You are here

Bass sound dilemma

For all things relating to guitars, basses, amps, pedals & accessories.

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby SecretSam » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:37 pm

"My heart sinks a little if they pull out a Gibson and sinks a lot if it is a Rickenbacker"

I'm with you about Gibsons. I never found a Gibson bass that was any good. Chris Squire managed to wring a couple of usable takes from his Rickenbacker, though.
SecretSam
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1506
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Officially, I do not exist.
Instant gratification is actually pretty good. It's fast as well.

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:46 pm

Lemmy and McCartney managed to salvage a few too over the years.
User avatar
Dr Huge Longjohns
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3643
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Gallifrey
"The performance is 99.9% of what people hear"- J. Leckie
"It's all complete nonsense, anyone who knows what they're doing can deliver great results with whatever comes to hand" - H. Robjohns

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby The Elf » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:40 pm

"My heart sinks a little if they pull out a Gibson and sinks a lot if it is a Rickenbacker"
:wtf: :protest:
https://youtu.be/_w8SY_9yO8k
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 14546
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:46 pm

I recall Chris Squire saying he could get all those Ricky sounds out of his Fender Jazz Bass (but not the other way around)
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12787
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby BigRedX » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:31 pm

IME A good engineer is able to get a bass sound that suits the band and their style of music whatever instrument they happen to be using.

The Red Bladder would hate me. Since I bought my first one back in 1981, I've used a range of weird and wonderful bass guitars, with never a Fender in sight. I did briefly have a Squier Jazz which I hated almost everything about - especially the sound which was horrible and weedy compared to the other basses I was using at the time. Currently I use either a Gus G3 5-string or a Burns Barracuda Bass VI depending on what I need to be playing.

None of the recording engineers I've worked with over the years have ever made any derogatory comments about my choice of instrument(s) and all of them have quite easily succeeded in getting exactly the right sound for the style of music I have been playing at the time. TBH nearly always, I plug in and there it is.
User avatar
BigRedX
Frequent Poster
Posts: 823
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2004 12:00 am
RockinRollin' VampireMan

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:01 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:A four-inch ribbon?!
For years I was dissatisfied with the sound I got from ANY mic for a bass fiddle or double-bass if you prefer. The instrument could make a wonderful sound, but the recording never truly reflected the deep fundamental sound you get when standing next to the thing. The closest I got was with an old RCA ribbon, but it was not mine and I had to give it back.

Frustrated, I built two using the usual Lundahl transformer and high-powered magnets ("Of course I know what a magnet is Olly. It's a little animal that eats cheese.") The result is superb. The best mics for bass that I know or have ever used!

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
If they heave something from the Far East into view
So you'd kick Nathan East out of the studio with his Yamahas then? Or Carol Kaye with her Ibanez? Seems a tad harsh!
Star performers do not use shop-bought off-the-shelf equipment. It is nearly always custom made by specialist companies and badged.

I once spent five days recording a famous drummer who was sponsored by Ludwig and Zildjian and on the set-up day, a van arrived with a crate filled with a complete kit that had just been made for that recording in Ludwig's specialised workshop. Every inch of that kit and those cymbals was beautiful and perfectly finished!

The same applies to guitars, but most keyboard players seem to have to get their own stuff! Go figure!

Over and above that - I NEVER comment on what musicians bring into the studio. If they want to use X, X it is! My job is to reproduce the exact sound they are creating in the room. If someone wants to play a Chinese bass through a digital effects rack and over a solid-state amp, then I must assume that is the (nasty) sound they really want.

If asked for my opinion (quite another thing!) I MIGHT suggest a proper amp and analogue effects if any at all.

BigRedX wrote:IME A good engineer is able to get a bass sound that suits the band and their style of music whatever instrument they happen to be using.
That's like saying "No matter how thin and weedy a singer may sound, a good engineer should record a full-bodied sound."

I'm not there to get some magic sound by interfering with what you are doing. Getting a specific sound out of your instrument is your job!
The Red Bladder
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2491
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:00 am
Location: . . .
 

