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working out basslines

Posts: 400
Hi, when I try to work out basslines I'm listening to the song as presented on a CD. I keep reading about audacity that can allow you to alter the sound of the recording to help pick out any bass parts I want to listen to/work out.
I was wondering if this is as good as it sounds & worth looking into?
Audacity is a free download and a very small file. There is a guideline, troubleshooting, and FAQ sections. Download it, tinker with it. Only you will know if it worth having or not.

In a way, software is no different than a certain kind of bass someone may prefer.

It may work for them, but not for you. Since this is free software, you are not losing anything except maybe a little bandwidth and your time.
Posts: 400
Thank you for your reply & information. As you say I have nothing to lose in giving it a try & I will do so.
Posts: 1061
I've been using audacity to help with figuring out a bass line for about two years now. For me, it has really helped in two ways: I can slow down a song without changing pitch (using change tempo) and I can make the bass line more easily heard (using the low pass filter).

In fast passages with lots of notes, being able to slow the song down has allowed me to figure out the notes much, much faster (and more correctly), and attenuating the frequencies above what the bass produces make the bass line stand out.

There are more things you can do to get better or faster at figuring out a bass line: develop a bit of understanding of musical theory (scales, relationship among scales, common ear-pleasing intervals); research the song (have a look at other tabs for the song if there are any - helpful even if only part of the song or partially correct); and especially, check for sheet music.

For some songs, you can have a free look on- line at the first page of the sheet music, from which you can learn what scale the song is in as well as timing signature, what notes are played, and how they are arranged in measures. Starting from scratch, when there is no sheet music or tab to work from, this is the part (figuring out what key the song is in, the timing signature, and division into measures) that really eats a chunk of time, at least for me.

Another thing that is sometimes helpful (but not always) is letting your tuner ‘listen’ to the song. It can help in figuring out what is being played.

Have fun!
Posts: 249
Audacity is useful. Not perfect but better than nothing.
Posts: 123
All my submitted tabs have been worked out by ear though I did use audacity for one Soft Cell tab which was quite useful.
For me, it really helps to figure out what key the song is in, as that gives a strong indication of what notes (the scale of the key) will form the major part of the song (or verse or… I found that I was too-frequently getting the note wrong (usually off by a common interval, often a third).

Using Audacity and a tuner helps me tab more quickly and more correctly.
Posts: 123
I agree getting the right key is a big help. I only used audacity to boost the bass & lower the treble. I'm sure you can do much more with it & I will at some point get round to experimenting with it.
Did you get any further with audacity to help your tabbing bassm99?
LoudLon [moderator]
Posts: 762
I do all my tabbing by ear, using VLC player to tweak levels to make the bass more prominent. It's not perfect, but it helps. If I can't figure a song out by ear I'll search online for an isolated bass master track. If I can't find one of those, I'll look for a live performance by the original band (no covers). If none of those help, I typically say screw it and go tab something else.
Posts: 400
No one can ever accuse you of not giving it your all LoudLon to get a bassline down.

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