Bass Banjo by MODWHEEL Review

Today we are reviewing Bass Banjo by MODWHEEL. The sampled instrument was handcrafted in the 80s by David Donaldson (MODWHEEL) and performed in the anarchic marching band ‘The Outsiders’, which was basically a protest band, as at the time there seemed quite a lot to protest about. There was still nuclear testing in the Pacific, nuclear-armed and powered warships coming into New Zealand waters and the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior by the French government is some of the issues here at that time. So it’s possibly MODWHEEL’s first political motivated instrument made, just watch the space for the Trumpus instrument.

David built the original and recorded instrument by combining a marching Bass Drum and a recycled double bass fingerboard strung with bass strings. MODWHEEL did send a review copy with no strings attached.

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You download an archive and unpack the library into your Kontakt Library folder. A quick batch re-save and you are ready to use the library in the FULL version of Kontakt 5.6 or higher (the product is not compatible with free Kontakt player).


Bass Banjo is a string and percussive and synth library.  David Donaldson made a based on the original instrument he build himself. Was has been sampled and process from this unusual instruments resulted in a guitar, drum and soundscape alike instrument.

Bass Banjo includes:

  • 2 patches of Bass Banjo with 4 round robins and multiple articulations
  • 5 patches of BangOn Sidekick percussion sounds, drum programming, and Arpeggiator
  • 3 synth patches created using the Bass Banjo samples

As you would expect from MODWHEEL the quality of the recorded instrument in Kontakt is of the highest quality, and you get the “normal” weird MODWHEEL vibe from the PADs.

User interface & Usability

MODWHEEL has designed an easy to use UI with numerous articulations and performance key switches. Effects like Delay and Reverb and special sauce effects called “HEAT” can be managed on the front page, for the Apr you change to a different page. The Note off can be dialed for realism, just try it as the result varies on the patch used.

Rating:  Four out of five stars

Bass Banjo is an excellent little niche and inspirational Kontakt library with that special vibe you do expect from MODWHEEL. Bass Banjo has a very unique, intense, sonorous character. It is an excellent addition to my composer toolbox and adds interesting percussion and a bass banjo sound I did not have access too before.

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