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Signature tone or change it up?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Former Rogues, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. Former Rogues

    Former Rogues

    Sep 22, 2016
    I've been playing, gigging and recording in a groove metal/modern metal band for over a year now. Some of my musician friends, strangers at gigs and even the mixing engineer we work with (sound production student at NOROFF in Oslo) have been complimenting my tone. I don't think I do anything special, other than EQ my rig around the other guitarists, but I guess you could say I have found a 'signature' tone over the last year.

    We are going back into the 'studio' to track more songs we have already written and I wanted to here opinions. What do we all think about sticking to a 'signature tone' versus changing things up and keeping tones fresh?

    Also, I would appreciate comments/opinions/suggestions on my current tone, and whether I should stick with it or not.

    Sound samples:

    My current gear and setup:
    Schecter Stargazer 5 in drop C > TC Hypergravity Comp in multiband mode > assortment of dirt pedals with parallel dry signal > Two Notes CAB 18" IR > Reverb/delay > MXR 10 band EQ

    My dirt pedals:
    - Empress Multidrive a) Overdrive b)Fuzz/Distortion in low pass/high pass setting
    - B3K clone pedal
    - DOD Boneshaker (for the really heavy stuff)

    We record in a few places, tracking guitars/bass at home, vocals at a film studio, and drums where we can (the drummer also does some sample replacement).

    What about you? Have you found your signature tone or do you like to have something new?
  2. Turbo Sparky

    Turbo Sparky Supporting Member

    May 14, 2018
    South Eastern U.S.
    Digging the vibe. Cool.
    IMO, your tone fits the song/genre. Maybe bump up the low end like +0.5 or 1 even during mixdown. Nothing crazy, just a tad.
    With few exceptions, I think a "signature" tone should be the standard. A recording sets the stage for playing live to a point.
    I would look at FX/changing EQs as a way to enhance/shape the "signature" tone. It's "you" but with a dash of spice.
    Again, digging the song.
    Socobass and bassbrad like this.
  3. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements yet...Are you listening Spector, DR, GK, Line6?
    You have a great metal/djent tone...dont fix what aint broken. I use a Helix and my tone is unashamedly highly processed, it works, took me a lifetime to nail down my signature tone, its not changing now.
    Rock on.
  4. Former Rogues

    Former Rogues

    Sep 22, 2016
    Funny you mention bumping the volume in final mix down. I've always been telling our mixer to lower me by about 1dB in the mixing stage. I think we have different monitor responses; at least very different listening environments. Since my bass sound really emphasizes the low range to add girth to the guitars, I feel it can easily dominate the mix if set too loud. That was the problem with our very first single, Slaves to the Ecosphere.

    In that song, we were rushed and didn't do as good a job with the recording process and mix down. At least we learned a lot, but that song is BASS HEAVY.

    Also a good idea about using something else to flavour the tone (ie, another EQ pedal). For now, I have an active bass and do use the bass/treble pots a lot within and between songs when playing live.

    @bass40hz Nothing wrong with processing. My whole rig uses the Boss ES-8, and I have a ton of digital pedals for the weird effects. Our guitarist is a Kemper user, so he and I are always dialling in bizarre, ambient and noise sounds for our songs as well. Glad you found your tone after so much searching.
    Turbo Sparky and bass40hz like this.
  5. Turbo Sparky

    Turbo Sparky Supporting Member

    May 14, 2018
    South Eastern U.S.
    Noted. Laptops don't have the best speakers LOL. Definitely not studio monitors. A flange here, a little delay there, some dirt a bit...just a spice, a pinch. IMO you're on it. Good Luck!
  6. I am in agreement your collective tone is part of the creation of your band and should not be changed for the recording. That said I always advise recording dry tracks along with processed tracks.
    pbass2 likes this.
  7. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    I'm not a metal fan so don't listen to a lot of it but can honestly say that this is the first time I have heard the bass properly. Stick with the sound you have

