The problem

As producers we all went through the following scenario at least once: We make an amazing melody and chord progression start building a drop around it and BAM all we hear is a weak sounding drop, then we start stacking more and more layers in hopes of achieving a more powerful sound, but in reality all we are left with is a muddy, sharp sounding drop ūüôĀ

The solution

After listening to 1000’s of drops we can confidently say 95% percent of EDM drops fail because of a lack of drive in their bass. What we mean by “lack of drive” is that the bass isn’t driving the drop forward and it isn’t working well with the rhythm of the drop.

You can almost always fix this problem by creating a bass which will sit above your sub bass and kick’s main frequency which is approximately the 100-130khz+ range most producers call this kind of bass a “Gritty bass”. In our opinion, a gritty bass is the fastest way to take your sound to the next level.

Note: To hear these low frequencies you will need a good pair of studio monitors or a pair of quality studio headphones we recommend the Yamaha HS8 and AKG K240  which we have previously reviewed.


To demonstrate we have made a drop with a slidey gritty bass

Listen to it with the gritty bass:



and now without the gritty bass/slidey bass:



And now listen to the gritty bass by itself:



Did you notice how much power the drop loses when we remove the gritty bass? Our main bass components are still present in the second audio clip yet we feel as if the bass lost almost all its “drive” and power.

The reason behind the difference in power lays behind the fact that our ears naturally don’t pick up on very low frequencies such as our sub bass or our kick’s lower frequencies.


How we made the Sylenth1 preset:


1. Pick almost any combination of waveforms except for a sine wave. (saw square and pulse waveforms are recommended).


Here’s our patch’s waveform combination and settings in sylenth 1:


Part A



Part B



As you can see there are 4 waveforms which were picked randomly (by ear) and 8 voices in each one.


2. To get the “grit” for your gritty bass you should add some overdrive distortion until you are satisfied with the amount of “grit” present in your bass (other effects are optional).



3. Add “slide” to your bass to get more drive and movement.

To get a “slidey” feeling similar to the bass we made you’ll need to set your vst’s mono legato mode to a relatively high Portamento¬†rate.


The Settings we used



4. Create a Midi pattern with slide notes (notes in the red circles) between each chords transition, the slide notes should be the same as the top note of the chord you are transitioning to.


Midi pattern used in our drop:




Our chords: (notice how every slide notes except for the fourth one which is identical to the top note of the chord we are transitioning to)



Don’t be afraid to experiment with¬†the¬†positioning and length of your slide notes.


Finally, add some EQ and compression (optional) with the EQ remove all frequencies above your kick and sub bass usually in the 100-130khz range.

How we did the eq on the bass:


How we did the compression (optional)



If you made it this far give yourself a pat on the back ūüôā ¬†You now know how to make a slidey/gritty bass!


Happy mixing!


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