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How to prepare your bass for recording?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by him666, Apr 11, 2005.


  1. In a few weeks ill record my first albm with my band. How should i prepare my bass? Any other advice?
    Thanks!
     
  2. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    1) Have your bass set-up by a pro (action, intonation, etc.) unless you're experienced enough to do it yourself.

    2) Install a fresh set of batteries if your bass has an on-board preamp.

    3) Install a fresh set of strings (this should be done when you have your bass set up) unless you don't like fresh strings (i.e. dead strings are part of "your tone"). This is also a great time to clean your fingerboard and your frets.

    4) Take a back-up bass just in case, if you have one (or can borrow/rent one).

    That should pretty much be it. Have fun in the studio! :)
     
  3. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Tune it and plug it in.
     
  4. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    This is not 100% related to your bass but it may help. If you pluck with too much pressure on your right hand, you'll face the awful truth (I did) when you enter the studio for the first time and your "killer plucking style" is not that clean for recording. Have a high setup made on your bass (although it may be a little uncomfortable) and practice all your lines with soft but firm and even right hand touch (using high volume on your amp helps). This also will help your dynamics in the future. Good luck!

    ANDRUCA
     
  5. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    Another cause of a muddy or unclean sound (bassplayer wise) is the fretting hand tech, wich im not going to explain here (refer to technique forum for further info).

    Also if you have te money pay a pro to dress your frets properly to eliminate the sharp spots of the frets where each string sits. Adjust the neck relief to avoid fret-buzz.
     
  6. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Corrupticut
    If you have a way to listen to your bass direct, like a headphone rig (mixer, Raven PHA, CafeWalter, a headphone out on your amp...) spend some time listening to your bass critically. You will hear things like buzzing frets, excess string clacking, and other artifacts. I usually try to have a little session on my home recording rig a few times in the days leading up to the session. Even if it is just a little tape recording of you playing to a CD. It can help get you in the right frame of mind and reduce 'red-light fever".

    Despite the fact that most players don't believe it, good studio sessions are the result of a lot of preparation. Rarely does a musician or a band just waltz in and sound great. The biggest pitfalls are changing up the way you work just for the session, and failing to prepare adequately. Anything you can do to feel more confident when the tape starts rolling is usually good. Of course if you feel confident and sound like ass, maybe you need to find a new way to feel confident :help:

    Best of Luck, bro.
     
  7. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Just about everything said above is true .... being prepared is the key to any recording session. In most cases your bass will go direct into the board, bypassing any amplifier. Remember that your bass will sound quite different DI ... the suggestion above from fretlessrock is excellent, take the time to listen to your playing thru headphones, that'll be what you're going to sound like.

    Also, be prepared to listen to the engineer. He/she will have a specific procedure that they follow ... arguing with the engineer is only going to cost money for the delays and tick everyone off. If the sound in the headphones is not what you're used to, remember that a lot of tone is adjusted in the mix.

    Most important, relax and have fun :bassist:
     
  8. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Corrupticut
    I didn't really follow my reply through to "what should you do to your bass". The idea is to find problem areas before you get to the session. I've worked over basses and guitars for myself, bandmates, and friends before sessions and usually find that a high fret, a truss adjustment, or a bad ground wire was all that was standing between a good experience and a lot of downtime. If your bass has a problem you often get handed the studio's house bass and you play that. If you can't diagnose a problem, but the bass doesn't feel right, have it set up. It is best to go through this a few wqeeks before the session so you have time for a touch up if the first setup isn't exactly what you wanted.

    I completely agree about not getting into arguments or other clashes with the engineer or producer, but do ask questions and make sure that you speak up if something isn't sounding right. Just be tactful. In live recording you tend to see more focus on the way the instruments sound when they go to tape/disc. But the way that a lot of guys work in a multitrack studio, especially a project studio, is that they are getting good sounds that they can work with at mixdown. Trust their instincts.

    I run into that sort of thing with the projects that I do on my home system. The rough mixes are usually the raw tracks, mixed with a little panning and maybe a preamp or comp plugin to get in the ballpark. They are a far cry from the finished product.
     
  9. Dell

    Dell

    Apr 7, 2005
    Pretty much what everyone has already said. Get your best leads ready, make sure you're not humming (not the time for a dirty jack socket :) definatly make sure your intonation is spot on and try and time your replacing of strings so they will be at your sound when you get to the studio (the engineer wont want to have to wait if you decide you want to "play in" your new strings you've just put on).

    Remember your spare leads (both guitar and speaker) and maybe even tubes if you're using a tube head (I had a tube go on the bassman I was borrowing when I recorded)

    I done 2 days at whitfield street in london last week, i had 3 channels for my bass... a miced up marshall 4x12 guitar cab and a fender bassman head, a DI and an effects one all going through a Neve desk *humps it* It made my mex jazz sound like heaven :) I love recording!

    good luck with it!
     
  10. Steve

    Steve

    Aug 10, 2001
    I'll change strings and jack the action up a little if it's something I care about.
     
  11. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    one word...

    "flats"

    tommix mentioned he brings a bass that's wound with flats, and i tried this for a session a few days ago. after pulling out my other basses and what not, the producer pointed to my parts jazz i strung with flats, and upon the first verse, he really liked the lack of string noise. so much soo, we recorded two tracks with it. next day i strung my Sad with flats, and tracked the whole album as such.

    another cool idea thx to Tommy and TB. :cool:
     
  12. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Philadelphia
    This is very good advice, and since we've moved slightly off topic, I'll add that you might think about playing with a pick. I was always a dedicated fingerstyle player (except for punk), but my last band's guitarist/creative leader encouraged me to play some tracks with a pick for recording. (I also play guitar, so I'm comfortable with it.)

    I was skeptical, but for many tracks it was the right call. The more precise, percussive attack translated well in the recordings. For more fingerstyle "fatness," I picked close to the neck on some tracks, and it sounded awesome. The pick also avoids some technique pitfalls of fingerstyle playing -- all of which are enormously exaggerated with recording. (That's one reason the headphone practice advice is so good. You can iron some of that out in advance.)

    Enjoy!
     
  13. nemo

    nemo

    Mar 19, 2004
    Czech
    If you decide to put new strings, put it there in advance enough to let them settle down and play in. IME it is better to play with the new strings about one or two rehearsals before going to studio. YMMV

    And if you have the possibility, take with you THE PLUG headphones made by Koss. It will be your safeguard in case that studio whisperphones sucks. I love them for recording, you can feel the massive bass.... :cool:
     
  14. Dell

    Dell

    Apr 7, 2005
    Definatly take your own phones if you can! Every studio I know uses DT100's and they just fart as soon as you try and put any bass through them. Why do studios use them then? Becuase they can replace ANY part on them if needed instead of buying new 'phones.
     
  15. Lorenzini

    Lorenzini

    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Originally Posted by andruca
    This is not 100% related to your bass but it may help. If you pluck with too much pressure on your right hand, you'll face the awful truth (I did) when you enter the studio for the first time and your "killer plucking style" is not that clean for recording. Have a high setup made on your bass (although it may be a little uncomfortable) and practice all your lines with soft but firm and even right hand touch (using high volume on your amp helps). This also will help your dynamics in the future. Good luck!

    ANDRUCA

    A good fingerstyle from the beginning would aid this.. Hopefully a good fingerstyle is used when recording -- and when not.
    :bag: :bag:
     
  16. rubo

    rubo

    Aug 25, 2003
    Show up on time :rollno: