his musical range in the long run, rather than trying to figure out how to program MIDI parts that will never sound convincing. I speak as somebody who started out trying to do exactly what the OP is attempting, then concluded that it made more sense get a real bass and learn to play it. So that's the advice I'm passing on.

    Whatever guitar skills and knowledge he already has will transfer right over to bass. Now if he's doing EDM or some kind of genre where MIDI bass is what is desired, then by all means program it. But if this were the goal, I doubt he would have asked the question that he did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robus View Post
    I am absolutely suggesting he get a real bass and learn to play it. Yes, there will be a learning curve. But better to spend the time learning something that will extend his musical range in the long run, rather than trying to figure out how to program MIDI parts that will never sound convincing. I speak as somebody who started out trying to do exactly what the OP is attempting, then concluded that it made more sense get a real bass and learn to play it. So that's the advice I'm passing on.

    Whatever guitar skills and knowledge he already has will transfer right over to bass. Now if he's doing EDM or some kind of genre where MIDI bass is what is desired, then by all means program it. But if this were the goal, I doubt he would have asked the question that he did.
    I gotta say I agree with this. I bought my first bass for $150 because I couldn't get a decent bass sound from a keyboard. Admittedly, I could already play guitar, so picking up the bass wasn't a far stretch to learn as far as knowing the notes. Playing the bass with a bassist's mindset does take some effort though.

    Nowadays, I play bass in two bands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmys69 View Post
    Bass guitar is likely the cheapest and easiest instrument to get to work in a mix.

    This coming from a bass player myself who has had inexperienced bass players get good recordings. We are not talking about incredible players here. Just finding the low end that a natural bass guitar gives.

    Just get a $200 Ibanez used for $50 and record it direct. If you can play keys, you can fret a note. The sound is way more natural than any bass synth and usually half the time spent trying to fake one with a synth.

    Though, not the same as a synth bass... The song determines what is needed.
    I can see I'm going to get more of these kinds of comments, despite what I said about not being able to do a real bass. So I've amended my original post, to hopefully filter out these comments.

    They're good comments, and well-meant, but they're not what I'm looking for. I'm looking for MIDI suggestions only. Thanks!

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