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Shreddage 3 Fretless Bass Review – An Honest Opinion After Heavy Use

You probably landed on this article because you’re on the fence about getting a paid bass VST, and want to see if the Shreddage 3 is really worth your money.

While many free and paid plugins can help you dial in a quick bassline, only the best ones can deliver sophisticated movement between the notes, which mimics the nuances of a real bassist's fingers.

In this Shreddage 3 review, we've stress-tested the plugin to find out whether it's really worth your hard-earned music bucks or not.

Shreddage 3 Fretless Bass (Quick Review)

whippedcreamsounds

Accurate Emulation and Fretless Bass Sound Quality
Standard to Virtuoso Performance Style adaptations
Ease of playability for non-bassists
UI, Resizing and CPU-friendly
Ease of use for a recent buyer

Verdict

The Shreddage 3 is a meticulously modelled fretless bass VST that does what it says on the tin. But with realistic fretless emulations come the responsibility of managing velocity curves as a real bassist would. While the Standard mode allows you to handle your everyday bass applications, going deeper than that involves a rigorous study of the manual.   

4.7

Is The Shreddage 3 Fretless Bass Worth It? (Quick Verdict)

Compatibility: VST, AU, AAX. Kontakt Player 6.7+ needed. ( Windows 7,8,10, 32/64-bit. Windows 10 is recommended. Intel Mac OS X 10.14+, Silicon Mac OS X 11+ )
Price: $129.

At $129, Shreddage 3 is worth it. With numerous ways of playing phrases, using different styles, articulations, tones, colors, and feel – the Shreddage 3 goes far beyond most bass VSTs. It is the perfect tool for music producers and composers who want a realistic-sounding bass.

Pros

✅ Excellent realistic-sounding Fretless Bass in the form of a VST.

✅ Keyboard mode is an excellent alternative for using it with a workstation controller.

✅ Standard to Virtuoso performance modes help cater to a larger audience.

✅ e902 and SM57 mic options along with DI offer more choices.

✅ Variety of articulations from legato, to slides to muted playing to harmonics.

✅ ‘MIDI Guitar Mode' allows you to use your MIDI Bass pickups.

Cons

❌ To go from good to great sounding basslines requires an in-depth understanding of the VST's velocity curves and patching.

What Is The Shreddage 3 & What Does It Do?

shreddage 3 review

The Shreddage 3 is a fretless bass VST that models the subtle nuances of playing on the Ibanez SRF705 fretless bass guitar. Recorded with a classic SM57 and e902, the fretless tone has been captured quite accurately. With abilities to play the instrument in keyboard mode for non-bassists, along with the sweep, melody, and virtuoso modes, Shreddage 3 can be played in multiple styles.

With performance styles ranging from standard to solo melody to solo virtuoso, along with a separate strumming section, there is very little that you cant do on the Shreddage 3.

It offers in-depth sections on articulations and an advanced control page, focussing on velocity curves, which help you to refine your MIDI bass chops to a highly realistic level.

However, taking your fretless sound from good to mind-boggling requires an in-depth study of the intricacies of the VST. The detailed velocity curves hold the key, and learning how to map them, and set their ranges for your specific use is vital to getting the most out of the Shreddage 3.

How Does It Sound?

The Shreddage 3 sounds fantastic in most cases. As it's designed to help emulate dynamically complex bass playing, it's best to stick to the standard mode if you don't want the bass to stick out. However, there's nothing quite like the Shreddage 3 if you're writing expressive bass parts. From jazz solos to strumming chords to djent bass, the Shreddage 3 can do it all.

We've created some sounds and left the settings below so you can listen to how it sounds:

Walking Bass:

For dialling in a walking bass tone, we kept a 5% attack and 40% release, along with 100% Decay+ Sustain under the ‘Sustain' tab in ‘Articualtions'.

