Rock Bass is a varied collection of rock ''n'' roll bass loops and one-shots in WAV, REX2, and Apple Loops format.
Rock Bass ($49.95) is a genre-specific loop and sample collection of rock- and funk-inspired bass licks. It comes on CD and contains 660 MB of loops and one-shots. Eight folders of loops with tempos ranging from 80 to 120 bpm are arranged by tempo and key, and are provided in WAV, REX2, and Apple Loops (AIFF) format. A ninth folder of one-shot samples rounds out the collection. Rock Bass was produced by Pavel Stepanovsky, with editing by Steven Bolar and Mark Rinewalt.
All content is recorded in monophonic, 16-bit resolution at a 44.1 kHz sampling rate, which is appropriate for bass and reduces sample size and load time. The folder- and file-naming scheme makes selecting loops a simple affair. The primary directories are named Apple Loops, REX, and WAV. Each directory houses seven loop folders, named for the loops' original tempos, and an eighth folder of effects-processed loops. The WAV and Apple Loops directories contain an additional folder for the one-shots. Each loop's file name consists of an index number followed by the loop's tempo and key. The one-shots substitute the words “One-Shot” for the tempo.
The Long and Short
The number of bars within the loops varies, but the majority of loops are two or four bars long. The one-shots are not always what you might expect — some are single notes, whereas others are licks that haven't been trimmed to loop. Those make good lead-ins, outros, and solo bridges, but, unfortunately, there are only 26 of them (see Web Clip 1).
I used Ableton Live 5 and Propeller-head Reason 3.0 to audition and create rough sketches with all of the loops. Live is an ideal environment for trial-and-error loop composition, and Reason has an excellent REX file player.
Although not recorded at the highest resolution, the loops are up-front and provide a good, clean foundation. All samples use electric bass, and the playing appears to be by a single musician. The bass playing is superb, perhaps even a bit too perfect for my taste. A substantial number of the licks are funky, harmonic, and rhythmically complex — not exactly what one might expect in a rock-bass collection. The content probably has more in common with Red Hot Chili Peppers or Tortoise than, say, the bass line of Deep Purple's “Smoke on the Water.”
Mix and Match
The good news is that there is a lot of variety. The loops range from high to low octaves, and many are suitable backbones for songs. On the other hand, the loops are wide-ranging in style, and finding loops that match can be a challenge. For genres such as hip-hop and electronic pop, a single bass loop running throughout a song may be fine, but for rock, blues, and funk, that usually doesn't work. Matching time-warped loops of the same key but different tempo is a partial solution.
The files in this collection are well edited and loop seamlessly. Because the rhythm is rock solid, sketching out song ideas over drum loops is a breeze. On the downside, several of the one-shots are recorded with effects built in, which makes them difficult to match with other samples from the collection. I am a strong believer that effects should be added after recording.
Rock Bass is a great collection of useful bass riffs. The sound quality is good and the loop editing is nicely done. I would have liked a little more matching material, especially in the one-shot category, but considering the modest price, the collection is a good value.
Overall Rating (1 through 5): 3
Big Fish Audio