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what's your bass keyboard of choice?


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#1 nash

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 10:35 AM

I've just started to explore this part of bass playing but i'm wondering if there's a go to piece of stand alone gear?
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#2 BassTractor

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 01:11 PM

Personally, I'm not very fond of hurdy-gurdy keys on my ovangkol fretboard, but I wish you good luck with the endeavour!
;)
Assuming you do not want a rompler with a plethora of sampled presets of every bass guitar on the planet, my immediate thought is to just get a cheap two- or three-octave synth with fat sound.
Fat sound often means two or three oscillators, but some brands like Arturia have built in electronics to create a rougher sound so one isn't in real need of the more expensive stuff.
One can do a lot worse than to get an Arturia MicroBrute.

As your choice would depend a lot on what music styles you're gonna use it for, and your budget, and whether you need full size keys or could muster or appreciate micro keys, mini keys or slim keys, I'll leave it at that for the time being.
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#3 nash

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 01:49 PM

View PostBassTractor, on 18 November 2016 - 01:11 PM, said:

Personally, I'm not very fond of hurdy-gurdy keys on my ovangkol fretboard, but I wish you good luck with the endeavour!
;)
Assuming you do not want a rompler with a plethora of sampled presets of every bass guitar on the planet, my immediate thought is to just get a cheap two- or three-octave synth with fat sound.
Fat sound often means two or three oscillators, but some brands like Arturia have built in electronics to create a rougher sound so one isn't in real need of the more expensive stuff.
One can do a lot worse than to get an Arturia MicroBrute.

As your choice would depend a lot on what music styles you're gonna use it for, and your budget, and whether you need full size keys or could muster or appreciate micro keys, mini keys or slim keys, I'll leave it at that for the time being.

Thanks for replying.

Ok so so far I've been looking at the Micro and Mini Brutes but the Bass Station2 is in the lead at the moment because it has savable presets for tones and has tap tempo. But saying this I wish it it was slightly smaller in width so I could implement my idea of having it on a rackmount sliding shelf above my amp in the rack.
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#4 RhysP

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 05:42 PM

I'm currently using an Arturia Microbrute & I'm pretty happy with it.
If money was no object though I would be using a vintage MiniMoog.


#5 BassTractor

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 09:52 PM

View Postnash, on 18 November 2016 - 01:49 PM, said:

the Bass Station2 is in the lead at the moment

Great thing that you can't go wrong with. Highly regarded.
I would've mentioned it, but decided to wait until you had specified your needs more.


View PostRhysP, on 18 November 2016 - 05:42 PM, said:

If money was no object though I would be using a vintage MiniMoog.

If money was no object though I would be using the new slightly expanded Minimoog model D - - with full warranty and roughly four new decades of slow component decay. A steal at only 3,500 quid. :)

Edited by BassTractor, 22 November 2016 - 06:02 PM.

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#6 Woodinblack

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 10:39 PM

I wouldn't mine a minitaur just for some low level stuff. Obviously would prefer the sub37
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#7 nick

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 07:26 PM

I use a Waldorf Pulse 1, it's a rack mount synth module. Has three oscillators, great for approximating a moog-ish bass sound...
However, if you want keys like other suggestions above, the Bass station II is great for the money - can save patches, good midi implementation, plenty of knobs to play with :)
For more aggressive, brutal sounds, as the name suggests, Arturia Minibrute is fantastic too.

Edited by nick, 20 November 2016 - 07:26 PM.


#8 BassAgent

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 09:30 PM

I considered a Minibrute and Bass Station 2 when shopping for a bass keyboard, but instead went for:
Posted Image
Haven't had any regrets. As Jeremy Clarkson would say:
Posted Image
What a machiiiiiine!

Edited by BassAgent, 20 November 2016 - 09:30 PM.

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#9 chris_b

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 10:48 PM

But, which one is best if all you want to do is play bass lines and sound very much like a bass guitar?
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#10 BassTractor

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 11:07 PM

View Postchris_b, on 20 November 2016 - 10:48 PM, said:

But, which one is best if all you want to do is play bass lines and sound very much like a bass guitar?

Posted Image
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#11 BassAgent

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 08:26 AM

View Postchris_b, on 20 November 2016 - 10:48 PM, said:

But, which one is best if all you want to do is play bass lines and sound very much like a bass guitar?
A bass guitar. No synth will emulate the decay and dynamics of a bass string perfectly.
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2001 Yamaha BB N5II
1987 Eko BA4 fretless

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#12 chris_b

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 09:58 AM

That's why I said "best".

There must be one that is better than the others or do they all do this job equally well/badly?
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#13 BigRedX

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 11:59 AM

View Postchris_b, on 20 November 2016 - 10:48 PM, said:

But, which one is best if all you want to do is play bass lines and sound very much like a bass guitar?

A bass guitar.

