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Listened to some "bass only" tracks

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by jaxstarke, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. jaxstarke


    Nov 6, 2010
    :meh:I'm sure some of you have heard them on Youtube and various places. I have to say I was pretty blown away at how bad a lot of them are. I mean they are HORRIBLE. Off-time, sloppy, farty tone, missed notes, the whole sha-bang. Actually got me to thinking, why even practice if these guys can get away with playing like crap in the studio? It obviously doesn't take away from the final product so what's the point in even bothering to go through the trouble? I take pride in what I can do and you would think that these guys would too seeing as how that's what they get paid to do. Do the producers just tell them to throw down whatever they want because it doesn't really matter in the long run? I've never worked with a producer before so if any of you have or know why they would let these guys get away with recording a load of garbage and call it a bassline let me know the reasons.
  2. Waspinators


    Jul 22, 2007
    South Florida
    If it supports, adds to the song in some way and sounds good in the mix, let it be!
  3. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    I had a similar experience, where I've worked at getting a perfectly clean tone forever and then heard some of those tracks with fret buzz, accidental notes, etc.

    That said, they do earn their paychecks sometimes:
  4. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Las Vegas
    Often that "crappiness" is the magic that makes it work in the context of a mix.
  5. Yeah, I wish I never watched those isolated John Entwistle tracks.....
  6. Rumbledom

    Rumbledom Banned

    Jan 19, 2013
    Bass by itself will always have noise and bumps. It's the nature of the beast. It's playing rhythm. Even Jamerson using flats and groovin like nobodie's business has some squeeks and uneven timing. It all comes down to how it fits into the music.

    Oddly enough, I never thought of Steve as the "cleanest" player, but this sounds pretty damn good all by itself. (Though even here, some beats are skipped and ghosted. Still sounds good! )
  7. fuzzychaos


    Mar 17, 2008
    It's just like in a live vs practice setting. When I was playing live back in the 90's the tone that was best in the mix set my teeth on edge solo. My practice sound would have gotten lost.
  8. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    These isolated bass tracks always make me feel better. :)
  9. geddeeee


    Jun 30, 2006
    A lot of today's bass players are looking to get perfection when they record.

    All that will happen is that the music will be stale and boring!!! As mentioned, it's the little deviations and misfrets that make the music alive. 'In the mix' it will sound great.

    If you want perfection, play it on a synthesizer...... And we know what that sounds like. UGH!!!!!
  10. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    It's almost like the uncanny valley. If you're using CGI to create a person or a creature, it ends up looking more realistic if you add imperfections to the skin and what-have-you. Otherwise, you'll just see it as a lifeless plastic doll, no matter how much time you put into rendering beads of sweat.
  11. Southside Pip

    Southside Pip Banned

    Jan 22, 2013
    I don't think it's fair to listen to those tracks and rate the bassist, especially the songs recorded without the use of a click track. If the bass sounds good with the rest of the song...that's all that matters.
  12. DinnerWithAGypsy

    DinnerWithAGypsy Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Louisville, KY
    Yeah, I think there's merit to both extremes. Again, it all depends on the final feel of the song, what it demands. In my opinion, great (studio) players manage to sound improvisatory and inspired while also totally nailing it.
  13. 4dog


    Aug 18, 2012
    All that stuff makes it human, isnt that important as well , life is a bit ugly you cant get out without a few tears and scrapes , all those little extras add humanity to your favorite tracks.
  14. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    LOL me too
  15. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    It's the old left-brain versus right brain problem. The left wants everything to be technically proficient, perfect, labeled, organized, mistake free, etc...

    While the right wants the art, the creativity, the "feel".

    We all have both, of course, but we get caught up in the left brain thinking because we can judge it easier. We see it all the time with arguments about amps, brand names, strings, "tone" (good God tone!), and that sort of stuff. All of it is subjective.

    As has been stated, if the bass line made the song sound, or feel good, it worked.
  16. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Here's an isolated Anthony Jackson track of his performance on Steely Dan's "Glamour Profession". It's an unique insight into how good a true master with decades of international level notoriety actually is. Bear in mind this was done years before digital, non-destructive editing. Many isolated tracks make me feel at or above a famous player's level, but this keeps it real for me.

  17. GK Growl

    GK Growl

    Dec 31, 2011
    To me hearing that stuff is awesome!! Fret grind is good. Tracks that have a human quality is good. Sitting in the mix is good. Remember, these are SONGS that were never meant to have each instrument isolated to be picked apart. Intonation, timing, and notes that don't fret out are important but all the other human nuances are why I love playing a stringed instrument.
  18. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    I disagree. I listen to some isolated tracks, and I'm amazed that some pros can play things so cleanly with no ringing strings and perfect timing. These guys don't have to hide in the mix like I do. More Flea. Whenever I play that to a track, it sounds horribly and stop-start-y. He's a machine.

    Anyone else notice how they can play cleanly acapella, but then when they play along to a track and isolate it, it sounds awful?
  19. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    "If you isolate a bass track it sounds like someone's working on a Buick in the background" - Chuck Rainey (paraphrased)
  20. This is especially true with some of my favorite bands.

    Bass solo'd: