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recommendation for recording

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by electricity17, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. electricity17


    May 22, 2012
    I was recording a friend's band recently, 70's punk stuff, and I wasn't thrilled with the bass sounds that we were getting. We're recording in a single room, so track drums and bass at the same time, we have to DI the bass. We've always got the option to reamp the bass later (though we didn't with these demos).

    The bassist is great, he plays a Fender Jazz with his fingers, don't know what kind of strings he had on but they were roundwounds and looked old. The issue was that we weren't getting a lot of note definition, basically the attack of the notes was very soft. A pick might help with this, but I don't want to ask someone to change their basic playing style on the spot. At one point I suggested using a Precision, he didn't want to because he liked the thinner Jazz neck and he's got small hands.

    Is there a recommendation for strings that would give a more aggressive attack? Rotosounds perhaps? I'm guessing that newer strings would help. Part of my reason for thinking about strings is that it's an easy change that would leave this guy's bass relatively unchanged.

    I should add that the bass sound wasn't bad, I just felt we could have gotten more shape out of it. I ended up making a copy of the bass track, taking off the low end, putting a saturation/distortion plugin on it, then mixing that gritty mid-range track up underneath the original full range signal.

    Any advice is welcome, thanks!
  2. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    Depending how old the strings are, that could definitely be the problem. If your bassist likes the dead round sound, he should try flatwounds, which give a more mellow sound than rounds, but have more definition (as well as a richer sound) than worn out rounds. Of course, the definition of 'definition' in this case is very subjective, so YMMV.

    Also, taper wounds or ground wounds could be an option, as they're somewhere between flats and rounds.

    As for which brand, there's a ton of threads on the topic. I like different strings on my different basses, but a popular flat is the labella deep-talking flats. i like these a lot - they can go from super dubby to super grindy depending on your attack

    Also, what sort of DI were you using? That could be part of the issue as well.
  3. electricity17


    May 22, 2012
    Thanks for the reply jefkritz. This guy doesn't like flats (I've got LaBella's on the P bass that I suggested he use). I'm not sure he likes a dead sound, I just got the feeling he hadn't bothered to change strings recently. We put the bass through an Aguilar Tonehammer DI box with the preamp on and the EQ kicked in. Again I didn't think the overall tone was bad, but I wanted to get more shape out of the notes which seems like a mid range thing to me. I'll look at taper and ground wound strings, I don't know much about those.
  4. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    Old strings definetely can be the cause of lack of definition. Also, many 70's punk bassists use a pick. I play a lot of punky stuff myself, always finger style. I even cover Motörhead finger style. One of my basses is strung with EB flatwounds, tuned BEAD. The other bass has nickel plated roundwounds on it, in EADG or a semitone down. The skin on my finger tips is rather hard and dry, giving me extra attack. Pedals and a good equalizer may be helpful as well.
  5. electricity17


    May 22, 2012
    Thanks Jay2u. For round wounds, you recommend Ernie Ball? I use them on my guitars, don't know how people feel about them on bass. The guitar strings need to be changed fairly often, maybe this is as easy as a new set of Slinkys on this guys bass.
  6. Have you thought about adding a light overdrive to the signal? That can give a bit more definition/attack.

    Otherwise, really any new set of strings will give a sharper tone. I prefer light gage (no specific brand preference) as it allows me to more easily get the sound of a stronger attack
  7. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    No, for flatwounds I recommend Ernie Ball, but that's just because I can buy them as singles. For roundwounds I use Dunlop nickel plated, but I guess any nickel plated round will do.
  8. electricity17


    May 22, 2012
    Regarding overdrive, the Tonehammer was giving it a bit of overdrive (via the AGS circuit). Blending in a crunchy version of the track that's mostly mids and highs was an attempt to get that brightness back, worked ok. Sounds like a new strings would be the biggest help with this.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    What advice do you need? Problem solved.
  10. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Um, if it's '70s punk stuff it's supposed to sound like s***.

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