simple-y amazing; but how?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by nunk6, Oct 17, 2000.

  1. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    i've realized that besides rock there are many other styles of music that can create a wonderful groove. I've taken to listening to rap/hip hop and the bass drum coordination is amazing. its such a great difference then what i'm used to, but,
    my question is how do players acheive that sound that they use to create the lines on the rap albums;
    tone?, scales?, basses?, compressors?, effects?
    even the beats on which they play/emphasize
    does anyone know anything about this.....
    the bass is generally much deeper than anything i know how to acheive please help me
  2. Very good question Nunk. A lot of the basslines in hip hop you're hearing may very well be synthesizers.

    I'm going to move this thread to Miscellaneous, see if anyone there knows! ;)
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I'm not sure what technologies are being used to get the sound/tone you're describimg; for me, it's about the
    What I've noticed about the bass' function in Hip-Hop:
    The bass really emphasizes the ONE(either "strongly" played or "strongly" implied).
    Try this figure(pick your own notes)-
    /1....e.a3......./1....e.a..&...&./ etc SWING the rhythm, too.

    Too, for the most part, the overall RHYTHM is based on 3s; that is, the basic pulse can be divided by 3(triplets, 1/4 note triplets, 1/8 note triplets, 1/16 note triplets, ...).
    That's one reason why Rock "feels" different; Rock is based on dividing the pulse EVENLY(like 2 or 4)...IMO, Rap falls into the Rock vibe; Hip-Hop, to me, has that shffle thing goin' on.

    A drum book w/ various examples could be a big help(as I found out). With the beat programmed into my drum machine, what I do is practice the bass drum's figure until I'm pretty locked.
    Example-)Triplet feel...each beat is divided into 3s).
    High Hat-/1.....3..4../1..2..3..4../
    Snare Dr-/..a2..3...../......3..4.a/
    Kick Drm-/1....a...4../1...&...a.../

    (...I'm sure none of that will line up!).

    Anyway, then I may add the snare's figure to the mix by picking some notes/beats & omitting others. So, from the above example, something like this may be a possibility-
    /1.a2.a...4../1...&.3.a..a/ etc

    Couple other rhythms derived from using drum books-
    (in 4/4, Shuffle feel, in 1/16 notes)...


    Pick your own notes & don't forget about the "shuffle/swing feel"...

  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think Jim is right on about the drumming, but you will be very lucky to find any "real bass" on Rap/HipHop records - that is, any that has been actually played by a live bass player. It is typically sub-bass - using synths/sequencers and will have been programmed in much the same way as the drums have. So there is a machine-like quality which will never be the same as a live drummer and bass player working together. The impossibly tight synchronisation between bass and drums is something achieved by the fact that both are programmed.

    The other typical bassline on these records is sampled and looped - you can do this digitally and take a very small portion of an existing recorded bassline (and/or drums) and then tailor the sample and loop it, to again provide an impossibly tight bassline, that never varies.

    The original post was a bit "vague" and it's not entirely clear what is being referred to , but this is my take on what nunk means by "co-ordination" - this is due to the programmed nature of the music IMO and can never be exactly duplicated by live bass and drums - but then why would you want to?

    Actually , this is something that worries me - growing up with live music all around - I love the sound of a live rhythm section and always prefer this. But I suspect that there are generations growing up now, who have only heard programmed (produced) music and actually prefer this to the "live" sound.
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999

    ...I agree totally, Bruce. Back in the '70s, this "white" boy had a lot of problems getting soulful & funky; there was "tightness" but also some "un-tightness" about where the accents fell on & on what subdivision of the beat. This randomness coupled with the groove was difficult(for me)to get a grip on.
    Nowadaze' R&B sounds pretty "mathematical" to my ears; like you say, it's "...tailored" & "never varies".
    IMO, a lot of stuff like this doesn't breathe(granted, I'm old & partial to LIVE rhythm section sections).

    ...regardless, as I alluded previously, it's about the rhythm; & playing these grooves with a drummer & incorporating them into a live "jam" is fun.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree that it's fun to play with some of these - I actually quite like putting on MTV's R&B station and playing along! There are some great drum grooves and I always come up with some good ideas for bass lines - actually I usually think my bass lines would be better! ;) But this is probably becuase I like looser, more "live" basslines and any producer would be horrified at the liberties I take.

    But I was trying to explain to nunk, that you are never going to be able to replicate this sort of thing "exactly" with live bass and drums. When he says : "my question is how do players achieve that sound that they use to create the lines on the rap albums;" - I guess what I'm saying is that it wasn't any "player" who created those lines, but rather a combination of machine, software and programming!

  7. Bruce,

    You're right on. My son creates hip/hop grooves for people, using the DR Rythm machines. It is all keyboards, synthesizes, samples, loops, and quantization. No bass player needed for this stuff.

    I too like playing along with this stuff. It helps to get me in that zombie state required to play really boring basslines -). And no flames please. Some male chorus music is very repetitious, and I need to get in a zombie state to play it.

  8. There are a few rap groups that use live instrumentation (usually the better hip hop acts):
    Lauryn Hill
    The Roots
    Wyclef Jean

    Some of these people are actually musicians too, D'Angelo plays piano, Wyclef is pretty good guitar player, he was playing Carlos Santana's parts on that "Maria Maria" song, including the solo. The Roots bassist and drummer are actual members of the group too, and they are pretty cool. I'm not a huge rap and modern R&B fan, but if it's got a cool groove, I'll like it.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean are the Fugees! Even so Wyclef does a lot of programming although he is a good musician and "Maria Maria" definitely has a programmed drum track and bassline on the record, although I know they play it live with real bass. I think 99.9% of R&B is programmed and D'Angelo is probably the one exception - I think the Fugees don't necessarily fall into this category and are Reggae-influenced as much as anything. But the original question was about Hip-Hop, which is almost by definition 100% programmed music.