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Tips for recording bass

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

Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby Scouser » Tue Apr 29, 2008 5:18 pm

Thanks again to everyone, lot of things i can try....

as well as a bit more practice ;)
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby MadManDan » Tue Apr 29, 2008 5:43 pm

Dave_84 wrote:... Chorus maybe, but just a little.
Make sure if you use chorus that you thin the lows out on the send to the chorus. Otherwise you'll have all these thick bassy waves swirling aroung ruining your bottom end
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby MadManDan » Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:07 pm

Kempo wrote:exactly what i mentioned as a point within my dissertation, stating that an uprise in digital technology could cause a downfall in talent!
music instructors need to stress the importance of practice - maybe even require that the student NOT use anything but the most basic, compressor-free environment when they practice. No DAWs !
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby Grantsos » Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:45 pm

The Elf wrote:If you want to cloud up a mix and use up all the dynamic low frequencies the best way to do it is to add reverb to bass.

Nope, not a good idea in general, though there are always exceptions...

Yes, i.e. orchestral bass is intrinsically "wet" and there's very effective room and bleed in some reggae tracks... Though artificial verb is used less AFAIK, a *dash* of an appropriate room sound can bed-in the bass for some production styles.
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby _.jk._ » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:52 pm

So, quick thread Hi-jack...

Would you add reverb to elec guitar, Clean or distorted?

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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby The Elf » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:54 am

Kempo wrote:So, quick thread Hi-jack...

Would you add reverb to elec guitar, Clean or distorted?

Yes and yes.

More often than not it will be very short and just enough to add the magic ingredient. Much of the time I use very short delays too.

In complete contrast I'm currently working on a rock track that features a 'Queen-like' big guitar lift in the bridges, consisting of several single notes in harmony; I've added gallons of longer reverb on those to make them into some lush pad-type thing.

Music isn't about rules, it's about using your ears, brain and soul.

The best way to assess any advice about production is to go completely against it to see what happens - then you can make up your own mind. If the advice holds up it may become a self-imposed 'rule' to save you expending fruitless time and effort, but if it doesn't you may just have discovered something new and you can tell people like me to go away and think again! :D
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby archdake mkII » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:28 am

Regarding the reverb on bass thing: Although usually a no-no, the [side-]effects depend largely on the type of reverb used and the way the send/return to/from the reverb are processed. A hall preset with long decay will sound awful. A carefully chosen (or parameterised] plate or ambiance on the other hand with some eq-ing on the send and return can be useful.
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby Neil C » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:43 am

The Ampeg Svx bass plug in has a dedicated reverb slider. All the way up that is too much, but a little can give a helpful ambience.
Quite a lot of the 70's dub reggae I listen to has clear 'ambience' on the bass (I presume from mic position in relation to a big cab) - and it doesn't suffer for it.
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby Pubmgr » Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:40 pm

I tried a lot of things to even up the sound on my (cheap) Samick bass. First, new pickups. Duncan or some such (standard quality brand, passive). They sounded almost exactly like the old ones!

Then tried moving the pickups lower, farther away from the strings. That seemed to help noticeably.

Then I got cheap DI (Bass V-Amp) That helped a LOT!!!!!

Then I got new strings, the old ones were four years old, and I don't play bass nearly as much as guitar. BIG difference, from the brand, I think. They are DR brand. Probably Hi Beams, but the bass is home, and I'm not! LOL. I went from playing the middle two strings, because the other two didn't sound that good, to playing three of the four (the highest string sounds a little bright/thin compared to the rest).

Compression, of course, and even playing, of course. It all adds up!

Cheers, Tom
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby Scouser » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:46 pm

Im finding i prefer passive, rather than active, although both have there uses..
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby Brian Moynihan » Thu May 01, 2008 9:02 am

If you can adjust the pickup height, check that one side isn't low down affecting the strings closest to that screw adjuster, if those strings are quieter try adjusting the pickup a little higher.

I'd say EQ then compression should nail any further imbalance. Unless you're playing a £5000 bass through the worlds best gear there's almost always frequencies that dip and others that peak. Try playing through a spectral meter that holds it's average levels so you can get an overall picture of the frequencies once you've played through all the strings and various frets, you might notice where the biggest problems are and then know what to EQ.

As for reverb on bass, I wouldn't normally whack a reverb plugin on a bass guitar, but conversely I find DI'd bass the most horrible sound known to man, it's like using a software sampler bass instead of a real one. This is probably a taste thing, but most of my favorite recordings form the 60s and 70s have very 'roomy' or spacious bass guitar that's been recorded either from the amp or captured along with the rest of the band in one space (beach boys/motown sound) I also find that sort of bass sits in a song a lot better because it captures more harmonic distortion than a DI recording ever would, meaning you don't need to insert 15 plugins on the track just to get a useable bass track.
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby Grantsos » Thu May 01, 2008 12:50 pm

Pete Standing Alone wrote:...I find DI'd bass the most horrible sound known to man, it's like using a software sampler bass instead of a real one. This is probably a taste thing, but most of my favorite recordings form the 60s and 70s have very 'roomy' or spacious bass guitar that's been recorded either from the amp or captured along with the rest of the band in one space (beach boys/motown sound)

Jamerson recorded direct for the motown stuff... (though, I think Kaye favoured an amp). AFAIK Motown's producers were renowned for DI'ing things. I think it's more a question of the player and equipment when chasing a good DI tone. Jamerson also rarely, if ever, changed his strings.
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby Dog » Thu May 01, 2008 8:34 pm

"Tips for recording bass"

Try to get your mic right up next to the water! void(0)
:lol: :lol:

Cheers,
Dog.

Sorry folks it was a bit late in the post for that.
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby Steve Hill » Thu May 01, 2008 10:54 pm

I would not rule out DI-ed bass, especially through say a Sansamp pre, and/or if you treat it afterwards with say the Ampeg SVX plug-in. One album we did last year was entirely done that way, and I'd defy anyone listening to it to recognise the fact!

BUT - there are some rubbish DI boxes out there, and plenty of other ways to create a less than lovely signal path if you want to!

I always take a DI-ed track even if I'm miking a bass (which I usually do). Sometimes when mixing I'll decide just to go with the DI track for whatever reason. Other times I'll just go with the mic. Or both, whatever....
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Re: Tips for recording bass

Postby The Elf » Fri May 02, 2008 8:45 am

I love DI'd bass, providing we have the right amp and the right input. An Ampeg DI into the Fireface instrument input is a thing of beauty and a sound I wish all bassists could give me!
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