Dr Funk’s Bass GroovesPosted on 24th June 2023
Dr. Funk’s YouTube clips have certainly garnered lots of attention in the UK and across the globe. If you’ve never seen him playing, then check him out – it’s mightily impressive.
Recording & Production process – Richard Gale
⦁ Fender Jazz Bass
⦁ DI into Solid State Logic interface
⦁ Condenser mic to capture the string and fretboard noise
⦁ Computer, DAW and various plugins, including Multiband X6
All of the material used in the sample pack originated from one day in the studio with Dr Funk (AKA Jonny Rubin).
Having witnessed Jonny’s ability to freestyle infectious hooks and extended lead parts, we chose not to write any bass parts in advance, so we could capture the magic that happens in the moment, rather than be distracted by the process of recording multiple takes etc.
In preparation for the recording session, I wrote a number of backing tracks to cover a range of tempos and keys, whilst catering to various styles from 1970s funk and soul through to current hip hop and trap.
Following the recording session, I had over two hours of recordings to review and select material to use for the sample pack.
Having opted to use DI and room mic setup, rather than mic’ing up a bass amp/cab, this left a lot of flexibility for processing the DI recordings through a multitude of amp simulators, cab IRs and effects.
As a guitarist myself, I’ve tried a lot of amp sims over the years and IK Multimedia’s Amplitube 5 is by far the best all rounder, with models of all the classics including Fender Bassman, Ampeg and Gallien-Krueger amps and cabs.
Jonny likes to use overdrive and various other stompboxes in his live setup, so these were great for recreating the sound of those, as well as achieving a solid bass amp simulation. Neural DSP’s Archetype: Tim Henson has a really nice harmoniser, so that was used to help create some of the multi-voiced samples.
Devious Machines’ Multiband X6 was used exclusvely for compression. This was really useful for bringing a dry DI signal to life, accentuating the high mids and tops, whilst controlling the low end.
Having reached the point of having a lot of clean bass loops, in tempos from 90 to 130 bpm, I thought it would be interesting to create some more stylised samples, recreating the sound of bass guitar on classic funk and soul records that hip hop producers have used extensively as a source of bass hooks.
The treated DI signal was sufficient for the lows and mids, but the condenser mic picked up the top end detail and most importantly, the popping/slapping sound of the strings that is a defining characteristic of the funk bass sound, as well as string and fret noise.
One of the most challenging aspects maintaining the punchiness of the performance in the extremely fast sections, whilst controlling the loud peaks produced by the ‘popping’ and ‘slapping’ of the strings. But as you will hear, Multiband X6 managed to control fully the peak transients while maintaining the energy of the grooves.
The sample pack includes:
- 34 x 90 bpm grooves
- 5 x 100 bpm grooves
- 9 x 110 bpm grooves
- 12 x 125 bpm grooves
- 21 x 130 bpm grooves
- 15 x Extended grooves and jams
- 15 x Sound Effects
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