Songs Without Bass

RobbySuaveRobbySuave Rising Star
edited October 2009 in The Rock Band Network
I'm very much looking forward to putting my own songs up for download with the Rock Band Network. I'm a DIY type of guy, doing everything on my computer. Sometimes I'll record real drums and real bass, but generally the only thing real are the vocals and guitar, and sometimes the guitar isn't even real.

Anyway, a lot of times, I won't even have a bass track. No bass synth or anything; just guitar. My question is what would you, Rock Band players, would like those to be like. One solution is to go back and record bass parts. Or I could just not have a bass part, assuming we don't have to have a bass part in a song. And then there's songs of mine where there's 2 guitars, but no bass. In cases like that, maybe the bass would play the second guitar.

I'm not getting into RBN thinking I'm going to earn a profit or even gain popularity or whatever. I mostly want to do it just so I can play my own songs by myself and with friends. But I'm just wondering what other players would think about songs with no bass part.

Comments

  • S1ckH4ndsS1ckH4nds YouTube Guru
    edited September 2009
    You do not require a bass part in order to publish a song on RBN. It's entirely up to you; you can either release it as is, with guitar, drums, and vocals only, or if you have the manpower and time to spare, go back and record a new bass track specifically for the game. I believe one artist in the RBN beta has done that already, so it's definitely a viable option.
  • RobbySuaveRobbySuave Rising Star
    edited September 2009
    I was pretty sure it was technically possible to not include a bass track, but I was just wondering if the average player would rather play the second guitar track for bass or just not have a bass part at all. If you had a 4 person band going, you wouldn't be able to play a song without a bass part.

    There's surely some players who prefer bass over guitar. Would they not like playing a guitar part? I'm just curious.

    My senses tell me the open beta, or at least more information on it, will become available soon.
  • samqwesamqwe Unsigned
    edited September 2009
    You can only use one playable part for guitar, if you use the PART BASS for a second guitar it will not pass peer review.
  • ChaseFVChaseFV Opening Act
    edited September 2009
    Since you're looking for opinion (and I happen to have one!), in general, I'd prefer a bass part, but that's just my own musical taste. I'm sure there are just as many people out there who feel the bass line is just a dumbed-down guitar or a glorified drum echo. If, to your ear, it makes the songs better, add it. If not, I'm sure they will stand just fine on their own as-is.
  • RobbySuaveRobbySuave Rising Star
    edited September 2009
    I realize the best solution would be to go back and record/insert bass parts. But say for these bass-purists; would they scoff at playing a second guitar part rather than an actual bass part?

    Personally, I don't think the songs need bass in them. The guitars have enough low end as it stands. If I was going to add bass, I'd have to take out some of that low end.

    I figured there were others in my situation, and I didn't know how most people were going to do it. The easiest way out would be to just not have a part for bass, but I don't really like doing that unless it's impossible to do otherwise.

    I'm really looking forward to getting my songs all charted up and into the game. By the way, I don't know if this has been answered or even brought up before, but if you submit a song, do you have to pay for it to be able to play it like you would any other DLC? Or will it know you created the song and let you download it for free?
  • trg007trg007 Your Ever Rocking RBN Forum Guru
    edited September 2009
    blueblur3000;3103207 said:
    I realize the best solution would be to go back and record/insert bass parts. But say for these bass-purists; would they scoff at playing a second guitar part rather than an actual bass part?
    It's no so much about whether people would find it fun, it's about the standards that HMX has laid out for what can and can't be done in RBN songs. If the song has bass, you have to chart it; if it has no bass, you have to leave it as NO PART. If you authored it as a second guitar, it would fail review.
    By the way, I don't know if this has been answered or even brought up before, but if you submit a song, do you have to pay for it to be able to play it like you would any other DLC? Or will it know you created the song and let you download it for free?
    You'd have to pay for it, unless you wanted to just transfer it over via Audition Mode every time you wanted to play it, but that's not desirable of course.
  • JadisJadis Unsigned
    edited September 2009
    trg007;3103294 said:
    If the song has bass, you have to chart it; if it has no bass, you have to leave it as NO PART. If you authored it as a second guitar, it would fail review.
    Is there a reason why it's like that? Guitar gets charted as weird things all the time...why is bass any different?
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited October 2009
    Jadis;3104101 said:
    Is there a reason why it's like that? Guitar gets charted as weird things all the time...why is bass any different?
    Most likely because of the Bass Groove (the 6x multiplier) and lack of ability to put solos on that track. The Bass track is for bass.
  • DavyinaTogaDavyinaToga Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    Opinionated charting is opinionated.

