Sometimes it’s hard to replay the bass-line of a sample by ear. Therefor I want to share a technique that makes it a lot easier to replay the bass-line of a sample without having the best musical ear.
1. Filter out the High’s
The first step is filtering out everything above 100-150hz, so that you only hear the low frequencies of the sample. In most cases you will just hear the bass-line and the kick drum.
Put Melodyne on the filtered sample and let it calculate which notes are played in the low frequency range.
3. Replay or reprogram in MIDI
Now that you calculated which notes are played in the low frequency range of the sample you can replay or reprogram those notes in MIDI.
For now just use any bass sound till you got it right, once you get the bass-line right you will focus on finding the right bass sound. So for now it doesn’t really matter which bass sound you use.
Sometimes (if for instance another low frequency instrument is playing at the same time as the bass-line) it’s possible that Melodyne calculated two notes that are playing at the same time. In that case click on each note separately to hear which note is the right one. If you click on a note in Melody you will only hear that note that you click on. Instead of replaying or reprogramming the bass-line you can also “export to MIDI file”. If you do that you might have to clean up the MIDI file and delete any unwanted notes. Melodyne is pretty accurate but not always 100% accurate so don’t rely just on Melodyne and always use your ears and listen to what sounds right.
4. Find the right sound
Now that you replayed or reprogrammed the bassline in MIDI you still have to find the right bass sound. Scroll through your MIDI instruments and synths until you find the right sound that fits the sample. I like to use Trillian and the bass sounds of my Roland Fantom. Sometimes I sample one of my live bass recordings and tune that to the sample. Or sometimes I like to play the bass-line in 808’s.
5. Filter out the Low’s
Not that you got your bass-line right you can take off the filter you put on the sample in step 1 and replace that filter with another filter where you cut off everything below around 100-150hz. You listen till you find the right cut off frequency.
This technique works very well on bass-lines but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it for other instruments as well. Just be creative!