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fixing muddy jazz bass solos?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by sleeplessknight, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    I posted this over on AGB, but I figure it couldn't hurt to hear what the fine folk over here have to say! So, my jazz band hit the studio a couple of weeks ago, 9 sweaty and un-airconditioned hours later, we had 7 tracks down. After much collaboration with our recording engineer, we got 'em all mixed down and rough-mastered to where they sound kinda-passable. One thing I've noticed throughout though, is that while my bass (G&L fretless L2000, for those who care) sits VERY well in the mix, it kinda sucks for solos. What I wanna know is, what are your "studio tricks" for making a muddy bass solo stand out a little more? I could always go back and re-do them, but for a good chunk of the songs I'd like to salvage my solo if at all possible. I've got the MP3s here:
    http://www.sleeplessknight.org/audio/Wild Knights/
    could you guys take a listen, and give me your thoughts? Any constructive criticism on the band or recording in general is encouraged too! C'mon, lemme have it! I can take it! 8*P Oh, and before anyone says anything, yes, I know the solo on Sweet Georgia Bright is complete and utter crap. I'm either going to re-do it, or just plain scrap it. Haven't decided yet! 8*P

    Many thanks in advance for your help!
    --Lee Whalen
  2. A little off topic....but your tenor player sounds great! His tone reminds me of Joe Henderson a little bit. I just listened to Jordu.
  3. martijn_2m


    Aug 23, 2005
    Generally I find that bass tracks that are too muddy can be cleared up by cutting some bass. Basically trim down everything below 40 Hz (a high pass slope up to 40 or 50 will do).

    I will listen to your tracks on my studio monitors over the weekend and let you know if I hear other things.

  4. martijn_2m


    Aug 23, 2005
    I just checked your tracks. Actually very nice recordings!

    I recognize the muddy aspect that you are reffering to.

    My personal approach to fixing the mix would be:

    - Put a high pass filter on the lowest frequencies on your bass track (up to 40 or 50Hz, experiment with the values a bit).

    - If you like open up your sound or make it a bit more outspoken using the advise from SMASH in this post.

    - Reduce the amount of reverb used in the mix. Especially on the guitar track. I would shorten the lenght and reduce the levels. The different reverbs add to the muddiness factor.

    - The remaining reverb: if possible (depending on your tools) reduce the low frequencies of the reverb itself (up to 600 Hz at least).

    This should do the trick. There are some more tricks you can use to further make things sit in the mix a bit more sturdy and open the sound up. However, since the recordings already sound very good and pleasant, the risk of over processing is much larger than the chances or really improving a lot. Less is more as we all learn at some point.

    Again, this is my personal opinion based on my experience. Hope it helps!