    Personally, if the guitar track is from a recording, I would rather the bass chart stay absent from RBN than to add a bass synth track just for a full band in RB. Real and synth instruments together don't always sound right in my ear, so it probably would be safer to go bass-less.

    If, however, the guitar part isn't a real guitar, then I believe it would be permissible to create an artificial bass line. Heck, it may even be artistically better to do so.

    This is kind of the guideline I plan on following for my own stuff, too, if I do go through with RBN.
  • JadisJadis Unsigned
    edited October 2009
    davidshek;3104168 said:
    Most likely because of the Bass Groove (the 6x multiplier) and lack of ability to put solos on that track. The Bass track is for bass.
    I still don't really get why this would keep synth, for example, as charted to bass for songs that don't have it. The person playing it would just have to deal with no solos as always...it just seems kind of arbitrary to me to have a rule like that. I know I'd personally much rather have something being played if at all possible, to leave the song open for 4-man bands.

    What if, for example, The White Stripes sent in Seven Nation Army? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j7huh5Egew) It's got a very distinctive "bass" line that's actually a downtuned guitar.
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited October 2009
    DavyinaToga;3104219 said:
    Opinionated charting is opinionated.
    This is not about opinions, or overused Internet memes. This is about sticking to the guidelines for authoring that HMX themselves have very specifically laid out for creating songs for RBN.
  • S1ckH4ndsS1ckH4nds YouTube Guru
    edited October 2009
    We already have examples of songs that have no traditional bass guitar in them, such as the two tracks by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Maps" and "Date With The Night". I'm not entirely sure what we're playing on the bass part for either track; either a separate guitar part or a processed guitar part.

    Even more recently, we received "The End" by Pearl Jam, which appears to have strings charted to the bass part, and no drum part.

    We also have a case where a song has three bass parts, Spinal Tap's "Big Bottom". In that case both guitar and bass have their own bass part, plus a third is in the background.

    And this doesn't even begin to mention the synthpop tracks, such as those by Freezepop, where almost all parts in the song are played on keyboards and synthesizers.

    It may not be as cut and dried a situation as you think.
  • RobbySuaveRobbySuave Rising Star
    edited October 2009
    trg007;3103294 said:
    It's no so much about whether people would find it fun, it's about the standards that HMX has laid out for what can and can't be done in RBN songs. If the song has bass, you have to chart it; if it has no bass, you have to leave it as NO PART. If you authored it as a second guitar, it would fail review.
    I don't understand why it would fail review. Say Guitar 1 is more like a lead guitar and Guitar 2 is more like rhythm. It's not allowed to chart Guitar 2 as bass? What if I had a piano playing bass notes? Could I not chart that for bass just because it's not actually a bass?

    Like others have said, there's lots of other songs that have synth and piano parts that were charted to guitar. I don't know why I couldn't chart a second guitar to bass.
  • DavyinaTogaDavyinaToga Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    davidshek;3104795 said:
    This is not about opinions, or overused Internet memes. This is about sticking to the guidelines for authoring that HMX themselves have very specifically laid out for creating songs for RBN.
    Yeah, I can see where my last post is contradictory. I'm so used to reading "but Guitar charts plays non-guitar parts, why can't bass?" that I didn't even acknowledge it, which caused a bit of a mixup. My bad. I wasn't overriding your answer, I was trying to complement it.


