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Waves Bass Fingers

Virtual Bass Guitar Instrument
By Nick Magnus

Waves Bass Fingers

Hyperrealism is the order of the day with Waves' new virtual bass instrument.

There's more than one way to skin a cat, as the saying goes, and this is as true for virtual bass instruments as any other. Waves' foray into the Stygian depths of harmony goes by the mildly euphemistic name of Bass Fingers. The Bass part of the name is obvious: the Fingers part refers to its fingered playing style, as opposed to picked or slapped. Bass Fingers (BF for short) is a deeply sampled five-string electric bass of unspecified make, hosted in Waves' own bespoke (and visually attractive) engine. BF includes many of the characteristic noises and artifacts of bass guitars crucial to a realistic performance; as with other virtual bass VSTs these are triggered by the familiar combination of keyswitch commands, MIDI controllers and approach to playing the keyboard. A lot of attention has been paid to the way bass players approach fret position and voicing — BF has its own ways of dealing with this, which will be discussed in due course.

Sound Shaping

On firing up BF, the default INIT preset sounds terrific straight out of the box — solid and unapologetically up‑front. A quick rummage through the supplied presets reveals an impressively broad range of tonal possibilities from this bass. Regarding BF's tone sculpting abilities, there are three main areas where this takes place. Firstly, five knobs on the body of the guitar determine the initial sound. The first three knobs can be bypassed with the Tone on/off button for the purest sound. When active, they behave as follows: fully anti-clockwise, Vintage/Modern produces a full tone, focused on the low mid-range. Turning clockwise progressively scoops out that mid-range giving a wiry sound, but still with a strong bass presence. Low Boost does exactly that, emphasising frequencies around 100Hz. Sub Octave is the equivalent of that bass players' favourite, the octave divider pedal, adding a parallel octave beneath the main sound, sure to delight fans of Tony Levin. Unlike octave dividers, there is no glitching or mis-tracking here, and it even...

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Published November 2019