Session gear

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Alex Lineback, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. Alex Lineback

    Alex Lineback

    Jun 6, 2019
    So I’ve been wanting to get into session playing for a long time and lately I’ve been in contact with a producer who’s studio I played a few tracks at for my singer songwriter friends album. I have always been a minimalist when it comes to gear and I do not have any pedals. For all you players with session experience, what is the minimum I can get away with? Also, if you have session experience, please leave any advice you have down below :)
  2. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Not that I am a huge session player, but I always just showed up with my bass if I could. Some studios asked me to bring my amp, and I would reluctantly. I don't rely on an amp to generate a signature tone, so I would rather go direct and use the studios high end rack gear if any processing is required. The last engineer I worked with raved because he didn't need to use any compression and hardly any EQ.

    The most important thing is to make sure your bass is appropriate for the session, and that it has good strings and a good setup. IMHO, the strings should be played in enough to stabilize and take some of the edge off if they are overly bright out of the package...unless of course that is the sound your looking for.
    AGCurry likes this.
  3. Alex Lineback

    Alex Lineback

    Jun 6, 2019
    Thanks for the advice! My go to bass is a P (I have one with round and one with flats) and I know that engineers love them!
    Wasnex and MattZilla like this.
  4. biguglyman


    Jul 27, 2017
    Pownal, ME
    Not that I've done a ton either, but all I show up with is my bass and what's in the case (cord, tuner, strap, and picks). I do ask if they need me to bring a DI or amp. I've never had to bring either.
    Wasnex likes this.
  5. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Congrats on your start in the studio world.

    : What everybody else said. While I believe that every working bass player should own a good DI, any studio worth its salt will have several from which to chose. That's it, really. The engineer and/or producer just want a good, clean bass track. All of the "sizzle" will be added later – usually without your artistic input – via compression, hardware/software effects, reamping, etc.

    Skills: So as not to omit the obvious, as a session player, it's assumed that you can sight read – not just standard bass clef, but also alternative charting methods like the Nashville number system. Not every singer-songwriter is going to take the time to sit down with you on acoustic guitar or piano and say, "The verse goes like this, the chorus goes like this, and then there's this funky thing on the bridge..." Also, diplomacy is key to success. As an independent contractor, know your role, and don't bite the hand that feeds.

    Best of luck.
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  6. biguglyman


    Jul 27, 2017
    Pownal, ME
    This, unfortunately...:rollno:
  7. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I don't do tons of session work, but I earn enough with music these days to pay my bills - and over the years I've done a fair amount of recording. Just got hired for and completed a video/recording shoot for someone last night...

    The most important thing I think you can bring, as corny as I know it sounds, is confidence.

    I never gave much thought to the bass I brought to a recording session, and I never got questioned on my choice of instrument either. I've recorded with lots of different basses. I never took any effects with me either. Effects can (and should, IMO) come afterward. I think they'd just get in the way too and waste a lot of time.

    This is a pretty cool book you might want to check out. I didn't read the whole thing, but what I did I found inspiring:

    Wasnex likes this.
  8. And I

    And I

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    Bring a well set up bass, a cable that doesn't buzz, and a tuner.
    Joe Nerve and Wasnex like this.
  9. bbh

    bbh Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    If I know what they want I go in with just one bass. I don’t usually bring pedals unless they ask. If I don’t know what I’m getting into I might bring two basses.
  10. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    Communicate with the sound engineers and producer, learn from them what they want, and ask questions to understand what they want you to do.