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About bass recording

about bass recording

posted on #1
wjl Supporter
Posts: 796
Joined: Feb 14, 2018
Hi friends,

I was asked lately how to record bass, and while I go right into my interface and do everything "in the box" (the computer; I don't even have a bass amp or external effects at the moment), there are a million different ways on how to do it of course. From my time of being in the studios (that's about 40+ years ago already) I know that many if not most bass recordings are directly into the mixing console (or now into the computer), we also did different ways.

I thought that for newcomers to this, a short demo video done by a pro would probably be helpful, so here's Warren Huart (see the Wikipedia page at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Huart for more info about him) showing how he mixes Bass DI and a microphone from a bass amp, and how he aligns the phase in ProTools when doing that - translate this to your own DAW as/if needed. Oh, and the short demo recording is also nice, it shows a pro at work, and I always love to see that:

[youtube]9F5XgkvGuSE[/youtube]

Wait, I saw another one lately, by recording legend Al Schmitt (and of course that man has a Wikipedia entry at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Schmitt as well), let me see if I can find it again... ah yes, here:

[youtube]2FKXpUD3TWY[/youtube]

That's a bass DI signal "only", but in this case it comes from a DI with a built-in tube. Nice to have if you got the money for these ;)

Ok, I was writing this short and fast before starting to work, so I hope it helps. In case anyone was interested in how I get my tone (which I'm still constantly trying to improve), I could make a video about that as well.

Cheers,
Wolfgang
+11
posted on #2
GrooveEnth
Member
Posts: 118
Joined: Nov 21, 2015
Now this is a thread that could (and should) run and run!

One of my favourite things about Wikiloops is that it's forced me to grapple with getting a good bass sound. I still struggle a lot with it but some constants that seem to work well for me....

* When possible record 'dry' and then route it to a second track to add effects. Then you can always go back to mix in parts of the dry track to boost the sound.

* Adding effects (as I do a lot) works best if apply them to the high-end of the bass. Depending upon what I'm adding I might only take everything up from 1K (e.g. for some shimmering delay). This is where routing the main signal to a new 'effects' track helps a lot since you can apply the eq before the delay without affecting the original part.

* Compression is the big one. I still don't have a perfect recipe for this but I tend to like a multiband compressor splitting it around 300Hz and 900Hz (sometimes with a 4th band after 2K). Ratios vary between 2 and 4.

I recently bought the Waves "CLA bass" plugin which has a nice set of simple sliders. It seems to be pretty good for a raspy rock sound though less good for a nice smooth pop tune.

Would be interested in knowing what tips others have!
+3
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posted on #3
wjl Supporter
Posts: 796
Joined: Feb 14, 2018
Agreed on all points, GE! Oh, and on his #155161 remix, OliVBee used CLA on my bass. I tried to emulate that a bit with free tools and with all of the points you've mentioned above in #156597 :)
posted on #4
Ernie440 Supporter
Posts: 311
Joined: Feb 27, 2016
Cool stuff guys .. while checking out the British guy's vids, I came across this one with Billy Sheehan ... what a player, fun to see him laying down a track, he plays so effortlessly and what a tone. I think any bass player who attempts to home record ...would like to see this one..

[youtube]r6ya71JSygA[/youtube]
+6
posted on #5
rp3drums Supporter
Posts: 115
Joined: Mar 24, 2014
And notice how loud that click is! They all live by it..
+2
posted on #6
eGiL Supporter
Posts: 108
Joined: Nov 9, 2016
Ernie440 wrote:
Cool stuff guys .. while checking out the British guy's vids, I came across this one with Billy Sheehan ... what a player, fun to see him laying down a track, he plays so effortlessly and what a tone. I think any bass player who attempts to home record ...would like to see this one..

[youtube]r6ya71JSygA[/youtube]


I need an assistant that can stop my recordings when i mess up and just start it back up where i need to redo :P Would save me a lot of time! :P
+2
posted on #7
Ernie440 Supporter
Posts: 311
Joined: Feb 27, 2016
eGiL wrote:
Ernie440 wrote:
Cool stuff guys .. while checking out the British guy's vids, I came across this one with Billy Sheehan ... what a player, fun to see him laying down a track, he plays so effortlessly and what a tone. I think any bass player who attempts to home record ...would like to see this one..

[youtube]r6ya71JSygA[/youtube]


I need an assistant that can stop my recordings when i mess up and just start it back up where i need to redo :P Would save me a lot of time! :P


Good job for Jim!! :D
+4
posted on #8
Zapfool
Member
Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 28, 2016
Hi Ernie. Thanks for this video. I'll watch it as soon as I'm at home. I was facing a small issue, just a lack of comfort when recording as each time I missed my take, I had to manipulate the mouse, meaning removing hand from instrument and somehow loosing the focus/feeling. I bought a simple USB foot switch equipped with 3 pedals and I configured as follow: 1st delete
2nd stop/ play
3rd rec

It changed my life. I can loop into a selected section and record 10 times in a row without moving my hands from my bass. It is really comfortable. It tought, maybe it's what you are looking for :-)

Here is my device but there are plenty others. (Scythe's USB Foot triple)

Cheers,
Sacha
+5
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posted on #9
Ernie440 Supporter
Posts: 311
Joined: Feb 27, 2016
Zapfool wrote:
Hi Ernie. Thanks for this video. I'll watch it as soon as I'm at home. I was facing a small issue, just a lack of comfort when recording as each time I missed my take, I had to manipulate the mouse, meaning removing hand from instrument and somehow loosing the focus/feeling. I bought a simple USB foot switch equipped with 3 pedals and I configured as follow: 1st delete
2nd stop/ play
3rd rec

