Virtual Bassist DANDY
The information in this document is subject to change without notice and does not represent a commitment on the part of NXTGN Music Technology GmbH. The software described herein is subject to a License Agreement and may not be copied to any other media except as specifically allowed in the License Agreement. No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced or otherwise transmitted or recorded, for any purpose, without prior written permission by NXTGN Music Technology GmbH.
© 2020 NXTGN Music Technology GmbH. All specifications subject to change without notice. All commercial symbols are protected trademarks and trade names of their respective holders. All rights reserved.
Table of Contents
DAW Sync 9
You and us 10
Welcome to Virtual Bassist DANDY
We hope you will enjoy this powerful addition to your musical palette, and we thank you for being a part of the UJAM community of music creators!
What is new in Version 2?
The features we added and improved in Version 2 of Virtual Bassist are a mixture of the most frequent user requests and catching up with features we introduced in other instruments – such as MIDI Drag’nDrop. If you have updated from Virtual Bassist to V2, here is the reference description for all the new features so you have it in one place. We’ll integrate it below later.
In Player Mode, the keys of the on-screen keyboard are now horizontally divided into two sections. The top section looks like a tab.
- Click onto a tab and drag into the Virtual Bassist track of your DAW, then let go to drop the phrase into your track as a MIDI File.
Any phrases can be dragged and dropped: Common or Style Phrases, Intros and Fills.
If you play a key or chord before or while you drag, the dropped MIDI phrase will be in that key or chord. Use this to build entire songs: Hold a chord, drag phrase, hold next chord – you get it!
New Styles and Presets
Virtual Bassist 2 features 20 new Styles and 30 new Presets per title. They are conveniently marked “2.0” so you can easily spot them.
The Finisher is a new section that adds bass-optimized effects to your Virtual Bassist.
The Finisher was introduced with Virtual Guitarist Carbon in late 2019 and became so popular that we will integrate it with all our instruments over time, and made it into a new product line, with the first product, Finisher NEO, released in early 2020. Check it out!
In Virtual Bassist 2, you’ll find the Finisher Section at the bottom center.
It consists of only two controls:
- Step through the 15 Modes using the arrows, or select one by name by clicking on the title or the little triangle to the right.
- Use the Finisher Knob to adjust the effect. You’re very encouraged to use the Automation feature for the Finisher knob for very dynamic transitions or modulations.
The Finisher effects are selected and optimized for each Virtual Bassist. They cover distortion, modulation, EQ and ambience – often all in one Mode. Experiment with them and enjoy!
Users of the original Virtual Bassists will find the user interface slightly extended and enhanced to reflect the new features. We made it a thing to keep the original look as intact as possible though.
PreSonus Chord Track and Key Track Integration
With the new Virtual Bassist 2.1 update we will provide Studio One users running on version 4.6.2 or later with an exclusive PreSonus chord and key track feature!
Descriptions of styles and phrases are displayed on the piano roll to help you find the right styles and phrases faster and easier for your track. The play range and the style/common phrases are divided in red (general key switches) and blue (play range) on the piano roll.
The chord track feature in Studio One automatically follows the chords and automatically changes the MIDI notes for you.
We recommend using the “Follow Chords” toggle above the “Key” menu on the user interface. When Studio One interprets a wrong chord, the “Follow Chords” feature will correct it. Of course, the chord track feature will also work with turning off the “Follow Chords” toggle .
Note: Changing styles or common phrases won’t influence or change the chord tracks, but the harmonic input. Not all chords that are possible in the PreSonus Chord track, are recognized in our instruments. The closest interpretation will then be used.
With the 2.1 update, Virtual Bassist user interfaces are resizable to fit on small screens. To resize, either click the “window” icon next to the notification bell in the top right corner or simply drag the three stripes in the bottom right corner of the user interface.
You can now quantize the virtual bass player to match the playback, this setting can be found in the micro timing overlay. Quantize to the current grid, 1/4, 1/8, or 1/16 notes. This new feature keeps the Virtual Bassist always in sync with the DAW timing position to make sure you have the phrase in time and on the right beat.
Parallel Key Selection
With this update, modulation techniques are now possible. If you select a key in the ‘’Player Chord’’ section, you will now also see the parallel key in the selection menu.
We added a loading bar that displays the loading status of the sample library when opening the instrument in the DAW.
About the Virtual Bassist series
The original Virtual Bassist, successor of the Virtual Guitarist series, was a best-selling virtual instrument developed by Wizoo and distributed by Steinberg. It was discontinued in 2007.
Since then, thousands of musicians around the world had been asking for a new Virtual Bassist.
In 2013, the core team behind the original Virtual Guitarist and Virtual Bassist gathered again and launched Virtual Guitarist IRON – specialized on Power Chords – in December 2015, and consequently AMBER, SPARKLE, and SILK – a whole new generation of Virtual Guitarists.
With an all-new concept and technology Virtual Guitarists offered vastly expanded realism, musical and sonic capabilities with the same ease and speed of use the legacy instruments were so famous for.
No wonder our Virtual Guitarist users have been asking for a matching Virtual Bassist ever since, and even more so since we launched the Virtual Drummer series in 2017. The Virtual Bassist series – ROYAL, Dandy and MELLOW – complements the drummers and guitarists and – if you own a bundle – will allow you to build a complete rhythm section.
Like the Guitarists, the Bassists are a whole new development with newer technology. They are designed to offer lots of improvements over the original while even easier to use and sounding even better.
Since their launch in late 2018 they’ve been one of our most successful product series, and with this Version 2 we hope to make them even more fun and productive for you.
You and us
Virtual Bassist Dandy was built by musicians for musicians. We at UJAM are a pretty diverse bunch – from DJ to guitarist to weekend producer to Oscar-awarded Hollywood composer. We build every product for ourselves, and, like you, we’re all users of Virtual Bassist too.
That means that before we even start developing, a lot of thought and discussion goes into finding out what you, the user, will expect from the product, what problem it solves, which controls we can remove to make the product more inviting and simpler, which hurdles we can move out of the way between you and a perfect track.
Every Virtual Bassist is optimized for one clear, powerful purpose: To produce great-sounding bass tracks without distracting you from the complex endeavor that producing a song is.
