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High frequency content

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Student B, Mar 21, 2021.

  1. Student B

    Student B

    Mar 21, 2021
    I’m starting to get more serious about using bass guitar in my recordings. One thing I’ve noticed is that in addition to the notes which are mostly low and low mods content there is a lot of treble content. Fret buzz when lifting fingers after a note and string squeak are often are out of rhythm with the notes. They almost make their own rhythms. I feel like if I could harness them and get good at making them funky as well it would sound amazing. On the other hand maybe just turn down the highs and let other elements in the track mask them?

    I notice that really great players on YouTube don’t seem to have this problem of extra sounds taking away from the main groove. they are able to have a nice present bass tone without all the buzzes and scratches making their own rhythms.

    Is this something that bassists have to learn master? Is it a matter of moving in time and more quickly while muting unwanted sounds? Or is it just an eq thing?
  2. misterCRUSH

    misterCRUSH It's all jazz...it's ALL jazz... Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2015
    proper muting and plucking and fingering techniques are vital to a good recording. This is why I have always recorded myself. I can hear all of those in the playback and make adjustments with my playing. I'm not saying I'm a perfect bassist, far from it, I'm just saying that these things are crucial to work on especially when recording. You can minimize the effect of these with eq but there is no substitute for good clean playing.
  3. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    I discovered almost 40 years ago that getting a note from a bass guitar is easy, that getting control over the notes is rather more challenging, but that preventing and controlling extraneous noises is exponentially more difficult than both together.

  4. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    It’s a not-small but not huge collection of specific movements.

    The bad sounds are even easier to hear with distortion, which can help you learn the source of the noises and discipline yourself to stop them.

    Flatwound and tapewound strings are a wonderfully lazy way of minimizing the noises.
    Student B likes this.
  5. Malcolm1935


    Feb 5, 2021
    If you want to eliminate some of this sound ----- Flats with foam rubber under the strings at the bridge does a good job of muting most of that unwanted sound, course it also has a sound all its own. I happen to like that sound so have been using flats and foam for years.

    I use the foam rubber from a foam rubber paint brush, boubled and cut to the size needed. Stuff a sock under the strings, as a quick fix, to see if this is something you could live with.

    Happy trails.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2021
    Student B likes this.
  6. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    This ^^

    The fact is that there is really only one source of intentional sound and many sources of unintentional sounds - strings onto frets (left and right hand - two independent problems), strings coming off frets, fingers sliding on and sticking to strings, nails, undamped open strings ringing, strings hitting pickup poles, etc., all of which demand some level.of technique to manage.
    misterCRUSH and Student B like this.
  7. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    A lot of bassists seem to prefer a rather dark sound that pretty much eliminates this as a problem or benefit. An Ampeg SVT into an 810E comes to mind. To my ears this is a very dark/warm sounding rig, and if you try to adjust it to sound bright it can sound pretty nasty.

    When I play with a dark sound I feel totally disconnected from the instrument, as if the sound from the amp is way behind where I am playing. So I tend to like a fairly bright sound. However I do like a certain type of tone contour that does not emphasize all the gank and fret rattle to the point where it is obnoxious and uncontrollable. The sound I use allows me to bring out clank, gank, and fret rattle if I want too, but does not impose these qualities on every note. So I like strong mids and extended highs, but not a huge bump in the high mids.

    So IMHO the problem is part technique, part setup and string choice, and part EQ/voicing. The EQ and voicing part relates to your bass, amp, and speaker as a system.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2021
    SteveCS and Student B like this.
  8. Student B

    Student B

    Mar 21, 2021
    Thanks so much, all. This is exactly the information I was looking for. :bassist:
    SteveCS, 12BitSlab and Wasnex like this.
  9. Better technique and unlearning bad habits is the answer.
    Student B likes this.
  10. Student B

    Student B

    Mar 21, 2021
    I’ve started practicing paying specific attention to the extra noises. It’s really hard and subtle. Definitely different than any other exercises I’ve done. I’m trying to make sure that every sound generating movement I make is either muted or in time. It’s weird.
  11. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 18, 2021

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