Recreating The ‘Fame’ Bassline With A Large-Format Modular Synthesizer

The latest SynthMania video takes a look at recreating the iconic bassline from Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford’s Fame, using a large-format modular synthesizer.

The goal of the video is to demonstrate how the Fame sequence can be recreated using a 5U modular synth, not to recreate the exact process originally used. The sequencer used in this demo, the Synthesizers.com Q119, is a modern design, but a similar approach could be used with a Moog 960 sequencer and a sequential switch to create a 16-step sequence.

Here’s what host Paolo Di Nicolantonio has to say about the video: 

I couldn’t find much information on the synth used, other than the synth player in this song is Ken Bichel, a very famous NY keyboard session player: and I’ve seen photos of his ARP 2600, but he was also in Gershon Kingsley’s First Moog Quartet, so it could also be a Moog or other synth:

“Bichel attended the Juilliard School where he graduated with a master’s degree in piano performance in 1969. While at Juilliard he met Gershon Kingsley and Robert Moog, the inventor of the music synthesizer. He became a founding member of Kingsley’s First Moog Quartet, a live performance synthesizer ensemble, and was recognized as the preeminent synthesizer authority in the New York recording industry from that time on” –

If readers have more information, share it in the comments!

18 thoughts on “Recreating The ‘Fame’ Bassline With A Large-Format Modular Synthesizer

    1. There’s a pretty famous chart-topper by David Bowie called “Fame” which has some funky-a$$ed groove and tons of telegraphy wah guitars. No synth bass, nor much of a “bass line” at all. So I was curious.

  1. And this gentlemen, is why innovation in music always comes from the kid with cheap gear and tonnes of enthusiasm rather than the people with the best gear. The kid in the battered cheap car beats the old guy one the mid-life-crisis Harley every time!

  2. Let’s see how you feel when your youth runs out. Society’s fixation with the idea that young people are superior in every way is a myth.

    1. My youth has already expired! I’m speaking on the matter with years of experience! There are many ways in which young people don’t do as well, such as knowledge, studio skills, but it seems that raw enthusiasm and the motivation that comes with it often counts for more. Nothing wrong with building yourself a man-shed / retirement dream-studio for tinkering but it should be recognised for what it is. Just as youth is wasted on the young, big modular systems are wasted on the old.

      1. I think you have Paulo (the video author) wrong. The guy seems like he has a lot of knowledge to share and I get the impression he is pulling a lot of this gear out of storage from back when he actively used the stuff. I don’t have his bio that is just my impression. Judging by his Soundcloud he is at least trying to do something more than just ‘tinker. Just think your point is misplaced on him.

        1. You’re right, I’m being unfair on him simply because I hate the track. It’s the epitome of bad 80s music and the fact that it has a synth on bassline duties doesn’t save it for me. My point really is that recreating stuff like this is a waste of a good synthesiser. Or really that I just hate the track.

            1. Lol. I can hold my own. This is not good music. I remember it from the 80s when it was out and was as rubbish then as it is now. I wouldn’t be wasting my time recreating any part of it in 2017. Some things are best forgotten.

      1. That’s why the guys on the bike don’t really do anything but tinker. That’s fun, but it also isn’t why most of us got into making music in the first place. Also your analogy is the wrong way around. It’s the older guys who can afford all the luxury stuff being burned by a kid on a laptop.

  3. He helped me program the Take Me Home beat man! He’s obviously not looking to take over the world at this point. That being said, this tutorial is fairly light and recreating simple 80s bits can leave me a bit wanting.

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