How to create "with Bass" BB songs on a Mac

I’m going to explain first a bit how the beatbuddy works, because that is integral in figuring this out.

Basically what is important for you to know about MIDI is that isn’t sound–think of it as a description of a sound. A midi “note” consists of several properties, most important of which are note number, note velocity, and note duration. The note number determines if it’s a kick drum sound, or a snare sound, are a middle C or a D, etc. The velocity is how hard did you hit the note–that usually means how loud it is. Beatbuddy currently ignores duration, because most drum instruments don’t really have a duration.

Now, go look at a drumkit in the BB Manager.[ATTACH=full]1794[/ATTACH]

Handclaps are midi note 39. There are 3 different samples that can sound regardless of velocity. Other notes like snare trigger different sounds based on velocity, so a hard snare hit sounds much differently than a soft one.

Most kits mostly follow a generally accepted set of notes, like that 36 is a kick drum, 38 is a snare, 49 is a crash, etc.

You can see a map here:
For fun, compare it to the kits in BB Manager. You’ll find that most kits don’t implement all of the instruments. That’s ok, but important later. (continued)

So, now you have a theoretical knowledge of how the beatbuddy makes sound–it reads midi notes, and goes and fetches the samples for that sound, picks a sample based on velocity, and plays it.

If you don’t want to add bass or other sounds, you can pick up most any midi editor, and create drumbeats!

Ok, now about the bass lines. What is tricky here are the limitations of how the beatbuddy works as opposed to a sequencer (which is basically just a full fledged multichannel, multi instrument midi player).

The beatbuddy will only play a single track from a single “set of instruments” which is the drumkit. (If you think of a piano as “a set of piano keys”)

@Guitar Stu got the idea to hack in 2 full octaves of bass samples, so that we could trigger bass notes along with the drum notes. He put them from notes 64-88. So note 64 is now a low E, 65 is an F, 67 is a G, all the way up to 88 with is a higher E. After overcoming a series of strangeness due to the simplistic way bb treats midi, we now have the “with Bass” drum kits.

So, all you have to do is take a midi song, and divide it into parts like Intro, verse, chorus, etc, add in the bass lines (transposing them up to the 64-88 range), and you are done! Simple!

Well, not so simple. Every midi editor I’ve seen messes with the midi in different and infuriating ways. What I’m going to describe is how I’ve settle on working these out.

First, find a decent midi for the song you want. There are plenty of free sites out there, and beware because some of them will try to install malware. I like Download and install Aria Maestosa. I use this to audition midi files, because you don’t have to specify what each instrument in the song, so you can hear it. I also used it to chop up the songs into parts, because I could hear the parts bar by bar.

The main tool I use now is Reaper. It does a TON of things, most of them you don’t need for this. The problem with loading MIDI into reaper is that you hit play,and get silence. You have to take each track you want, and manually assign a player for it.

Here we start to get technical. Go download 4Front bass module, 4Front piano module, and mt power drumkit. (Google these, and it will seem fairly obvious… you can figure it out).

Now, you can load a midi into Reaper and see all the tracks. Usually 10 is drums, so you can click a little “on” button next to the letters FX on the far far left of the track. Next to it is [M] the mute button and [S] the solo button. Using Aria as a guide until you can just recognize the tracks, assign drums, bass, and a few other tracks so you can get a reference. There are a couple built in modules… I use the ReaSynth for voice, and sometimes use AppleAuMidiSynth for other things like organs, guitars, etc… Piano is usually enough though.

Ok, don’t worry about that previous paragraph. It will become easy as you see and use the parts. (ignore this strikethrough)[/S]

Now for the artistic part! Think about how you want to trigger the song. Personally I like songs that are:
I - VC - VC - VC - O, so I start it, and it loops three times, then I click “end”.
In BBManager that song looks like:


with no fill.
Try to identify identical loops that you can chop out. You can often trigger a bridge or a solo as a “fill”

Little Sister can be done two ways, as the Dwight Yoakam version inserts solos, but the Elvis one doesn’t.

In BB Manager it looks like:



So, after each VC, if you do a tap for a fill, it will play the S part, as a solo, and go back to looping the VC.
Just hit end and it goes to the outro.

If you want non-interactive backing tracks, you can ignore this whole section up to here, because when the 500 note limit is gone, songs will look like:
(no intro)
(main loop is a foot hat counting the beat)
Outro: entire midi song.

So you’ll start the song, and it will start tsh tsh tsh tsh, then you hit “end” and the whole song will play, then end.

What I do from here is use Markers to mark off the sections, then highlight and export them as pieces {Export project midi). these pieces are only two tracks: bass and drums. after I export the pieces, I reload them, and check them for details.

  1. are there drums notes that aren’t implemented? a common one is using 35 instead of 36 for kick, or using 40 instead of 38 for snare. Fix those.
  2. sometimes reaper will export part of a measure after where you meant it to end. delete those extraneous parts.
  3. transpose the bass up so that the notes are between 64-88

export to a single track, and create your song in BB Manager.