    Your response answers the first part of the OP's question, if he could use the Bass track for rhythm guitar (which he can't). From there, the second half (the only half I recognized) is "then should I fake a bass line or leave it out?" (alternately, "If my song originally has no drums, do I try to record a live drum track over it, use a drum machine/beat sequencer, or just go without?") and that's what I saw as being subjective: whether or not to add a new instrument (that may not make the song any better musically) in order to have the song accessible by full 4-player bands. That all depends on resources and taste, and thought I'd take a shot at answering that since it seemed no one else had yet.


    Man, this talking-on-the-internet thing is hard. Seems I can't type anything to sound like the way I want it to come out. :cool:
  • Alright_ComputerAlright_Computer Butt Neck
    edited October 2009
    trg007;3103294 said:
    It's no so much about whether people would find it fun, it's about the standards that HMX has laid out for what can and can't be done in RBN songs. If the song has bass, you have to chart it; if it has no bass, you have to leave it as NO PART. If you authored it as a second guitar, it would fail review.
    I don't know whether or not it would fail review or not, but a number of bands on the main platform are from bands that have no bass player, but rather a second guitar player or other instrumentalist. The songs in the game by Sleater-Kinney, Wolfmother, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs have no bass part in the actual song, yet they all have playable bass tracks in the game.

    Basically, if it makes sense to chart it to bass, then chart it to bass. This is subjective to some degree, obviously, so you'll have to use your own judgment on this. That means if you have some low-sounding guitar or synth in the mix, then by all means, feel free to chart it. On the other hand, don't chart weedly-weedly dual guitar solos to bass. Or if you'd just be more comfortable leaving it as "no part", you can do that too. Just keep in mind that Harmonix always charts alternate instruments over putting down "no part" in the song. They only put down "no part" if there's absolutely nothing that could be charted to that instrument.
  • RobbySuaveRobbySuave Rising Star
    edited October 2009
    Yeah, my question wasn't so much if it was possible to not have a bass track, but more if I should chart a second guitar part as bass or if I should go back to these old songs of mine and put in real or fake bass in there.

    I've got some synthy songs that would be impossible to chart guitar and bass for. I'm going to have to leave them as just guitar. But there are quite a few songs I've done where I recorded an additional rhythm guitar type part or have a synth working as the bass line.

    Is there a list of rules or guidelines somewhere about our songs we should follow? I'm sure there will be official verbiage eventually, but right now, is there some sort of list of rules? I couldn't find anything in my searching.
  • UltraceUltrace Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    Alright_Computer;3106108 said:
    Basically, if it makes sense to chart it to bass, then chart it to bass. This is subjective to some degree, obviously, so you'll have to use your own judgment on this.
    This is what it boils down to, and I'd take it one step further: if the instrument is intended to play the part of a bass, then chart it to bass, whether it's downtuned guitar, synthesizer, or even strings. You as the artist know if the stand-in is supposed to be a bass part and so will the testers. If it doesn't sound right as bass to the majority, then you can expect it to not pass muster.
  • JormJorm Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    HMX's "official" charting shows that they are willing to get creative with the bass part in the absence of actual bass.

    As far as official guidelines go, it's my understanding that these are coming, probably when the beta goes public.

    I agree with Ultrace in that if an instrument is intended to play the part of a bass, then it's a natural to chart as the bass line.

    I don't 100% agree that, in the absence of anything that resembles a bassline, charting a second guitar/something else as bass would be a deal breaker for the review process. I base this opinion on songs like Pearl Jam's "The End", where I find myself playing an orchestra's string section rather than a bassline.

    But it's possible that when the docs come out, this will all be clear. Perhaps it'll be 'do what HMX says, not necessarily what they do'.

