Old 04-24-2017, 06:25 AM   #1
Flaneurette
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Default Recording Bass Guitar

Hello everyone,

I finally managed to get back to playing bass, after a 25 year hiatus and illness.

When I record bass beneath an electronic distorted guitar, it sounds very detached? Are there any tricks to make it sound good and cohesive? I thought it would be easy, but apparently it is not so. The genre I play is metal, metal bass in this instance.

There is so much information out there, that I don't know what to trust. Are there proven strategies in recording metal bass, and then make it sound good with guitar?

Would love to hear some tips or pointers.
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Old 04-24-2017, 06:33 AM   #2
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Are the strings 25 years old, too?

Would need to hear a sample to tell you what needs changing.
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Old 04-24-2017, 06:36 AM   #3
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No, just a few years.

I play direct in, so no amps... for got to mention it.
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Old 04-24-2017, 07:40 AM   #4
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I've upload a part of the recording I am doing. The first bit has the guitars + bass. The second part has only the bass.

https://soundcloud.com/user-415445589/bass-record-test

The bass has no effects.

I play both guitars and bass. These are all down stroke power chords.
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Last edited by Flaneurette; 04-24-2017 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 04-24-2017, 09:06 AM   #5
jerome_oneil
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"Good and cohesive" can mean a lot of things. Do you have a reference track that you could say "sounds like this?"

Typically with bass, I start with a pretty wide band pass filter to knock off the extreme highs (pick noise, usually) and lows (mud) and then EQ from there.
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Old 04-24-2017, 09:42 AM   #6
Flaneurette
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerome_oneil View Post
"Good and cohesive" can mean a lot of things. Do you have a reference track that you could say "sounds like this?"

Typically with bass, I start with a pretty wide band pass filter to knock off the extreme highs (pick noise, usually) and lows (mud) and then EQ from there.
Yes, and a compressor I guess to clamp down on the rumbling.

I have yet to add a cabinet to the bass, and maybe add some slight distortion. That's all I can think off right now.

I want it to sound somewhat glued together. Currently it sounds like two recordings playing at the same time, instead of something that is whole.

So I'm not sure yet.. are there any other tricks.
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:12 AM   #7
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Here is what works for me:

* Bass Professor II (VST): http://sonic.supermaailma.net/plugins This VST can get the low end really low and help you deal with mids too (mids are important so people can hear the bass in cheap speakers...)

* Compressors are good, but also figure out what notes don't sound so loud. Most bass guitars have some notes (sometimes strings) that sound a bit duller. You can use a dynamic EQ or regular EQ to deal with some specific notes. This helps a lot to make each note sound/cut equally in the mix.

* Some saturation, before the compression, can help, especially if you're dealing with rock/metal songs.

* Reverb (this depends on the rest of the song); you'll want to place the bass sound in the right depth level in the soundscape.

But... all the above does not replace how you play the bass!!! Tone is in the fingers or pick, attack and release of the strings, and how new/old the strings are (even different brands).

Ohhh... I record DI; if you are mic'ing an amp there is more to figure out.
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RDBOIS View Post
Here is what works for me:

* Bass Professor II (VST): http://sonic.supermaailma.net/plugins This VST can get the low end really low and help you deal with mids too (mids are important so people can hear the bass in cheap speakers...)
That's a nice plugin! been looking for something like this for a while. Thanks!
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:48 AM   #9
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The "typical" bass setup for heavy music these days tends to involve splitting it into multiple tracks for specific things:

Bass folder
--Clank
--Grit
--Low
--Bass DI (parent send disabled, sending to each of the other three tracks)

Optional: Compression on the DI track to get the performance fairly level, or use automation or item gain to do the same thing.

Low:
  • LPF all the way down to 150Hz or so
  • Compress pretty hard so the low end is as consistent as possible

Grit:
  • HPF at 300-500Hz, LPF at 3kHz-5kHz
  • Throw a bit of distortion on it, anything from an overdrive to a bass amp to a Rectifier. This will serve as the "glue" with the guitars.
  • Cabinet optional
  • HPF and LPF again, since the distortion probably added content in the ranges you filtered
  • Play with some EQ to see what sounds best. I often find that a narrow cut around 1kHz can keep the grit track from sounding a little too obnoxious

Clank:
  • This one's a matter of taste. Some use it just for high-end pick attack, but I like a little clean midrange to help the bass stay audible in between the guitars.
  • HPF and LPF similar to the Grit track.
  • Play with an EQ in the mids if there's too much "honk". Lately I've been boosting a little right around the HPF's cutoff, boosting a little in the 1-2kHz range, and cutting in between them.
  • Compression and some saturation can be useful here.

Bass folder:
  • Use some more EQ here with the full mix playing to help the bass cut through, but without being really obnoxious (mids particularly)
  • Compress/limit a little to get the bass at as consistent a level as possible.
  • Consider a sidechain compressor triggered by the kick, just the bring the bass down a few dB on each hit. This keeps the mix's low end from getting too huge. Alternatively, a multiband compressor or dynamic EQ with sidechain capability will let you duck ONLY the bass's low end - TDR Nova is awesome for this.

