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To the guys that record. Do studio engineers really ask you where's your Fender?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by de la mocha, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
    We're gonna start recording soon and I'd hate to have to use the studio's house bass because it won't feel the same to me.

    For those who record, is it a common practice for the studio to make you use their bass?

    Also, do people really prefer you use their Fender to record?

    I've read this a few times on this sight, just wanted to know.

    I guess this belongs in the bass forum, or should it go in the recording forum. I got a 50-50 shot here.... :D
  2. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I have never been asked to use a certain bass for any studio date. However, depending on the studio, they may have some ridiculous basses laying around. Once I had an oppurtunity to play a '65 Jazz, a '56 P, a 60's Thunderbird, and tons of other basses on this one record. They were all owned by the studio. I think engineers are used to the Fender sound. They know what it should sound like. This doesn't mean that Fenders are superior, it just means that they are more common. Any good engineer can make any bass sound anyway he/she wants. I would say use your main axe regardless of the maker. It is the most familiar and comfortable. Btw, I've never had an engineer complain about the sound of my Thunderbird or Hofner.
  3. ClassicJazz

    ClassicJazz Bottom Feeders Unite!! Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Delray Beach, Florida
    I never heard of a studio making you use their "house" bass. I have always used my own, be my Alembic or Carvin or Fender. If they do, I would find a new studio!

    If the engineer knows what he is doing, he can get the cheapest bass to sound good!
  4. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Never had been forced to use a particular model

  5. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    I would think you could use your bass unless it has some electrical issues or tuning problems. A good engineer should be able to work with whatever bass you have.
    You may be asked to use the studios preamp or direct box but as long as it sounds good it doesn't matter how your sound gets recorded. Not playing your bass could kill your performance.
  6. Some basses record better than others. Also, the bass you use live might have some fret buzz or hum that could be picked up on the recording. Bottom line, if you are recording a project as a hired session player,use what the producer asks. He generally knows what sounds he wants on his record. You'll get more callbacks that way!
  7. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    I have never been asked "where's your Fender", but I know that it is commonplace to have the option of using a "house bass" if your bass sounds bad in the control room or as an option to whatever you brought. You might be all in love with whatever your bass is, but those settings that you are so into at the gig are unlikely to be so great when the cold, unfeeling eye of the studio gets a look at it.

    In general, trust the engineer. Also, be open minded. The recording process is so much different than playing in a club.
  8. I just used my old Epi Tbird when I recorded last.. I though own a fender to day:D
  9. JohnThomasson


    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Supro, Mesa Boogie, DR Strings, Source Audio, Pigtronix, & Fishman
    I made some pretty strong pro 4 string/passive/fender-ish opinions that I totally stand by in the aspiring studio bassist threads, but I never said that you have to bring a fender or be asked to use the studio's bass if you don't have one. Especially if you are doing your own project. It is totally different if you or your band are paying the bill and you or the band will also be the producers. But like the last few guys said, you should try to please the producer or eng if you are being hired and would like to be hired again. Simple common sense for any job.
  10. ezstep


    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    Never been asked to use the "house" bass, but then, again, I am left-handed and have never seen a lefty "house" bass. :D I have used G&L, Carvin, and Alembic, even a p.o.s. Hohner acoustic. A good engineer will get a good sound, even from a p.o.s. bass.

    A bigger question will be how to record you - direct into the board or through an amp or a combination of both. Let the engineer do his job and give it a serious listen before you decide. *Personally, I run direct through an Avalon U5*
  11. One of the first times I ever recorded, the engineer couldn't do a thing with my Precision Lyte so he 'strongly suggested' I use his Vigier. I did.

    He was right, of course - it was a rubbish bass.

    Nowadays, I use my one of my '71 Ps, or my '72J, with a blend of mic and SABDDI. They all seem to be happy with that. They don't have any choice in the matter, mind you... :cool:
  12. Let's get this straight right at the top: any engineer that can only get a good sound with one type of bass is incompetent, lazy, or both.

    That said, in regard to the original question, it would depend to a degree on whose session it is. If it's somebody else's session, I'd try to do what they ask, or else, if I didn't feel I could play that bass well or just didn't want to, I'd bow out. (Of course, I don't do this full-time for a living, so I could afford to do that.) In that situation, I'm working for them.

