Home »Forum»Recording and mixing»About bass recording

about bass recording

posted on #1
User Avatar
Moderator
Posts: 182
Joined: 14.02.18
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
posted on #2
User Avatar Member
Posts: 108
Joined: 21.11.15
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!
Edited by GrooveEnth on February 01 2019 18:25
posted on #3
User Avatar
Moderator
Posts: 182
Joined: 14.02.18
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
User Avatar Supporter
Posts: 119
Joined: 27.02.16
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]
posted on #5
User Avatar Supporter
Posts: 105
Joined: 24.03.14
And notice how loud that click is! They all live by it..
rp3 (Raymond)
posted on #6
User Avatar Supporter
Posts: 83
Joined: 09.11.16
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
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1uS65W1wu9Mj1prjv5fF4o?si=IXPCUEo3RquZybR77U0j6g
posted on #7
User Avatar Supporter
Posts: 119
Joined: 27.02.16
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
posted on #8
User Avatar Member
Posts: 6
Joined: 28.08.16
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
posted on #9
User Avatar Supporter
Posts: 119
Joined: 27.02.16
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
posted on #10
User Avatar Supporter
Posts: 217
Joined: 30.04.16
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
posted on #11
User Avatar Member
Posts: 6
Joined: 28.08.16
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
posted on #12
User Avatar Supporter
Posts: 119
Joined: 27.02.16
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
posted on #13
User Avatar Supporter
Posts: 217
Joined: 30.04.16
Yes A Joke! Just A Joke!:D
posted on #14
User Avatar Supporter
Posts: 119
Joined: 27.02.16
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!
posted on #15
User Avatar Supporter
Posts: 217
Joined: 30.04.16
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
posted on #16
User Avatar
Moderator
Posts: 604
Joined: 07.01.13
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 :)
clusters Clusters CLUSTERS !!!!!!
posted on #17
User Avatar Supporter
Posts: 57
Joined: 21.06.14
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.
posted on #18
User Avatar Member
Posts: 6
Joined: 28.08.16
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, ...)
posted on #19
User Avatar Supporter
Posts: 119
Joined: 27.02.16
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
posted on #20
User Avatar Member
Posts: 13
Joined: 31.10.15
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
wikiloops online jamsessions are brought to you with friendly support by:
allfeel from United States

"Just a Basement hobbyist but the hours of entertainment wikiloops has brought me and my guitar rig are worth so much more than my (father of 2 little ones) butt can give! Thanks Wikiloops keep up the great work (all of you musicians as well!)."

Please note: As you are visiting wikiloops, any personal data that is being processed is treated in compliance to the European General Data Protection Regulation.
You may review our data privacy policy to learn how and why we are using Cookies and other techniques as we are providing our service to you.