Looking for tips: Making a "with bass" drumkit

Tell me what I need to know, I need tips, tricks, and gotchas. Things like how many octaves I need, how long the recorded notes need to be, tips about choke groups, and how stop notes short.

Regale me with your superior knowledge. I await your brilliance.

I always figured the normal playable bass range was from the low E up to the 12th fret G, so that’s E1 through G3, then due to dropped tunings, I added D1 and Eb1, and later down to C1, although the C1 and C#1 don’t get much use.

As to note length, you want it to cover the longest note you’re likely to encounter 90+ % of the time. I found 2 measure at 120 BPM was a good compromise, but I have made them shorter in some kits. I think you’d want to be able to cover the single note 60 BPM songs, thus the 2 measures at 120 BPM.

Choke groups are not a bad idea. If you are planning on never having two bass notes play simultaneously, you can put all the bass notes in a choke group and set the polyphony to 1. I find when composing I sometimes want bass power chords, so polyphony 2 would be acceptable.

I stop notes short by having the basses as non-percussion and then BB responds to the note off. But, if you want to leave them at percussion, and you use a choke group, inserting a velocity 1 note, after the initial note can work. You could record a nearly silent short wav file, and add it to the kit as your C1 (midi 0, or whatever is going to be outside of your normal kit range.) Be sure it is added to the choke group, if you go with polyphony 1. Then you can trigger that when you want a cut off note.

Good luck with your endeavor.


Fantastic, Phil!

Biggest thing I’m pulling out of this is that if I set it up as non-percussion, BB will respect the NoteOff/end of note, which will be huge for me.

When you say “2 measures,” are you REALLY saying 8 quarter notes’ length? That seems really long, but I’m happy to learn from your mistakes rather than make my own. :slight_smile:

How many samples per note are you using? Just the one?

Thanks for this, I am trying to figure out if I can turn my own custom drum kit into a “with bass” kit. I have a couple of jazz basses that I would love to immortalize it in a BB kit.

Anything else occurs to you, please do not hesitate to share!

Thanks – Joe

One sample per note. Record it at a velocity between 80 and 100. You don’t want the string rattle sound that comes with a higher velocity. If the sample is too quiet, you can normalize up to the level you want.

Yes, I am saying 8 quarter notes, because if you have a ballad where you might want only one bass not per measure, you still want it to last the entire measure.

Oh, if you are recording live samples, you can ignore the velocity comments. I was referring to sampled instruments.

Well, now I have to decide which bass to start with – and which preset on my trusty Bass POD Pro. On the POD, I’m somewhere between a Hartke that just works so well with a J-Bass and a more traditional Ampeg. Bass-wise, either a Deluxe 5 I built with a 3lb swamp ash body, Bartolinis, and a John East U-Retro or my '82 JV-Series Japanese Squier fretless Jazz Bass.

Barts and Hartke feel right for a first kick. :slight_smile:

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