Beat making is an art and these days most of the music we are exposed is trap music, which is known for its signature bass.
I got an interesting question in my email today. Somebody wanted to know what bass is used in trap beats.
This got me thinking about how the answer to that question would make for a great post.
It’s always good to share gems and knowledge to newbie music producers or just producers in general that need some info.
With that said, let’s get into the meat of the post…
What kind of bass is used in trap?
In trap beats, the most commonly used bass is 808 bass. Other types of synth basses are also commonly incorporated in most trap beats today.
Most urban 808’s used in trap aren’t really like the original 808 kicks from the TR-808, they’re mostly sine waves tweaked with settings to make them sound like a kick in lower frequency ranges to make a smooth bass, or a distorted, heavy bass.
Brief history of the 808
The name 808 you use today comes from the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer, commonly known as the 808.
It is a drum machine that was manufactured by the Roland Corporation between 1980 and 1983.
It was one of the very first drum machines that allowed users to program rhythms instead of using preset patterns.
The TR-808 was launched before electronic music became mainstream. The 808 received a lot of mixed and controversial reviews for its “unrealistic” drum sounds and was a commercial failure.
After building approximately 12,000 units, Roland discontinued the 808 after its semiconductors became impossible to restock. It was then eventually succeeded by the TR-909 in 1983.
Common Bass in trap
808s are the most widely used bass in trap because they don’t really demand for a lot of deep musical knowledge to nail.
As the trap production community grows, the 808 continues to evolve.
As a result, there are a lot of different 808 samples available now more than ever.
Synth bass is another kind of bass that is commonly used in trap music.
Even a simple sine wave is effective bass that can be found in many trap records today.
Other synth basslines are also widely used in trap beats. In some situations, producers use them with 808s to give a record a blend of both sounds which is quite an effective way of making a record interesting.
Plucks are another bass type than can be found in some trap records.
They’re used by many producers to give a song a different flavour.
Where can I find 808’s?
You can find different kinds of 808 samples in various sample packs.
Sample packs are pretty much easy to find.
You can go to Splice and find a lot of them, all you have to do is navigate to the ones that have 808 samples in them.
Cymatics is another great website that offers different resources for music producers.
They have a variety of sample packs with different trap beat samples and they’re relatively inexpensive.
A couple of bucks can get you a good deal of 808 samples.
Furthermore, 808s can also be pretty much found in many free sample packs. All you have to do is Google “free 808 samples”.
If you’re a person that’s heavy into sound design you can easily make your own 808’s from scratch using a number of different synth plugins.
A lot of digital synths these days are more than just preset packers, they’re also house sound design engines that allow for different kinds of synthesis.
All you need to is just find the synth that you find the easiest to work in.
The good part about working with synths is that you can also find other bass samples that you can use in your records like electro plucks, moog basses, subs etc.
Good sound design synths
Here are the two best sound design tools that I personally use when I’m looking to design anything.
Serum by Xfer Rexords is by far one of the best sound design tools available on the market right now.
It allows for different types of synthesis and is fairly not complicated to use.
Furthermore, there are a number of useful tutorials online that are dedicated to sound design using Serum.
So all you have to do is buy a copy of Serum and get on YouTube to find all the tutorials you need around sound design.
Sylenth is a particular synth favourite of mine and I’ve used it for over half a decade.
It has different controls dedicated to giving you all you need for sound design.
Sylenth is produced by a company called Lennar Digital.
Check it out, it’s quite an invaluable tool.
Why is the 808 the most used in Trap Music?
The 808 is the preffered bass sample In trap because of its ability to be punchy while driving the rest of the beat.
Most trap records are club bangers which makes the 808 a perfect sample to stir up hype.
Easier to program
808 bass is pretty easy to program in most DAWs like FL Studio which makes it even more desirable because the producer won’t have to do much to get a good sounding 808.
Makes it easy to work with a few elements
808s have the ability to drive the low end of a record which means that a simple beat with a few elements can sound good. This pretty much makes the job of the producer easy because they don’t have to worry about incorporating a lot elements into a beat.
A few elements and a good 808 can be a done beat.
Southside hip-hop has been a major influence because they’re the curators of the sound. South hip-hop from atlanta has been known for the use of 808s which has pretty much evolved into the entire hip-hop community.
We’ve also noticed another genres start to use the 808.
Genres like RnB and different forms of Electronic music are now using the 808.
We can credit this to trap music which is the sound of the South!