21st Century Bass

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21st Century Bass

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Overview & Registration



Perhaps no chair in the average band has changed as much as the bass over the last decade. Technology and tastes have introduced a new set of responsibilities to the bass role, and in some styles staying relevant means integrating effects, sound-design, and synthesis into the average gig. While it might seem intimidating at first, a deep dive into the myriad ways bass players can mangle and sculpt their sound is ultimately among the most rewarding steps bassists can take. In 21st Century Bass, we’ll survey the whole effects spectrum, going deep into how effects work and ways to combine them to cop classic sounds and innovate new ones. Plus, we’ll tackle how to get the iconic keybass sounds of players like Stevie Wonder, Bernie Worrell, and modern hip-hop and dance music with an introduction to subtractive synthesis.

Mondays 8:15 – 9:45 pm
1/8 – 3/19 (10 weeks) no class 1/15
Jonathan Herrera • $395


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COURSE TITLE: 21st Century Bass



Guitar Effects Pedals: The Practical Handbook by Dave Hunter
The Synthesizer: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Programming, Playing, and Recording the Ultimate Electronic Instrument by Mark Vail


Week 1
Introduction to the nature of sound
Evolution of bass effects w/ recorded examples
Survey of effect categories

Week 2
What is distortion?
How distortion is implemented for bass tone
Types of distortion, including solid-state vs. tube
Common distortion settings

Week 3
Pitch-shifting and octave effects
Analog vs. Digital
Practical application, including prominent players
Survey of popular products

Week 4
Dynamic effects
The essential role of compression for bass in the studio and live
The common compression methods and their pros/cons
Explanation of the most common parameters
How to use parallel compression in the studio
Playing examples

Week 5
Graphic, parametric, peaking, shelving, and other types
Impact of EQ on basic tone
Using EQ to shape the timbre of an effected sound
Acoustics and mitigating bad sound w/ EQ
Playing examples

Week 6
Filter effects, particularly low-pass filters w/ envelope control
Description of settings w/ reference to recorded examples
Survey of most popular products
Using static filters to shape bass timbre
Side-chaining filter envelope for rhythmic effects

Week 7
Modulation effects
Çomb-filtering and the impact of phase on timbre
Chorus, flanging, phasing, and other modulation effects
Parameter survey
Digital vs. Analog

Week 8
Delays, reverbs, and other time-based effects
The different types of delay, including analog vs. digital
Delay settings for thickening, widening, and/or dramatically altering tone
Reverb types, including plate, spring, convolution, and more

Week 9
Combining effects to achieve tone.
Emulating other instruments w/ effects

Week 10
Introduction to analog, subtractive synthesis
Brief history of analog synthesis, including introduction to iconic synths
Stage-by-stage description of analog synthesizer
Achieving popular keybass sounds w/ a simple analog synthesizer
Product recommendations and examples

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Jonathan Herrera (bass)

B.A., University of Southern California; Honors Graduate, Los Angeles Music Academy. 2012 Artist-in-Residence, Los Angeles College of Music. Current LACM faculty, teaching Synth Bass. Former Editor-in-Chief of Bass Player Magazine, current Senior Contributing Editor. Performed and recorded with Stanley Jordan, Brain, Oz Noy, Miguel Migs, Cathedrals, Jonas Hellborg, Cyrus Chestnut, MoeTar, and many more. Extensive international touring and clinic experience. Moog, MXR, DSI, Nordstrand, and Aguilar endorsing artist. Staff Producer and Studio B Chief Engineer, Airship Laboratories recording studios.


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