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How do you eliminate moving harmonics in a bassline?
Old 21st January 2012
  #1
Gear Addict
 

How do you eliminate moving harmonics in a bassline?

What I mean by this is, what if you have a bass instrument that has harmonics that don't work with your song (say you are in a minor chord and the bass has a major harmonic). If the bass was just one solid note, I would just notch this harmonic out with an EQ, but the problem is, this harmonic will move when the bass switches notes.

So how do you guys deal with this?

A lot of times when I do detuned saw waves, I get these really nasty harmonics up in the higher frequencies that I would like to notch out with respect to what note the bass is playing.
Old 21st January 2012
  #2
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Apprendista's Avatar
 

The major third overtone is always much more prominent than the minor third one. I have to say it sounds OCD-ish to me to start filtering out single partials whenever you're in a minor chord.

If it really does bother you, and you have suitable software, you could construct bass tones additively from sine waves, omitting harmonics selectively. that way your bass will never have any unwanted frequencies.
Old 21st January 2012
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apprendista View Post
The major third overtone is always much more prominent than the minor third one. I have to say it sounds OCD-ish to me to start filtering out single partials whenever you're in a minor chord.

If it really does bother you, and you have suitable software, you could construct bass tones additively from sine waves, omitting harmonics selectively. that way your bass will never have any unwanted frequencies.
Yeah I'm pretty OCD lol. And darn, I was hoping to be able to do it on an already existing bassline. I guess I'll just have to be less OCD haha
Old 21st January 2012
  #4
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Use only sine waves for instruments and you won't have to worry about clashing harmonics ever again.
Old 21st January 2012
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2pulse View Post
Use only sine waves for instruments and you won't have to worry about clashing harmonics ever again.
Old 21st January 2012
  #6
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Catabolic's Avatar
 

How about you EQ it out and then sample that bass note. Then use a re-pitching algorithm on the sample without the harmonic. Reaper has a pretty decent one called ReaPitch but whatever DAW you're using could probably do this too...
Old 21st January 2012
  #7
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You could use a 20% pulse wave, which doesn't have the fifth harmonic (major 3rd).
Old 21st January 2012
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alkamist View Post
What I mean by this is, what if you have a bass instrument that has harmonics that don't work with your song (say you are in a minor chord and the bass has a major harmonic). If the bass was just one solid note, I would just notch this harmonic out with an EQ, but the problem is, this harmonic will move when the bass switches notes.

So how do you guys deal with this?

A lot of times when I do detuned saw waves, I get these really nasty harmonics up in the higher frequencies that I would like to notch out with respect to what note the bass is playing.
a bass note is not minor or major...a bass note is ONE note. It follows the chord minor or major
Old 21st January 2012
  #9
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FRANZ KAFKA's Avatar
compression
Old 21st January 2012
  #10
ValhallaDSP
 
seancostello's Avatar
 

Play a different bass note. Maybe if you play the 5th, a minor 3rd, or some passing tone, there would be less conflict.
Old 22nd January 2012
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayPee View Post
a bass note is not minor or major...a bass note is ONE note. It follows the chord minor or major
I'm talking about the harmonic content of that bass note. The harmonic content of the specific instrument can form a chord. And if you have an instrument that has a predominantly major harmonic content, then it won't fit too nicely with a minor keyed song.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catabolic View Post
How about you EQ it out and then sample that bass note. Then use a re-pitching algorithm on the sample without the harmonic. Reaper has a pretty decent one called ReaPitch but whatever DAW you're using could probably do this too...
This is a good idea, but it just doesn't sound the same to re-pitch it with an algorithm. I lose quality =[
Also, I'm using Reaper, how'd you know stalker? heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rimwolf View Post
You could use a 20% pulse wave, which doesn't have the fifth harmonic (major 3rd).
I was hoping to find a way to process an existing waveform, but this would probably be the best way, and maybe layer the higher frequencies of the other bass on top.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seancostello View Post
Play a different bass note. Maybe if you play the 5th, a minor 3rd, or some passing tone, there would be less conflict.
That could work, but I'm more focused on being able to fix a waveform that already exists, however I could just tune up that one note. I'll have to give it a try, thanks for the pointer! Love your plugins btw

Quote:
Originally Posted by FRANZ KAFKA View Post
compression
Multiband you mean? Or rather non full-band for my lack of knowing a better term lol
Old 22nd January 2012
  #12
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I don't know if there's such a thing as a pitch-tracking notch filter, but that might do. Could probably build one in reaktor, or possibly even in reason.
Old 22nd January 2012
  #13
only one way .. EQ every note individually.
Old 22nd January 2012
  #14
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Beermaster's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alkamist View Post
I'm talking about the harmonic content of that bass note. The harmonic content of the specific instrument can form a chord. And if you have an instrument that has a predominantly major harmonic content, then it won't fit too nicely with a minor keyed song.l
I think you're worrying about a non existant issue here.

