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Bass always gets the short end of the stick, or fader!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by RicPlaya, Aug 2, 2004.

  1. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Is it just me or am I the only guy (excluding bass players) that feels that most of the time, a vast majority of the time, to put a number on it 80% of the time the bass gets screwed in the mix at gigs ,shows, heck even on recordings (think Newsted). Why don't sound guys, producers whoever seem to drop the ball when it comes to bass tone and volume. I am not asking for the bass to be the loudest thing, or to rule the mix, but how about a fair shake! Are they that ignorant to realize the bass is just as important to a tune as anything else? What would Motown be without Jamerson or Babbit? Would there be funk without the bass guitar. I have seen soooo many gigs, shows, festivals, and heard so many recordings that the bass in basically non-existant. Why? Sorry to rant but it just kills me that we our like the Rodney Dangerfields of music and mixing...we get no respect!
  2. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    Maybe it's just because Jason sucks. So they turn him down out of shame. ;)

    (Ok, a real answer. I think you're just listening to bad music. The kind that is produced to sell, instead of just be music. All the gigs I go to, I can hear the bass just fine.)
  3. You ain't the only one, bro...I can't remember the last time I went to a show with a good mix. Most of the time bass is just too quiet, but in other cases it's usually pure no-definition mud, and occasionally too loud (combined with muddy). I believe there are very few soundmen who really know what they're doing, but that can't always be the reason. Bass is probably the toughest instrument to mix due to the frequencies involved and the problems it presents in a less-than-perfect room or PA, so it most often gets the shaft. And sadly, there are the ignorant asshats who genuinely don't care. :scowl: I haven't noticed the problem nearly as much in studio recordings (AJFA excepted of course)... interestingly, on the last EP I recorded with my old band, I thought the bass was actually too loud in the mix, which was shocking from the band that consistently turned me way down at shows where we ran our own sound...interesting what a different producer can do.
  4. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Incubus has a great mix. Blink has a purty good mix.

  5. +1.

    I for one get quite annoyed when I find out after the show that the performance I put so much hard yakka into perfecting couldn't be heard clearly, or sometimes heard at all!

    Nearly all the sound men I've come across seem to spend hours equalizing the drums, then spend maybe two minutes on the bass. I've yet to come across one who double checks their settings with the bass and drums playing together to see if anything's clashing and I suspect that that's where a lot of them get it wrong - and it's easier for them to just kill the bass than to put the time into getting it right....... however, he's the one with the certificate in sound engineering, so who am I to argue....... :meh:
  6. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    however, he's the one with the certificate in sound engineering, so who am I to argue....... :meh:[/QUOTE]

    It's very easy to argue after spending thousands of dollars to get "your" tone to have some dupa drop the ball on getting your sound to the audiance. It's mostly live sound but there are a few recording like that.

    I feel like saying "look 1984 is over, get my bass tone right" these guys use Def Leppard as thier model bass tone. I feel sound should be built from the low register up. Because as already stated the low end is the hardest to get to sound good. If you get the bass and drums dialed in, vocals and guitars are gravy because of the frequencies they put out. Higher freq to me seem easier to get to sound good.

    Or maybe most bassists out there just follow the guitars around anyway so way have them loud in the mix? Mybe that's how a lot of sound guys feel?
  7. I've played several gigs where they have tried to shut down my volume and tone, in the monitors and the main mix. If I dont like where they put me, I usually just crank up my amp till I can hear and when they come and tell me to turn down cause I'm too loud, I tell them to turn me up cause their mix sucks. :spit: It gets to be a huge beat down sometimes, but what can ya do?
  8. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    when i solo, they forget to put me up. noone realizes that im even soloing.
  9. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Most of the soundmen I've ever dealt with are either ex-drummers, or ex-guitarists. Not to be an arrogant P.O.S., but I find (through experience) that the best soundguys are the ones who either A) played or still play bass B) keyboardists.
    Most of these guys are used to hearing full-range sound, not just the midrange nasal twang of guitars and singers. Think about it for a second, who would you rather have on your boards, someone whose instrument has a range from 30Hz-20KHz, or someone whose entire experience is centered around 1-3.2KHz? Now, I do realize that there are some who have taken the training and put in the time to do JUST sound, and some of these guys are good, they're just too RARE. Too often the "soundman" is a hack that couldn't make it actually playing the instruments.