We hope that Virtual Bassist transpires that philosophy in everything you do with it.
Naturally, we’re always open to new ideas and critique, and you are always encouraged and welcome to talk to us:
- Ask for help: ujam.com/contact-us
- Visit our Facebook page: facebook.com/ujaminstruments
- Catch us on Twitter: twitter.com/ujaminstruments
- Follow us on Instagram: instagram.com/ujaminstruments
Looking for quick help?
If you’re just looking to figure out something quick, there are three ways to get there:
- The Quick Reference has super-short explanations for every control.
- The Walkthrough is a guided tour where you’ll try every control on the Virtual Bassist Dandy screen once – the quickest hands-on experience possible.
- If you’re looking for in-depth explanations of all functions and controls, head straight for the Reference Guide further down.
Click name to open menu for browsing and loading a new Virtual Bassist Dandy preset
When editing a user preset, click to save your preset, replacing the previous version.
Click to save your preset under a different name and – optionally – assign a category.
Will illuminate for notifications such as product updates.
Opens the About Page with information about licensing status and links to other services such as website, this manual or product support.
Player / Instrument
Selects whether ROYAL performs like a professional session player or a bass instrument that you can record note by note.
This parameter is important in Melodic Mode to ensure that Virtual Bassist Dandy always plays musically correct note passages and melodies.
Timing Parameter Menu
Only in Player mode, this menu opens a selection of parameters adjusting the timing of the bass player.
When active, Virtual Bassist Dandy will keep playing independently of keys held, until you deactivate Latch or press the Stop Key.
Loads a Style (collection of 11 phrases, accessible via the style phrases section of the keyboard).
When on, the player will play melodic figures (depending on the style). When off, the player only provides the rhythm, and will play the notes you hold on the keyboard.
Keys in this area select “always useful” phrases that can be combined with style phrases. Several black keys labelled “intros” and “fills” trigger one-shot special phrases.
Keys in this area select phrases of the currently selected Style. Black keys trigger one-shot intros or fills, white keys play repetitive phrases.
Keys in this area will tell Virtual Bassist Dandy what to play – featuring built-in chord detection.
The detected chord will be displayed above the interactive keyboard.
In Player Mode, click and drag the top part of any phrase key and drop the phrase into your DAW track.
Lets you switch the player’s relative tempo to half, normal or double time.
Set to left of center for a “push” feel, to the right for a laid-back (“dragging”) feel.
Continuously adjusts syncopation – often also called Shuffle. Move to the right to syncopate off-beats.
In center position, the player will provide a natural playing feel, like a professional human bassist. To the left, the timing becomes gradually tighter (more quantized), whereas to the right the “inaccuracies” get more pronounced for a loose, rather slack playing feel.
Selects one of four basic characters, affecting the dynamic range as well as the sound character of the bass instrument.
Tunes the lowest E string down by two semitones, extending the low range of the bass guitar from E to D.
Selects one of three bass amplifier setups or a direct output option.
Controls the level of overdrive in the preamp of the bass amplifiers
Select one of the 15 Modes using the arrows or the dropdown menu.
Adjust the Finisher Effect by turning or automating this knob.
Dials in the bass-optimized compressor. At maximum value, a transient shaper is added.
A three-band parametric equalizer offering continuous morphing between various bass-optimized EQ characteristics.
Adds a bass-optimized octaver effect.
Controls the master output volume.
Force (Player Mode): Realtime-controls the dynamic level of the Player’s performance.
Bend (Instrument Mode): Bends the overall pitch by ±2 semitones.
Gradually morphs towards palm-muting as you turn up the wheel.
What is Virtual Bassist DANDY?
DANDY is your first-call when you need a seasoned professional bassist that is totally present in a mix without ever sounding “shouty” or obnoxious. There’s no aggression or “who cares” indie-rock attitude in the playing. No, DANDY quietly lays down ultra-smooth, highly-polished basslines without hogging the spotlight or taking up too much room in a mix. How civilized!
If you’ve ever used one of our Virtual Bassists, there is almost no learning curve – you’ll feel right at home.
There are two novelties though:
- We have significantly upgraded the musical intelligence because unlike the Virtual Guitarists, the Bassists play melodic figures and passages, and these are often not only dependent on the current chord, but also on the underlying key. Therefore, the Key parameter works differently here.
- If you prefer to record your own phrases (or even bass solos!), the Instrument Mode gives you complete access to all articulations. This means you can use your MIDI controller to play exactly as you want with maximum creative expression (including adding dead notes, full stops and even slides!)
You can forget about all that – it’s done for you the way a real bass would work – and concentrate on your music.
Virtual Bassist vs. A Real Bass Player
If we denied the huge differences between a software and a real musician, you shouldn’t trust us.
If you have all the money, time and patience in the world plus a recording studio and a professional bass player available, by all means go for it!
But for most people, most of the time, that’s not the case:
- Maybe you have no access to a (professional) session player.
- Maybe you are traveling and need to work on a song only with a laptop and maybe a mini keyboard.
- Maybe you like to work out ideas totally by yourself, taking the time, playing with ideas.
- Maybe you’re a bass player but you want to quickly lay down a track without the hassle of tuning your bass and setting up a recording session.
- Maybe you want to use MIDI-controlled bass tracks as source material for electronic manipulation.
In these and many other scenarios, Virtual Bassist Dandy is a great alternative to the real thing.
How Does Virtual Bassist Make You Sound Real?
You may wonder whether and how Virtual Bassist creates bass tracks that even a bass player can’t distinguish from the real thing, while you have no idea of how a bass guitar or the musical techniques behind good basslines work – from playing figures and riffs to shifting, positions and fingering techniques typical for a real bass, plus all those characteristic noises – slides, stops, dead notes, hammer-ons, pull-offs.
The answer is: In every Virtual Bassist there are mechanisms that we didn’t give fancy names like “AI Real Bass Engine” or “AI Musical Bass Intelligence” because that’s exactly what the name Virtual Bassist already stands for. These mechanisms automatically translate simple note or chord input into the correct response on a real bass and “play the bass” accordingly.
In Player Mode, these mechanisms consider your song’s key and chord input to always stay in scale, knows when to go from one string to another, when to slide between two notes or when to play a stop noise.
