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Recording/Playing Overdriven Bass

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by LowSide121, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. LowSide121


    Jul 7, 2011
    Hi everybody,

    I'm relatively knew to the overdrive world.

    I'm running an MXR compressor into an OCD Fulltone overdrive.

    I'm going for a sound similar to a Brian Cook (Russian Circles) tone.

    I was wondering if anyone had any tips or tricks they've come across when it comes to a compressor/amp settings live and when recording.

  2. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Ideally, you'd settle on the instrument tones before tracking sessions—during writing or arranging or gigging or pre-production. But, if you're new to grit, you might need a period for basic experimentation.

    For recording, try recording a clean tone along with your dirty/amp tone—especially if you're new to overdrive tones. That way, you can blend in some clean tone or even re-amp.

    Live, some players like to use a blend (either from a loop pedal or from a grit pedal that offers blend), especially with distortion or even high levels of overdrive. A version of this approach is to split the bass, with clean bass going to your regular bass rig, and with the grit side of the signal running to a small guitar amp. (Depending on the flavor of grit you're after, it can come from a pushed guitar amp, from pedals, or from a mix of pedals and amp.)

    Also, in either case try experimenting with the order of your compression and OD. The OCD will give you some compression already. One of its strengths is that it's responsive to volume changes from the instrument, and you'll lose some of that responsiveness if you compress before the OCD.

    Also, when recording you should have access to some signature compressors, and for a few reasons you might prefer not to track the MXR unless it eventually becomes a crucial part of your sound.
  3. Seriously, if you are recording (or have access to multi-track recording in a live setup), take a dry tone right off the bass and then start running through different amp and pedal sims to find something 1) that you like and 2) works in the mix. At that point you get a good idea of the equipment you will want to achieve your desired tone and can adjust from there.

    If you don't have that luxury, you are stuck like the rest of us - By Gosh and By Golly.

  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Don't have an OCD, only a Joyo Ultimate Drive which an OCD clone of sorts, but one thing you want to do IMHO is cut out frequencies past 5k. The Joyo does it automatically, but don't know if the OCD does it. And also IMHO, compression is usually best used sparingly, though with distortion, I might see a scenario where you'd want to slam some comp on it good to give it a squashed sound. I personally don't go for it since I think overdrives add enough comp for my tastes, but some do like it.

    Best thing to do is experiment and try many different things...blending clean and OD signals is cool too, but beware of the "bees in the background" sound you can sometimes get from too much clean and not enough overdrive.
  5. skidrawk


    Jan 21, 2007
    Space City, TX
    record clean. reamp. compress later to taste. enjoy.
  6. live I settle on using my sans amp rbi and dial in a more dirty tone then roll the blend back to mix in the dry signal which helps add lows.

    For the ideal situation I would check out the rig rundown on youtube for the bassist of Inflames. he has multiple channels running with different sounds the sound guy can blend together. For example a dry DI, a MXR DI(dirt), a XLR from his EBS Fafner, i want to say a mic on a cab and so on. unfortunately until you sell a few million records its pretty unlikely you'll be able to run 4 or 5 channels like that live, in the studio though you might be able to depending on who your working with.