The harmonics that make up the timbre of the bass instrument will normally stay relatively the same throughout the normal pitch range that the instrument plays in Ie - It's a double bass and it sounds like double bass regardless of which note in it's range it plays......... It doesn't matter whether the tune it playes on is centered on any one key, chord sequence, major or minor.... the sounds of that bass and its harmonic content don't pose any problem even if on paper the fourth harmonic is theoreticaly a clash with the chord it's the root of. The truth is that the harmonics are at such a relatively low level compared to the fundamental and octave that we don't perceive them as notes but as timbre...

Don't lose sleep over things that have no bearing on the sound comparted to the big issue stuff happening in the track...so zooom out for the wider angle view !

Beer.
Old 22nd January 2012
  #15
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Not a big deal noones listening for third-and-fourth order harmonics on a bassline. If they are poking out too much eq them down. Or find a different bass source.
Old 22nd January 2012
  #16
Mr Arkadin
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster View Post
Don't lose sleep over things that have no bearing on the sound comparted to the big issue stuff happening in the track...so zooom out for the wider angle view !
This.

Or, as I read in a Karate book once:

"When one eye is fixed upon your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the Way."
Old 22nd January 2012
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by controlvoltage View Post
I don't know if there's such a thing as a pitch-tracking notch filter, but that might do. Could probably build one in reaktor, or possibly even in reason.
That would be a lovely little plugin haha. That's pretty much what I'm looking for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers View Post
only one way .. EQ every note individually.
Hehe I'll just find another bass source =P

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster View Post
I think you're worrying about a non existant issue here.

The harmonics that make up the timbre of the bass instrument will normally stay relatively the same throughout the normal pitch range that the instrument plays in Ie - It's a double bass and it sounds like double bass regardless of which note in it's range it plays......... It doesn't matter whether the tune it playes on is centered on any one key, chord sequence, major or minor.... the sounds of that bass and its harmonic content don't pose any problem even if on paper the fourth harmonic is theoreticaly a clash with the chord it's the root of. The truth is that the harmonics are at such a relatively low level compared to the fundamental and octave that we don't perceive them as notes but as timbre...

Don't lose sleep over things that have no bearing on the sound comparted to the big issue stuff happening in the track...so zooom out for the wider angle view !

Beer.
Yeah, I'm probably worrying too much. My inability to get the bassline to fit in the track is probably because of my not so good mixing skills
Old 22nd January 2012
  #18
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jinksdingo's Avatar
You can change the harmonic content by using a scrunchie over the strings at one of the nodes..

If the bass line is already recorded you could try removing that note with editing or automation and see if it helps.

But what I guess is the problem is the bass is playing in the wrong key to the accompanying chords.

This is easily overlooked as many players get used to G and C and are playing in that key when the progression is in D for eg or the the piece is in C and the bass is playing his runs in D.

It is not always the bass player. Guitarists can be set in the same type of chord they use when they play every D or A.

Only a guess
Old 22nd January 2012
  #19
Gear Maniac
As has been said, this seems like a pointless exercise - and I would suggest that while reducing your song's "imperfections" might appear to make it sound more pleasing, you could actually be making the song less interesting to listen to. Perfection is boring. The bits which people end up liking in songs are often the bits which were completely unintentional by the band / composer and were "mistakes" so to speak.
Old 22nd January 2012
  #20
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Simonator's Avatar
 

I agree that this probably not something you need to worry about... however, I think you can do what you want to with the Cysonic nXstacy plugin- which allows you to turn up or own each of the harmonics for whatever is going through it.
Old 23rd January 2012
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayPee View Post
a bass note is not minor or major...a bass note is ONE note. It follows the chord minor or major
Nope, the whole of harmonic theory is based on the fact that notes have multiple partials and not a single frequency.

2 notes where all the partials coincide = pure consonance

2 notes where most partials coincide = soft consonance / mild dissonance

2 notes where several early partials clash = dissonant

The example given of a harmonically rich bass note against a minor chord is a perfect example.
Old 23rd January 2012
  #22
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Some bass sounds just don't work.

It's the length of time the harmonic exists in the attack and decay of the note.

A good bass note contains a complex feedback mechanism that should, at best, be slightly uncontrollable but not obnoxious.

