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Old 01-11-2021, 10:34 AM
LiveMusic LiveMusic is offline
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Default How to generate bass lines

Say, first, I don't play bass.

This is for guitar/vocal recordings. For recording what would probably end up being 'work tape' recordings, is there any way I could automatically add a bass line to an acoustic guitar track? Like, it would recognize the chords and play a bass line or let me choose from several styles/rhythms? If so, is it hardware or software or both?

If this does not exist, is there something similar that would generate a bass line from me playing the chords on a keyboard?

Sorry for ignorance on this!
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:17 PM
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Well, you can do things with a MIDI keyboard, or octave pedal and your guitar, but honestly, if you can get to know a decent bass player and have them play the part, once you have a guide/scratch track, it's going to be a lot less work and sound like an actual bass track.
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:57 PM
buddyhu buddyhu is offline
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Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
Well, you can do things with a MIDI keyboard, or octave pedal and your guitar, but honestly, if you can get to know a decent bass player and have them play the part, once you have a guide/scratch track, it's going to be a lot less work and sound like an actual bass track.
I agree with the above.

There is more to adding a decent bass line then meets the eye...just talk to someone who teaches bass, or who is an accomplished player.
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Old 01-11-2021, 01:26 PM
FreeRangeTrout FreeRangeTrout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveMusic View Post
Say, first, I don't play bass.

This is for guitar/vocal recordings. For recording what would probably end up being 'work tape' recordings, is there any way I could automatically add a bass line to an acoustic guitar track? Like, it would recognize the chords and play a bass line or let me choose from several styles/rhythms? If so, is it hardware or software or both?

If this does not exist, is there something similar that would generate a bass line from me playing the chords on a keyboard?

Sorry for ignorance on this!
No need to apologize. It's a good question. There's a number of programs out there. One that I hear about a lot and several friends use is called Band in a Box.

Type in the chord(s) for each bar, pick a style and you get a backing track set up that can be imported into other recording software. You can select which instruments to include or not, including drums, keys, horns, etc.

Here's a YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zQrdiWvq1A

No disrespect intended to bass players, but it might fit what you are looking for.
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Old 01-11-2021, 04:04 PM
Trent in WA Trent in WA is offline
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Another program that gets some love online is EZ Bass.

Having made that suggestion: After struggling with creating musical bass lines on a MIDI keyboard controller for a recording project I tracked this summer, I decided to get a bass guitar and learn how to play it well enough to record my own bass lines. Besides being fun, I think it made me a better musician. So I'd either do that or find a willing bassist to add the bass line. Just my .02.
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Old 01-11-2021, 07:14 PM
Staredge Staredge is offline
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I’m not horribly busy at the moment. Whatcha need?
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Old 01-11-2021, 09:07 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Originally Posted by LiveMusic View Post
Say, first, I don't play bass.

This is for guitar/vocal recordings. For recording what would probably end up being 'work tape' recordings...
I was faced with the very same problem back in the 1970's - the early days of multi-track home recording (anyone else remember the TEAC 3440 and Dokorder 7140/8140?) when the home-computer explosion was still a decade away...

I picked up a near-mint '67 Epiphone Rivoli with original case for $150 at Manny's, installed a new set of LaBella flatwounds, and taught myself to play by listening to/jamming along with every '60s Motown/Stax-Volt-Atlantic soul and first-wave British Invasion recording I could get my hands on...

IME if you know your way around a guitar there's very little learning curve - fingerings weren't a problem (tuning is EADG, one octave below the lowest four strings of a guitar), and it didn't take long to pick up the technique of playing in the pocket...

Found I really enjoyed it - FYI it's the bass player who gets the heinies out of the seats and onto the dance floor - and over the last 40 years I played bass in as many bands as I played guitar...

You know what you're hearing in your head - and if you can play it on guitar, IME you can play it on bass with a little bit of practice...

A Rogue VB-100 Hofner-style short-scale violin bass can be had from MF/GC for around $180 during Holiday/Coupon sales, a dedicated LaBella flatwound string set for $35-40; lots of home-studio players keep one of these around for just the reason you suggest - it's a classic tone, you're not fighting a 10-pound instrument with a 34" scale, and with the flats it sits well in a mix:



https://www.musiciansfriend.com/bass...in-bass-guitar

If you'd like something more "guitar-friendly," Squier makes a $499 reissue of the old Fender Bass VI (tuned EADGBE one octave below a guitar); the bass player in our last band (himself a converted guitarist of no mean ability) had one, and it's extremely versatile - while not as deep-sounding as most 4-strings, it'll not only lend its own brand of drive and punch to a bass line (play this one with an extra-heavy pick and palm-mute at the bridge - BTW do that on the Rogue and you'll sound like Sir Paulie Mac on the first two Beatles albums) but can be used for overdubbing cello-register melodic lines...