    I listened through a moderate amp and speakers (2+1 system) hooked up to my laptop and also think that the bass could do to be a little higher in the mix.
  8. Former Rogues

    Former Rogues

    Sep 22, 2016
    99% of the time I take a DI signal out from my tuner just as a backup. Completely raw bass signal, however I am yet to use it. It is always wise to have for blending or plugins afterwards but I try to live by 'get it right at the source.'
    You can't polish a turd and call it gold. So my hope is the mix engineer never needs to spend hours getting me in the mix, if I get the tone right the first time.
    bassbrad likes this.
  9. Former Rogues

    Former Rogues

    Sep 22, 2016
    Thanks delta7fred.
    Maybe I am self conscious about dominating the mix, especially when we have a lot happening in some of the songs. But I will keep it in mind to have by bass mixed a bit louder on the next tracks. Seems like a fair few people, both here and in my music circle, have been saying the same thing.
  10. crice31721


    Oct 23, 2006
    Folsom, CA
    This isn't And Justice For All....TURN UP THE BASS!!!
    Good tunes, had to download and put on some headphones to listen at proper volume at work.
    ihaveaquestion and Jokei like this.
  11. Former Rogues

    Former Rogues

    Sep 22, 2016
    I guess you are in North America if you are still at work, eh?! Right on.
    +1 for more bass on future recordings.
  12. I quite like it, I'd suggest you need to be higher in the mix - I need to concetrate to hear you.

    It's a good tone, if you're home recording you might have opportunities to experiment with tone options.

    If I was doing what you're doing, I'd be really happy with that tone though.
    Former Rogues likes this.
  13. Dabndug

    Dabndug Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2017
    Somewhere in Oz
    If your resources allow, you could split your signal and record clean and processed (signature sound) bass tracks simultaneously and experiment with software processing on a copy of the clean track.
  14. Absolutely, it's that 1 time you don't follow normal practice that you miss the jewel in the rough of lightning striking that stirs eternal regret, dontcha know.
  15. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Playing originals I don't think it's a good mindset to have a signature tone that you never intend to change from one album to the next. I think part of the approach to recording a new album is to have a blank slate and be able to find your current voice, your current musical expression that you didn't have before and won't have in the future. I'm not saying your tone has to change but you should be open minded to changing it.
    Former Rogues and K-2 like this.
  16. bearfoot

    bearfoot Inactive

    Jan 27, 2005
    Chittenango, NY
    I can't hear the bass in the first track listed. I have very clear speakers and a 15" sub.

    Can't comment on the tone of an almost inaudible bass track. TURN IT UP
  17. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    I kind of like the idea of slightly altering a "signature tone" from album to album. Or some other arbitrary time period. Look at Rush albums. You still heard Ged's signature tone in there even if it was altered by what basses he was using on a given album. Jazz sounded different from Ricks which were different from Steinbergers which were different from the Wals. But it was still his signature in there somewhere every time.

    In the end, whatever tone you think serves the songs best.
    Former Rogues likes this.
  18. J_Bass


    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    Hi, first of all, congratulations, I really enjoyed listening to your music.

    I like your tone very much. Powerful, bottom end solid, but very articulate and you can hear all the notes perfectly, great playing, man!

    I never listen to this genre, so I don't have much to compare to, but when I listen to bands like yours, the bass always seems to be as to low in the mix and a little muffled. Not in your case! I agree with @Turbo Sparky when he says you could up the volume a bit in A Sky Full of Splinters. But I also agree with you when you say Slaves to the Ecosphere is bass heavy (but it was powerful, ahah!).

    So, I listened to the others tunes and the one where I liked the bass tone and mix the most was Docta Ignorantia. Awesome bass playing, great technique, and the right amount of volume. I would go with your signature tone, like in this tune.
  19. will have to try to listen on headphones - through spacephone speaker all I could really hear was the kick drum beater (I know that for the style that's an important sound)
  20. I'm also in the camp of preferring the mix more like Slaves and Docta. Without enough of you it seems a little floaty but still rock'n. Keep which ever tone you are happy with.
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