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Thread: Mic choice suggestions for upright bass

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    leddy is offline 1K Silver Member
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    Mic choice suggestions for upright bass

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    I play in a jazz trio (piano, bass, drums). I like to record live gigs, the performance energy is better. I have been recording my upright bass with a Shure Beta 98 H/C attached to the bridge. The sound is decent, but mostly because I get an acceptable balance of sound vs. isolation in a live setting. (The other instuments are recorded with Oktava MC012's, SM57's, and a D112 on the kick). I was thinking of switching to something like a RE20 on the bass.

    Does the RE20 reject other sounds well? Has anyone used it on upright bass? Any other mic suggestions for less than $400 or so?

    Thanks

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    GYMusic is offline Newbie
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    I have used an RE-20 on an upright bass with excellent results. Even though the RE-20 is advertised as a cardioid, I find it to be more of an omni. It doesn't have a great deal of proximity effect which makes it a great choice. Rejection might not be good enough for you in a live situation.

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    capnreverb is offline Senior Member
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    I have used lapel mics/saxaphone mics that attatch to the bell of the horn. I place them facing into one of the soundholes using a clip of some sort. This has given me some decent sounds without too much bleeding. Plus, its sounds great on bowing. My band right now has sometimes up to 3 uprights, so I have a lot of experiance in micing them in a loud live situation.
    Another bet is if you are using a pickup you really like, then use the direct out on your amp instead of a mic.
    Also, one of my bass players has had real good luck jerry rigging old stereo speakers as a contact mic. He wraps one in some cloth and squeezes it behind the bridge. Sounds great.

    In a non live situation, i have used two C4's, one pointing at the soundhole, the other at the neck, with good results. My beyer M500 pointing at the soundhole sounds amazing on an upright.
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    Bodhisan is offline Hillbilly
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    In a prior thread, Harvey said he got a pleasant surprise by positioning an MXL 603S, I think, about 6" from the bridge, pointing up at the bass player -- as the bass player was the leader and he used this mike to communicate with him, but then found it got the best sound on the bass. Sometimes the best sound comes by accident.

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    petimar is offline Senior Member
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    I've had good results with a Shure KSM44. I see many acoustic string bands using these live for almost every instrument.

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    BrettB is offline 1K Silver Member
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    I had great results when I recorded an upright bass last year, when I was spoiled and could record in a big studio.

    I used a Neumann tube mic on a meter of the F-hole, a Blue Bottle aimed at the neck/left hand (don't know the English term, but you know what I mean), and I mixed it with the element the bassist had on his upright.

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    leddy is offline 1K Silver Member
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    Thanks for the suggestions. I would probably not go with a large diaphragm condenser because I don't think I would get enough isolation. Sounds like the RE20 would not get enough either. In the studio is another story. For recording live, I may just have to experiment with some good small mics. The MXL 603S is something I'll explore. The Shure Beta 98 I use is a little clip on condenser that sounds good, just not great. Thanks again.

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