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Does amp choice really matter with fuzz bass ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Dj Bebel, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. Dj Bebel

    Dj Bebel

    Jul 8, 2017
    So i was dicking around on Youtube and i found this :

    Recap :
    So basically the guy is saying that the common recording technique for bass in modern metal, also known as the "record the bass with a Sansamp and compress the sh*t out of it" technique is kind of killing the bass of the tracks. After that he shows his recording technique : playing the bass thru a guitar tube amp and a Vintage 30 speaker and record with a simple SM57 mic.

    I also watched the "response video" of Glenn Flicker from SpecterSoundStudio (link here : )

    where he compared the two techniques and it's really interesting. When the bass is recorded into a guitar tube amp, it sounds brighter, clearer and warmer but still as deep as a bass should be and it also sounds better in the mix. The bass is kind of revived.

    So i feel that this new recording technique is really cool, at least for clean bass recording.

    But as a Doom/Stoner inspired bass player who crank the sh*t out of the fuzz and play loud, i was asking to myself, would that recording technique make a real difference with heavily fuzzed bass ?

    When you play fully fuzzed bass, the sound is so saturated and altered. I think most bass or guitar amps would sound fairly the same. The sound would just get brighter or darker depending on the EQ section.

    Would a fuzzed bass played on a classic Ashdown ABM amp sound totally different compared to a fuzzed bass on a Matamp ?

    Actually i got a Sansamp and a ToneHammer to record my bass so i'm really asking the question because i mostly record my bass on the ToneHammer because of the EQ section that fits more with what i want and nothing else. When it's about preamp pedals, i make no real tonal diffrence between both. What about real amps ?

    I'd like to know what's your opinion. Thanks ! :)
  2. That's not how I record bass.

    Also I've found that my tube head and my solid state head respond differently to fuzz.
    rodl2005 likes this.
  3. Ime... the amp AND cab. . ( I s'pose this is irrelevant if recording direct etc) is detrimental to the sound. ..no matter what effect is used.
    I sure do notice the difference between, as you say.... an Ashdown ABM and a full tube amp. To me. . One continues to sound full and solid and one doesn't.
    But. ...my ears are different to others. .. each to their own.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I greatly prefer my tube heads to solid state, but what is truly important is the performance, and if you don't nail that, I ain't blamin' the amp or the fuzz box.

    BTW, that Glenn dude...LOL...dude has issues.
    LiquidMidnight and Korladis like this.
  5. Try asking a coherent question.

    Metal with buried bass ain't my bag, so I am fully in suppport of your cause.

    Make the best clean tracks of your life and mess with them later.
    Korladis likes this.
  6. Dj Bebel

    Dj Bebel

    Jul 8, 2017
    Ok so, for most of you, there's a real difference between a tube amp and a ss one. That's mainly what i wanted to know. Of course i'll check that to make my own opinion. Thanks guys !

    Of course the performance is important, but for who ? The audience mainly. When you try to find a great bass tone, it's first to please your ears, to please yourself, because anyway, the sound will be altered when recorded, mixed and gave to the audience. And i don't even talk about the way they will listen your music later, earphones etc...

    And yeah, i think Glenn has some issues. x) But i learnt a lot from how a studio works and how some musicians treat (threat sometimes) people that works in there.

    I don't understand what your talking about ? x)
  7. Raf Seibert

    Raf Seibert

    Dec 16, 2013
    I used to have a son in law who liked to drink expensive whisky mixed with Diet Coke. I asked why, if you’re going to add the highly flavored diet drink, did he worry about the subtle flavors of the whisky? To my mind, this is the same situation. The heavy fuzz will tend to obscure the subtle attributes of the amp. I would be more interested in durability and the ability to deliver the volume needed to keep pace with my bandmates.

    LiquidMidnight likes this.
  8. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    As a Doom/Stoner you’ll be interested in how Cameron Webb recorded Lemmy. Lemmy wanted a high end distorted guitar sound, but the low end is also important in the mix.

  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Fair enough re Glenn. But his cluelessness about amps on bass and his years of only using a Sansamp on bass tells me that he's just as dismissive of bass as any other engineer, despite what he claims.

    Anyway, I catch any engineer altering my sound in a way I don't like, and we will have words! I give the tone that I think works best for the situation, and while I'm open to suggestion, I want what I want and the engineer needs to bear that in mind.

    He's referring to the practice of recording bass clean and adding effects later, which I absolutely hate. First off, you keep putting off decisions like that, then you're going to get to the mixing stage with a million and one decisions and twice that many options. Second, everybody plays differently when using effects than they do with a clean sound. You might find the way you played with the clean sound incompatible with the effects they slap on later. That is, if they do add anything, which brings me to my third point, which is that if you don't burn effects to the track when you record, you will not have effects on the bass in the final mix.
  10. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I don't think anybody would ever disagree with that statement. The tonal difference is very real.
  11. Dj Bebel

    Dj Bebel

    Jul 8, 2017
    That was interesting thanks dude !

