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Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2015 4:49 pm
by Rik
Hi all, thanx to some really decent help from lots of good people on here I now have a decent handle on drums.

Bass guitar is my next challenge.

What I'm in need of is rock/heavy rock/heavy metal bass guitar.

I don't have a bass guitar so was wondering if anyone has a good method for making a standard electric guitar (namely my Gibson Explorer) sound like a bass guitar for recording purposes?

Re: Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2015 5:30 pm
by Mark Bliss
Tried, never had much luck with that Rik.

And havent found much satisfaction in emulations either. The libraries that have the sounds I want are expensive and remain down my wish list a ways.

Honestly, my best recommendation at this time is to pick up a reasonable bass guitar, and a DI box for good measure.
Just my .02

Re: Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2015 6:18 pm
by outteh
Try this: Record a simple bass pattern, run, on your guitar. After recorded, in the sound tab, highlight the transpose tab and adjust the pitch by -12 semitones (you can experiment with more pitch adjustment later). Also, in the audio tab, make sure the box marked Formant Pres. is checked. Then listen to the sound and you can add enhancements on the track such as EQ or bass amp simulators to shape your sound. It's not ideal but can work.
audiotab.jpg (32.9 KiB) Viewed 2679 times
Transposetab.jpg (6.17 KiB) Viewed 2679 times

Re: Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:02 am
by Pete Stobbs
Monophonic only:


Both do Bass as far as I can see.

Re: Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 3:55 am
by gypsy101
yeah,just buy a cheap bass on Craigslist or something. you can usually find "brand new" or barely used ones for around $100.

a guitar can be used but it plays like a guitar & not a bass which affects the style of playing-not very convincing.

Re: Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:39 pm
by Sami Seif
I'd say use a VSTi

Re: Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 5:11 am
by FlyingsCool
I'm with Senor Bliss and Senor Gypsy, git yurself a cheap bass, why d**k around? I'll be doing the same myself in the next month or so...

For you bass players out there, any suggestions on pickups/configs to look for?
I'm thinking of a Fender P-Bass or Jazz Bass, and expect to play rock/jazz/singer-songwriter style songs with it. I know a bit about guitars, but nothing about basses, other than the strings look a little thicker... :mrgreen:

Re: Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:08 am
by Mark Bliss
Many bass players will likely disagree, but honestly, my opinion and experience is that unless you are looking for something fancy sounding, or the heavy metal etc. route, most any ol' bass and pickups will be a fine place to start.
I would pay far more attention to the playability. Action and feel. Especially for a novice player that is going to likely be playing simple basic bass lines. If and when you really need a better instrument, you will know it.

In the early 80's I had a pretty nice Kramer with EMG active pickups and a custom setup. I really liked the range of sounds it was capable of producing. But what I really liked about it was the easy to play, low fast action. Other than the string tension it played like a nice, well setup guitar.

If buying new, I'd suggest trying out one of the inexpensive Ibanez guitars. A lot of value for the money. You can get into a basic GSR series for well under $200.

And of course, for a bit more, the Fender P-Bass is the ol' standard.

The other part of the equation is getting a good input signal. A simple, inexpensive DI box to line in really works well for capturing bass guitar.

As far as a VSTi option, I am open to suggestions-but short of something spendy like Trillium, I havent found much that sounded very good for much beyond very basic bass. Still looking for something that doesn't sound so obviously like a VSTi.

Re: Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:08 am
by FlyingsCool
Thanks Mark :)

While researching this further, I found somebody who said they LOVE the Scarbee PreBass VSTi
on this thread ... ass-sound/

It's also got some great tips on mixing bass...

I know nothing about it, but I thought I'd pass it on...

Re: Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 3:47 pm
by Rik
Thank-you all for some very thought provoking posts in this thread.

