synth used in BILLIE JEAN for bassline.

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synth used in BILLIE JEAN for bassline.

Postby PaulRice » Fri Dec 07, 2007 4:23 am

In the song BILLIE JEAN, by michael jackson,

The begining of the song, the bassline is a real bass, but once the strings kick in, the bass fades into a SYNTH BASS. You need headphones to notice this. I was wondering what synth was used for that bassline?
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Postby hfinn » Fri Dec 07, 2007 4:27 am

Wasn't it a Jupiter 8?
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Postby Bitexion » Fri Dec 07, 2007 5:38 am

I don't know, but I know the producers loved to layer lots of synths into one HUGE sound. So the bassline you hear could be half a dozen synths playing the same thing.
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Postby Zamise » Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:06 am

I might be putting out some missinfo here, but I thought I remember Michelle Jackson saying in some interview he made the bass line for that song himself and it was on a Roland but I forget which he said it was, so Jup 8 could be a possiblity. Considering I've got nothing to back anything I say up tho and my memory's record, do take this with a grain of salt. Where's Micki when we need him?
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Postby Micke » Fri Dec 07, 2007 4:32 pm

I think Billy Wolfer played the synths on "Billie Jean" so maybe he can shed some light on this. According to an article in an old Keyboard Magazine, he used a Prophet 5, Jup-8 and CS-80 on the songs he contributed to.

The same article also mentions that a Yamaha CS-80 were used for the chords that move against the bass line.

The Minimoog does the bassline in P.Y.T. This has been confirmed by Greg Phillinganes. Moreover, I've read that Michael Boddicker used two Minimoogs hooked together for some of the bass lines on that album. Whether this setup was used on this particular song I really don't know.

EDIT: If I'd make a guess I'd say the bass on "Thriller" was done with this setup (i.e. two Minimoogs hooked together)

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Postby Sir Ruff » Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:28 pm

This is actually an appropriate topic, today is the 25th anniversary of the release of Thriller. Still the biggest selling album of all time!

Can we get a full rundown of all the synths used that haven't already been mentioned?
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Postby killedaway » Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:30 pm

hrmm.... all these avatars of "The Shape".... very suspicious. :wink:
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Postby seamonkey » Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:34 pm

the real bass part is played by Louis Johnson.
This is all I've been able to find so far:

Credits

Written, arranged and composed by Michael Jackson
Produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson
Lead and background vocals by Michael Jackson
Drums by Leon "Ndugu" Chancler
Bass by Louis Johnson
Guitar by David Williams
Emulator by Michael Boddicker
Rhodes & Synthesizer by Greg Phillinganes
Synthesizer by Greg Smith
Synthesizer & Synthesizer Programming by Bill Wolfer
Vocal, Rhythm and Synthesizer Arrangement by Michael Jackson
String Arrangement by Jerry Hey
Strings Conducted by Jeremy Lubbock
Mixed by Bruce Swedien
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Postby Micke » Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:55 pm

Sir Ruff wrote:
Can we get a full rundown of all the synths used that haven't already been mentioned?


Here's a rundown of the all (?) the synths
used in the making of Thriller

Yamaha CS-80
Roland Jupiter 8 (x3)
NED Synclavier II
DK Synergy
Roland Jupiter 4
Roland MC-4 microcomposer/sequencer
Yamaha GS-1 FM synth
Oberheim Four-Voice
SCI Prophet 5 (x2)
Yamaha CE20 FM preset synth
Yamaha portasound keyboard
Roland VP-330 vocoder/strings
Bode Vocoder
E-mu Emulator I
plus a couple of Minimoogs

Linn LM-1 (mostly doubled with a TR-808)
Linndrum (LM-2)

And here's a listing of the keyboardists/synthesists performing on the album:

Greg Phillinganes
Michael Boddicker (Mr. Jackson's main synth-programmer)
Steve Porcaro & David Paich
Bill Wolfer
Brian Banks & Anthony Marinelli
David Foster
Greg Smith
Tom Bahler
James Ingram

Hope this helps
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Postby Bitexion » Fri Dec 07, 2007 7:20 pm

Hehe, that list is slightly ridiculous when you look at it..20 synths to make a single record.
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Postby Sir Ruff » Fri Dec 07, 2007 7:31 pm

sweet!

far more than I thought, and quite a variety. what on earth did they use the portasound for? and why have 3 jup-8s? seems like overkill for recording.
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Postby Micke » Fri Dec 07, 2007 7:50 pm

Sir Ruff wrote:sweet!

far more than I thought, and quite a variety. what on earth did they use the portasound for? and why have 3 jup-8s? seems like overkill for recording.


Three keyboardists appear to have used a Jup-8, namely Bill Wolfer, David Paich and David Foster. Not sure if they played on the same track(s) though.
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Postby seamonkey » Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:07 pm

I thought we were just focusing on the one song Billie Jean. :oops:
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Postby otto » Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:26 am

Bitexion wrote:Hehe, that list is slightly ridiculous when you look at it..20 synths to make a single record.


And 11 keyboard players. Interesting what goes for solo records and no wonder it turned out to be such a great record.
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Postby Saeptus » Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:39 am

Uh... Louis Johnson would be the bass player. He's amazing.

Check out the Brothers Johnson. Great funky R&B disco.
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