Tips to make Better Bass Notes
Learn how to make better Bass Notes to your music.
Bass heavy music is always a charm and getting it right can boost the quality of the music. It is quite a challenge to get the perfect bass notes and also making it sound in sync with the music. Here are a few tips to provide some insight on how to get your bass notes to check all the right boxes.
Always Play with the Rhythm
Mostly, Producers try to make the bass notes from the Root Notes of their Chord Progression which is always safe but, too common. The best way to make an attractive bass note is by adding rhythm to the notes, Even if they play the same pitch. After all, the bass is technically a ‘rhythm’ instrument.
Try Adding some Syncopation
Syncopation [ sing-kuh-pey-shuh n, sin- ]
Syncopation involves a variety of rhythms played together to make a piece of music, making part or all of a tune or piece of music off-beat. More Simply, a disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm.
Syncopation always adds a nice groove to any drum pattern. It gives it a feel that two different tempos are playing at the same time, but they’re not, which is why it sounds so damn cool. It can be done at half or double times this speed as well, so feel free to use it on other rhythmic elements other than bass, like fast hi-hats.
Play the Notes other than the Root
Playing the wrong bass note, even in the right key, can muddy up your low end. But if you stick to the chord tones (the notes belonging to the chord playing in a given moment), then you’re likely to come up with interesting yet practical results. This sounds particularly cool when we combine it with some chords and drums.
Add some Octave Jumps
Octave Jump is the most over-rated tip as they’re simple yet so effective. Just move between an octave on the same bass note to add motion and a different feel. Moving up tends to increase energy, which can be great for builds, but moving down can help introduce a new section or repeat.
Rhythm and Timing (Swing)
We’ve already talked about playing with the rhythm, but what if we took it a step further?
Let’s introduce the concept of swing.
A few musical devices you can use here are:
Moving notes off the grid
The combination of these can be used to create a human feel that is normally not achieved by programming in simple notes. This tip varies between genres, so it’s worth doing some experimentation of your own here.
Amp + Filter Envelopes
This tip is totally sound design based as it shows how your bass patch sounds makes a big difference on the feel of your bass line.
If you’re new to the basics of sound design, a synth envelope is usually made up of four parts - Attack – Decay – Sustain – Release.
Hence, the term ‘ADSR Envelope’ is used to describe them. Here are the Descriptions-
"ATTACK" controls the pluckiness or softness of the beginning of a sound.
"DECAY" determines how long the sound will take to decrease in volume after the attack stage.
"SUSTAIN" determines the level of volume that the decay will drop to.
"RELEASE" determines how long the note will take to fade to silence once the key is no longer being held.
A plucky bassline is going to require different note programming to a soft, sweeping bass.
This concludes some techniques to improve and perfect your Bass Notes. Bass can appeal to a great number of audiences and can add another dimension to your music. This can improve the interactions and immersion of your audience. Use these techniques to boost your music to another level.