The velocity-to-volume dial is very crucial in this VST as it really dictates the feel of your phrase. We've set it to 25% with a reverse L-shaped velocity layer. Try working with the velocity layer to refine the finger attack on the string's sound.

shreddage 3 fretless bass

In the ‘Main' page, we've kept the performance style to ‘Standard' to ensure the bass isn't drawing too much attention. Setting the ‘Extra Attack' to 35% adds character to the playing and the ‘Pitch Bend' at 15% ensures the fretless quality isn't over-emphasised here.

You can use this approach for your everyday bass uses and the Shreddage 3 can replace your native fretted DAW bass easily.

Walking Bass

Slow Jam:

As you hear in this sound example, the movement between the notes is emphasised more than regular fretted bass. Running through the DI, with 75% Bite, 15% Pitch Bend, and 20% Extra Attack, the performance style is set to Solo Virtuoso. Solo Virtuoso makes the movement between notes sounds smoother than Standard.

Slow Jam

Bass Harmonics:

You can generally play Harmonics on the 12th, 7th, 5th, 17th and 19th fret of each string. Shreddage 3 does a great job at mimicking these Harmonics, while also allowing you to apply them on any note.

We've set a long release time here, for you to hear. But, this might not be practical in the midst of a song. Set your ADSR according to where you're using it. But, make sure to have a long sustain to preserve the fullness of the Harmonic.

Bass Harmonics

Lo-Fi Bass:

We've moved the hand position to the 7th fret with ‘Moving Lead' selected. With 70% Bite, 45% Extra Attack, and 40% Responsiveness, the Custom performance style is used.

Lo-Fi Bass

Rock Bass:

‘Natural Fretting' with 40% Bite and 35% Extra Attack.

Clean And Punchy Bass:

Solo Virtuoso mode. Bite is set to 70%, Extra Attack to 45%, with Hand Position on the 12th fret.

Muted Bass:

Muted Bass selected in the Articulations tab to allow the reversed piano to take centrestage.

What Features Do I Get With The Shreddage 3 Fretless Bass?

Modelled to the T!

With multiple recordings of each note on the instrument, right from the sound of the open strings to the last fret, the Shreddage 3 has been sampled meticulously.

shreddage 3 fretless bass gui

Stringed instruments have subtle variations in intonation when played on different parts of the neck. For example, the note G3 can sound slightly different on the 10th fret of the A string, than it does on the 5th fret of the D string. These differences affect the way a bassist phrases his lines.

Since Impactworks have recorded each note on each string, it allows them to replicate your lines the way a real bassist would. In other words, if you were to play the same line on a different string, it would sound different due to the variation in intonation.

The Shreddage 3 is modelled to such a high level of precision, that it takes a while to realise how intricately you can sculpt your basslines.

Extremely Realistic sounding articulations:

The articulations within Shreddage 3 are highly sophisticated and play a huge role in adding variety to your fretless playing. Using the “Total Control Articulation Control” technology, Impact works have raised the bar in version 3.

You can select from:

  • Sustain
  • Staccato
  • Muted
  • Buzz Trill
  • Legato Hammer-ons and Pull-offs
  • Legato Slide

You can also Shift and select multiple articulations at once.

With each effect opening up an editor window below, you can model the sound of your articulation to your heart’s content. For example, in Legato (Hammer/Pull), you get to control the strength of your hammer-ons and pull-offs.

By enabling the Vel->Tightness, your hammers can decay quicker than plucked notes, which is essential to making them sound realistic. With a range of up to 2 semitones, you can expect to play middle, ring finger hammers-ons and even index finger hammer-ons.

Upon selecting ‘Realistic Volume’, the volume of your hammers will go down slowly until the next note is plucked. This function is quintessential to getting believable-sounding legato lines.

With such detailed functions offered in each of the articulations, you can get extremely realistic-sounding harmonics, as seen in our sound samples. But please note that it takes time to dial in the articulations we’ve described. These details aren’t very clear for a new user.

MIDI Bass Guitar Pickups Can Be Recorded Too!