You might have noticed that my HPF/LPF suggestions left a big gap in the low mids - this gives the guitars their own space, and hopefully you're cutting the guitars a bit in the <200Hz range so the kick and bass aren't fighting with them. You can also use a sidechained dynamic EQ for this as well, placing it on the guitar bus and triggering it from the kick and bass - this will let you leave more low end in the guitars for when they're playing alone, but it will be ducked out when the big kids come in.

Useful reading material: http://www.systematicproductions.com/mixing-guide.htm

Last edited by Lokasenna; 04-24-2017 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:35 AM   #10
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Thank you Lokasenna! as always, you deliver.

That is interesting... back in the old days (oh God..I feel old) we just recorded straight to cassette. It's a whole lot easier right now, but at the same time more complex.
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Old 06-04-2017, 10:21 PM   #11
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Further to Lokasenna's suggestions, which are great.....
get BOD preamp vst! It's free and awesome.
Keep adding a bit of drive until it's just distorting a bit and it will often sit really nicely with distorted guitar.
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Old 06-05-2017, 03:09 PM   #12
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You sure the timing is locking together? When I play bass (I'm a guitarist) I really need to make an effort to get the bass and guitar to lock together, and also do some time stretching to make it right. It's surprising how even a tiny change makes a huge difference.

All the tips about sound above are good. I always EQ and process bass in the context of the track, with everything up, not in solo. It's really important, I find.

For tracking I use an MXR Bass DI into a valve pre.
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lokasenna View Post
The "typical" bass setup for heavy music these days tends to involve splitting it into multiple tracks for specific things:

Bass folder
--Clank
--Grit
--Low
--Bass DI (parent send disabled, sending to each of the other three tracks)

Optional: Compression on the DI track to get the performance fairly level, or use automation or item gain to do the same thing.

Low:
  • LPF all the way down to 150Hz or so
  • Compress pretty hard so the low end is as consistent as possible

Grit:
  • HPF at 300-500Hz, LPF at 3kHz-5kHz
  • Throw a bit of distortion on it, anything from an overdrive to a bass amp to a Rectifier. This will serve as the "glue" with the guitars.
  • Cabinet optional
  • HPF and LPF again, since the distortion probably added content in the ranges you filtered
  • Play with some EQ to see what sounds best. I often find that a narrow cut around 1kHz can keep the grit track from sounding a little too obnoxious

Clank:
  • This one's a matter of taste. Some use it just for high-end pick attack, but I like a little clean midrange to help the bass stay audible in between the guitars.
  • HPF and LPF similar to the Grit track.
  • Play with an EQ in the mids if there's too much "honk". Lately I've been boosting a little right around the HPF's cutoff, boosting a little in the 1-2kHz range, and cutting in between them.
  • Compression and some saturation can be useful here.

Bass folder:
  • Use some more EQ here with the full mix playing to help the bass cut through, but without being really obnoxious (mids particularly)
  • Compress/limit a little to get the bass at as consistent a level as possible.
  • Consider a sidechain compressor triggered by the kick, just the bring the bass down a few dB on each hit. This keeps the mix's low end from getting too huge. Alternatively, a multiband compressor or dynamic EQ with sidechain capability will let you duck ONLY the bass's low end - TDR Nova is awesome for this.

You might have noticed that my HPF/LPF suggestions left a big gap in the low mids - this gives the guitars their own space, and hopefully you're cutting the guitars a bit in the <200Hz range so the kick and bass aren't fighting with them. You can also use a sidechained dynamic EQ for this as well, placing it on the guitar bus and triggering it from the kick and bass - this will let you leave more low end in the guitars for when they're playing alone, but it will be ducked out when the big kids come in.

Useful reading material: http://www.systematicproductions.com/mixing-guide.htm
Holy crap !!!! I am so far behind the times, thanks for all this info dude
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Old 06-06-2017, 01:10 PM   #14
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I experimented with splitting between clean and distorted (with Rat stompox sim) once. Definitely adds a bit of definition while keeping the bottom end alive (which distortion totally eats, at least in POD farm). Scratching my head why I'm not using this trick more. Maybe because more growl would interfere with the sample/synth soup that I usually put above the basslines.

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Old 06-06-2017, 01:31 PM   #15
grinder
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Faneurette I got myself a really good valve preamp to use and put my Bass through that.
I am finding Fab Filter Saturn great as a character vst after the track is laid.

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Old 06-06-2017, 06:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneurette View Post
I've upload a part of the recording I am doing. The first bit has the guitars + bass. The second part has only the bass.

https://soundcloud.com/user-415445589/bass-record-test

The bass has no effects.

I play both guitars and bass. These are all down stroke power chords.
Link says file's been removed. Can you post a new one?
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