I'd like to comment on a few things if I may.
Honestly, my best recommendation at this time is to pick up a reasonable bass guitar, and a DI box for good measure.
Just my .02
Mark, I would love to do that as it would be the best way, but alas financial restraints make it impossible right now.

outteh, I have experimented with your suggestion and have managed to make some sounds that sound pretty good so I will experiment some more. One thing I have discovered is that with the pick-ups on my Gibson Explorer I can get a fair range of sounds and some suit bass guitar emulation better than others.
My Explorer is the rarer lead version and so has a different pick-up set-up compared to that of a standard Explorer. A standard one has 2 hum-buckers while mine has 1 hum-bucker and 2 single coils with a phase switch on the volume knob to make them sound more like a hum-bucker. It also has 3 switches, one for each single coil and 1 for the hum-bucker. The hum-bucker can be a little over powering for some guitar sounds/effects but sounds really good for bass emulation while the single coils seem to be better for a decent range of guitar sounds.
I am fairly sure that my Explorer is one of only 6 Explorer leads that Gibson ever made making is a rare beastie indeed.

Re: Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:52 pm
by outteh
I'd love to get my hands on that Explorer! I'll bet it can scream. Glad I could help. A bass guitar is really the way to go, but I understand the monetary issues. Try some bass amplifier or bass enhancement VST in the effects area of your track.

Re: Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 7:47 pm
by Mark Bliss
I'd like to see a picture of that Explorer.
Standard? Well...... I've seen what must be at least a hundred variations of Gibson Explorers, And there are Explorers, Explorer II's, E/2's, CMT's, Explorer III's, I think even one called "The Explorer. then there is the various models of the Epiphone Explorer, and other "Explorers" Jackson/Hamer, and probably ten others, then another ten or twenty "Explorer-ish" models by still others.
Closest I can say I've seen from Gibson to what you describe however, maybe early 80's with a single coil at the bridge and a HB in the middle and neck positions, or the mid 80's Explorer III with 3 P-90 single coils. But as has often been the case, they have made many small runs of various odd configurations in nearly every model. Like I said, interested in seeing a pic of that variant out of curiosity.

Back to the subject at hand. Understood on the compromise and in full support of the experiment. And interested in hearing the results.

The bass mixing tip link has some good info.

I have Scarbee Pre.
I am trying very hard to avoid yet another of my by now very redundant rants about how I feel about the program we shall call "the host." It is very popular and you should take my opinion with a grain of salt.
It was my first venture into the world of what I would call "higher end" VSTi's when I was first searching for exactly what the OP asks about. The recommendations and glossy product descriptions won me over so I sprung for it.

Sound? Stand alone playing it sounds like Fender precision bass samples to me! Well it should, that's what it is.
But successfully creating a recording that sounds like someone playing a bass and not a VSTi emulation eludes me.

My assessment continues to be that for the expense, (including a paid tutorial in an effort to learn even the basics) combined with the time suck invested trying to get anything resembling decent results, I could have bought a cheap bass and practiced instead, and probably get tens times better results. It appears to just not be my thing. Your experience might vary wildly.

But that is the basis and reasoning behind my suggestion. Maybe other programs are easier to get decent results with. Or maybe I just need better tutoring. But certainly, life is too short for me to fight with it.

Re: Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:18 am
by Ianpb
I find the synthesised 'Finger Bass' from the Acoustica set works perfectly well on all my work. The sound is easily manipulated with plugins, and use of the Score feature enables easy changes to the bass line.

Re: Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:09 am
by Mark Bliss
Yeah, I've used the "Finger Bass" preset quite a bit in simple songs, or scratch/demo type stuff. But sometimes you just need some articulation that would only be possible with sample layers and velocity input.

My problem with using a VSTi for creating "realistic" bass guitar is that it takes so much work to get the attacks, sustains, etc. where I want them. Maybe a more gifted or experienced keyboard player could do it better, but for me, I can get closer to what I want pretty quickly by just recording a bass guitar to start with, you know? Not that I am any good, its just quicker.

Re: Bass guitar emulation

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:06 pm
by Rik
Well I did some experimenting with all the great advice that you all have very kindly given me and have come up with a fake bass guitar sound that I like. ... nt/s-faaEy

It's nothing more than a single riff played over and over again at the moment but I have big plans for the riff in the near future.
The riff is from a song we made when I used to be in a band many many moons ago. I intend to re-make the song as no recordings of the original survive.