This is why when you play Virtual Bassist on a MIDI Keyboard in Instrument Mode, it doesn’t feel like you’re triggering samples, but like your keyboard were hooked up to a fancy mechanism pulling the strings and pressing the frets of a real bass. And in Player Mode, chances are it teaches you a lick or two.
What is Virtual Bassist DANDY about?
Within the series, Virtual Bassist Dandy is DANDY is your first-call when you need a seasoned professional bassist that is totally present in a mix without ever sounding “shouty” or obnoxious. There’s no aggression or “who cares” indie-rock attitude in the playing. No, DANDY quietly lays down ultra-smooth, highly-polished basslines without hogging the spotlight or taking up too much room in a mix. How civilized!
Like any virtual musician by UJAM, Virtual Bassist Dandy lets you produce professional tracks in no time, with minimal effort. It combines the virtues of a musically highly trained professional bass player with a custom premium-quality electric bass, perfectly tuned, with fresh strings, selected vintage amp/cabinet combinations, and the most important sound shaping tools as used in recording studios, to design the bass performance and sound exactly as you need it.
Why so few controls?
We are all musicians and we know that the time for learning a user interface is better spent making music.
Therefore, the user interface of Virtual Bassist Dandy is designed for maximum ease of use and minimum distraction.
It is also fail-proof in that no matter how you set up the controls of Virtual Bassist Dandy, the result will never be musically or technically wrong – without sacrificing your creative freedom.
You can trust in the fact that tracks produced with Virtual Bassist Dandy are realistic, professionally produced guitar tracks.
Trial and Authorization
We have designed the entire process of downloading, activating and authorizing Virtual Bassist Dandy with a strong focus on simplicity. It’s important to us to make it as easy as possible for you to get your hands on Virtual Bassist Dandy – and make it your own if you like it.
Trying, Buying, Authorizing
We only want you to spend money if you’re absolutely happy with Virtual Bassist Dandy. Therefore, we grant you a 30-day trial period, during which the plugin will run without any limitation.
When opening Virtual Bassist Dandy during the trial period (or when clicking the Authorize button in the menu bar), you will see this overlay which
- displays information about your trial status,
- provides a link to the Virtual Guitarist website where you can purchase a permanent Virtual Bassist Dandy license after or during the trial period,
- allows you to enter your credentials and authorize Virtual Bassist Dandy once you’ve purchased it.
Where to put the Content
The actual bass goodness of Virtual Bassist Dandy – the audio content – is packed into a so-called blob file named VB-Dandy.blob which is about 4.01 GB big.
You can keep the blob file anywhere you like (e.g. on a separate content drive).
During standard installation, it will be put into the following locations on your system drive:
(assuming your system drive is C)
Installing to a different drive on OS X
If you wish to install the blob file onto a separate drive, you can set a different content installation folder in the installer.
- Open the installer and follow the procedure to step “Installation Type”
- Click “VB Dandy Content” to select it – as shown in the image below – and follow the instructions in the installer.
OS X Installer – Change Content Location
Installing to a different drive on Windows
The Windows installer will ask you if you want to install the content to a different directory.
On Windows, you can also set a different location for the plug-in, however we recommend leaving this untouched unless you have a good reason.
Windows Installer – Change Content Location
Changing the content location after installation
You can always change the content location after installation by just moving the VB-Dandy.blob file:
- Move your file to the desired location (different folder or different drive)
- Launch your DAW and open Virtual Bassist Dandy. It will present you with a dialog asking for the file location. Simply point to the new location of the VB-Dandy.blob file – done.
Controller hardware for Virtual Bassist Dandy
Virtual Bassist Dandy requires MIDI note input for playing and recording musical performances, and optionally Pitchbend, Modulation and Sustain Pedal data for added real-time variation.
If you have a MIDI controller (keyboard), this will be the easiest and most straightforward MIDI input method and it’s most fun as this way you control your bass player in real-time.
Of course, you can also control Virtual Bassist Dandy by using MIDI step sequencers or by entering MIDI notes manually into MIDI tracks.
For getting to know Virtual Bassist Dandy and for testing purposes, you can also use the interactive keyboard in the top half of the Virtual Bassist Dandy window. This works best with the Latch function enabled.
Please note that whatever you play on this keyboard won’t leave Virtual Bassist and therefore won’t be recorded in your DAW.
Before we look at things in more depth, let’s first explore how to play Virtual Bassist Dandy, as that may be all you need for now.
The top half of the Virtual Bassist Dandy window is dedicated to the musical performance – in other words: what is played.
By default, Virtual Bassist is set to Player Mode and the interactive keyboard reflects that.
The basic principle is simple:
- When you press keys from C3* upwards, Virtual Bassist Dandy will start playing a phrase with the chord determined by the notes you play. When you release the key(s), playback will stop.
- MIDI notes below C3 don’t represent musical keys but select the phrases of your player in real-time. This is a powerful way of making your performance interesting and dynamic.
- By turning the Pitchwheel, you can gradually adjust the force your player exerts on the string, in other words: play softer or harder.
- By switching to instrument mode using the top-center switch on the user interface, you turn Virtual Bassist into a Virtual Bass, i.e. you can play it like an instrument, note for note. The interactive keyboard will adjust accordingly. Try it!
If you know these things and can switch presets, you know all you need to start producing with Virtual Bassist Dandy.
*C3 is middle C. The MIDI note number is 60. Some DAWs refer to it as C4.
Note: Keywords printed italic refer to parameter or section names you will also find elsewhere in this manual.
If you’re pressed for time or if you already know the basic concepts behind Virtual Guitarists, then this Walkthrough may be all you need for now, and you can come back later to look up deeper explanations as you need them.
We will take a quick tour across all controls of Virtual Bassist Dandy. After this you will have a good basic understanding of the instrument and how to use it.
We assume you have Virtual Bassist Dandy opened in your DAW. Ideally you have a MIDI controller connected, otherwise use the interactive keyboard.
Make A Sound And Learn About Chords
- Play C3 or a higher note. Your bassist will start playing. It will display the current chord above the interactive keyboard in the right half of the Virtual Bassist Dandy window.
