Session Bassist – Prime Bass By Native Instruments
Most will agree that a strong and tight Bass sound forms a solid musical foundation and underpins everything we build upon it, so it is refreshing and also overdue to see Native Instruments adding a new Bass guitar library to their collection.
The Session Guitarist series which comes from an ongoing collaboration with DRUMASONIC has been a popular addition to the catalogue, with the sampling quality and playability being appreciated by users, particularly after the introduction of the free play melody presets became a standard included feature after Electric Sunburst within each new release.
Session Bassist Prime Bass runs in either the full version of Kontakt 6.7 or above, and the equivalent free Kontakt player, and is compatible with Komplete Kontrol.
The download size is 9.36GB.
There are two master Kontakt NKI files, one for the pattern based content, the other for the melody instrument. These two NKI files then serve to feed the 164 NKSN snapshot presets (82 for each of the two play types) found within Komplete Kontrol.
Download & Installation
Being a Native Instruments in house product, the whole download, authorisation and installation process is a seamless affair.
After purchasing your product will automatically appear within Native Access when you next login, It is then a simple matter of going to the not installed tab and hitting install, after which you need to auto re scan in Komplete Kontrol to then have your new instrument ready and waiting to explore.
Did I say waiting to explore?, well almost, unfortunately despite our protestations Native Instruments still insist that we jump over that rather annoying Welcome Wizard hurdle.
It’s not really a deal breaker, but it does still trip up some unaware blind & visually impaired customers (surely there must be a law about tripping up blind folk!).
Anyway, armed with this knowledge, it’s probably easier to load up Komplete Kontrol standalone to deal with this.
After the scan finishes, load up one of the melody presets, then perform an OCR scan on your screen. You should come across the ‘Welcome’ dialog when you arrow down. Find the button that says ‘Next’ and then hit enter several times.
This I have found skips through the successive wizard pages where the ‘next’ button is in the same screen location, and should finally unlock your Prime Bass library for you.
Komplete Kontrol Browser & Plugin Edit NKS Parameter Mapping
Knob 1 & 2 – Vendor & Product
Knob 3 – Bank: Melody, Regular
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Type: Bass
Knob 6 – Unallocated
Knob 7 – Character: Airy, Clean, Dirty, Distorted, Dry, Long Release, Melodic, Percussive, Sample Based, Tempo Synced,
Knob 8 – Presets x 164
Plugin Edit NKS Parameter Controls
Page One – Performance, Timing, Latch, Pattern Synced & Tempo
Knob 1 – Humanise %
Knob 2 – Swing %
Knob 3 – Time Base (8th or 16th)
Knob 4 – Feel, minus to plus 100
Knob 5 – Timing Shift, minus to plus 50ms
Knob 6 – Latch Mode, within 1, 2, 4 or 8
Knob 7 – Pattern Sync Mode, Sync Host, Start Key
Knob 8 – Tempo Factor, 1/2, 1/1, x2,
Page Two – Direct Input, Signal, Microphone 1& 2
Knob 1 – Drive %
Knob 2 – Tone %
Knob 3 – Unallocated
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Mic 1 Volume, Inf to 0dB
Knob 6 – Mic 1 Pan, 100% Left to 100% Right
Knob 7 – Mic 2 Volume, Inf to 0dB
Knob 8 – Mic 2 Pan, 100% Left to 100% Right
Page Three – Damping, Noise, Tuning, Octave Melody style, Polyphony
Knob 1 – Damping Decay %
Knob 2 – Fret Noise, Inf to 12.0db
Knob 3 – Noise Floor, Off to 12.0dB
Knob 4 – Detune, Off to 100%
Knob 5 – Octave Down On/Off
Knob 6 – Melody Style, , Plectrum, Finger
Knob 7 – Poly/Mono, Switchable
Knob 8 – Unallocated
Much of the premise for the earlier Session Guitar releases may have been focused on essentially providing the non-guitar playing keyboardist the tools to incorporate realistically strummed chord patterns into their work.