You have to shop through your VSTI for a better sound, like us bassist have more than one bass guitar. Or tweak it, like a new set of strings or pickup combination or simply the tone pot. A minute amount of distortion helps smear the other harmonic, enriching the final sound.

Trying to solve by subtracting harmonics means your sound is admitting other harmonics that should be there are already missing. If you go Sine wave you're not fixing anything, and you are definitely creating a big set of other unfixable problems. Think about when you heard a famous bassline on hold over the phone and recognised the song, eg, One of These Nights by the Eagles.

Also, I agree with FRANZ KAFKA it's the settings on your compressor, they can make or break any bass sound. And a good compressor, like an 1176, can add the right amount of dirt thickening compound along the way.

Multiband? As a rule, never. For slap bass only.

And always EQ the bass before AND after compression.

Are you truly mono under 300Hz?
Old 23rd January 2012
  #23
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by famousbass View Post

And always EQ the bass before AND after compression.
Why is this? Never heard this before.
Old 23rd January 2012
  #24
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famousbass's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Branmong View Post
Why is this? Never heard this before.
All compressors distort esp on higher values. Esp bass which goes hard and has long waveforms to boot.

You get rid of some freq that's unwelcome then compress (= change the sound drastically with loss of freq width and change of attack and decay plus inherent distortion.) That's as far as some go. You have to touch it up on the way out with EQ, like a reconnaissance after a bombing.
Its considered polite.

Ever heard of multiple compression? 3 in a row on light settings? EQ in between and you just might make the bass sound of gold. Sometimes you have to. Vocals love it too.
Old 23rd January 2012
  #25
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famousbass's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by windmillsound View Post
Nope, the whole of harmonic theory is based on the fact that notes have multiple partials and not a single frequency.

2 notes where all the partials coincide = pure consonance

2 notes where most partials coincide = soft consonance / mild dissonance

2 notes where several early partials clash = dissonant

The example given of a harmonically rich bass note against a minor chord is a perfect example.
Acknowledged.

For all the rookies out there, we've been listening to real bass instruments doing this for years. What makes you think it is unwelcome? Because in-your-face synths are (were) all the rage now (once)? It's clearly a passing fad now, all that OCD EQing will be a thing of the past soon enough. I gotta ask, when was the last time you listened to Infected Mushroom? Even they're using real instruments more and more. Praise God.
Old 23rd January 2012
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster View Post
I think you're worrying about a non existant issue here. (...)
The truth is that the harmonics are at such a relatively low level compared to the fundamental and octave that we don't perceive them as notes but as timbre...


Beer.
Old 23rd January 2012
  #27
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audslu's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alkamist View Post
Yeah I'm pretty OCD lol. And darn, I was hoping to be able to do it on an already existing bassline. I guess I'll just have to be less OCD haha
Are we talking about synth sound? PLS can you post a sample with these chords?? I'm uber curious!

Maybe the oscs form an interval or chord (3oscs) where the higher note is in much lower level, thru the filter and in different tonality from your song forming a major chord at some point as the melody/chords chnge, played all together (or by itself if you have 3oscs, or layering which means you 're transposing a major chord), and you mistake it for harmonics. Or else i think it's non existant too.


Minor key doesn't mean only minor chords


Harmonics move with the root note there s no way to change that. How do you expect to change pitch and freeze the harmonics to be the same everytime?! Filtering harmonics in one note only will make the bassline sound unnatural don't you think?

Consonance can sound very musical and darkly interesting when on purpose (see Leo Brouwer). In your case i'd say you must resample or replace that part of the bass riff with one of others that fits the tonality given that you have an interval or chord. But i'd really like to hear first.

Last edited by audslu; 26th January 2012 at 10:21 PM.. Reason: too rigid
Old 23rd January 2012
  #28
here's an example of a track where someone bothered to eq every bass note. admittedly, a simple b-line. as you can hear it is worth doing in certain circumstances.

Old 23rd January 2012
  #29
Gear Maniac
As a matter of interest, what would be the easiest way of actually EQing every note in a song individually? (I use Ableton FWIW). This sounds like an absolute bloody nightmare to me. Possibilities:

1) Cut up the audio file into different sections, eq each section, stick it back together
2) Use EQ automation curves from within the DAW on the entire bass line

Is (1) the "standard" way of doing this?
Old 23rd January 2012
  #30
Lives for gear
I wonder if a variable filter in band reject mode with high resonance, with cutoff set to the offending harmonic, would be sharp enough to notch it out without affecting other harmonics too much. After all, a synth filter is designed so it can track the note.

Of course, this requires that you have more than one filter available (assuming you're using one in typical lowpass mode.)
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