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Tips for recording bass

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Tips for recording bass

Postby Scouser » Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:20 pm

I have a £200 active bass guitar, so a budget guitar.
When recording, certain notes are a lot quieter than others, to a degree this is to be expected, although on a better instrument it would be more even..

What tips do you have for getting the bass even, I would imagine a compressor would do that job, but wanted to know how to get it better at source.. And the process there after..
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby Stef Andrews » Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:37 pm

have you tried changing the battery in it. It could just be the battery isn't up to the job anymore and is being intermittent. Aside from that, compression is almost always used on bass guitars, but make sure you've got a good one.
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby forumuser802911 » Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:37 pm

this wil always happen with just playing your bass .... but i have sound that a realy simple idea is to use an eq pedal in your bass line and also keep your strings newish... and possibly change your pickups on your bass ... they will make the world of difference when it comes to quality and even-ness.
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby northsoul » Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:37 pm

Personally I think it's mostly all down to how you play the bass and how well it is set-up. Depending on what your playing then sometimes using a pick might give you a more even level of notes if you are struggling with your fingers but if the bass is not very playable then your going to struggle anyway. Probably best just to use quite a lot of compression on it.
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby _.jk._ » Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:01 pm

are you using more than one microphone?
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby Gloscol » Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:11 pm

take a look at the way your pickups are set by looking straight down the neck.....if its possible to bring them up at an angle on the quieter strings then try that first.......to be honest though( and hopefully not rude) the bass may not be that flexible........if you have the funds see if you can get better pickups second hand and replace them....good luck
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby Scouser » Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:21 pm

Thanks for replies..

Im using SM58 in front of amp.. As I tried DI into focusrite preamp, but its not good..
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby Evie McCreevie » Mon Apr 28, 2008 11:34 pm

Scouser wrote:I have a £200 active bass guitar, so a budget guitar.
When recording, certain notes are a lot quieter than others, to a degree this is to be expected, although on a better instrument it would be more even..

What tips do you have for getting the bass even, I would imagine a compressor would do that job, but wanted to know how to get it better at source.. And the process there after..

A few things come to mind...

1. Check your recording on headphones... It may be that certain notes are louder on your monitors 'cos of your room and its modes. In fact, unless your room has been totally sorted by a pro acoustician, it is almost certain to make certain notes 'louder'.

2. Even expensive basses won't be totally uniform, and usually will be louder on the lower notes - though personally I can live with this - it is a BASS guitar after all. The most uniform bass I ever used was a proper graphite 80s Steinberger - fantastic. But they don't make 'em anymore - avoid the copies they're a joke - they're only 'copies' in style and appearance, not materials and sound.

3. As suggested elsewhere, use compression - and LOADS of it - on recording and mixdown. As long as you don't f*** up the tonality of your instrument, and your parts are played well, you really can pile it on. There is rarely any need for huge dynamics in bass - you want a solid foundation for your track - so compressed bass doesn't just sound good, it makes mixing a lot easier.
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby _.jk._ » Mon Apr 28, 2008 11:40 pm

I don't agree with using loads of compression, just a bit to bring it into place.

It never hurts to record the same take with more than one mic or DI, These will bring different tonalities to the recording and you can mix them in as quiet or loud as you want. If you do do this however, you need to zoom right in to your waveforms and line up the signal so that it's in phase, this will make it sound nice. Compress them both a bit, in fact at the bottom of this SOS article there are some useful compressor settings http://www.soundonsound.com/SOS/1996_ar ... ssion.html .

Once you do this (and add a bit of reverb and small amount of EQ) your recording should sound fine!

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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby Steve Hill » Mon Apr 28, 2008 11:50 pm

I always take two feeds from a bass... DI and mic. It saved my life as recently as two days ago, where the DI feed (from the player's amp DI out) had loads of spikes and artifacts, so we binned it and went with the mic.

In nearly all cases I put a bit of (moderate) valve compression (Chiswick Reach) on both sources, when recording. I may add more later.

My best results have been with experienced bass players who know how important an even level is when tracking. That's irreplaceable. And (these days) extremely rare. 10-15 years ago you used to work with bass players who just knew this stuff; now it's all "we can fix it later can't we".
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby _.jk._ » Mon Apr 28, 2008 11:58 pm

exactly what i mentioned as a point within my dissertation, stating that an uprise in digital technology could cause a downfall in talent!
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:07 am

Kempo wrote:Once you do this (and add a bit of reverb and small amount of EQ) your recording should sound fine!

'Bass' and 'reverb' in the same posting - but no mention of the word 'never'!? Ouch! :D
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby James Perrett » Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:09 am

A good bass sound is down to the player. There's no substitute for practice. If notes are uneven try playing those notes slowly and practice until they sound even. Then try speeding things up while keeping the notes sounding even.

Cheers

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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby archdake mkII » Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:25 am

It's how you play mostly. You should learn to practise with a VU meter, Try to get within -+2dB from 0. [not an easy thing to do!]

As for some added help for bass consistency I often try EQ before compression - even if EQ doesn't take you all the way, there's less comp needed afterwards. Many basses put out much more energy in their second octave. So, with some strategic boosts and cuts centered around, say, 50Hz and 100Hz you can considerably even out the bass track. Q should be around 1 octave.

This will not help much of the high strings problems but, hey, I told you to practise!
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby _.jk._ » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:45 am

why would you not add reverb?!
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