Create a Realistic, Funky Bass Sound
The reason why so many synth bass sounds fail isn’t because of the quality of the sound, but because of the actual structure of the notes itself. There are established musical standards that bass players have been utilizing for all the various styles of music because of one specific reason: those standards compliment the leads, beats, and even vocals for each style. If the synth sounds aren’t played or programmed to replicate these standards, then the sounds will not be authentic to the listener.
In other words, if you want to play a funky bass sound, you’ve got to know how to play a funky bass. Here’s how you can replicate the funk sound so that your next synth sounds will have people grooving instead of moving as far away from you as possible:
Utilize ghost notes in your composition. Going to the bass guitar, a ghost note is a note that is played on a muted string. By definition, it must have more of a percussive tone to the final sound than a melodic or harmonic note, even while being played in a bass line. Ghost notes are utilized to help drive the sounds or song that is being played, and in bass synth, this helps to drive the sounds being created.
Incorporate triplets and other forms of syncopation. What makes music interesting is its ability to surprise you in some way. When you’ve got a looped bass synth that essentially plays the same thing over and over again, your listeners are going to get bored with what you’ve created rather quickly. Using triplets [but not in sequence because that becomes dubstep] mixed with other forms of syncopation will help to create fluid movement throughout your bass line. That will keep a listener completed engaged… guaranteed.
Stick some vibrato in there! One of the first lessons a vocalist learns is to add vibrato into their voice on extended notes so that there is variation for the listener. Why? Because the human brain disengages after an extended time of one solid sound… and that disengagement happens within fractions of seconds! If you’ve got extended notes in your bass line, adding some vibrato using your pitch controls and trills between notes within the chord being played will help you replicate this with your bass synth line, giving you some funk in the process.
Take advantage of touch sensitivity settings. One of the easiest ways to add depth to any bass line is to add lighter sounds around the primary notes. With the touch sensitivity settings on your synth, this becomes an easy process because you just have to lightly tap the note a couple times before actually depressing the key for the full sound.
A fat bass line really is about finding perfection through it being imperfectly played. Don’t worry about hitting each note perfectly, adding specific trills consistently, or having the same syncopation throughout your composition. Be funky, be imperfect, and people will love your bass synth.