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#14 BigRedX

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 12:00 PM

View Postnash, on 18 November 2016 - 10:35 AM, said:

I've just started to explore this part of bass playing but i'm wondering if there's a go to piece of stand alone gear?

TBH any decent synth that you find easy to program will do the job.

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#15 BassTractor

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 01:14 PM

View Postchris_b, on 21 November 2016 - 09:58 AM, said:

That's why I said "best".

There must be one that is better than the others or do they all do this job equally well/badly?

Sorry, I took your initial post as a joke or ironic question, the answer to which would be "bass guitar".
Seeing you're serious, I can't really tell which of the mentioned ones is best, as I've spent only little time with each of these, BUT:

I've had great results with a synth as simple as the Korg MS-10, which has only one oscillator. This approach demanded two effect pedals, one of which I think was a chorus. The result was unbelievably close to a real bass guitar of indescript model - though of course not in every respect. I was flabbergasted though, and that was after decades of synth "programming".
The Korg MS-20 Mini, which is still available, would do the same job, and could also do a better job with its two oscillators and other stuff.

Another time I had a great result was with three channels on the Yamaha TX802 synth module, comparable to three layered DX7 synths. The programming took me three working days though.

I'm not saying these solutions can't be discerned from a bass guitar, but I do say you could fool many casual listeners with them, and I also do say that in many circumstances the difference with a real bass guitar is not even important.
Synths are handy when sequencing. Wouldn't use them if I could avoid them though, and I say that as a synth man since the 60s.

Edited by BassTractor, 21 November 2016 - 04:02 PM.

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#16 BigRedX

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 01:43 PM

Getting a realistic bass guitar part out of another instrument is not just about duplicating the sound but you also need to duplicate the playing style. A keyboard is simply not the same as a bass guitar, the whole approach to what you play on each instrument will be different. Of course you could send loads of time programming up the sounds and then practicing so you approach the keyboard playing style in the same way as you would a bass guitar.

But really? Why bother?

Maybe it's because I can play both to an adequate standard, I pick one or the other depending on the both the sound and feel I require for the part.

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#17 chris_b

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 01:51 PM

Why bother?

Just doing my homework and evaluating an area of the bass world that I know nothing about .

If I try and forget my back episodes, I also have arthritis developing in my shoulder and left thumb. These may or may not beat public disinterest in ending my career as a bass player.

Just trying to be prepared.
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#18 BigRedX

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 03:16 PM

OK. That makes sense. My "why bother" comment was based on all things being equal, in which case there is a definite difference between playing bass lines on a bass guitar and playing them on a keyboard.

So... if you are thinking about making the switch remember it is a whole different game. Things that are trivial to play on the bass guitar might not be on the keyboard and vice-versa. And all those little nuances that you take for granted on the bass guitar and probably do without even thinking about them, for instance ghost notes, pops and slap (in the middle of a standard bass line) are either near impossible or are going to take a lot of programming skill and then a lot of playing practice to master.

However there are plenty of styles of music that make a point of using keyboard bass rather than the bass guitar, so If you are going to be forced to look at playing the bass part from a keyboard, it might also be wise to start getting into some of those...

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#19 hairychris

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 06:26 PM

View PostBassAgent, on 20 November 2016 - 09:30 PM, said:

I considered a Minibrute and Bass Station 2 when shopping for a bass keyboard, but instead went for:
Posted Image
Haven't had any regrets. As Jeremy Clarkson would say:
Posted Image
What a machiiiiiine!

I have it's big brother (Sub 37) and it's something else. Very easy to program but not cheap, especially now the GBP crash. Moog have that multi-oscillator with smooth filter thing down. I'd like to try the Minitaur but I don't think that I need it.

I also run an Arturia Microbrute but, tbh, I don't use it for bass stuff as the Moog is far thicker, if you want that. The Arturia synths have a very angry filter when cranked which is certainly a lot of fun. Not tried the Novation Bass Station 2, but heard good things. Waldorf Pulse also has a good rep for fatness, I briefly owned the Pulse 2 and while it sounded fantastic the user interface was horrible.

Can't really help with FM-type synths.

Anyway, you'll never quite get a match. Different things completely, but then again I have never tried to replace bass guitar with bass synth. However, being in the process of recording an album with my band we're looking at doing subtle bass reinforcement with synths just to add frequencies that we can't get with a regular bass. So working "with bass guitar" not "instead of bass guitar". Tough to do live, though!

