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JMJ Recording Experience

Discussion in 'Ask Justin Meldal-Johnsen' started by StreamerDavid, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. When you record with different producers or engineers in L.A., what is the general position of these guys on bass fret noise? When you record direct, are you generally expected to give smooth performances with minimal fret noise? Please talk a little bit about this. Recently, I've gotten more into recording and this is interesting to me.
  2. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    I've never had people freak out on me about it in any way, and I make a gang of noise. If you solo my tracks, they sound pretty ROUGH and HAIRY, actually! Maybe that adds personality, I don't know.

  3. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    You know, it's great to hear someone of your level say that. I've spent far too much time obsessing over trying to get rid of every last bit of noise that I could, and finally realized that I was the only person hearing it!

    It's very nice to get confirmation from a guy rocking the venues that most of us only dream about playing. :)

  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It's pretty hard to eliminate all noises. Bass is just kind of a noisy instrument. I have to admit to being one of those guys who gets irritated by his own noises, but I love them in other people's playing. I couldn't imagine a ZZ Top tune without hearing Dusty Hill clack the strings into the frets, for example.
  5. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Not to suggest forgoing having a good set-up or working on your technique but to me, sometimes that noise is what makes bass happenin' in a track! I think it definitely adds personality.
    For example I love the sound of dead old flats but with the highs jacked way up for all that clanking grunty goodness. And it's irregular too, which makes it even cooler. I've replaced demo synth bass on things that were identical, note-for-note, similar tone, etc. the only real difference being the gnarly parts of the live bass sound. Makes things sound "alive" IMHO.
  6. I'm glad to hear. I've always thought that smooth bass tracks are usually not the result of a noise free performance, but more the result of EQ and mixing tricks and how the bass sits in the mix. I'm very glad to hear JMJ's experience.
  7. Dave328


    Mar 5, 2007
    Tucson, AZ

    This is awesome to hear, I always try to avoid it...but never seems possible.
  8. brianh


    Aug 19, 2005
    Endorsing: Epifani Amplification
    Ever hear Jamerson's Motown tracks singled out? They are pretty raw to say the least...
  9. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    His tracks are raw, but they are sooo in time and groovy. I strive for such grace - and his lines when solo'ed are incredibly busy and melodic.

  10. secombs


    Oct 28, 2003
    Nashville, TN

    Here's something I've been curious about:
    Do you normally sit in the control room with your amp in another room when recording bass tracks or do you sit next to your amp? I'm sure you've had a variety of setups in the studio, but could you describe the most ideal?
  11. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    If I'm alone and overdubbing, I'll usually sit in the control room. If there's a drummer, I always like to sit by him/her. Both scenarios work well. Listening to what the producer/engineer/artist are listening to in the studio monitors tends to be most ideal in terms of economizing on time it takes to get a sound and do a take, but I prefer being in a loud room with other musicians.
  12. jimmy rocket

    jimmy rocket

    Jan 24, 2008
    Ayden, NC
    I actually had a recording engineer ask me to get grittier once. He was also a bass player, and he was convinced that a little buzz and fret noise was good for the soul.

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