Recording bass

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
I read Marcus Miller saying something akin to that many, many moons ago. He said "Black guys don't hear bass, they feel it."
I wanted to chuck him in the river, too !
I definitely feel the bass. But I flaming well hear it, big time. That combo of the tactile and a good hummable line that musically moves a song.
This. McCartney’s bass lines were an integral part of the song and you can definitely hear them, ESPECIALLY in a song like With a Little Help From My Friends.
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
I was just reading an old article which offered this as done in the studio:

Record one DI line, one mic on the amp's speaker line, and one mic aimed at the pickup you're using - to capture attack and other sounds.

I've not heard of mic'ing a bass guitar's pickups/strings/plucking in this manner, but I know there's some sound coming from down there.. so what the hell, right. It's a different attack sound than what you get with a compressor.
 
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LazerBeakShiek

AKA Optimus Prime LEGO Vampire
Record one DI line, one mic on the amp's speaker line, and one mic aimed at the pickup you're using - to capture attack and other sounds.
Interesting, are you able to get the initial click or pop from the bass with that method? How can I get more of the bass guitar click, instead of the thump or thud? Like the bass drum impact, how it sounds like a click at first.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
In the band I was using an 8x10" cab and I was loud - remember this was a Beach Boy tribute, so the majority of the baselines go duh, duh, with only a few songs needing attack - and I'd use my finger nails. It was a real pain to take about. I always DI'd from the amp, or sometimes from a DI box into the PA and we moved to in-ears. The FOH guy told me my fader usually stayed close to off - I was loud enough. So I started to use the cable DI not the amp and gradually move the master down over a period of maybe 6 shows. The last show not one Watt of me came from the cab, and the next show, I left the amp in the van along with the cab. The next gig, the keyboard player spotted no amp and cab and said I needed to get it because he'd never be able to hear me across the stage. That's when I told him I'd stopped making any noise quite a few shows back and from that moment, the amp and cab was history and I brought a small 2 x 10" combo with me for emergencies. I haven't plugged any of my bass amps or speakers in now since christmas 2019. For me, I just don't see the need. The music doesn't need it.
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
Interesting, are you able to get the initial click or pop from the bass with that method? How can I get more of the bass guitar click, instead of the thump or thud? Like the bass drum impact, how it sounds like a click at first.
I suppose doing that and using a pick would do it - I use thin picks and they slap a lot. I don't have a dynamic mic to try this with, but I could try it with my condenser - see what happens.

You might also try playing with the attack setting on your compressor.
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
In the band I was using an 8x10" cab and I was loud - remember this was a Beach Boy tribute, so the majority of the baselines go duh, duh, with only a few songs needing attack - and I'd use my finger nails. It was a real pain to take about. I always DI'd from the amp, or sometimes from a DI box into the PA and we moved to in-ears. The FOH guy told me my fader usually stayed close to off - I was loud enough. So I started to use the cable DI not the amp and gradually move the master down over a period of maybe 6 shows. The last show not one Watt of me came from the cab, and the next show, I left the amp in the van along with the cab. The next gig, the keyboard player spotted no amp and cab and said I needed to get it because he'd never be able to hear me across the stage. That's when I told him I'd stopped making any noise quite a few shows back and from that moment, the amp and cab was history and I brought a small 2 x 10" combo with me for emergencies. I haven't plugged any of my bass amps or speakers in now since christmas 2019. For me, I just don't see the need. The music doesn't need it.
That's very much like my story. I went from an Ampeg head & 8x10 cab down to a GK head only into our PA or FOH. Then downsized further to a Roland GP-8 rack unit. Then my GP-8 was stolen and I went to a Boss CS-3 pedal into the PA/FOH. I sure didn't miss having to haul those amps and cabs around - it was the loading and unloading that wore me out.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Exactly my thoughts. I loved the big cabinet, but I think it was 80kg or something daft like that! It’s in my store sideways and I just can’t get even slide it out on my own!
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
I spent all day yesterday with Amplitube 5. Most of the day and early evening was spent uninstalling and reinstalling stuff to get it working ok with Reaper. After all was straightened out, I relaxed with guitar in hand, checking out some new amps for guitar and bass. I found a good clean amp for my Strat, plus a really nice metal amp with great sound for power chords and lead - not harsh at all.. very smooth. Way better than OD, Dist or Fuzz pedals. Then the bass head..

This thread got me thinking of my old GK head, which I preferred over the SVT it replaced. Amp 5 has a model but it's locked up in their Custom Shop as a Try or Buy. So I'm trying it for 72 hrs. and it sounds fantastic. It's pretty much exactly the sound I've been looking for, with everything else I've tried being to harsh - mid-rangey with no buttery low end or too much low end booming away. For $25 I'm going to go ahead and buy.

Anyway, it's another leg in the evolution of a bass player's gear. From the "tall as me" Ampeg setup down to a few microchips and some excellent software. I'm afraid to think of what's next in this chain.
 
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Tomeh

New member
I'm often struggling to get a decent bass tone on my songs. They often sound 'woofy' or 'flabby' The strings are in decent nick and I'm not quite sure where I'm going wrong. I record DI into a focusrite solo and have tried a couple of plug ins along with reapers own cockos compression preset for bass. Any tips, tricks and advice would be greatly appreciated!

Mark
Lot's of great, real, experienced advice.

What are the common threads?
1. Every bass player works on "their sound" until they take their last breath, me included.
2. True with all electric instruments is that the combination of bass, amplifier, speaker and player make up their sound and some have come to find out that with experience the amp/speaker can be eliminated and still get a great sound.
3. The basic principle that we hear the bass relative to all the other instruments and voices is always true just as it is on the stage and in the recording (ask Rob's keyboard player). Therefore if the end goal is the recording, check how a change in the bass chain sounds in the total mix before abandoning it.
4. Try to find an example of how you want the bass to sound in some other recording and reverse engineer it.

Cheers to all my Bass playing friends.
To boldly go where no one has gone before. ;-)

Tom eh
 

LazerBeakShiek

AKA Optimus Prime LEGO Vampire
Am I too picky? Am I wrong?

If you have a punchy solo'd bass track you want to share, I'd like to hear it. Monitor it through subwoofers and listen to initial signature. My tracks don't pass the subwoofer test, unless I layer it from a sample on top of the analog.
 
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