Bassline represents the core of every modern song. Whether it’s subtle or highly exaggerated, without it, contemporary music would sound deficient. If we try to explain it, a basic definition would be the following: Bassline is a low pitched instrumental part of a song or sequence. It is usually played on the lower register of instruments such as guitar or piano. This also goes for any other instrument that possesses lower octaves.
An awesome sounding bassline almost always consists of two factors, an excellent sound, and a great groove. In other words, the bassline uses low notes that provide rhythm while simultaneously setting out the foundation of the chord progression. Furthermore, the bassline bridges the gap between the rhythmic part played by the drummer and the melodic lines played by the lead guitarist and the chordal parts played by the rhythm guitarist and/or keyboard player.
Without further delay, the next five tips will help you create awesome sounding basslines in no time!
1. Matching the bassline with the kick drum
It goes without saying that a good relation between bassline and the kick drum is the main foundation of the track. Try to deal with that at the beginning of the mixing process. That’s because it is always easier to mix other elements of the song according to kick drum and bassline than vice versa.
2. Don’t be afraid to learn from others
Take a track that you like and listen to its bassline — the color, the volume, how it sounds together with other elements of the track, etc. By trying to imitate it, your hearing will benefit from it. This might lead you to something different, which could also sound great. However, use this tip to amplify your skills, not to plagiarize.
There are many great sounding synthesizers or sample libraries out there. Since some of them are expensive and you are maybe not in a position to own them all, use what you have. Try to make your bassline by layering two or more sounds. Use tools like compressors, equalizers, distortions, and so on to bind them all together.
4. Sliding notes
In many genres of music, smooth transitions between bass notes sound great. You can achieve that with portamento/legato, which is a part of every hardware or software synthesizer. This is doing wonders on electric, acoustic or synthesized basslines.
The bassline is usually following the root notes of the chords played by the other instruments. The whole flavor of the song can be transformed if you change the bass notes to others that are in harmony with your chords.