In Prime Bass although this option is still very much there, I think that the appeal for many users will equally be to have a strong collection of well sampled and play friendly bass sounds at their fingertips.
To this end, the available parameters that have been mapped via NKS are I feel up to the job.
The first page of NKS mapping is dedicated to control of the pattern based presets, and the latter two facilitate the microphone level mixing, fret and noise levels, tuning, polyphony and playing technique.
As with the other Session series libraries, we are unable to accessibly load and change the patterns that occupy keyswitch slots within the instrument.
Most of us are used to living with this limitation by now, and those patterns will likely appear somewhere among the provided 82 pattern presets, bearing in mind that each preset will have several slots populated at any one time, meaning that the total pattern count will exceed 300.
When it comes to using the range of FX that are offered via the standard Graphical User Interface, sadly we do miss out on this occasion. There are no options to change the amps or cabinets, or play around with the new Bass Invader or Bass Pro FX now built into the latest version of Kontakt, other than if they have been included as part of a preset.
As a workaround, you can of course always add FX of your choosing via a second slot within Komplete Kontrol.
So if you haven’t ever put the clean sounds of Session Guitarist Strummed Acoustic through guitar Rig 6 do give it a try, it’s fun!
Time TO touch Bass
All of The samples used in Prime Bass come from a 1981 70’s style Fender Precision bass, which was recorded using a combination of direct input and also two vintage dynamic microphones.
There is NKS control over each of these sound sources to offer a useful range of blended bass tones tweakable to your own taste.
As stated there are also additional controls which can be edited to provide greater emphasis to the fret sounds as well as floor noise.
The option to choose between finger and plectrum playing techniques also mean that the overall tone can be switched between a sharper and crisper timbre, or a more warmer and muted sound.
There are a wealth of classic bass patterns, both rhythmic and melodic, many of which are perfectly serviceable, however others may be a little too cliche for some peoples palette, but it’s always good to have choices.
As mentioned we are unable to interchange the patterns loaded into the slots ourselves, there are eight slots available in the pattern presets of which around 4 are typically pre-loaded four us to use.
Interestingly, the melody presets also feature four of these pattern slots, which are again already populated with the same loops as their pattern based counterparts.
The interesting part is that if you hold down certain keyswitches on a melodic preset, then a pattern will also be triggered, this means that you can combine a pre-programmed phrase along with your own freely played bass line should you wish to do so.
There are quite a wide selection of keyswitches available within Prime Bass, so rather than replicating the manual here, it’s suffice to say that they provide access to the various patterns, playing techniques such as slap bass and mutes, as well as note slides and pulls, basically all the things that when combined can help to make your performance more realistic.
Do make a point of checking out the various Prime Bass videos to get an idea of how the instrument works and sounds to determine if it fits in with your own musical aspirations.
Native Instruments & DRUMASONIC have done a superb job with Prime Bass, it sounds great to the ear, with a variety of bass tones managing to be squeezed out of one bass guitar in the recording and sampling process.
Importantly It also feels nice to play, especially when you start to introduce the various keyswitched articulations into your performance, and can hear how the strings and frets will respond via velocity both tonally and rhythmically to your playing technique.
Session Bassist – Prime Bass is available for purchase from Native Instruments for £89.00 (Please see your region for local pricing)
Prime Bass – Product Page:
Prime Bass Walkthrough:
Session Bassist – Prime Bass user Manual:
c) Chris Ankin
February 25th, 2022
The author can not accept any responsibility for subsequent purchase decisions made as a result of this review,or Any inaccuracies found therein. All opinions and product functions stated are based solely on information perceived as a blind user whilst using the product and/or gathered from official factual sources such as the developer, web or supplied product manual.
About the Author
Based in Buckinghamshire, England, Chris Ankin has worked previously as a freelance review author and contributor with articles published in Sound On Sound, Home & Studio Recording and ST Format Magazines.
He has also worked extensively in, and been associated with music, recording, film Soundtrack, Game & media, the creative arts, publishing and investments since 1982 under his own name and various other pseudonyms.