The interactive keyboard also doubles as a display for the MIDI notes Virtual Bassist Dandy is receiving. The keyboard is divided and properly labeled with the functions of the corresponding note ranges.
- By playing more than one note, you activate Virtual Bassist Dandys chord recognition. Depending on the selected style and phrase, melodic figures will match the current chord. Play C-G-B for example to play a Cmaj7 chord, or C-F for a Csus4. The current chord is always visible in the CHORD display above the keyboard.
- If you just want the rhythmic phrasing of a real player but play the actual notes yourself, switch off Melodic mode using the selector in the top right area.
- Click the menu icon in the top right corner to open a menu that lets you adjust various timing aspects of the player’s performance!
Try The Presets
- At the very top of the Virtual Bassist Dandy window you can load presets. A preset is always a complete setting of Virtual Bassist Dandy, i.e. it will change the performance as well as the guitar and effects.
The Preset will note change between Player mode and Instrument mode, simply because that’s really not what you’d want. Also, Latch is not saved or changed with Presets.
- At this point, just go through different presets to get an impression of the musical and sonic palette of Virtual Bassist Dandy.
- Optionally, while in Player Mode, try different style phrases by additionally selecting keys in the C♯2– B♭2 range.
Tell Your Player What You Want
- In Player mode, activate the latch button on the far left above the interactive keyboard. Now Virtual Bassist Dandy will keep playing even if you don’t hold a note. Let it keep playing.
- Now play a note in the correspondingly labeled style phrases range of the keyboard, C2 – Bb2. Go from C2 upwards and notice how the phrasing gets more intense. These are the phrases you can exchange by loading different Styles. Let’s do just that now:
- Load different styles by clicking a Style name or the arrows above the interactive keyboard. You will notice that your bass player masters a vast range of playing techniques and musical genres.
- Now try keys in the C♯0 – B1 range, labeled Common Phrases. These phrases will always be there no matter which style you’ve loaded, and can be freely combined with the Style Phrases.
- Interrupt your player temporarily by holding the silence key (C0). Playing will continue when you play another note. Now stop your player by pressing or clicking the stop key (B2).
You can use the Silence key in Latch off mode too to mute your phrase but keep it running. This is different from lifting the key and playing it again as that will restart the phrase.
Staying In KEY
Let’s try out the musical intelligence in Virtual Bassist Dandy.
- Play a simple C chord by holding the note C (optionally E and G). Choose the style Classic Hard Rock – 92 bpm and select the style phrase on the key A2. You’ll hear a melodic figure involving several passage notes that are part of the C scale.
- Open the KEY menu by clicking the Clef icon in the top left corner. Go through the choices there and notice how the melodic figure changes depending on the KEY you’ve selected.
When relying on Melodic Mode and encountering a clash between the bass and your other tracks, always make sure to use the KEY parameter to even things out. If the key of your song changes underway, you can automate the KEY parameter to follow suit!
More Performance Tweaking Fun
- Have Virtual Bassist Dandy keep playing. Open the timing menu by clicking the menu icon in the top right corner.
- The speed switch lets you set Virtual Bassist Dandy to half time or double time – this comes in extremely handy when you like a particular style that plays half- or double-time relative to your existing arrangement.
- Now experiment with the Feel slider right next to the Swing control. It makes subtle changes to the timing, creating a rushed or relaxed feel. Maybe play a drum loop along for better comparison.
- Slowly turn up the Swing control right next to the interactive keyboard. As you will notice, this will delay the off-beats until the phrasing resembles a ternary feel that is common in Swing music (hence the name), often also called Shuffle or Groove depending on your DAW.
- Activate the Drop D button in the lower left. It tunes the low E string of the bass (not your actual notes played) down by two semitones, making notes on that string sound slightly different and extending the note range of the bass to D3.
Play The Bass Yourself
If you’re a prolific keyboard player, you might as well play the entire bass yourself:
- Switch Virtual Bassist to Instrument mode – close the timing menu first if still open – using the top center switch.
- Note how the Interactive Keyboard reflects the new mode – here, all keys from C1 upwards play notes, while the octave below lets you play dead notes, full stops and slides (hold a slide key and play notes) and switch legato mode on and off.
Find Your Bass Sound
Let’s look at the bottom half of the Virtual Bassist Dandy window. Here you set up the bass and the amp, and you can shape the sound character using controls you’d typically find in a mixer channel.
- Activate Player mode and Latch and keep playing while you tweak controls.
- First, play with the FUZZ knob. Notice how it changes the character of the bass sound by adding a fat, crisp transistor distortion.
- Now experiment with the CHARACTER rotary switch. It does exactly what the name says: Changing the overall character of the bass sound and response.
- The AMP knob lets you choose three different combinations of bass amps and speakers, each with its distinct sound character, plus a direct setting if you want to use external amplification gear or plug-ins.
- The DRIVE knob finally lets you overdrive the amps for a crunchier sound – therefore it only works for the three AMP settings.
- Play with different combinations of the PICKUP, CHARACTER, AMP and DRIVE controls. This way you get a good impression of the sonic range of Virtual Bassist Dandy before we even look at the mixer channel options.
- In the Finisher section at the bottom center, select various Modes by clicking the little Arrows or the names of the Modes.
- In every Mode, play with the Finisher knob. You’re encouraged to not just set this knob to a certain value, but play with it during a performance to add interestingness!
- Virtual Bassist Dandy comes with a built-in mixer channel, so while you’re certainly free to use them, you won’t require any external plugins or gear to create a mix-ready bass sound. Let’s try a few controls:
- Turn up the Compressor knob and notice how the sound becomes punchier, and more attack-y towards the maximum position.
- The Equalizer offers a range of EQ curves optimized for bass. In the leftmost position, the EQ adds a lot of low-end and attenuates the treble range, in the rightmost position it’s exactly the opposite.
- The Octaver is an effect adding an audio signal one octave above the bass. It can create some really powerful sounds, particularly in combination with amp drive, and when used with care, you can use it to bring out the melodic aspect of higher bass notes without turning up the volume.
In the following part of this user guide, every feature of Virtual Bassist Dandy will be explained in depth.
The top bar of the Virtual Bassist Dandy interface lets you load and save presets. It also contains important management functions from checking your trial status to contacting support.