    If you flame me, please be gentle- I'm only up for a medium-rare today... :bag:
  10. Just my usual piping in, I've been to one concert in my life which is sad, but still anyway it was i think about july 19 or so of this year eric clapton came to Greenville SC (of all the better, bigger, more exciting places in the world). The concert was great, but NO BASS in the mix, I was so surprised, such a world class rig, world class musicians, still no bass.
  11. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    In alot of ways I agree with you. That's why I run the sound for the band at the gigs where we provide PA. It's a challenge to do while performing, but it's been working so far. Most sound guys use some cheap generic DI for their feed to the board, and most guys make your bass sound like their sound (usually a P Bass sound), not yours.
    So I find that Bassists and Keyboardists make for the best soundmen, as far as musicians are concerned. If you find a soundman that is an audiophile, as well as an engineer, you're solid. The guitar player soundguys are the worst, in my experience. As I've said before, the difference between a bassist and a guitarist is that a guitarist cares about how the guitar sounds, whereas the bassist cares about how the band sounds. Amazingly, I never met a soundguy who played drums.

    From reading posts by PeteBass and Bimplizkit, I'd definitely have them run sound over some guitar player.
  12. I am definitely with you on that. I remember one gig of mine that I played Sax at (i play bari sax as well as bass), the bass was at this perfect warm level....all of a sudden I come into my Music Theory class the next day at college, and the teacher's talking like the bass was trying to be the only instrument involved. it's rediculous how much of a jackass a person can be when it comes down to getting the support in the sound. I'm trying so hard to actually get my sound in on a recording, and i play direct out. it's either extremely brash, or it's too jazzed and dubby
  13. If that was Dave Bronze playing bass with him, I'd be cranky as Hell. I love that guy's playing, he's delightfully supportive and never gets in anyones way. :scowl:
  14. stu FORD

    stu FORD

    May 22, 2004
    yeah man, the band director at our school is all about the balance pyramid, much like the food pyramid, with the lowest intstrument at the bottom (most important) and the highest at the top (least important), which is great for me, cause im bass in jazz band, and tuba in concert band, so i get to play really loud all the time
  15. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    quote....Amazingly, I never met a soundguy who played drums.

    I have Jive, a good friend runs sound (that has been a drummer for 25 years)for us and guess what always sounds good? At his age he grew up in the 80's so guess how my bass sounds( no offense on the 80's comment)? His first words when dialing us in are "O.K. hit the kick", then "hit the snare". How about "o.k. play your bass", then "o.k. hit the kick", then after dialing the drums in " o.k. the bass and drummer play together"....build your foundation and go from there. That's how I do it! he's a great guy and a good friend but we are not on the same page with bass tone. Bass level on recordings and for live applications are like apples and oranges.

    You have to run the bass a little hotter because bass frequency is harder to produce and takes more power, and the frequency range is much lower and travels slower. You can have a loud filling bass tone and still hear everything in the mix unlike all the other instruments in the higher registers.
  16. travatron4000


    Dec 27, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    yeah, i've gotten dicked on both of our recordings. One song in particular was where there was a sick accompanying bass part where i'm arpegiating chords. On top of this is a guitar solo, double tracked so it sounds like harmonizing guitars and you totally cant hear the bass at all. there's no support for that sweet guitar part. pissed me off.

  17. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    You are right...bass hardly ever gets mixed well and sometimes is hard to hear at all. This is one reason I almost give up on bass...it can be a fight to stand out, especially in metal, my favorite type of music.
    Zodion likes this.
  18. Definitely man, I remember I used to have a guitarist that was always like "Jim, when it comes down to recording metal, the guitar is always supposed to be a little louder than the bass." I swear, this stuff pisses me off all the time. I almost had a new problem when i started the second band (the guitarist I described was in my old band before I left it to eventually fall to the dust), but with time I decided to just have "a bigger presence" in the mix, but equal.
  19. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Bass is aparently un-metal. Most metal, bass is rather inaudible. Which is strange because bass is low, low is heavy... am I not getting this?
    Zodion likes this.
  20. "Oh, but you forgot MAN, THE GUITAR SOLO makes the song"
    Zodion likes this.