Tutorials / 24 January 2018

Basslines: How To Get Creative

A great bassline is central to creating a piece of music that gets the people moving – whatever your style, whatever your genre, and whatever your creative process. It’s the low-end bass frequencies that really connect your listeners with the heart and soul of what it is you are trying to express.

For example, take the classic bassline riff in Chic’s Good Times

It’s one that etches itself in your memory, not least because of its appearance on The Sugarhill Gang’s Rappers Delight…

You can tell the difference between the two from the off. The sampled bassline lays the foundation for the song, complementing its funky upbeat rhythm section. What results is a colourful and buoyant mix that is a real treat to your ears. That’s exactly what a good bassline is capable of achieving, so the music is felt, and not heard.

How you manipulate the bass of a song will affect how you perceive the higher frequencies of the song. Amongst many other ways, using a punchy bassline, like on Good Times, adds groove and parallels the listener’s natural heartbeat (biorhythm), encouraging one to bop his or head along with the song. And therein lies the real charm of the bassline – each effect induces a different reaction amongst its listeners. The pleasure is in the prospect.


Your own basslines with Loops

Sampling basslines is a quickfire way to get started on a project. The BandLab web Mix Editor is loaded with free MIDI and audio bass loops for you to get creative with, and the MIDI Editor allows you to tweak your basslines further on your computer. Experiment with the notes – adjust its velocity, sustain, or move them around to form a different melody – you’ll never go out of time because of its built-in quantisation. Dust off your MIDI keyboard, it’s time to get to work!

Experiment with effects

Elevate your basslines with each effect options to funk out to different vibes. Our Mix Editor gears you up with in-built Effects, check some of them out below:

Tight and Low

Tight and Low takes away the middle frequencies and emphasizes on the low end with a compression. This is essential if you want a booming bass tone.


Overdrive Sustain

Overdrive Sustain adds a distortion to your bass. Great for industrial, punk or a grungey sound. 


Sub Filter

Sub Filter emphasizes the sublevels of an instrument, making it ideal if you want even more rumble in your tracks. It’ll certainly make the bass the star of the track, but going overboard can add an imbalance in your mix, so approach with caution!


Sub Phaser

Sub Phaser adds a slight phasing effect for bass, which is a subtle, swooshing effect. 


Have we got you inspired? Here’s our take on Good Times – Fork it and make it your own!

Ready to get groovy? Get your hands on BandLab’s Looper and lay down the bass.

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