    In my personal opinion, as someone who primarily plays bass and isn't overly concerned when I find myself playing non-bass parts as bass, I'd rather you give me something to play than nothing. A song without a bass part is going to be a pass for me. I'm not saying go back and add bass, but rather I'd be fine if you charted the 2nd guitar under this scenario. JMO.
  • RobbySuaveRobbySuave Rising Star
    edited October 2009
    Jorm: Thanks. That's the sort of answer I've been looking for. I wanted to know what someone who prefers to play bass thinks about stuff like this. Some people who prefer playing guitar seem to get peeved when they have to play a piano section or something, but personally, I'd rather do that than nothing. Maybe your opinion isn't a good representation of the majority of Rock Band bass players, but if it is, then...that's good.

    I've been playing music games since the first Guitar Hero, and I've been making my own music since...well, years before that. I love playing Rock Band. I love what they're doing with DLC and treating Rock Band as a platform rather than just selling a bunch of discs. I also love making music. So the Rock Band Network is really awesome to me. I want to set up my songs as best as possible so that they get through the review process quickly. I also wouldn't mind knowing that my music is getting out there and being played and sung along to around the world.
  • iruhlmaniruhlman Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    blueblur3000;3107025 said:
    Jorm: I also wouldn't mind knowing that my music is getting out there and being played and sung along to around the world.
    Can't speak much about RBN yet but I can tell you that thru XNA those indie game developers know how many times their games have been downloaded as a trial and then purchased. It's not made public though

    Not sure we'll have access to that data.
  • LuigiHannLuigiHann Stormtrooper
    edited October 2009
    Charting Tuba to Bass is acceptable
  • samqwesamqwe Unsigned
    edited October 2009
    You can't say "tuba is acceptable for bass", that's like saying "covers are okay" just because HMX used them. HMX is free to do anything they want, the RBN however has strict rules to avoid sloppy charting.
  • RobbySuaveRobbySuave Rising Star
    edited October 2009
    I could definitely see a song that has tuba for bass, maybe a violin for guitar...why not?
  • RobbySuaveRobbySuave Rising Star
    edited October 2009
    I could definitely see a song that has tuba for bass, maybe a violin for guitar...why not?
  • socrstoprsocrstopr Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    The point is, if something comes up that might have a questionable instrument choice or something against the norm, it will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. You're all trying to summarize instrument authoring into black and white rules, and it just doesn't work that way; there is too much subjectivity.

    If you want to author a tuba as bass or a car's busted brake screeching as vocals, you can do whatever you want. But if it goes against any rules or is too unconventional or is just plain wrong, you will hear about it in playtest and peer review. And if the song fails, you'll have to go back and fix it.
  • samqwesamqwe Unsigned
    edited October 2009
    socrstopr;3111042 said:
    The point is, if something comes up that might have a questionable instrument choice or something against the norm, it will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. You're all trying to summarize instrument authoring into black and white rules, and it just doesn't work that way; there is too much subjectivity.

    If you want to author a tuba as bass or a car's busted brake screeching as vocals, you can do whatever you want. But if it goes against any rules or is too unconventional or is just plain wrong, you will hear about it in playtest and peer review. And if the song fails, you'll have to go back and fix it.
    this, but do not expect peer review to be much open-minded, I'm pretty sure that a lot of people will complain about nonrelevant things, e.g. they could say that the tuba does not match the bassist's animations.

    I thought this thread was about using PART BASS for a second guitar, which is not really recommended if this second guitar doesn't significantly sound like a bass so people can't tell the difference.
  • LuigiHannLuigiHann Stormtrooper
    edited October 2009
    I was kind of joking around with the Tuba thing. Somebody from Harmonix in an earlier thread, was asked if it was okay to chart alternate instruments to guitar, and their response was along the lines of maybe/sometimes. Guess it's really about what works or doesn't work in a given situation.

    Personally, I say try it, and if everybody in the peer review says it sucks, then get rid of it. Alternately, I also suggested in another thread, take the rhythm guitar track and tweak the audio so it sounds like bass.
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