I always do a one page cheat sheet with lyrics and chords and beatbuddy instructions.

[bb:intro] tells what to expect as the song starts. eg [bb:intro 4 beats, then drums start]
[bb:tap] trigger a “fill”
[bb:trans] trigger a transition to the next loop
[bb:end] trigger the outro

Post song, and bask in the glory!!

ok great So happy I found this . I think I replied to one of your tunes and asked how this is done. Thank you for posting this. really helpful

Just one point… If you are using Windows you can skip the downloading of the 4Front and MT drum kit. Just route the output yo the listed Micrisift MidiSynthesizer. It’s built in to Windows and works just fine.

I have the trial Reaper version but I haven’t got any sound for playback. Is that what you’re referring to for the Microsoft Midisynth Phil? WOrking with Reaper?

SInce you’re on the Mac you cant use the Microsoft MidiSYnthesizer … you have to add in effects (FX). I’ve copied Aashi’s description from above. You have to do this otherwise you dont get sound.

"Here we start to get technical. Go download 4Front bass module, 4Front piano module, and mt power drumkit. (Google these, and it will seem fairly obvious… you can figure it out).

Now, you can load a midi into Reaper and see all the tracks. Usually 10 is drums, so you can click a little “on” button next to the letters FX on the far far left of the track."

I have a PC, not a mac. Still can’t get any sound on playback though. I really haven’t worked that hard to figure it out since I’m so used to my cheapo free midi editor. I think it told me I needed to upload sound fonts or something. My expertise in this area is questionable at best.

ok, so the first thing we need to do is to see if the Microsoft GS Wavetable is in your system. So, load up REAPER, then INSERT a Midi file.
Make sure that you see all of the tracks separately and not as one merged track. Once you have that done, go to any track, like this one.


Notice the box that says ROUTE? Click on that. In the window that opens, look for MIDI HARDWARE OUTPUT. It’ll probably say NO OUTPUT, but there will be a dropdown arrow there. Click on that. THAT is where the MS GS WAVETABLE should be if your operating system has it and it is active. There may be other things there too. IF you see your soundcard listed there, you can use that too.

Once that is done … assuming you get this far … for each track you have to specify both the ROUTING and the OUTPUT. Luckily, there is an easier way. In the MENU bar you will see VIEW. Select ROUTING MATRIX. WHen it appears, just click all of the boxes under LEFT OUTPUT/STEREO, then, click on ALL of the boxes under whatever your output device is. THAT should give you sound.

Now, if you dont have any output devices, that is another issue. SO try all of the above first.

For a bass line I use Aria Maestosa , merge and transpose the bass line with the drum and save as drum. All seem good but the note duration aren’t good (Three notes for a doted quarter). Is there a solution? Sorry if my english isn’t so good.

Making an attempt at my first sng with Bass. I don’t like the drone sound from the bass during the verses. Tried a few things but wouldn’t mind some pointers.

Which version of the BBM are you using?

Version 1.64

Check your forum Inbox.

Thank You :slight_smile:

Google Traslator…
Hi, first thanks for your help, for me it is a little more difficult because I do not speak English, but this is just a small problem, is it possible to do the preparation process with Logic X? , But I’ve been trying different heights on the Piano Roll with de bass and the drum, for three days, and the Manager only read one of the two instruments, on the other hand the Logic tells me that the option to export midi files 0, is activated ,I don´t see clearly this option … I don´t know what to do, me Download the Reaper and the Maestosa, but would have to start from scratch to study them, some advice …? Thank you

I will send you an explanation in Spanish this afternoon. It can be done with Logic Pro X.

Leandro, thanks for making the extra effort to translate. While you wait for Phil Flood’s generous offer to provide a more detailed answer in Spanish, here’s the short answers to your questions:

  • yes, you can use Logic Pro X to prepare MIDI files for use in the BeatBuddy Manager (BBM);
  • I’m guessing that you don’t hear the bass notes in the BBM; to hear them, you have to use Logic Pro X to transpose all the notes in the bass MIDI region up 24 semitones (2 octaves)
    • double-click the bass region to open in the Logic Pro X MIDI edit mod
    • press CMD A to select all the bass notes
    • press Shift Option Up-Arrow keys two times to transpose the bass notes up 24 semitones (this is for the NP Standard Pro Bass kit); if you are using one of Phil Flood’s drum sets, instead of transposing up, you will transpose down 24 semitones (NP Big Bose Jazz Trio XRp kit)
    [ATTACH]6593[/ATTACH] this shows the bass notes transpose
  • I’m not sure I understand your last question however, I think you are having trouble exporting to MIDI from Logic Pro X. To do so
    • Click the drums MIDI region Shift Click the bass MIDI region; the 2 regions should be highlighted
    • Press CMD J to join the two regions into one region
    • Click Hold the single region and choose Export as MIDI file