A preset in Virtual Bassist Dandy is a complete setting of the entire plug-in including Style selection and all control values. Here’s how you can switch presets:
- Advance to the next preset by clicking one of the arrows left and right of the PRESET name.
- Click on the name of the current preset in the PRESET menu to open the Preset Browser (see image above).
As you can see, the Preset Browser is a clean, organized list of presets, categorized by simple musical terms.
Virtual Bassist Dandy ships with 40 Factory Presets. Take your time exploring them, as this is the quickest way of getting an overview of what Virtual Bassist Dandy can do!
If you have freshly installed Virtual Bassist Dandy, there will only be Factory Presets. User Presets will appear once you have saved your first own preset.
Save and Save as …
You can of course save your own Virtual Bassist Dandy presets. You can name them and assign a category too.
“Save as …” Dialog
The difference between the Save and Save as … buttons:
- Save replaces the preset with the changes you just made.
- Save as … lets you assign a name and a category, so does not replace the current preset.
Factory Presets can only be saved using Save as …, they cannot be replaced.
Moving, renaming and deleting presets
You can move, rename or delete Presets directly in your operating system. You will find Virtual Bassist Dandy Presets in these folders (replace “USERNAME” by your actual username):
(assuming your system drive is C)
Notification Icon (inactive)
When you launch Virtual Bassist Dandy, it will automatically check for updates. If an update is available, the notification icon will be activated.
Clicking it will open a dialog that lets you choose whether you want to download the update now or later.
We built this mechanism to save you the pain of manually checking for updates in order to keep up with the latest improvements of Virtual Bassist Dandy.
Info Icon – About Page
The About Page is the place for information about your version and licensing status of Virtual Bassist Dandy. It is also a portal to other services:
- Visit Product Site takes you to www.ujam.com with regularly updated news, videos, tutorials and other helpful stuff.
- Contact Support lets you report problems and ask questions.
- Read User Manual opens this document.
- Acknowledgments – the people behind Virtual Bassist Dandy.
- License Agreement – legalese for gourmets.
Player and Instrument Mode
Virtual Bassist Dandy can perform either as a bass player or as a bass instrument, and you can switch between those two at any time.
- The Player Mode features some brilliant technology we’ve pioneered to bring ultra-realistic bass performances into your music – even if you don’t play the bass or keyboards. 990 masterfully played phrases in 30 different musical styles that can be easily and seamlessly strung together to create the perfect performance for your song. These aren’t just boring MIDI loops, mind you. DANDY automatically follows the key and chord you play and intelligently selects the most musical articulations to make your tracks shine. The result is a fantastic bass delivered quickly and without drama.
- If you prefer to record your own phrases (or even bass solos!), the Instrument Mode gives you complete access to all articulations. This means you can use your MIDI controller to play exactly as you want with maximum creative expression (including adding dead notes, full stops and even slides).
Note that the Interactive Keyboard and its MIDI note assignments are very different in INSTRUMENT and PLAYER mode. Also, certain parameters such as Latch, Key, Timing Parameters and Melodic Mode are only needed in PLAYER Mode and therefore hidden in INSTRUMENT mode to avoid clutter and confusion.
Which mode for what?
- Player Mode, Melodic On: Use this mode when you want to enjoy the super-realistic performance of a real bass player with very simple input from yourself. Here, you control Virtual Bassist Dandy using chords – e.g. from a piano track or by just holding chords, and you create a vivid, real performance switching phrases in the Common or Style areas of the Interactive Keyboard. Virtual Bassist Dandy will create a bass performance with melodic riffs and hits (depending on style) always matching the input chord.
- Player Mode, Melodic Off: Use this mode if you want to enjoy the super-realistic phrasing of Virtual Bassist Dandy but control the notes yourself, e.g. because you have particular melodic lines in mind.
- Instrument Mode: This mode is perfect if you are a prolific keyboard player and want to play the bass live, or if you just want to throw in a riff or note here and there.
The Interactive Keyboard is both a display of received MIDI notes and an actually functional on-screen keyboard – with the only exception that notes you play on the Interactive Keyboard are not recorded into your DAW.
The layout and functionality of the Interactive Keyboard changes between PLAYER and INSTRUMENT modes as shown below.
Interactive Keyboard in PLAYER Mode
Interactive Keyboard in INSTRUMENT Mode
This icon opens the Timing Menu
Only in Player Mode, you will find a menu icon in the top right corner of the user interface. Click it to open a selection of Timing parameters that you can use to adjust your Virtual Bassist Dandys performance to your song.
The Speed switch lets you halve (0.5x) or double (2x) Virtual Bassist Dandy’s tempo relative to the song tempo.
This function, often also called “Shuffle”, delays the off-beats. Virtual Bassist Dandy will automatically switch the Swing resolution to 8th or 16th note depending on the selected Style.
At maximum position, the off-beat will have the same timing as the last note of a triplet.
Use this control to match the timing of Virtual Bassist Dandy to a shuffled or triplet-based song.
Not all phrases contain 8th or 16th note off-beats. In these cases, the Swing control has no effect.
You can tweak the feel of your bass player’s performance either towards relaxed or rushed using this control:
- As you move the slider to the left, the player will play off-beats slightly earlier, leading to a rushed or driving feel.
- In the opposite direction, off-beats will be slightly delayed, creating a laid-back or relaxed feel.
Feel has a stronger effect when listened to against other tracks. If you’re not sure what it does, try playing a drum loop along with Virtual Bassist Dandy and tweak the control. You will notice that the off-beats will play earlier or later than the off-beat drums (usually hi-hats or snares) as you turn the control.
Like a real human, your session player in Virtual Bassist Dandy plays ever so slightly around the quantized note grid. You can vary how “human” you want those phrases to be played:
- In the center position of the Timing slider, phrases are played with their original timing. If you’re unsure, leave the slider there.
- Towards the left or “tight” position, the phrases will get more and more quantized, until they match the quantize grid exactly. Use this setting for example when using Virtual Bassist Dandy along with drum machines or generally in sequenced, electronic music.
- Moving the slider towards the right or “Loose” position intensifies the timing variations – the bass performance sounds intentionally human.
When Latch is activated, once you press a key in the Chord range, Virtual Bassist Dandy will keep playing until you press the Stop key.
