Mar 20, 2023 zac danzig

How Virtual Bass Can Level Up Your Music

How Virtual Bass Can Level Up Your Music

Virtual bass instruments have taken the music industry by storm over the last 5 years. In fact, you probably don't even realize how many of the records you love and listen to actually feature MIDI virtual bass! Yes, it's getting that good. When used tastefully in full arrangements, people don't even realize it's programmed in a DAW and triggered via MIDI!

In this article, we're going to go over 10 of the main reasons why virtual bass instruments can actually be preferable to dealing with those pesky bassists (no, really, we love you guys - it's just that sometimes we need bass performances that are in tune and on time!).

DAW piano roll

1) Consistency

This naturally leads to our first point: Virtual bass can be as consistent as you need it to be. No longer needing to deal with teaching a failed guitarist how to play your riffs, you can instead just import your Guitar Pro MIDI into your production session, then humanize the performance to your desires - allowing it to sound as natural or as robotic as you'd like!

Learn how to Program MIDI Bass!

2) Time-saving

It may not feel like it out of the gate, but virtual bass can actually save you a lot of valuable production time. You might think: "I can just play my riffs on the bass!", but that doesn't take into account the many downstream pitfalls you may face while recording.

At the end of the day, once you've programmed your bass performance once - that's it. No need to worry about botched takes or re-recording. If you decide to change a riff on-the-fly, you can literally just change the MIDI input and immediately have the bass reflect it, with no need to punch in or worry about the tone drifting.

Not having to deal with instrument servicing, restringing, retuning etc. makes virtual bass a no-brainer in the time-saving department.

3) Easy to Use

Virtual bass is typically very easy to use, even for those with very little musical or programming experience. It can be as simple as exporting your MIDI from an app like Guitar Pro, and listening back in awe as a real instrument now plays your programmed bass parts!

Most virtual-basses come with pre-packaged, pre-mixed tones which you can use to immediately get a world-class sounding bass guitar in your song, without needing any mixing experience whatsoever.

4) Customizability

With virtual bass, you can have any sound you want on your track. All you need to do is feed it the performance information, and then choose which bass guitar you want to reproduce it. It's amazing, really.

Rather than the old approach, where you're limited by what bass you have available, with MIDI bass you can quite literally tailor the sound of the instrument perfectly to your song.

Changed your mind down the track while mixing? No problems! Just swap it out for another bass that suits the new sound you're chasing.

5) Portability

Rather than carrying a bassist around with you wherever you go (or a bass guitar, if you're more frugal) virtual bass can literally be used on-the-go via a laptop. This creates an amazing opportunity to write and demo songs in near real-time even when stuck on a noisy tour bus with the rest of the band!

With virtual bass, you always have the exact same world-class bass performances available to you, no matter where you are.

6) No Need For Rehearsals

We won't dig up the trauma of dealing with your past bass players at band rehearsals - we assume you already know what we're talking about.

Virtual bass never needs to rehearse. You can feed it the performance information once, and hear it played back for you as tightly or loosely as you need - but it will never play wrong notes, or consistently out of key (now you really know what we're talking about).

7) Space-saving

When all you need is a laptop, you can quite literally get rid of the 2-meter self-indulgent bass fridge on stage (and no, we're not only referring to the bass player there).

There are world-class artists already programming their live bass performances, ensuring perfect low end from night to night, regardless of the venue. Above all, they get to enjoy all that free space from not having another person on stage!

8) Accessibility

Virtual MIDI bass is available for use 24/7, anywhere in the world, without the need for travel arrangements or time constraints. This makes it an ideal solution for musicians who need to create and record music on their own schedule.

Never be at the behest of your bass player's availability again!

9) No Human Error

Virtual MIDI bass eliminates the risk of human error, such as missed notes or incorrect timing, that can occur with a real bassist. If there's a weird note in your performance, make sure it's because you put it there on purpose.

10) Get The Sound Of a Legendary Bassist On Your Terms

Some virtual basses, such as SubMission Audio's GroveBass and UmanskyBass, model the sound of actual bass players, as much as they do their instruments. If you ever wanted the sound of an industry veteran bassist, but didn't want to deal with booking, scheduling, performance rates etc. these virtual basses can be an amazing way to get a world-class bass performance in your music, on your terms.

We hope you decide to give MIDI virtual bass a chance. It can save so much time and hassle in the modern production environment - which is why many world-class international artists are rapidly adopting it, whether for pre-production, final production and even touring!