It changed my life. I can loop into a selected section and record 10 times in a row without moving my hands from my bass. It is really comfortable. It tought, maybe it's what you are looking for :-)

Here is my device but there are plenty others. (Scythe's USB Foot triple)

Cheers,
Sacha


Sacha .. that is a great idea!!! Because that is a little irritating going from strings to the mouse all the time .. thanks so much for the great tip for home recording!! :W
+2
posted on #10
GemmyF
Member
Posts: 250
Joined: Apr 30, 2016
Just say NO to mistakes!!!!!
And if you make one play the whole track over again.
That will teach you to JUST SAY NO!:D
+5
posted on #11
Zapfool
Member
Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 28, 2016
Hi GemmyF,

I really should be a poor bass player then because after 20 years, I still never succeed to take a track at once :-)

KR,
Sacha
+2
posted on #12
Ernie440 Supporter
Posts: 311
Joined: Feb 27, 2016
Zapfool wrote:
Hi GemmyF,

I really should be a poor bass player then because after 20 years, I still never succeed to take a track at once :-)

KR,
Sacha


haha I'm sure Gemmy is joking .. it's impossible to do that anyway in one go (unless maybe Mary had a Little Lamb) ... look at Billy Sheehan above, a veteran of many pro bands, recording for years and still a patchwork of different takes and mistakes ... :D :W
+2
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posted on #13
GemmyF
Member
Posts: 250
Joined: Apr 30, 2016
Yes A Joke! Just A Joke!:D
+2
posted on #14
Ernie440 Supporter
Posts: 311
Joined: Feb 27, 2016
GemmyF wrote:
Yes A Joke! Just A Joke!:D


I did get called "one take Ernie" at a recording session once, that I did long ago ... but that was a joke too!
+3
posted on #15
GemmyF
Member
Posts: 250
Joined: Apr 30, 2016
BUT on a serious Note --when I need to Touch up a part ---I duplicate the track--ALL THE SETTINGS and Then I take the volumes down in the dubious area .... then I do the recording on the second track....I like to give myself at least 8 bars to get the hang of it along with the other track and then there is the BALD spot --like my head and I play it----Not good enough just delete that part --- and try again--some times the overlapped part is better than the part I "left in" -- well then what I can do is take the volumes down at that area and use my 2nd play. I use Logic and a simple tap on the R key gets me recording
+2
posted on #16
OliVBee Supporter
Posts: 760
Joined: Jan 7, 2013
if you noticed in the video Billy mentioned that it was just a rough take to get the hang of it and then they'd have to switch to recording sections ...
this is pretty much how i approach recording a piece myself : group the recording of all A parts for example so you can just stay in the mood of one part and build up one section after the other : it really speeds up the recording process and allows a much better control on what you're going to play on which part and why ;)

i like a one shot take when jamming though ! maybe do a couple of these and see if i can pick only the best parts of each one :)
+3
posted on #17
KMstar
Member
Posts: 66
Joined: Jun 21, 2014
I must be wired strange and it is likely why I am not considered as a great recording session player. 99.9 % of the recordings you hear me on a bass or a guitar it was one take, no edits. if I mess up I start at the beginning and try again. this is not a great approach to making a perfect recording but I love playing and enjoy improv. I really enjoy the pressure of getting it right the first time or having to scrap it all and go again. Its a little tedious to mess up in the last few measures a few times in a row on a 5 min song but I like to play and I would rather enjoy the time playing than to spend it in the DAW on editing. my favorite songs that I am on usually are the first attempts at trying because they have an energy within the playing that tends to diminish with each additional attempt as I get more locked into a idea and also get a little more fatigued from trying. I don't think there is a wrong way but if there is I most certainly am likely to be the one to do it wrong.
+7
posted on #18
Zapfool
Member
Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 28, 2016
Hi dear all,

@GemmyF, I was sur you were joking :-)
You gave me new idea to rec, thanks

Hi KMstar,

I agree with "I don't think there is a wrong way" as far as you enjoy :-)

There is still a difference between recording in a home studio vs in a studio.

My drummer is a sound engineer who as is own pro studio. When we record all musicians together we proceed as following:

We reherseal again and again and again tracks before starting a recording session (even if we do not pay the time spend there)

We record first all together to create a template track.

We re-record one after another. Basic rules is: "if your take is not 85% perfect, the take is entirely thrown out. Above 85%, you re-record only the seclection you estimate you can do better. The last 5% to reach perfection is done on the DAW. (like one single note which is not exactly sync, ...)
+4
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posted on #19
Ernie440 Supporter
Posts: 311
Joined: Feb 27, 2016
OliVBee wrote:
if you noticed in the video Billy mentioned that it was just a rough take to get the hang of it and then they'd have to switch to recording sections ...
this is pretty much how i approach recording a piece myself : group the recording of all A parts for example so you can just stay in the mood of one part and build up one section after the other : it really speeds up the recording process and allows a much better control on what you're going to play on which part and why ;)

i like a one shot take when jamming though ! maybe do a couple of these and see if i can pick only the best parts of each one :)


Indeed, good advice OliV! I moved to doing tracks in more defined sections compared to when I first started playing around with recording here on the loops. Just seems to be the natural thing to do now. The only ones I do in one shot occasionally are usually blues, haha. :W
+5
posted on #20
BossHen
Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Oct 31, 2015
A great thread learned a lot. When I first started on the loops I spent a lot of time cutting re-recording and used to take 4 or 5 takes and take the best sections. Now I tend to try and do in one or two takes and accept the imperfections and approach more as a jam session.

But some great tips here and the main challenge I face is I record through an Elan tube pre amp as a DI and balancing this with my Steinberg audio interface and its pre amp not to over bake the gain while achieving volume
+2
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