When Latch is off, Virtual Bassist Dandy only plays as long as you hold at least one key in the Chord range. Latch is convenient when testing or setting up sounds, and is more practical if you build a track by manually entering notes into your MIDI track.
You can use an optional Sustain Pedal as a temporary Latch. Lifting the sustain pedal unlatches any notes that are no longer held, even if the Latch switch is still on.
Here you choose a STYLE – the selection of phrases accessible via the Style Phrases range on the keyboard.
A STYLE in Virtual Bassist Dandy is like a collection of particular phrases that you ask your bass player to play. Styles are the “rhythmic vocabulary” of Virtual Bassist Dandy, which is why we have included 40 sets.
You can select styles by either clicking the arrows of the Style Selector to skip to the previous/next style, or by clicking the name of the current Style to bring up the full list.
Every Style is a set of seven looping phrases, two intros and three fills. You can trigger them from the Style Phrases area of the Interactive or MIDI keyboard.
In most Styles, Phrases are ordered by intensity/density from left to right.
Play Range on the Interactive Keyboard
The right section of the keyboard is the one that actually starts and stops the bass performance and determines the notes or melodies your bass player will play.
Instead of playing actual notes, you just select the root note or chord the bass player will perform as a phrase.
Virtual Bassist Dandy features a built-in chord recognition. The following paragraph will tell you exactly which chords are supported and how to play them.
Naturally, Virtual Bassist Dandy does not play any chords of course. The chord recognition is only relevant in Melodic mode (see below), where it considers the chord you press for matching melodic figures, licks and riffs to the current chord. This is also useful when you use the MIDI track of a Virtual Guitarist to control your Virtual Bassist.
Melodic Mode Switch
Melodic Mode, which you select using the switch above the right edge of the Interactive Keyboard, is only available in PLAYER mode. The switch defines whether Virtual Bassist Dandy will play melodic figures or just follow the notes you play on the keyboard:
- If you’re a good keyboard player and/or know exactly which notes you want Virtual Bassist Dandy to play, switch melodic mode off and play those notes yourself, while the PLAYER provides the phrasing.
- Turn Melodic Mode on and just hold chords or root notes to enjoy the built-in melodic functionality – individually for every phrase. Make sure to read about the KEY functionality in context with chords!
Insight: Key and chord recognition
The Player mode in Virtual Bassist is designed to play realistic, musical bass lines matching the current chords and key of the song, including typical diatonic and pentatonic riffs and figures resulting from the playing technique. There is a lot of intelligence behind this that you are not required to understand in order to make full use of it. If you’re interested, this paragraph provides a little basic insight into the harmonic and melodic workings of Virtual Bassist Dandy.
If you have used one of our Virtual Guitarists, you will notice differences in Virtual Bassist:
- Virtual Guitarists play only notes that are part of the current chord
- Virtual Bassists may play notes that are not part of the current chord, maybe not even of the current scale. These can be melody or passage notes that are essential for musically interesting bass performances.
- Therefore, the Key selector has a different logic than you will be used to from the Virtual Guitarists: While it is a “chord selection filter” in the Virtual Guitarists, it can even extend the range of chords and notes, and help improving melodic figures and passage notes in Virtual Bassist. It can even be automated.
True to our ease-of-use and failure-free paradigms, usually you won’t have to think about the inner workings of how a UJAM Virtual Musician does their job.
If you’re not inclined to bother about music theory (or if you feel like you don’t understand it enough), a simple approach can be:
- Play Virtual Bassist just like you would play your Virtual Guitarist, even in Melodic Mode.
- In case the style you’ve chosen plays melodic figures and you experience a harmonic clash, additionally set the KEY parameter to your song’s key and the problem should be gone!
Key Icon with current key displayed
This parameter is only relevant in Melodic mode. It is essential in ensuring that melodic passages played by Virtual Bassist Dandy always work well with the rest of your musical context.
Even without the Key being set, Virtual Bassist will automatically match melodic figures to the current root note or chord you’re playing.
However, unlike in the Virtual Guitarists, melodic figures played by Virtual Bassist Dandy may use notes outside the actual chord, and these can clash with the musical context if not played in the right Key. This is what this parameter is meant for.
- Click the clef icon to open the KEY menu. When closed, the currently selected key is always displayed next to the clef.
- Open the KEY menu and set your song’s key. Virtual Bassist Dandy’s player will choose melodic and passage notes correctly from the combination of the recognized chord and the set key.
If your song modulates or changes to a different key, you can automate the key parameter to follow, or use MIDI Learn to assign it to a MIDI Controller and control it in real-time!
The chord recognition scheme of Virtual Bassist Dandy is pretty straightforward and intuitive – it basically plays the chord you play (even if you’re just holding one note) or the next possible chord if that’s not available.
The following chords are recognized:
Chord displayed (based on C)
C, E, G
C, E, G, A
C, E, G, Bb
C, E, G, B
C, E, F#
C, E, G#
C, Eb, G
C, Eb, G, A
C, Eb, G, Bb
C, Eb, G, B
C, Eb, F#, Bb
C, Eb, F#
C, D, G
C, F, G
As described above, the chord recognition also considers the KEY if you have set one. Chord recognition and KEY are only relevant in Melodic mode!
The lower left of the MIDI keyboard (C♯0 – B1) is reserved for a collection of so-called Common Phrases. These phrases are “hard-wired” and won’t change with the STYLE selection. Common Phrases complement the Style Phrases by patterns that are more generic and applicable to multiple contexts.
Note that “black” keys of the right Common Phrase octave (C1-B1) trigger Intros and Fills – unlike the other phrases, those will play only once and then revert to the previously selected phrase.
Common Phrases are even identical for all Virtual Bassists, so you can record performances with ROYAL for example and later switch to Dandy or MELLOW.
Phrases are what you make of them. Virtual Bassist Dandy lets you switch phrases in real-time without interrupting the performance. That’s a great way to create dynamic and interesting phrasings of your own. The lowest key of the Common Phrase range (C1) is the Silent key – it will keep playback running, just with an empty phrase. Use it to create temporary gaps without restarting phrases.
