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A Tale From the Crypt (Or a Hot Place)

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by Kneehimiah, Sep 13, 2005.


  1. I am called in to add two tracks to a nearly finished CD. One track is easy enough, Girl From Ipanema, with the feature artist singing the song in Porteguese (I hope I spelled that right). The next track is a pseudo-classical piece that involved me doing a difficult dismount with bow. I pulled it off. Whew! As I'm leaving the studio I listen in on the classical track. I've had "issues" with the engineer in the past, and it showed in the control room playback. He recorded my bass, an old Czech of some variety, with a mike and with my Fishman pickup. Of course the Fishman alone with bow will sound like a cat flung into a swimming pool, so a more blended sound with the mike is best. He and the vocalist sat in the control room listening to the recording at medium volume, but with all faders up. So with the cat running around the control room looking for payback, I walk over to the mixing board, ask which faders were for the bass, and brought the "Fishman" sound down under the miked sound, adding a little definition. It wasn't really necessary. The bass was defined enough with the mike. Leaving the session, I say out loud, "Hey, that's a great sound, isn't it?" After a few nonchalant nods of approval, I left the session.
    Within two months the CD was released. Apparantly the cat, mad as he was, was no match for our engineer. He was bound with duct tape and with a cinder block strapped to his back, was flung back into the water, fully clawed and unneutered. He lived, which gives way to imagining how badly he must have struggled to get free. Well, that's what my bass sounded like. With my real name on the CD jacket. Spelled properly.
    That's my recording story from the bottomless pit.


    Ramon
    www.ramonpooser.com
     
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Don't ever never let the engineer take a line out of the pick up. It doesn't matter how much they swear they won't use it or that it's just for a "a little definition", THAT'S the track that always ends up on the record.

    I made the mistake of believing a tenor player who said "we're just helping a buddy of mine get his recording studio together", so when the cat wanted to take a line out, I didn't put up too much of a struggle. Well, a couple of years later and the CD is out and the bass sounds like every direct bass you ever heard.

    So don't ever never let the engineer take the pick up feed...
     
  3. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    You could just walk into the session with no pickup on the bass, couldn't you? That sort of takes it out of their hands.
    :)
     
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    +frickin1, Ed! But it can sometimes really be a hard sell to an engineer who hasn't recorded much "standup bass" :rolleyes:. You really have to stick to your guns.

    There are some direct recordings of me, my name on the CD, that make my skin crawl and my teeth itch.
     
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I use a Realist, taking it on and off isn't really a viable option. Thanks for thinking of me, though.

    JUST SAY NO direct.
     
  6. christ andronis

    christ andronis

    Nov 14, 2001
    Chicago
    ..as much as I agree with Ed, whoever is producing the session will probably have the final say. One can only hope that they have the good sense to listen to the artists when they tell them about (in this case) recording an upright direct. Personally, I'll advocate for just miking the bass, but if they want it direct too then direct it is. Different ears hear different things.....it's just the money that lets bad decisions be made (sometimes) .


    peace
     
  7. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    The flip side of that is, you then end up with a body of recorded work that is not representative of your sound. I'm lucky, I have most of the engineers trained to use the mic. I don't have any problem recommending another bassist who will go direct if asked. It's just a personal decision; I don't want any more recordings of myself that sound like crap on the market. I don't need the money that much.
     
  8. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    That's one reason I got rid of the Realist... for those situations when it might be useful/convenient to have no pickup on the instrument.

    As long as the pickup is there, there's a chance the person in charge will have his way. But if it looks like miking is the only option, I think it decidedly unlikely that they would look for another bassist.
     
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I'm not really much of a hired gun, pretty much anytime I've been in the studio it's because somebody wanted ME there, not A BASSPLAYER. So they're usually pretty amenable to me insisting.

    So of course the one time I don't insist, well there you go.
     
  10. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Well I guess it's good you're at a point where you have people listening to you. During my junior and senior year in high school, I got a lot of calls to be on professionally recorded college audition tapes. If I showed up with a pickup on my bass, the battle was already lost.