Monday, September 12, 2011

FAST Synth Bass in GarageBand

If you've already recorded a piano track for your song in GarageBand -- and other programs -- here's a quick way to get a synth bass to fill in your sound until a bass player adds live bass. REMINDER: If you don't quantize the piano before these steps, you'll have double the work quantizing two tracks.
1. Create a new track for bass.
2. Record one note, any note, to "populate" your track.
3. Extend the track to match the length of your piano track.
4. Delete your temporary note.
5. SKIP TO STEP 6 if your piano track contains only one region, since the next steps are easier if the piano is all in one track.Do Step 5 here if you have separate regions and want to keep them separate,
__5a. Select and join all piano regions.
__5b. Hit the home key to put the marker on Measure 1 Count 1.
__5c. Do steps 6 and 7 below. Do NOT do step 8 yet.
__5d. Choose Edit > Undo. Your copied notes are still on the clipboard.
__5e. SKIP TO STEP 8 (you've done 6 and 7)
6. Open the Notation view for the piano track, and select the bottom-most notes of the piano. Hit the home key to put the marker on Measure 1, Count 1.
7. Choose Edit > Copy.
8. Go into the Notation view for the new bass track. Hit your home key to put the marker on Measure 1, Count 1.
9. Choose Edit > Paste.
Here's where the work comes in -- but it's quick and fun:
1. In some places, you will have picked up a double-note bass for a count. Go to these and delete one note, usually the higher note.
2. Piano has a wider range than bass. Ensure that no notes go below a low low B (13 steps below middle C) that can be played by 5- or 6-string basses. And, since it's bass, you probably don't want notes going too high into the sonic range of other instruments including guitars and flutes.
3. Turn the piano volume down some and the bass volume up. Then play the 2 tracks.
4. Adjust notes here and there to the sound you like.
*If you're "stumped" and can't figure out what the bass note should be, it's easy to put the marker on the measure in question, then go into the piano track to look at the chord for that measure. If there are 3 or more half-steps between the two bottom piano notes, this is the guitar equivalent of a slash chord. The root is the bottom one with no space above, usually.
Piano tends to be "busier" than bass. You can optionally go into the bass track to polish the final sound:
1. For measures that copied in multiple notes from the piano track, delete bass notes after count #1 and extend the remaining bass note to extend through the measure.
2. Bass doesn't *have* to be the root note... it's your song. Use harmony notes if you like!
3. In some places the piano held a chord where a nice bass walkdown etc. would fill in....
Much FUN to you in adding depth to your life and music!
©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

Updated version published 30 March 2011