Reference of Common Phrases
Long & Short Notes
Long 1/2 Notes
Long 1/4 Notes
Short 1/4 Notes
Long 1/8 Notes
Short 1/8 Notes
Short 1/8+1/16 Notes
Basic 1/8 Note 1
Basic 1/8 Note 2
Basic Syncopated 1
Basic Syncopated 2
Basic 1/16 Note 1
Basic 1/16 Note 2
Fill 1/8 Note
Basic 1/16 Note Short
Fill 1/16 Note 1
Latin & Disco
Fill 1/16 Note 2
Disco 1/8 Notes
Fill 1/16 Note 3
Fill 1/16 Note 4
Keys in the C2-Bb2 range play phrases of the currently selected Style.
White keys play regular cyclic phrases, while black keys trigger Intros (C# and D#) as well as Fills (F#, G#, A#).
- Press black keys once to trigger the respective Intro or Fill.
- Sometimes, these will start a little later in the bar. They will play once and then automatically fall back to the previous cyclic phrase.
Style phrases start with the lowest density/intensity on C2 and get more agitated as you move towards B♭3.
Know you always have these Style Phrases plus the Common Phrases at your immediate disposal.
The highest key of the Style Range – B3 – is the Stop key. In Latch mode, pressing this key will stop playback.
Realtime Controls in Player Mode
In Player Mode, the two wheels have distinct functions to let you create a more dynamic performance:
- The Pitchwheel will be labeled Force and control the dynamic intensity of the bass. Turn it down for softer passages, turn it up to create accents.
- The Modulation Wheel lets you gradually dampen the string, creating a shorter, more percussive sound.
Like all titles from our Virtual Musician range, Virtual Bassist Dandy is designed to deliver absolutely realistic performances as if played by a real musician on a real instrument. No compromise.
If you are a skilled player and know how to play the typical phrasings and riffs of a bass, we highly recommend INSTRUMENT Mode.
However, if you’re not a skilled keyboard player, chances are that you are way better off using PLAYER Mode.
Like the name says, Instrument Mode lets you play the bass instrument. Actually, Instrument Mode is active in PLAYER mode too – it is the bass model that gets played by the Player.
We wouldn’t be surprised if playing Virtual Bassist Dandy in INSTRUMENT mode felt like your keyboard were hooked up to a mechanism playing the physical bass.
This is because a Virtual Bassist is not just a multisample, but a real model that emulates all the behaviors of a physical bass guitar. Unwanted “unrealism” of a conventional sampled bass won’t be found in Virtual Bassist Dandy – such as machine-gun effect when repeating notes, unnatural note-offs or pitching/transposition artifacts.
Playing tip: Unlike many other instruments, realistic, grooving bass performances rely heavily not only on the correct onset of notes, but also on their end! A succession of long bass notes with no pause in between is easy to play on strings, but hard on a MIDI keyboard. In these cases, try recording your bass performance at half the original tempo – chances are this will still sound more realistic than note-length editing.
Key Switches in Instrument Mode
Key Switch Octave
In Instrument Mode, the lowest octave of the Interactive Keyboard lets you switch Legato behavior and play a few essential noises for a more lively performance:
- Slides: The keys from C0 to E0 pre-select different slides that are perfect for “pre-intros”. Hold one of those keys and then play keys in the note range to trigger those slides.
- Legato Mode: You can switch the legato slide behavior in the note range on and off in realtime by using the keys C#0 (off) and F#0 (on).
- Dead Notes: The A0 and B0 keys trigger Dead Notes – Dead Notes are “noteless attacks” that are used as a playing technique in-rhythm to make the bass phrase sound more percussive
- “Silent” Dead Note: In addition to the above-mentioned Dead Notes, the G0 key doesn’t trigger a Dead Note but toggles the Main Keyboard to play Dead Notes with the played Key.
- Full Stop: The Key Bb0 plays a Full Stop.
Realtime Controls in Instrument Mode
In Instrument Mode, the Pitchwheel will function as exactly that with a note range of 2 semitones, whereas the Modulation Wheel lets you gradually dampen the string, creating a shorter, more percussive sound.
Insight: The “Bass Model”
In all Virtual Bassists, there is a mechanism at work under the hood that ensures realistic behavior of the bass instrument.
This is important as we don’t want to require our users to be intimate experts of the inner workings of a bass guitar, nor don’t we want to require you to know exactly what notes to play when, when to switch strings, or trigger slides or articulation noises manually.
In this paragraph, we’ll give you a little bit of insight into how this mechanism works.
If you’re in a hurry, skip it and read it later, because you don’t need this knowledge to make full use of Virtual Bassist (that’s the whole point). It’s hopefully interesting nonetheless.
When you play a certain MIDI Note, Virtual Bassist will automatically pick a certain string. Here’s strings versus MIDI Notes in detail:
- E: 28 – 34 (26 – 34 in Drop D Mode)
- A: 35 – 39
- D: 40 – 45
- G: 46 – 63
When you play an interval greater than 4 semitones, Virtual Bassist will change to a different string and play an extra note. Like a real bass, you can create up to 4 note polyphony.
Intervals between 1 and 4 semitones are regarded as a change of fret on the same string and played monophonically.
There isn’t a fixed logic to position change. The Bass Model automatically calculates the position of a note from the previous note played. This means a preference of “realistic sound” over “realistic playing behavior”.
Legato Energy Level
The energy level of a legato note is not only dependent on the MIDI velocity, but also on the energy of the previously sounding note – taking its initial velocity and length into account.
A note is a note is a note, but some notes are different depending on their context – velocity, previous sounding note and so on. Here are a few examples – try them out in Instrument Mode to get a better feel for what happens:
- Slides: Whenever a subsequent note is played louder than the previous one and its pitch is only one or two semitones apart, Virtual Bassist will not play a new note, but a slide (in reality, this is the finger of the player moving one or two frets on the fretboard, increasing the energy of the sounding string).
- Hammer Ons/Pull-Offs: Likewise, if the subsequent note’s velocity is lower, Virtual Bassist will play a Hammer-On if the note is one or two semitones higher, and a Pull-Off if it’s lower. Hammer-On and Pull-Off are descriptive terms for what the finger on the fretboard does.
