Review: Jaco Fretless Bass by Amplesound

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Jaco Fretless captures the unique and iconic sound of the Fender Custom Shop Jaco Pastorius Relic Fretless Jazz Bass.After playing with this product for the last week, I can say without much doubt in my mind that it’s perhaps one of the best sampled electric basses on the market today.

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Jump to the Demos of Jaco Fretless Bass by Amplesound

 

Review: Jaco Fretless Bass by Amplesound

A bass is one of those instruments where there is a massive amount of variation between makes and models and types of basses. For example an upright acoustic bass and a Fender Precision Bass ran through a distortion pedal are barely recognizable as the same type of instrument. Because of this, the question when purchasing a sampled bass isn’t only about the realism but also about the style of bass. Amplesound has certainly gotten off to a great start where this selection is concerned as they have managed to deep sample the unique and iconic sound of the Fender Custom Shop Jaco Pastorius Relic Fretless Jazz Bass. After playing with this product for the last week, I can say without much doubt in my mind that it’s perhaps one of the best sampled electric basses on the market today.

Jaco Fretless Bass sells for $119 from Amplesound

Thoughts

The bass is an extremely redundant instrument. By this I mean that for every note, there are multiple ways to play it. Because of this, sampling it can be a challenge due to the fact that simply triggering the right pitch isn’t sufficient for a realistic bass performance. Amplesound has solved this problem brilliantly by having the instrument actually play and stay within fret positions. This means that when, for example, the player chooses to play a low A, the bass will determine if it will trigger an open A string, or an A fretted on the E string depending on the context of the performance. It works seamlessly. Because of how natural the performance sounded, I couldn’t put it down. This is always a good sign when one digs into a new instrument.

As well as the wonderfully scripted legato system, the instrument allows users to keyswitch between all the core articulations including sustain, palm muting, artificial and natural harmonics, slides, slaps, pops, as well as a repeating note mode which will certainly come in handy. Because of this flexibility, the instrument offers the user the capability to really dig in deep and program an astonishing amount of realism and detail into a performance. Keep in mind, when I said I couldn’t put the instrument down because of how real it sounded, this was before I had even started to dig into the keyswitching. The interface is in general extremely clean and clear but one minor frustration I found was that the icons which told you what the different keyswitches were could not themselves be clicked. Instead you had to either keyswitch on your keyboard or click the key on the interface. This is, of course, a nitpick and in no way takes away from the magnificent job Amplesound has done with this bass.

The instrument features a fairly comprehensive sequencer. Though there would be really no reason to program midi in the instrument itself, it comes with a huge selection of bass grooves that sound amazing. A useful function is the random riff generator which lets you literally roll the dice and create randomized riffs centered around pitches you select. This is a great starting point if you’re ever feeling the need for some external creative stimulation. It even lets you view tabs right in the instrument! The tab player is capable of importing multiple common tab file formats and makes this bass not only a great performance and production tool but also a great learning tool.

The bass features an EQ, compressor, delay, and reverb. All of which sound amazing. What struck me immediately is how great their interfaces looked. It really felt like a fully-fledged plugin suite was built into this instrument as opposed to some of the more tacked on feeling Kontakt effects we are used to. I found the reverb to be a little intense however. They included a series of hall and room presets but for the most part sounded a little too big to be useful. It would have been nice to have more practical sounding venues to choose from that would be more idiomatic for this kind of bass.

In general, this bass is arguably one of the best on the market today. It’s so obvious that every aspect of its design and creation was handled with love and expertise. Not only have they created a wonderful sounding and easy to play bass, but they have sampled one of the most legendary and iconic bass tones in existence.

Facts

The Jaco Pastorius Fretless Bass from Ample sound is deep-sampled Fender Custom Shop Jaco Pastorius Relic Fretless Jazz Bass. It weighs in at 2.2 GB. It features multiple keyswitchable articulations including sustain, palm muting, artificial as well as natural harmonics, slaps, pops, slides, as well as a repeating note mode. The instrument features intelligent legato scripting which causes it to actually play in position and intelligently select the string that the note is to be played on. The instrument features amp simulations as well as build in EQ, delay, reverb, and compression. The bass also features a large collection of preset grooves as well as a fairly comprehensive sequencer which can be used to edit the performance within the instrument. It is also capable of displaying and playing tablature from a variety of common tab formats.

Jaco Fretless Bass sells for $119 from Amplesound

 

Demos of Jaco Fretless Bass by Amplesound

Videos of Jaco Fretless Bass by Amplesound

 

Contributor Shaun Chasin reviews Jaco Fretless Bass by Amplesound
“After playing with this product for the last week, I can say without much doubt in my mind that it’s perhaps one of the best sampled electric basses on the market today.”