The Tono

The Tono


I had been working on a show for a few seasons and wanted to iron out some of the hiccups I had producing the music.
One thing that always stood out was the acoustic double bass, I’d been using a commercial available library but it always needed a ton of eq and had too much character.
Too much character!?! Impossible!!! What a nutter, you might think.
Well sometimes when you do a lot of underscoring you want something that is functional but does not attract attention.

Over the years I’d been doing some of the sessions recording my own bass and about to move homes/studio I decided now was the time to sample it.
I knew I wanted to try a different approach so I decided to record it as three short and one sustained note all without too much silence in between. To try and capture the more ”chaotic” nature of a real recording.

Most of the bass-lines in this show are for ”mickey mousing” or set in a comical situation.
So there’s plenty of short figures that lands on a sustained note.
The bass almost always gets doubled with a piano or low winds.

The bass was sampled with several mics but since using for this years show I found that I only use one of them, the Townsend L22, so that’s what’s included here.
The mic wasn’t super tight placed so there is some room in the sound, you may tame it with a transient designer or a gate-plugin.

I played those four notes in a row with almost no silence in between them and then switched to the next note.
Once done recording I cut the samples and applied a short fade at the end of each note/round robin.

Quick and dirty, far from optimal.

In Kontakt I quickly realized that I needed something after the note had been released, release noises of some sort. So I recorded a few dead notes and fingers leaving the fretboard kind of sounds.

But the virtual instrument still sounded quite awful.

Every time I let go of a key a release note/noise was triggered even with repetitive notes.
You don’t really get that when performing on a real instrument. You get those sounds when you change to a different note/position or when you remove your fingers from the string.
This was also one of the flaws in that other commercial virtual bass I mentioned, ”too much character”.

What if I could create some sort of script that only perform those release notes after a key had been held for a second or so, ignoring those faster notes.
On to the kip-reference pdf and the NI scripting forum.
The solution was a function called ENGINE_UPTIME combined with a variable.
Please do check it out in the script tab of the instrument, I know very little about Kontakt scripting but is happy to answer any question that may arise using my instrument.

”on release
if ($ENGINE_UPTIME – $time > 300) { — wait 300ms before applying release triggers — }
allow_group (4) { — release trigger group — }
play_note($EVENT_NOTE, $EVENT_VELOCITY, 0, -1)
end if
end on”

I still wasn’t happy with the virtual instrument.
I wanted a few round robins on the short notes but still be able to sustain any note.
There’s probably a better way of doing this, but here’s what I did.

I put everything in four groups, five with the release triggers.
The three short notes are in a round robin cycle, the sustained group always trigger with the release note following the rules of the script.
I then used the ADSR function of Kontakt to silence the short notes quickly and fade in the sustained note.
Basically you get two notes played at the same time but they fade in/out of each other so you perceive it as one note. The attack from one of the three shorts and the sustain from the sustained. Well, in theory and with a lot more work… it might work 🙂

Velocity and CC1 (modulation wheel) controls the volume of the instruments.
I’ve limited the reach on the CC1 so that the instrument doesn’t distort.
Please feel free to modify it, the *4425 can be anything from total silence 0 to distortion mayhem at 7812.

”on controller
if ($CC_NUM = 1)
end if
end on”

You can hear “the Tono” in use if you tune in to the 2020 season of ”Mysteriet pa Barnkanalen”:


Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!


An acoustic double bass with just enough character!


  1. Kontakt


Follow Pianobook