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Synth bass sounds

Discussion in 'Ask Janek Gwizdala' started by BobbyPoulton, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Hi Janek,

    My first post. Please be gentle :)

    I'm a full time bass player based in Sydney, Australia. I have recently added upright and synth bass to my rep, which has greatly increase my amount of work :)

    I'm just wondering how you go about creating bass synth sounds? Where do you start from? What are some of the sounds that MUST be in the bank for a working player? How do you go about creating the sounds that you use all the time?

    Many thanks,

  2. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    though I am surely not Mr. Gwizdala, I have been learning a lot about synthesis and circuits and synth bass in the past couple of years...

    first, get a good hold on subtractive synthesis, and on ADSR- attack, decay, sustain, and release, and finally get your ear around the waveforms- square, triangle, sawtooth, etc.

    It seems convoluted, but I bought and sold a couple of synths, not knowing REALLY how to create what I wanted and needed.. but now that I have been learning electronics and how to build effects, I feel like I really understand the relationship between circuits and sound..

    and never underestimate how useful information in even the worst youtube tutorial can be

    I'd love to see what Janek has to say
  3. Yeah, all that stuff you mentioned I have been working out quite well. All makes perfect sense. I guess I'm after tips of what really works in the real world for a bass player who has been doing the synth thing for a while. Sometimes what people (for example) say in tutorials may be correct in theory, however when they are put to live situations, it doesn't go so well. So yeah, I was asking Janek because of his great experience it the matter! :)

    I hear that Kern Brantley is putting out an instructional video soon, I'm hanging out for that.
  4. janekbass


    Jan 28, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Founder and CEO of http://janeksbassstudio.com
    I really don't use a synth bass rig anymore. I think, unless 1 of about 4 people I really want to work with call me, that most of my generic synth bass playing days are behind me. I used various rigs over the years from a completely software based setup with the laptop, to a Nord Lead, Little Phatty, and various moog products.

    Now everything I do synth wise is generated with pedals. I use the Line 6 M5, more fuzz pedals than I can remember to even list right now, and several moogerfooger pedals.

    At the end of the day it all depends what you're trying to get out of using synth sounds. Are you trying to recreate a part that was played on a pop, hip hop, or R&B record? or are you trying to create something new that is part of your own voice?

    My focus is on the latter, and the less I think about generic sounds and playing other people's music the better in terms of what I want to get out of my music. But again, everyone has a different take on where they're headed, and we all put value in different facets of the music business.

    As long as you're happy, I think you're doing what is perfect for you.

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