- Neither a Slide, Hammer-On or Pull-Off is played if the notes cross the note range limit of a string – in this case a new note is played on the neighbor string.
- Note-Offs are dynamically different depending on the remaining energy of the string and at which point of time into the sounding note it is stopped – there are staccato Note-Offs and legato Note Offs.
If you are unfamiliar with those terms and playing techniques but want to understand them, google them to find lots of explanations and videos on the web.
Bass Setup Controls
This area is where you tweak the overall sound character and dynamic response of the bass guitar.
Virtual Bassist DANDY features two simultaneously sounding pickup signals. The Pickup control allows you to mix them continuously to find exactly the basic sound character you want.
The Neck Pickup sounds a little more guitar-y and nasal, whereas the Bridge pickup has a rather round and hollow character. Anything in between is possible, naturally.
The Character control is a chicken head switch that selects one of four basic characteristics. These define the overall sound character as well as the dynamic response. Under the hood …
- the sound character is achieved by a bass channel featuring various audio processors to control the low, mid and high end.
- The dynamic response attenuation limits the “spectral” range of the bass guitar so that the same velocity levels sent to Virtual Bassist Dandy produce different sound characters without affecting the overall volume response too much.
Emphasized low end, slightly emphasized mid
Velocity from 1-90 for a smoother sound
Warm bass sound, for a subtle mix that embeds itself pretty well and ensures a soft sound.
Nice round low end character
Full bass sound that stands out in a mix.
Use this setting when using outboard plug-ins or gear.
Emphasized high end
Full with a short velocity curve
Good for Bass Solos and for a present sound that stands out in a mix.
Drop D switch (in the “off” position)
This switch, when activated, tunes the E string down by a whole note, dropping the pitch to D (hence the name). This extends the note range to D, but also makes the note range played by the E string sound different.
Amp Setup Controls
This switch sends the bass guitar signal through either one of three bass amp setups or selects a direct signal in case you want to use an external amp (plugin).
The Amp Models include top amp, cabinet and microphones and are perfected for a range of applications of Virtual Bassist Dandy.
Huge sounding 1x15 cabinet
...for a low-key distorted bass sound with high frequency reduction.
Warm saturation with lowered highs and a pronounced mid-range.
… for a solid bass sound that doesn’t dominate but still sounds rebellish and dirty enough.
Neutral 4x10” amp sound
… for a classic bass sound with low-key settings.
No effect of the AMP section
… if you intend to process the signal in an external bass amp (plugin), or if you want a distinctly clean, unprocessed bass sound.
This control adjusts the overdrive level of the bass amp to create a slightly distorted sound. The effect is very different depending on the AMP setup you’ve chosen.
As graphically indicated, the DRIVE control has no effect when you’ve chosen the Direct setting of the AMP control.
Bass Channel Setup
Virtual Bassist Dandy features a bass channel with three audio processors dedicated for exactly this type of bass sound – a Compressor, an Equalizer and an Octaver.
As you will notice on first glance, we’ve designed them to be super-easy to work with – even without knowing how a compressor or equalizer are perfectly set up for a bass.
This is possible because – while a generic compressor or EQ has to offer a rather large set of parameters – here we already “know” the signal, so many parameters (such as ratio or attack time in the compressor, or frequency ranges and Q factors in the Equalizer) are optimally pre-conditioned under the hood. Thanks to this, you can control each processor very easily using one macro knob.
If you use external gear or plugins to shape your bass sound, make sure to set the bass channel components to neutral values.
As you turn up the Compressor control in Virtual Bassist Dandy, you will notice that the overall volume goes slightly up, that notes in the lower dynamic range sound louder, and – towards the maximum – the bass becomes more attack-y, i.e. the transients are shaped accordingly.
Using the compressor means you can lower the overall volume of Virtual Bassist Dandy without it losing presence in the mix, and the overall dynamic range is evened out, which you want in louder mixes, particularly with prominent drums and guitars.
The Equalizer complements the CHARACTER control really nicely in that combinating the two creates a large variety of bass sounds.
This Equalizer is four-band parametric. As you turn the knob from Vintage over Neutral to Modern, you move multiple parameters under the hood – gains, frequency bands and Q factors. In any setting, the Equalizer produces a useful curve. A rough guideline for what the Equalizer does is the following table:
The Octaver is less of a typical mixer channel component, but a bass-typical effect: It adds a duplicate of the bass signal one octave above the original. The knob controls the volume of the effect signal.
When used very subtly, the Octaver adds harmonic content in the high mids and highs, leading to a more pronounced bass sound, and adding throttle to any subsequent distortion or overdrive effects.
Higher knob positions change the overall sound of the bass towards a more melodic character and work particularly well for licks or fills in the higher note range.
Use the Octaver carefully – less when in doubt! Also note that the Octaver is calculated from the entire bass signal – not just the harmonic content – so may sound wobbly or rough. Use these artifacts to your benefit.
The Volume knob adjusts the master output volume of Virtual Bassist Dandy. It is a highly dynamic instrument, and there is a lot of functionality – from Force to Compressor to Amps – affecting the overall volume, so use this control to adjust the gain of Virtual Bassist Dandy before sending it into subsequent audio processors or effect devices.
Using MIDI Learn, you can assign any Virtual Bassist Dandy control to hardware controls of MIDI keyboards or other controllers.
To assign a control, you usually right-click or ctrl-click a control in Virtual Bassist Dandy to open the MIDI Learn context menu of your DAW.
MIDI Learn Menu
All controls in Virtual Bassist Dandy can be automated. In combination with the phrase select keys this is actually a very powerful way of creating more dynamic performances. For example, automate POSITION and DRIVE with faders to create dynamic transitions, or switch-automate AMP or Doubling to drastically change the sound between song parts.
For instructions on how to activate Virtual Bassist Dandy parameters for automation, please refer to your DAW’s user guide.
The sustain pedal replicates the Latch control, so you can use it as an additional way of varying phrases in real-time. Pressing the sustain pedal activates latching of chord notes. Releasing the sustain pedal releases any latched chord notes even if the Latch button is on.
Where can I get help?
We keep a help desk with a knowledge base and known issues here: UJAM Helpdesk
I still have questions! Where can I send them?
Please send your questions to ujam.com/contact-us. We will help you out asap!