https://www.musiciansfriend.com/bass...c-vibe-bass-vi
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Old 01-12-2021, 10:03 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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I agree with the others - get yourself an inexpensive bass and start doing your own tracks. It's easier than you think to do basic root note accompaniments, then you will quickly move onto more advanced playing.
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Old 01-12-2021, 10:31 AM
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In pedal form, there's the Digitech Trio pedals.
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Old 01-12-2021, 10:35 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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One suggestion -- start out without an instrument. Mess around with singing bass parts into your recorder. It makes your chops a nonissue. If it's in a higher register, that's fine. And your brain and your mouth will come up with good stuff that would never occur to your fingers.

This also works for things besides bass, btw.
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveMusic View Post
… is there something similar that would generate a bass line from me playing the chords on a keyboard?
Hi LM

Make friends with a good bassist! Worth their weight in coffee & snacks.

Good bass players 'think' in 'Bass' (I think in guitar), and make guitarists sound better.




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Old 01-12-2021, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
...

If you'd like something more "guitar-friendly," Squier makes a $499 reissue of the old Fender Bass VI (tuned EADGBE one octave below a guitar); the bass player in our last band (himself a converted guitarist of no mean ability) had one, and it's extremely versatile - while not as deep-sounding as most 4-strings, it'll not only lend its own brand of drive and punch to a bass line (play this one with an extra-heavy pick and palm-mute at the bridge - BTW do that on the Rogue and you'll sound like Sir Paulie Mac on the first two Beatles albums) but can be used for overdubbing cello-register melodic lines...



https://www.musiciansfriend.com/bass...c-vibe-bass-vi
Say, is this truly a bass or is it a guitar? I assume a bass because a guitar chord would be real muddy one octave down, lol. Do you play it like a bass? (EDIT: I reread your initital post, that kind of answers it.)

Whomever offered to play for me, thanks very much but I don't have anything ready, it's just a general question to investigate because it's an ongoing need.

This doesn't have to be anything great, whomever said BIAB, that is a good suggestion to investigate for this. Although, it would def be better if I could really learn bass and actually perform well enough to get by. And possibly luck up now and then that it actually is very adequate. The problem is how long it might take for me to learn. I write lots of songs and my focus is songwriting. I play acoustic decently and over the decades, have kind of developed a tendency to automatically play some bass notes here and there. I do chord/melody, strummy stuff, fingerstyle, it's pretty varied. I have never learned to play lead lines hardly at all. Never learned scales. Singer-songwriter is an overall description.

Thanks for all comments to ponder!
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:42 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi LM

Make friends with a good bassist! Worth their weight in coffee & snacks.

Good bass players 'think' in 'Bass' (I think in guitar), and make guitarists sound better.




Being a good bass player, I'd like to think my work is worth more than coffee and snacks. Quid pro quo, at the very least, in the form of guitar-playing or singing or studio services.

Also, good guitar players who learn to "think in bass" are taking a first step toward being good arrangers. When you're "thinking in bass," you're "thinking in lines," not chords, which will make you a better writer and arranger and make your songs and recordings sound more complete and polished than 99% of what you hear from DIY singer-songwriters.
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Being a good bass player, I'd like to think my work is worth more than coffee and snacks. Quid pro quo, at the very least, in the form of guitar-playing or singing or studio services.
Hi Brent

I wasn't meaning to demean bass players. Poor choice of words on my part…please forgive me.

Having operated a studio for 8 years, I understand payment for services rendered on projects.




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Old 01-12-2021, 12:05 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Say, is this truly a bass or is it a guitar? I assume a bass because a guitar chord would be real muddy one octave down, lol. Do you play it like a bass?
It's a niche thing, usually. The instrumental break on "Wichita Lineman" is probably one of these Fenders. And Harold Bradley used a Danelectro model with a hunk-o-rubber mute on most of his brother Owen's productions in the so-called "tic tac" style, doubling the upright bass. You'll also hear it on pretty much every (cringe along with me) Bert Kaempfert record -- it's really easy to hear on this one because the upright and the 6-string are panned to opposite sides:



Compare and contrast with the Billy May version!

Both the Beatles and Cream supposedly used the Fender on occasion in the more typical bass-guitar role, but I couldn't tell you what songs.
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