    Ow, that's what i thought first but for me it was so unimaginable to make something like that, that it made me confused. To my ears, most fuzz pedal emulations sound like crap, even the good ones.
    JimmyM, dukeorock and beans-on-toast like this.
  12. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Much modern recording doctrine has been a disaster as far as capturing a bass guitar performance in any musical or interesting way as producers seem to have been on a mission to suck the timbre and life out of the instrument. A friend of mine (who is a monster bassist) worked with a Grammy-winning producer a few years ago who explicitly instructed the engineer to bury the bass guitar. For about a decade, mainstream rock recording doctrine was absolutely horrid with respect to bass. Once we got back the mids and volume on the bass tracks in rock records, all of the Nashville producers started jizzing their shorts over scooped, timbreless bass; so now a lot of country records are suffering the same issue that rock records did last decade. Metal, unfortunately, has always suffered from bass mixing being an afterthought, with some notable exceptions of course (i.e, Iron Maiden, Riot's Sons of Society album, some Testament records, Atheist records). It's a shame, because this is one of the best times to be alive as far as music technology goes.

    *gets off soapbox*

    Of course, there are still some great records in all genres that have great bass mixes too.
    abracadunphy, rodl2005 and JimmyM like this.
  13. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    You don't need to use emulations.

    You can reamp as well, which takes that clean track and sends it through an amp (or whatever you want), which is then recorded as a new track.

    It exactly what the guy in the 2nd video was doing to show the DI track vs. the tube amp track.
    rodl2005 likes this.
  14. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    When I record bass in the studio, I've got whatever effects I think I want dialed in, since, as Jimmy points out, it changes the instrument's behavior and how I approach the part. BUT... I've got those effects applied to the track only on monitor/playback, so that I actually record a copy of the unmodified signal, and can change the distortion or other effects after-the-fact, if that turns out to be the right overall production decision.
  15. that is what I was getting at. By all means record the effected track but record the clean as well.

    You don't seem to know what you want but you can mess with the clean track through every amp and pedal you can find, all by yourself without costing engineer time, rather than go all in on a whim.
    Dave W likes this.
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Let's refer to my third point, shall we?

    "If you don't burn effects to the track when you record, you will not have effects on the bass in the final mix."

    I've got 40 years of proof that this happens, you know!
    Korladis and dukeorock like this.
  17. Yeah, but OP is inexperienced. He could burn dozens of studio hours tracking each effect or he could get trial them with the clean track and get a whole lot of information.
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Or you can sit there for hours ABing pedals and still not be able to decide.

    It's not brain surgery if you do a little homework. Generally, with rare exceptions, what works for your live sound will work for your recorded sound.
  19. BogeyBass


    Sep 14, 2010
    its pretty basic yes recording clean track is good practice. you have unaltered version of the performance and it can be reamped and mixed either digital or analog later on. its safety if all else fails. but yes good "grit" is known to be had with combination of amp and speaker distortion. likewise amp/pedal speaker distortion. also mixing in a clean blend of low passed clean signal to clean up and add depth. or a full clean blend. and yes super scooped EQ with lots presence sounds " cool" to many but it can clean up or muddy a dirt/clean blend. its not always a war between tube or solid. when you get past a certain amount of saturation or distortion such as high gain metal. distortion is distortion. most of it is filtering which makes a good or bad distortion. whether its gain stages within the pedal and its filters or its the amp. the " guitar amp" version sounds like same old scoopy doopey with extra presense to tame the distortion and midrange magic from blasting a speaker. same formula

    yes there is a little magic still with tubes blah blah blah and yes ive found tube pres and all tube amps to seem to have a certain more friendly way of working with pedals. cause regardless of cranked grit from a full blown pushed tuber. to get high sustain high gain still need a pedal feeding the frenzy.

    the difference between the tube recordings and pedal recordings was EQ and alot of scoop and extra presence from the guitar amps. all can be done with real or emulation. and shows no real better or worse. grit is grit majority of the difference was EQ and amp filters. and final extra peaked voicing of the speakers. any grit factory lol in studio we use slew of pedals, amps and speakers and test all of them. this isnt a huge secret or good comparison
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  20. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    I'll be honest, when I listened to Glenn's A/Bs, the biggest differences to me sounded more EQ-ish in nature than anything else. Anybody else get that vibe?

    Also, he's pitting a BDDI direct against a tube amp and mic'd cab, I'd be super interested in how much of the difference just came from mic'ing a cab vs. the tube/DI thing, and also how much it just comes down to the BDDI's inherent voicing, which isn't for everybody.

    I was also itching to reach through the screen at some points to tweak some of the knobs on that BDDI. :p

    While amusing (I enjoyed the video), it's far from any type of proper A/B analysis - the variables are all over the place.

    I'll give them this at least, as nothing more than a proof of concept of ONE way to record bass (tube guitar amp), this seems to get that point across well - it indeed sounds good, it just fails a bit when it comes to a head-to-head IMO.
    Omega Monkey, JimmyM and HaphAsSard like this.

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