Selecting the ‘MIDI Guitar Mode’ allows you to connect your Bass guitar to the Shreddage3 if you have MIDI pickups. This is an extremely powerful feature to have as it streamlines MIDI messages from different strings to different channels.

MIDI pickups fretless 3

However, remember to change the patch to OMNI MIDI on Kontakt for the MIDI messages to be received. Since this is a 5-string bass, MIDI messages are sent from Channels 6 to 2, with the lowest string going to channel 6 and the highest string going to channel 2.

Chugging Basslines For Keyboard Players:

Since playing the Shreddage 3 involves adhering to the string-fret algorithm, it's sometimes not easy to get by with your regular keyboard chops. While Impact Soundworks has developed the string-to-fret algorithm to emulate the intricate intonation qualities of each note on the instrument, it restricts the MIDI keyboardist from playing multiple notes on a string at the same time.

Rather than having to re-imagine your playing, you can simply switch the performance style to ‘Keyboard Mode’. This transforms the instrument into a regular workstation keyboard, which means you can play more than one note on a string.

While this would make your bass playing should unrealistic, it does allow you to use the Shreddage 3 like any other VST you’re used to playing on.

Switch Microphones And Pickups For Different Tones:

To provide variety without complicating it too much for a new user, the Shreddage 3 keeps all the different pickup and microphone changes under the hood. On the surface, all you see is this minimalist black panel with 3 controls.  

All the changes you make here are Pre-Fx. So the volume knob would control the Pre-Fx gain.

Changes on the tone knob work as a low pass filter. While dialling down this Tone knob results in a darker tone, keeping the Tone on full would allow the harmonics to get through. This could be great for expressive lead lines, where you want the higher harmonics to sing out.

As the Shreddage 3 has been meticulously recorded with two different mics apart from a regular DI, you have quite a few tones to choose from. The Signal switch allows you to choose between DI, the famous e902 bass mic, and the trustworthy SM57.

The sound of the three options is quite unique and it's recommended to take a moment to check your mic type while dialling in your tone. Lastly, you can select the white leaf, to save CPU processing. Enabling it would only use the currently selected pickup.

What About The Technical Stuff?

We stress-tested the Shreddage 3 on the Mac Mini M1 2020, running Big Sur 11.2.1 with 8GB RAM, an 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores. With 20 instances open and 24 tracks in Logic X, the Shreddage 3 performed well. But in some instances, there were crashes and system overload errors.

Since the Shreddage 3 is run on Kontakt, you also need to check the performance of your Kontakt player. 

Shreddage 3 is heavy on your computer and the company recommends using a CPU with multiple cores. This allows the plugin to load up multiple instances at the same time without crashing.

What Does My System Need To Run It?

Mac:

  • M1 Chip or Intel i5 and higher.
  • 6GB disk space.
  • 7200 RPM hard drive/SSD.
  • More cores are recommended for multiple voices.
  • Kontakt 6.7+

PC:

  • Windows 7/8/10. Windows 10 is recommended.
  • 6GB disk space.
  • 7200 RPM hard drive/SSD.
  • 32/64-bit.
  • Intel i5 and above.
  • Graphics hardware supporting open GL2.1+.
  • Kontakt 6.7+

What About UI & Utility? How Easy is It To Use & Any Stand-out Features?

The GUI looks quite stunning, with the large fretless bass fretboard at the centre of the plugin. String spacing is adequate to spot your notes being played on the fretboard. The articulations tab is very well laid out within understandable sections. However, elaborate explanations of the terms and knobs would've saved more time, as you're quite dependent on the manual.

While the resizing is decent, the capo and golden hand positions are the highlights of their interface design. It makes it extremely easy to follow your notes as you're playing them.

That being said, the Strumming and Advanced tabs are hard to follow. You need to go over the manual several times if you're not used to how Kontakt instruments are generally laid out.

Overall, we feel the advanced features could've come with a little more assistance for the user.

What Are Others Saying About The Shreddage 3 Fretless Bass?

