Logic Pro X: Refine the basic bass sound

Refine the basic bass sound

This section covers modifications to the basic bass sound. See Program a picked bass sound with Sculpture, Program a slap bass sound with Sculpture, and Program a fretless bass sound with Sculpture.

Sequentially follow the tasks in this section after reading Program a basic bass sound with Sculpture to learn how different components can be modeled and to gain a fuller understanding of how Sculpture parameters interact.

Use the Resolution parameter to control the timbre, independent of pitch

The Resolution parameter is normally used to set the balance between DSP load and sound quality. It can, however, also be used to shape the sound.

  1. Play some notes at the higher end of the bass range (around C2), then drag the Resolution slider all the way to the right and then gradually back toward the left.

    You can hear how the sound loses overtones yet simultaneously becomes louder. At low Resolution values, an inharmonic metallic rattling is heard in the sound.

  2. Increase the Resolution value until the metallic rattling disappears. Set the slider to the following position:

    Figure. Material Pad, showing keyscale and resolution parameters.
  3. Play some notes in the bottom range (around E 0). You’ll note that the sound is quite muffled and vintage-like. Move the green Low Keyscale slider (found below the main Resolution slider) all the way to the right; the low range should now sound a little more wiry.

    With most stringed instruments, the overtone content decreases as the pitch becomes higher. Strictly speaking, this is true only of open strings, and even then in a limited sense. If the strings are fingered, the length of the string is shortened, especially in the high register, and the effect becomes more significant.

Use the Inner Loss parameter to scale the overtone content, dependent on pitch

  1. Move the Material Pad ball above the words Inner Loss. Try to move the ball solely in a vertical direction to maintain a constant Stiffness value.

  2. Drag the green line next to the ball toward the bottom until the small green diamond is located directly above the word Steel.

    When playing, you’ll recognize the smooth transition that takes place between the wiry, overtone-rich sound at the bottom end and the extremely dampened sound in the upper register. This exaggerated setting was chosen to clearly demonstrate the scaling principle in stringed instruments. To achieve an authentic sound and timbre, try the following setting:

    Figure. Material Pad, showing inner loss.

Set sustain levels for the basic bass sound, dependent on pitch

In basses in particular, low notes sustain far longer than high notes. Sculpture allows you to authentically and convincingly simulate this behavior with the Media Loss parameter.

  1. Play a few held notes in the range around C2 and above. You’ll hear that these notes die out much too slowly. Drag the Media Loss slider up until this range begins to fade out quickly enough. The downside is that the lower notes now die out too quickly.

  2. Drag the green Media Loss Key Scale slider down until the fade-out phase of the lower range is sufficiently long.

  3. Compare your results with these recommended values:

    Figure. Material Pad, showing inner loss.

You’ve now created a basic bass that’s articulated with your fingers. Save this as E-Bass Fingered Basic. You’ll be using this basic bass as a foundation for the construction of further bass sounds.

The scope for sound design, by altering the frequency spectrum of electromagnetic instruments, is far more flexible than that offered by acoustic instruments. In addition to the number of pickups, a major role is also played by the choice of amplifier, the equalization setting within the amplifier, and—last but not least—the physical properties of the speakers and their enclosing cabinet.

The central features of your electric bass sound are complete, but the sound can be improved by paying close attention to some details. Here are a few general suggestions:

  • Vary the position of the pickups. Try placing each of them in different positions. This cancels out certain frequencies, and others are summed together.

  • Try turning on the Invert switch, even though this effect is not typical for electric basses.

  • What is typical for bass sounds is the placement of the pickups in the outer-left third of the string model. The farther you move them to the left, the thinner and more nasal the sound becomes.

  • Shifting Object 1 has a similar effect. Try different combinations here as well.

Alter the frequency spectrum of your basic bass with the Body EQ

The Body EQ is ideal for giving the bass sound that final, finishing touch. Your electric bass sound could be a little less smooth, and a bit more precise in its attack phase. Bassists like to use the terms drier and more bite to describe this phenomenon.

  1. Load the E-Bass Fingered Basic setting.

  2. Choose the standard Lo Mid Hi model from the Model pop-up menu in the Body EQ section.

  3. Reduce the low bass frequencies by setting the Low knob to a value of −0.30.

  4. Boost the mid-range frequencies substantially by setting the Mid knob to a value of 0.50. Drag the Mid Frequency slider to a value of 0.26.

  5. You’ll probably find that the boosting of the low mid frequencies is a little too strong at this point, so return the Mid value to 0.30.

    Figure. Body EQ.
  6. The sound could stand to be a little more wiry, so set the High knob to a value of 0.30.

  7. To finish off, set the Level knob (to the right of the amplitude envelope) to a value of −3 dB.

    The sound is now as loud as possible, without the low notes distorting.

  8. Save this sound setting as E-Bass Fingered Basic EQ1.

Published Date: Aug 9, 2019