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Bass-guitar - my personal nightmare

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by JoeJackson, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. JoeJackson

    JoeJackson Member

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    Okay, I'm a guitarist. I know, what guitar-sound I'm going for - for every project and player (and I'm mostly mixing myself, so I've got a pretty good idea, where I want to go). I have no fundamental problems mixing drums, too. But mixing bass-guitar - being a nearly inaudible, kind of mysterious instrument to me - is my personal horror ... each and every time.

    Lets say my goal is, to achieve a relatively decent sound for demo'ing song-ideas to my fellow band-mates. Thus I can't shell out a new set of bass-strings for every song and I can't spend hours and hours automating the bass-tracks. I've got a relatively good bass-guitar (an LTD GC-4), a bunch of plugins and a shitload of suggestions and tutorials about recording and mixing bass-guitar (Ola's YouTubetorial, the Systematic Mixing Guide and knowledge that I aquired over the years from this board).

    Still I'm constantly ending up with boomy tracks that are lacking basically everything or overwhelming the whole song. I don't need perfect bass-tracks, just a little push in the right direction.

    Could some of you guys show me some readily mixed bass-tracks so that I can analyze, of what a good bass-sound consists of?
     
  2. xTomx

    xTomx Member

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    If this is the case then you shouldn't be losing sleep over this kind of thing.

    But if you're not gonna bother with new strings then don't expect much, you're going to be losing a lot of upper-mid bite and lows right out of the gate.

    If you're micing up a decent bass cab and head with a well intonated instrument with fresh strings you shouldn't need to much except compression and some subtractive EQ.
     
  3. infectdsniper

    infectdsniper Member

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    yea. the biggest thing is new strings, compression and lots of scooped low mids. you can get a pretty good tone with just those and tse B.O.D. although the strings thing sucks bass tends to sound like mid heavy farts with old strings.
     
  4. Sloan

    Sloan Sounds like shit!

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    ^All true.
    When your guitars sound thick as fuck and you can feel the song in your balls, you've got a good bass tone.
     
  5. Fandus

    Fandus Member

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    I'll put this out there, Zombass. I use it for writing and pre pro constantly. Track it for real when you are recording for real, but just for writing midi bass is easier :p
     
  6. JoeJackson

    JoeJackson Member

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    Okay, seems like it was clearly a matter of the distortion that I used. The ProCo-Rat does it for me. Can't use the TSE B.O.D.-plugin unfortunately (Mac-User).

    And I tried programming bass ... it went horrible :D
     
  7. infectdsniper

    infectdsniper Member

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    ha good to hear. but if boomyness shows its ugly head again dont be afraid to throw c4 or some other multiband and squash the boom out of the low end.
     
  8. jeid

    jeid Terribad

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    C4 definitely helps with boomy bass sounds. Sorted my problems out.

    It's one of the things I struggle with on all of my mixes, but sometimes it just clicks. New strings definitely help. I tend to lay down demos with old strings and when I've got a few songs that I like, I'll put new strings on and play it properly. The Rat is very good for bass.
     
  9. LiberaScientia

    LiberaScientia Cat Dad

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    Here's a suggestion..

    You're a guitarist, so I'd assume you keep your strings fresh as often as possible, so why not track the bass parts on your guitar and pitch it down an octave? Seems to work fairly well for me for demoing stuff. I have the exact problem you're having and this seems to have solved it somewhat for me. Then like jeid said, when you have a few good songs, re-string your bass and track that shit.
     
  10. Clark Kent

    Clark Kent Member

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    I've got a different point of view. Sure, new strings and tighter playing it the key for a better bass sound but I feel like there's something fundamentally bigger going on in the background. What really caught my eyes was: "I know, what guitar-sound I'm going for". What kind of tone would this be? Lots of low end? No space for bass? That's the best tip I've ever heard when mixing bass: BASS NEEDS SPACE!! But also... bare in mind that a good bass tone is not just the low end. Actually you don't really need a whole lot of that if you've given space in the low register.

    I find that the best way to fit a bass in a mix is to do stuff to other instruments and not post process bass all that much. If you're bass doesn't sit with other instruments you'll end up boosting it too much to compensate for it which will lead to the bass being too loud at the wrong frequencies which will lead to a boomy sounding track.

    Generally speaking in the modern metal era we live in no one has given a damn about bass for a long time. I sure as hell can't hear it on most of these albums. :)
     

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