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Hollowbody bass trouble

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by 4lph4bl0nd3, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. 4lph4bl0nd3


    Jul 19, 2012
    have a hollowbody (Gretsch Electrotone) with flatwound strings. Love the tone of this bass but I am having hell getting something usable when it comes to a tone that sits well in the mix. seems to be weak when put in the mix with the drums. tried using it on country, rock, and pop tracks. Anyone have suggestions?
  2. BigBeatNut


    Apr 10, 2006
    London, UK
    Not sure if this will help but I once had a recording engineer who was really not happy with the sound of my DI'ed DeArmond Starfire (semi-hollow). His solution was to run it through an ancient valve amp (a Selmer stack, looked as big as an ampeg 8x10, delivered 50 watts) to fatten it up.

    Are you currently DI'ing or miked up ?
  3. 4lph4bl0nd3


    Jul 19, 2012
    I've DI'ed and run through some plug ins. Also miked my markbass rig. Maybe a tube tone is what I need to try.
  4. moebass


    Jan 4, 2011
    try round wound strings.
  5. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Then try it, there are hundreds of plugins, many "free", that will add tube tone. And cabinets, and mic tone.

    I recommend DI, raw track.
    Then mess with the plugins while playing the recording back.
  6. 4lph4bl0nd3


    Jul 19, 2012
    Going to the do a little recording at the studio today. going to try some tube plug ins and have a friend bringing up a tube preamp. probably switch to some roundwounds if i cant a tone that will sit well.
  7. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Do not try and get the tone at source, get a strong signal regardless of tone by using a mike and a DI.
    Then in mixdown make that strong signal sound like the Gretsch. EQ the signal for the tone, rather than record the tone.
    By the time you have mastered it and have the finished track, then it sound like a Gretsch.

    Sure by all means you ideally want to record the sound you set up with, but sometimes that odes not happen. I record using hollow bodies and flats and I just make sure that the engineer is happy with the signal he gets, then I will help him (if required) to EQ the bass sound in the mix to the characteristics I feel the sound should have. Then after that he fits it in the mix with any tweaks he or the producer feel necessary.
  8. BigBeatNut


    Apr 10, 2006
    London, UK
    Oh dear ... that's a classic :) LINK
  9. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    Remember McCartney use a hollowbody, the Hofner. His tone is quite more dirty then one might think.
    I've a Hofner copy, and I find the tone to be more defined with some more gain, thus a bit dirtier tone then I might think. It might not sound that good soloed but in the mix, much better. As Seamonkey say, if you do not have a decent tube amp use a plugin or some software.
  10. theres a chance you're hoping it will sound like a P bass in the mix, and its just not that. if another bass fits better, either use another bass, or find out what in its range makes it sit. a hollowbody with flats sounds like a recipe for thump and fundamental. maybe a little grit to bring out the high end and harmonics.
  11. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    And maybe using a pick.
  12. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    "Old school" bass needs old school recording technique.

    Find the sound you like from your rig (bass and amp), in the studio (recording space), and listen for where it sounds the best in the room, then put a mic there!

    Set your hi pass filter to around 72-ish hz, and your lo pass filter to around 3500-4000 (where ever your speakers seem to drop off). Adjust 250-350 hz to taste (usually dropping a few db is best), and you should have what you want/need.

    If it sounds good in the room, it should record well, and sound just as good in the recording. If it doesn't sound good "live" (to your ear, in the room), it won't record well... Getting the sound you like is first... Then experiment with mic placement until you find the "sweet spot."

    Mixing bass with drums is an art! It takes practice - lots of it! Be diligent, and patient... You'll get it!

    Flat wounds, by the way, give a stronger fundamental, and are "clearer" sound in a mix than RWs, with less fussing. RWs have far more overtones that compete with guitars, keys, vocals, etc, and require quite a bit more "carving" with EQ... IME/IMO. YMMV... yada yada... I recommend sticking with the flats, at least for now...

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