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby Sam Inglis » Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:55 pm

I once got suckered into bidding in an online auction for what I thought was a BBC Marconi Type A ribbon mic. I was ecstatic when I won it for about £150.

When it turned up it wasn't a Type A at all, and had clearly never been near the BBC. It actually appeared to have been entirely home-made by some enthusiastic but slightly clueless individual. There were many unusual things about it, of which the most unusual was its sheer size. When we talk about 'long ribbon' mics we usually mean that the ribbon element is two inches long. In this mic it was more than six inches long! The mic itself was more than a foot tall.

It passed signal, but only barely. I sent it to Stewart at Xaudia and he sadly informed me that the design was so weird it could never possibly work, so I put it on eBay as an interesting novelty and Edwyn Collins bought it.
Sam Inglis
Moderator
Posts: 2649
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 1:00 am

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:31 pm

The Elf wrote:
"My heart sinks a little if they pull out a Gibson and sinks a lot if it is a Rickenbacker"
:wtf: :protest:
https://youtu.be/_w8SY_9yO8k

Now that's luvverly bass playing by Nick Beggs 8-) :clap:

I'd have preferred a tad more bottom end, but hey I'm not complaining ;)


Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 15911
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby Sam Inglis » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:14 am

Nice playing but I'm with RB on the sound there. Why would you ever want a bass guitar to go 'clank'?
Sam Inglis
Moderator
Posts: 2649
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 1:00 am

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby The Elf » Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:23 am

Sam Inglis wrote:Nice playing but I'm with RB on the sound there. Why would you ever want a bass guitar to go 'clank'?
Errr... Did you listen to that example I posted? How could anyone doubt that's a fantastic bass sound? It's all in the fingers!
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 14546
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby Wonks » Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:17 pm

And it's a Warwick bass, so Bladder would be happy.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10886
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby Sam Inglis » Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:04 pm

The Elf wrote:Errr... Did you listen to that example I posted? How could anyone doubt that's a fantastic bass sound? It's all in the fingers!

It's barely a bass sound at all!

The playing is great but the sound is thin and clanky.
Sam Inglis
Moderator
Posts: 2649
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 1:00 am

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby The Elf » Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:26 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:
The Elf wrote:Errr... Did you listen to that example I posted? How could anyone doubt that's a fantastic bass sound? It's all in the fingers!

It's barely a bass sound at all!

The playing is great but the sound is thin and clanky.
We are listening to two completely different songs!!! :headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :lol:
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 14546
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby BigRedX » Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:35 pm

TBH I have yet to come across any bass that wan't capable of producing a perfectly good bass guitar sound in the hands of a half-way competent player, and recorded by a decent engineer.

To sort of get back to the OP, what I find with musicians who are chasing a particular sound from a recording (for any instrument) is that they rarely consider the overall musical context. What makes instruments in songs sound great is not the sound of the instrument on its own but how it works with all the others in the arrangement and production. Taken out of context and while you might have nailed the sound exactly it no longer sounds right because it doesn't have the correct sonic space to sit in any more.

I discovered this in my synth playing days back in the 80s when I would hear a fantastic sound on a new record that I wanted to emulate, but by the time I'd made it work for my own music it had undergone so many changes, it bore little resemblance to what had inspired me in the first place.
User avatar
BigRedX
Frequent Poster
Posts: 823
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2004 12:00 am
RockinRollin' VampireMan

Re: Bass sound dilemma

Postby Music Wolf » Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:29 pm

I'm with The Elf with regard to that bass sound - absolutely gorgeous. I also like basses that go thump, but it's all about context and for that track / playing style the sound fits.

With regard to Rickenbackers I sorely miss my old 4001 (which I sold 35 years ago). I lust after a 4003 but, as I've now moved on to 6 string duties, I'll have to make do with my Ibanez and Tokais. I did purchase the Scarabee Rick VST which I use when I'm arranging stuff for the covers band and the sound is amazing.
User avatar
Music Wolf
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2054
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:00 am
Location: Exiled to St Helens

PreviousNext