MIDI Bass success / JT - anyone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Kubla Khan, Aug 23, 2001.

  1. Kubla Khan

    Kubla Khan Guest

    Jan 29, 2001
    Question: Does anyone here use a midi pickup on their bass? Do the lower notes track well?

    I use a Roland GK-2 / GI-10 midi interface to my midi rig, triggered from a Stratocaster. I felt that the extended range of the gui*** would allow me more possibilities tracking wise. Of course, there weren't too many bass midi systems out there when I bought mine about five years ago. Tracks reasononably well on the low E. High strings are better.

    I really like the midi pickup on a string instrument, a really different approach than playing the keys.

    Any thoughts?

    Kubla Khan
  2. RAM

    RAM Guest

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    To my vastly limited knowledge, Peavey makes a bass that is about the only thing I've heard that tracks well. The reason is because the bass is wired for Midi triggering through the frets.

    Some have tried a much less sophisticated method by using the Boss Bass Synth with some success. Of course, this will probably not meet all your needs.
  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I have played the old Roland guitar systems and the Wall midi-bass. The Wal I believe is similar to the Peavey one. There are seperators on the frets. This system tracked really well and responded to two hand tapping, slapping and all the other show off stuff I threw at it.

    Digressing-there are filter effect units that could be waht you are looking for. Line 6 do a purple one theres also the Lovetone Meatball and the Mooger Fooger range. I have not tried these (yet) just my 2p
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Yup, the Peavey/Wal system is probably the only one that works.
    If I remember correctly, it was invented by an Australian and licenced to Peavey and Wal.
    Maybe a lightwave system, like the Shadow Photon system, could do it as well.
  5. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    I successfully use a MIDI bass rig. The components are:

    Axon Midi Pickup (similar to the GK-2A but for 4-5-6 string bass)
    Yamaha G50 (Pitch to MIDI detection)
    Alesis NanoBass (sound module)

    It's not perfect, and it takes a little technique work to get the hang of it, but it tracks very well for me, particularly with new steel strings. I've been pleased with it so far.
  6. Zoot H Rollo

    Zoot H Rollo

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    i have a roland ready strat that controls my roland VG8.

    i prefer the guitar for controlling midi.

    lightwave-systems has been threatening a MIDI system with their infrared pickups for a while now.

    they're probably very close.

    i bet that system will beat most on the market as far as tracking is concerned.

  7. yeah, the guy who designed that wired fret system was Steve Chick- Bassist magazine did an article on him.

    what let the Peavey midibase/later renamed Cyberbass down was that for an expensive instrument it was built around a pretty cheap bass- the Peavey Dynabass.
    I remember John Entwistle saying that he was going to use one, but was having trouble getting "his sound" out of it as well as the midi sounds.

    Peavey midibases ended up selling for £499 in the Uk- they were originally priced at over £1500.....

    I tried one- the tracking was good, except on the G, which I think was due to the bridge sensor not being set high enough.

    they should do a new version using the Cirrus bass instead.
  8. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i use RMC piezo/synth pickups which have the electronics of the gk-style pickups built into them. they track excellently, and the added bonus of piezos is great too.

    the roland guitar synth gear (the gr stuff) has a low frequency cut off at the C on the A string, so for a lot of bass stuff it can't cut it. the VG-8 and VG-88, on the other hand, don't really operate the same way, and they work pretty well with bass, although the presets need to be re-setup to accomodate the differing levels and eqs of the bass strings.

    for tracking and note generation i use an axon ax-100 sb, which is the best unit available for bass players. the only problem is that the customer service department for their only american distributor sucks terribly. it's basically one guy, and he's a total a$$hole. i went up to him at the winter namm show to talk to him about getting a unit direct from him, instead of from the only dealer that i knew of, who was selling the unit at a pretty high markup. he told me to call him after the show, that he would set me up as an artist endorser, and gave me his number. when i do call him, he yells at me for trying to circumvent his dealer, insults me and then hangs up on me. he wouldn't even let me get a word in edgewise, when i was asking about any other dealers.

    so while the axon ax100sb is an excellent unit, dealing with music industries, and especially sean o'connor, their only US rep, can be dicey at best, and downright terrible at worst. i ended up finding a distributor on the web - www.zzounds.com, who worked out great, and had a great price on the unit. i just hope i never have a problem with the unit, because i don't know who i'm going to deal with.

    anyway, back to the topic, the ax100sb (the sb stands for sound board, it has internal sounds as well as the ability to send midi to external units - a non-sound board unit is also available for about $150 cheaper) has 4 instrument settings - guitar/bass/violin/cello - with differing tracking characteristics for each. the bass can track as low as you can go, although it can take it some time for the lowest notes. i can get a good solid reliable low B out of the axon, and it's usable as long as i'm not trying to do 8th note runs on it or anything like that.

    bill conklin has wired all of the strings lower than e to the same saddle as the e string as far as the synth goes, so i've been able to get clear, usable notes out of all the strings of >6 string instruments.

    i also use a roland jv1010 and a kawai k-5000 as sound sources
  9. oddentity


    Nov 20, 2000
    Interesting - what kind of sounds are you using on the k5000? I've seen that used mainly as a pad machine (though I've heard that it does a decent analog emulation too)...

    Do you program the sounds yourself or do you use presets mainly? I understand the additive synthesis on the k5000 can be difficult to learn at first. It creates some really other-wordly sounds, though... I'd like to add one to my synth collection someday...
  10. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i sorta cheated - i have a k5m from back in the day, so i sorta got a jump on the k5000. :D yeah, it is mostly pads, although i get some really good bell sounds out of it too. since it's all additive, the lower frequency, lower octaves, are perfectly in tune, which isn't always the case with a digital, sampled sound. the character of the sounds at very low octaves is really cool. i only wish the unit was 2 freaking rack spaces. at least it's not like the k5m - that thing is like 4 spaces high and like 5 inches deep :rolleyes: . obviously not designed by anyone who actually uses a rack.
  11. oddentity


    Nov 20, 2000
    Does it make an appearance on Versatile Residue?
  12. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    the k5000m does, as does the jv1010, but only as sound sources for the ole kurzweil k2vx. i enjoy tickling the keys sometimes, but i suck at it. :D

    the voices at the beginning are layers of kurzweil and the 1010 w/the vocal card.

    most of the lead synthy stuff during the 7/4 / 7/8 section is actually the one guitarist, hal, soloing through the vg-8.

    i used the k5000 at the end, along with the jv1010 and the kurzweil as a 3 layer patch for the "space sounds" during the end fade out/bass solo.

    most of the other synth on their was just straight up kurzweil.
  13. oddentity


    Nov 20, 2000
    You suck less than I do, I'd bet... ;) That's what Cubase is for -- I draw in the notes, then play back the sequence whilst tweaking the knobs and controllers! :D

    Those Kurzys are sweet machines.
  14. superphat

    superphat Guest

    Sep 30, 2001
    i know that the Roland GR33 is a guitar unit, but has anybody used it for bass?
    i think the yamaha B1D bass pickup or Axon pickup should work with the Roland GR33...??

    has anybody had experience specifically with the GR33 as the sound source?