In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a square wave bass that slides from one note to another (portamento). I’m calling it “lazy” because it sounds like that due to slow’ish portamento slide time. You’ve probably heard this kind of bass on several electro house tracks. Deadmau5 stuff for example.
Here’s a sound preview:[audio:http://howtomakeelectronicmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/audio/Portamento-Bass-Example.mp3]
Ok. Let’s get on to it.
First thing to do is to load 3xOsc (very good little synth for simple and pure bass sounds as you may have noticed in my earlier tutorials). Select Square Wave as the oscillator shape for each three oscillators and set the Coarse Tune to -24 semitones for each.
Next we need to ‘sculpt’ the sound a little with filter envelope so head to the Instrument Properties -tab (INS) and from there to CUT -subtab an enable the filter envelope by clicking the ‘Use envelope’ box. Leave the envelope curve to as is and tweak the ‘Modulation amount’ knob to something like shown in the pic below. This kind of filter envelope makes the wave sound a kind of percussive which is exactly what we want.
Now go to the Miscellanous Properties -tab, enable the Portamento by clicking the ‘Porta’ -box (under the Polyphony) and set the Portamento Time -knob to 1:14. Enabling the Portamento will make the 3xOsc to slide from one note to another. Portamento Time will control the speed of slide. Leaving it to something relatively slow adds that sort of lazy feel to the bass sequence.
Head to the Piano Roll -view of the 3xOsc and create a sequence. Notice how the pitch slides from one note to another.
For better ‘articulation’ between the notes, shorten the note end time slightly (hold down ALT and drag for bypassing the snapping). This’ll cut the sound a bit before the next note.
I’m using a following sequence:
Ok. Now assign the 3xOsc to a free mixer track and drop a Soundgoodizer to it’s fx slot (to beef it up, yes) and leave it as is or tweak some more/less if you want. If you’ve been following my earlier tutorials you’ve probably noticed Soundgoodizer is my favourite solution for fattening things 🙂
Also, if you want, use the Mixer Track EQ to boost the low end a bit.
Alright. The bass sounds quite usable already:[audio:http://howtomakeelectronicmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/audio/Portamento-Bass-Ok.mp3]
It sounds pure and modern and with sidechain compression, would fit nicely to electro house/house genre.
Now, for some easy build ups try automating the Modulation Amount -controller. Head to the 3xOsc Channel Settings and go to the ‘Instrument properties’ -tab and ‘CUT’ -subtab and right click on the ‘Modulation amount’ (AMT) -controller and choose ‘Create automation clip’.
For the a rising build up, edit the automation envelope to look something like this:
Moreover, if you want to make the bass sound a bit more ‘gritty’, try Fruity WaveShaper (wave distortion effect). WaveShaper is great for achieving that extra-abrasive sound. I don’t fully understand the technique and all the mathematical functions behind it yet, so cant explain it more in-depth for now, but try a following settings:
Switch on the Bipolar mode, set the Pre Amp to 130% and draw a envelope like this (and dont be afraid to experiment with different envelope forms as well):
Now listen the sound:[audio:http://howtomakeelectronicmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/audio/Portamento-Bass-Waveshaped.mp3]
Fruity WaveShaper is something to really look into. Perfect tool for ‘destroying’ otherwise too tame sound.
Check the video below:
That’s it for now. Hope you found this tutorial helpful!