In keeping with this issue’s theme, this month’s Easy Guide is designed to help you carve out more effective basslines
Tune up your bassline’s notes with some music theory
As an essential part of the rhythm section, together with the drums, your track’s bassline is the component that forms the crucial link between the rhythmic and musical elements of the tune, yet it’s often the thing that gets the least attention when it comes to choosing the actual notes it plays.
An awesome bassline can easily be identified by whether or not it makes you do a ‘bass face’ – if you can’t stop yourself from pursing your lips and thrusting your chin back and forth like a chicken, then you know you’ve got a winning bassline on your hands. From the simple, rootsy funk plodding of Daft Punk’s Da Funk to the almost baroque, distorted flailings of Muse’s Hysteria, a great bassline can be the making of your track, and although a lot of bass part creation is largely instinctive, there are a few theory-based tricks that can help you out along the way.
There are loads of different types of bassline you can adopt, depending on the style or genre of music you’re going for, but from a computer musician’s perspective, things will mainly fall into two camps: using bass guitar samples to emulate the playing of a real bass player, or working with a synth sound to produce a synth bassline. So over these two pages, I’ve gathered together a few tips on how to create an effective bassline using both approaches.