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"The Dreaded Bass Direct"

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Mr. Engberg, Apr 1, 2005.


  1. Hi Guys...

    Just starting my first thread... :) (Be nice!)

    I've been wondering what "The dreaded bass direct" is?

    "To obtain more wood from the bass, this album was recorded without usage of the "dreaded" bass direct."
    I read this in the cover of Branford Marsalis Requiem, and in the covers of other records!

    When you do a studio record, then you are most likely to use a mic only right? Why write this in the cover?

    Somebody please explain!!!

    Mr. Engberg. Denmark.
     
  2. JohnThomasson

    JohnThomasson Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Mesa Boogie, DR Strings, Fender, Source Audio & Fishman
    The Marsalis' started doing that it seems in retaliation to the "direct" sounds of so many recordings from the 70's and 80's like Eddie Gomez and Gary Peacock. I took a lesson with Bob Hurst in the late 80's and he was going back to the mic thing live and in the studio. I'm not sure what the zeitgiest was back then since I was just starting out, but it fit in with their neo-traditionalist concepts. I guess they helped bring it back around so it is more common to see mics on gigs and smaller amounts of pickups in the recording chain. The choices in pickups were also limited, so a mic was a big step up for that sound.
     
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    The "dreaded bass direct" sound is the solid, high-midrangey, ultra sustainy "Fishmanlike" sound that you find on records (mostly) from the 70s and 80s. A perfect example is Ron Carter's sound on "State of the Tenor" with Joe Henderson. Great playing, but unnaturally bright sound with no air in it. If you have this record, check out the first 30 seconds of "Beatrice" to see what I'm talking about. If you don't have this record, you need this record!
     
  4. JohnThomasson

    JohnThomasson Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Mesa Boogie, DR Strings, Fender, Source Audio & Fishman
    That is a very "direct" sound that Ron has on that record, but man I love his playing on it. Great record!
     
  5. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    Bolinas Ca
    somehow I always exempted Ron. Yes yes its true but....its Ron.
     
  6. abaguer

    abaguer

    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    When you do a studio record, then you are most likely to use a mic only right? Why write this in the cover?

    Not necessarily. There are many bassists and producers who like to take both signals and combine them. The rationale from the producers/engineers is that in case the mic'd sound becomes blurry or indistinct in the ensemble, then you can dial in some direct signal to add focus to the core. Of course if you have a band that can play with dynamics and sensitivity, you can get a good acoustic sound without the dreaded. . . .
     
  7. Hi ev'rybody....

    Thank you very much for the answers. You have enlightened me! ;)

    I have a record by the danish bassplayer Lennart Ginman where he also writes this: "To obtain more wood from the bass, this album was recorded without usage of the "dreaded" bass direct."
    The problem is that I've never heard a bass sound theres more pickup sounding than his sound on this particular record. That got me confused...

    On the Branford record I see what you alle mean by a "non pickupsound", it's great!!!

    So why is it that we all, well almost all, go back to wanting a much more acoustic sound than in the ´70's and ´80's? Now almost noone uses the Wilson system, which was the hottest pickup earlier.
    I personally use the Realist and Velvet Garbos and I love the sound I get... I'm only 21 so I haven't been through all the different trends in bass sounds, but in my opinion an upright bass should sound like an upright bass, and not like some fretless EB.

    Mr. Engberg. Denmark.

    P.S.: I hope you all get my point despite of my bad grammar and spelling :)

    P.P.S.: By the way, this isn't meant as saying "this sound is better than the other", it's just my personal taste.
     
  8. lincland

    lincland

    Nov 8, 2004
    Dallas, TX
    I remember when the "dreaded bass direct" was kind of the standard sound. I'm sure many of us do. It was probably due mainly to the increased volume of "jazz" in the 70's, and bass players just couldn't compete using only mics. Then over time, our ears just got used to it. It's almost like our collective concept of the instrument had shifted and we thought of that sound as the "modern" sound as compared to say Paul Chambers.

    I may be overstepping, but I would directly credit Wynton, Branford, and Delfayo for making huge efforts to get a more natural bass sound while recording. I'm sure others were doing it at the time, but there was a definite trickle-down effect as the recorded sound on their albums over the years influenced players to try to get a more natural sound; listen to the sound of the instrument first and then work from there as opposed to just getting a pickup, plugging in and emulating a more electric sound. It was probably more of a conceptual change than it was technological. There weren't as many options pickup wise back then, but it was more about the target sound that they were going for. Afterall, you can mic a bass and still EQ it badly and make it sound terrible if you don't have a strong idea of what you're going for.

    Just my .02.

    Lincoln