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#20 BassAgent

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 08:53 PM

View PostBassTractor, on 21 November 2016 - 01:14 PM, said:

Sorry, I took your initial post as a joke or ironic question, the answer to which would be "bass guitar".
Seeing you're serious, I can't really tell which of the mentioned ones is best, as I've spent only little time with each of these, BUT:

I've had great results with a synth as simple as the Korg MS-10, which has only one oscillator. This approach demanded two effect pedals, one of which I think was a chorus. The result was unbelievably close to a real bass guitar of indescript model - though of course not in every respect. I was flabbergasted though, and that was after decades of synth "programming".
The Korg MS-20 Mini, which is still available, would do the same job, and could also do a better job with its two oscillators and other stuff.
Agreed to that, the Korg MS series is great (although I still like the Moog filter sound better, and you can always switch off the second oscillator in a Sub Phatty)! The MS-20 mini is pretty cool but I háte those tiny keys. You could get an MS-20 kit and build one with proper keys.
http://www.hidderoorda.nl

Basses:
1966 Fender Jazz Bass - refin
1972 Fender Precision Bass - refin & refret
2013 Fender Bass VI Japan
2001 Fender Standard Jazz Bass fretless - Gotoh bridge, Lollar pickups and pickguard
2014 De Gier Bebop 5
2001 Blade B2 Tetra Bass - Nordstrand pickups & Aguilar OBP-1
2001 Yamaha BB N5II
1987 Eko BA4 fretless

Amp:
Eich T500
Eich 112XS
Eich 112XS

Synth:
Moog Sub Phatty

#21 casapete

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 11:17 AM

I broke my shoulder / arm a few years ago, and playing bass guitar was not an option for a few months.
I bought a Roland D5 synth off here, and my band very graciously allowed me to play my parts on this.
Sounds were not 100% convincing bass guitar, but played through my bass rig and then into the PA it was fine. I didn't
have anyone come up on gigs and ask why there were now 2 keyboard players in the line up, or comment on the bass sounds.

A hideously low-fi solution I know, but needs must etc ,and as a pro musician it saw me through until I was well enough to
return to bass guitar. I actually quite enjoyed the change to be honest, and found it liberating not having to wear a bass on
long gigs. Was great to get back to my Stingray though.....

#22 Wilco

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 01:38 PM

This is my set up as per my signature

There are various bass patches pre programmed or in the free downloadable sound packs, all of which you can tweak to your hearts content. The advantage of the Ultranova to me is that can do much more than just bass sounds ie strings & pads, which I can trigger by foot with the 12 Step. Used ones go for a very reasonable price too!
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#23 Sibob

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 03:12 PM

Just going to leave this here :D (headphones needed)

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#24 DangerDan

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 03:12 PM

Another microbrute user here. Love the thing, but if you are looking for live use it's not preset capable, so that could be an issue. Also, its monophonic, no chords. Makes great subs or stabs though.

The waldorf is another great shout, but you would need a laptop and a midi keyboard to go with it

#25 nash

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 07:41 PM

View PostSibob, on 22 November 2016 - 03:12 PM, said:

Just going to leave this here :D (headphones needed)

https://www.instagra...l_freeman&hl=en

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I just started following him the other day. I'm sold on getting a BS2. Just need the funds. Probably after Xmas now.
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#26 oggiesnr

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 08:07 PM

I've looked at the BS2 several times but never yet pulled the trigger.

My son having left them in storage with us I'm currently working my way through part of his collection. I've used both his Mini Korg and Sub Phatty (prefer the latter but then it is 3 or 4 times the price) but the one that I'm finding best for pure bass is his ancient Korg Prophecy. It needs a couple of things mending, it's had a hard and long life, but as a non-keyboard player I get along best with it and find it easiest to consistently recreate the same sound on.

#27 M@23

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 09:35 PM

View PostSibob, on 22 November 2016 - 03:12 PM, said:

Just going to leave this here :D (headphones needed)

https://www.instagra...l_freeman&hl=en

Pure love!
Si

https://www.instagra.../p/BLjIOd0BXeH/

Another recommendation for the BS2.

#28 xgsjx

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 08:04 AM

View Postchris_b, on 21 November 2016 - 09:58 AM, said:

That's why I said "best".

There must be one that is better than the others or do they all do this job equally well/badly?
If you're wanting to emulate bass guitar or double bass & also synth, then my vote would be a Roli Seaboard.

I was torn between getting a Roli Rise or the NI KK88. I went for the latter & the Monark is an excellent Moog Phatty AU. Tried it side by side with a friends Phatty & the sound is virtually identical (I did notice that the cut off around the 1/2 way position is slightly brighter on the Moog, but turning up the Monark's cutoff a smidge matched it for sound).

Okay, neither of my choices are technically stand alone, but all you need with it is a MacBook & an interface (both I have).

Here's the stand alone seaboard doing some bass...



#29 Rich

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 02:31 PM

I'm considering a Novation K-Station (because I've found a cheap one). All I've got to go on at the moment are the various online reviews and a few youtube clips that seem to suggest there are some nice farty analogue bass sounds to be had from it. Anyone have opinions on it?

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#30 AutomaticWriting

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 12:42 AM

I normally use a microkorg (or any midi enabled keyboard) triggering a variety of synths within logic such as NI Massive or when using Ableton, I use the drum racks assigned to the keys on the keyboard to sample/trigger the stems from the studio version. (It saves on CPU when performing live to do it the sample way).





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