1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

double tracking bass question...

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by cloren, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. cloren


    Nov 15, 2007
    san francisco
    anyone have experience or advice on double tracking bass lines?

    I know Brian Wilson double tracked a lot of his lines and those recordings turned out great....

    i asked a sound engineer what he thought about it and he saide that it was somewhat risky considering the inherent phasing issues with doubling a lower range instrument

    what if i double tracked a line with two different basses- do you think this would sound weird?
  2. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    What are you trying to accomplish?
    It's not done much because it doesn't add much.
    There's plenty of plugins that "fatten" the bass. They all work a little different, Some work by EQ, others by adding harmonics above or below the fundamentals.

    Or you could shift it up and octave and add a slight delay then mix it back.
    Listen to some old "Yes" albums, Chris Squire use to often double track a guitar to his bass parts.
  3. cloren


    Nov 15, 2007
    san francisco
    wow- i like that idea of doubling on the octave-

    one song we're recording uses bass chords throughout the verse. I'm gonna try the chris squire technique and see how that works

  4. seedokebass


    Mar 21, 2009
    You could have your engineer copy the wave file of your original track, and bounce it to another track. Some options:

    1) I usually tinker with plugins, like amp simulators for some different tones, maybe a little distortion/overdrive (or a lot!), maybe some light chorus, etc.

    2) You could also re-amp the original track through a totally different amp.
  5. Double tracking bass lines was done quite a bit in the 60's on lots of records. It was usually done with acoustic bass doubled on tic tac bass, although in LA is was often an acoustic bass doubled by a Fender played with a pick ala Carol Kaye or Joe Osborne. Remember that these sessions had multiple players and often there were 2 or more bass players along with a lot of other players. These players were experienced with playing in sections since many were schooled players with experience in orchestras, marching bands or other large groups, sadly not an experience shared by most contemporary players.
    In the digital age it is in many ways a lot easier to double or otherwise manipulate tracks but getting the actual feel of two players or tracks played in tandem can add a lot to the groove and sound. One producer I work for quite a bit insists that I double track all my lines on acoustic and electric often doing an additional take with a pick. I find that I often do the same thing on my home sessions layering bass lines or sounds on top of each other.
    I don't think phasing should be much of an issue but intonation is absolutely crucial as even minimally out of tune bass notes can really glare.
  6. Podgorny


    May 1, 2009
    Nashville, TN
    Double-tracked (wide-panned) bass can be wonderful if used correctly.
    It usually works best with a more-midrangey, distorted sound. Treat it like a low guitar.
    If you want punch and and clear lows, mono is where it's at - two woofers (in a stereo setup) working in concert.

    Sometimes it's fun to use during a breakdown section.

    Oh, and doubling bass with a synth can be fun for BIG low end.
  7. Hi Cloren,

    I often double up with my bass tracks, i used to do it quite a bit with my old band royseven (jove) in ireland and I've just completed a debut album with blancatransfer in Madrid, where i've double tracked on a lot of the songs.

    You can hear the royseven/jove tracks here


    I usually write the first main bass line and then work out two further bass lines (one is normally chord based) add a little distortion or chorus and sink it into the mix and it takes the song to a whole new level.

    I also get the engineer to basically wreck the sound on the third bass line so that it no longer sounds like a bass and ends up sounding like a sample or keyboard!
  8. Instead of making a completely different thread, figure I'll just ask it here...

    When my band plays live, I run through two amps and four cabs (listed in my sig). Very very loud, fuzzed out, massive sound.

    When we recorded our demo songs that are on our Myspace, I just threw a kick drum mic on my 1x18, had the 4x10 above it, and had everything up to full volume. Turned out pretty good, plenty of midrange despite using a kick mic. My drummer bought an SM57, so now I can mic two cabs at once.

    We have the idea, of recording the 4x10/1x18 stack, live with the drums just like before, and then I would go back and do a second track through my 4x12/2x15. The cabs all have their own little bumps and dips in certain frequency ranges, that add to the overall sound, which is why I want to capture all of them. Now, I don't have any phase issues with my setup when we play live, no sub frequencies getting canceled out or anything weird like that, but is there any reason that things would behave differently when recording?

    Just looking for some opinions, thoughts, etc...

  9. I wouldn't use 2 basses - i don't think anyone could duplicate the same line exactly- anyway "I" know I couldn't .
    I've double tracked like this - the bass signal DI'd and split into two channels - one dry and one wet with whatever effect's you like - or I mike the bass cabinet and DI the same signal to two different channels then you could pan it differently or add an effect to one or the other signal
  10. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I did a fretless thing for an alt rock cut about a month ago.

    Listened to the tune, got a basic idea of what they wanted, ran down two creative passes...

    On the play back they were trying to decide which they liked better, then the engineer took one track and paned it full left, took the other track and paned it full right...

    The main body came out straight up the middle with the differences in the color riffs interwoven and bouncing from side to side...it worked amazingly well for that song.

    The point to all that is, the phasing issues don't need to be a negative. They can be a fairly cool creative tool.
  11. Trapezius


    Mar 1, 2009
    Oslo, Norway
    What I sometimes do is to double the bass with an aggressive Hammond organ sound. 3 first drawbars all the way out, perc on 3rd harmonic and fast decay, and overdrive. Sounds pretty cool when I want a really percussive and hard bass sound. I find it works best when using a pick.
  12. Patrol42


    Nov 2, 2008
    Monterey, CA
    Usually you can just move it so that's it's in phase. I usually just zoom it is to the sample size, look for a downbeat, and align it all to the first spike. Works great.
  13. Georynn


    Dec 4, 2007
    I've found that if i record one line into two tracks you can get some very good results. I use slightly different EQs on each track, pan them a little in each direction, and put just a touch of overdrive on one of the tracks, it sounds huge!
  14. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    I usually record with my Sansamp RBI, which has two outputs. I run the Sansamp output 100% wet to one channel, and the Unaffected output to a second channel, and then blend them for the best result.

    Also, my new Yamaha Attitude bass has stereo outputs, which could be cool to mess around with, but I haven't had the chance to try that out yet.
  15. justdave42


    Sep 20, 2007
  16. azarias


    Mar 19, 2009
    I run 3 signals into 3 channels into one track under Logic 8.
    1. Tube DI
    2. Tube preamp
    3. 2nd very different Tube preamp
    I blend and adjust them to get whatever tone i am after. Havent had any phase issues that i couldnt fix.
    Everyone has their own methods for getting a sound they like.
    Maybe someday i might even mic a cab 8) For now i sometimes experiment with cab impulse responses and various plugins.

Share This Page