Recreating Herbie Hancock’s ‘Chameleon’ Bassline

In his latest video, composer and synthesist Anthony Marinelli takes a look at recreating the classic bass sound of Herbie Hancock‘s Chameleon, from the 1973 jazz fusion album, Head Hunters.

Marinelli shows, step-by-step, how to recreate the iconic bass sound, using the same 1972 ARP Odyssey synthesizer model that Hancock used.

Here’s what Marinelli has to say about iut:

“Not only is it one of my all-time favorite synth bass sounds, it also changed the reach of jazz music by opening up the mindset of both jazz musicians and the listening public to fresh new sounds. This was much needed in the 70’s to compete with rock ‘n’ roll’s dominance of the airwaves. Synth sounds allowed jazz musicians to connect with a larger set of minds and voices yet retain still retain musical complexity, quality, and integrity.

The cornerstone techniques in this video will effectively elevate your synthesizer power, no matter what style you prefer.”

Topics covered:

00:00 “Chameleon” intro cover performance
00:30 Anthony’s Intro
01:25 ARP Odyssey Panel Explanation
02:12 Setting the Oscillator Pitch & Waveforms
03:06 Setting the Mixer & Voltage Controlled Filter VCF
04:05 Setting the ADSR Envelope Generator
04:59 Setting the VCA
05:37 Setting the Keyboard Control Voltage
06:56 Dialing in the Distortion
08:35 Keyboard Articulation & Phrasing
09:34 Summary of “Chameleon” Bass
10:22 Logo (theme music)

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