Since Shreddage 3 fretless is at its cheapest when bought as a bundle with other guitars products in their line, most user reviews focus on the full purchase. A lot of users feel that you need to get into the details and really know what you're doing, if you are to get a stellar sound. But no one questions the authenticity of the sounds and its potential. 

We scoured the internet to chose different user reviews that talk about the Impactworks Shreddage series. A lot of users tend to buy the Shreddage as a bundle during sales. A lot of users who already have Shreddage 2, seem to want to add some Shreddage 3 instruments to their collection. Hence, they talk about the complete line of Shreddage instruments as a whole.

We've listed some of the interesting user reveiws/comments below:

Shreddage3-Review#1
Shreddage3-Reddit Review#2
Shreddage-Reddit Review#3
Shreddage-Reddit Review#4

How Does The Shreddage 3 Fretless Bass Stand Up To The Competition?

While there are great bass VST bundles out there, the Shreddage 3 stands tall within its own category. Spectrasonics' Trilian is a collection of acoustic, electric and synth basses, whose fretless bass is highly revered. But at $299, its quite a big investment. At $99, Heavyocity's Scoring Bass is surely worth it. But its highly cinematic in nature. 

Scarbee's Rickenbacker Bass is similar to the Shreddage 3 but seems a bit expensive for $99, given its features. Shreddage 3 is way more comprehensive for $129.

Heavyocity's Scoring Bass is a collection of pads, grooves and tempo-synced low end cinematic content. It sounds highly impressive and is a great fit with Heavyocity Guitars. 

But, it depends on whether you're using the bass as a sound design element or as a purely fretless bass guitar used in a jazz, funk, metal and other musical styles. 

Sprectrasonics Trilian is a dedicated bass collection of upright, electric, and analogue synth basses which can satisfy all your bass needs. But priced at $299, it's quite a big investment.

If you want a dedicated fretless bass that you're willing to learn well to use across your projects , there's nothing quite like the Shreddage 3 fretless. With professional-sounding articulations and lots of potential for growth, the Shreddage 3 fretless bass can be your go-to bass for years to come. 

Shreddage 3 Fretless Bass (Quick Review)

whippedcreamsounds

Accurate Emulation and Fretless Bass Sound Quality
Standard to Virtuoso Performance Style adaptations
Ease of playability for non-bassists
UI, Resizing and CPU-friendly
Ease of use for a recent buyer

Verdict

The Shreddage 3 is a meticulously modelled fretless bass VST that does what it says on the tin. But with realistic fretless emulations come the responsibility of managing velocity curves as a real bassist would. While the Standard mode allows you to handle your everyday bass applications, going deeper than that involves a rigorous study of the manual.   

4.7

FAQ

I love the sound of the fretless bass. But can the Shreddage 3 be used to replace my fretted bass in everyday projects?

Due to its signature decay style, the Shreddage 3 will stand out if you try to use it in everyday bass applications. In our sound example you can hear a classic walking baseline which we played on the Shreddage 3.  The way the notes decay as they move from one to the next, adds a voice-like quality to it. While it sounds fantastic and extremely musical, it is highly noticeable too.

We mention this, as the bass sometimes plays the role of a supporting instrument, that allows other melodic instruments or the singer to express themselves. If applied in such a context, the signature sound of the fretless can draw undue attention to it.

Though it is possible to get a regular fretted bass-like sound out of the Shreddage 3 by setting it to Standard mode, Natural fretting and dialling down the Pitch Bend Range. Adjusting the Bite and Extra Attack to you liking should give you a standard fretted bass-like sound.      

Does the Shreddage 3 ever go on sale?

The Shreddage 3 Bundle which includes 9 guitars and basses was on sale for $249. So keep an eye out for the sales as you might get an arsenal of instruments for the price of 2. The complete Shreddage 2 bundle worth 353 Euros was offered for 79 Euros at a sale. So we highly recommend waiting for a sale if spending $129 for the fretless alone seems a lot for you.

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