    If it's my session or my band's, OTOH, the engineer needs to work with the bass I want to play. He/she is working for me, not the other way around. I'm not a newbie; I play the basses I play for very good reasons, I know what they do, and I know what they sound like. I'm certainly not infallible; I don't mind a suggestion, and I'll take it if I agree with it, but basically, if I feel I need to play my bass on my session, then it's the engineer's job to get a sound that's usable. You have to have some idea of the limits of what your bass can be made to sound like, and you can't expect an engineer to turn a bass into something it's not, but you *can and should* expect a good engineer to be able to get some kind of good sound with a good bass. (If you're bringing in a truly crappy bass, however, it's your fault if it sounds crappy, though even then, a good engineer can sometimes help it out.)
  13. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Seems to me, and from my limited experience, that being a bass player 'in a band' that is paying for the recording time is totally different from being a 'studio player' who is hired to do the specific gig. If it's your band and your dollar, I would assume you could play any darn thing you wanted. If you are a freelance studio pro, I assume you would more likely be asked for a specific sound (Fender or not) by either the producer, artist or engineer.
  14. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    I've never been told to use a certain bass, but when we went to the studio, I brought a couple of basses, ran them into a bass pod (just a touch of eqing) and into the board and the one that sounded best was the peavey t-40. The engineer/producer actually offered to buy my bass right there! And he had an active 5 string MIA jazz of his own right there in his studio. If I remember correctly, he liked the passive clarity of the instrument. The T-40 doesn't get out live too much anymore, but if I ever get into the studio again, it is coming with for sure.

    As for "an engineer should make any bass sound good" I think that is a shaky proposition. Some basses do not sound good recorded or otherwise and if it sounds like a turd there is only so much shaping of that turd that an engineer can do, and it will still probably be a turd.

    Trust the engineer, he probably knows what bass will sound best on the recording. It's his job to know. A good engineer will bow to the wishes of the performer, but a good performer will know when to trust the enginneer, and if you are a hired gun for a session, the engineer and the client are the boss.
  15. AGCurry


    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City
    In 1976 my band recorded an album in a pro studio (the same studio where C.W. McCall did his "trucker talk" records).

    At that time, I used my upright for most live work, and the only bass guitar I had was an old Gretsch. The engineer and producer groused a little, implying that we'd be better off with a Fender Precision, but we didn't do anything about it.

    In retrospect, I WISH we'd found a Precision. It would have sounded a lot better.
  16. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    I'll add this: you are also paying for the engineer's experience and input, especially if you are working without a producer. Sure, the old way was that the engineer turned knobs, placed mics, and ran the deck. But what I see all of the time now is that producers are less common in the project/small studio worls and the engineer is the go-to guy for questions on getting certain sounds. Bands are more often self-produced, but they often lack the experience to make sound decisions. Taking banter from discussion baords into the studio as gospel is a sure fire way to get the brush off from an engineer.

    If you or your band is paying for the studio time then you have the option of asking the engineer to get a result from your gear, or his gear. I did a string of projects where I never brought a bass to the studio. Their MIA P bass and their DI was all I ever needed. Likewise, I wanted to get my Turner Ren to record the way I heard it and a good engineer took the time to make it happen.

    BUT, if you want a classic P bass tone and you brought your Modulus Flea, maybe you would get a better result with the house P bass.
  17. rashrader


    Mar 4, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    I have limited studio experience (maybe 12 or so sessions in 20 years of playing). I have never been asked to use a house bass.

    Last time I recorded, however, the engineer did request that I play through his house amp. It was not that much of a let down as it was a recently tubed and biased 70's SVT. He also had me run through a SansAmp DI.

    It sounded good, but it threw me off. First time I plugged it all in, it sounded nothing like me. I must have spent an hour looking for my tone. It was never found. My little GK 700RB 210 sounds nothing like a vintage SVT, but it is my sound.

    I was pleased with the recording. My bass sounded huge.
  18. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    I have a real nice J and a real nice P. If I'm recording someone and their bass is noisy or has tuning/intonation issues or just doesn't fit right in the track, I let them use one of mine.

    Or I will hire a session guy who brings Foderas, Pedullas, etc, and for some tracks we'll still use my P with flats. Because sometimes that sound works better for the track.

    I also have guitars, amps, keys, and whole drum kits/cymbal selections.

    I also suggest guitarist use different picks for some tracks, and for drummers to use different sticks for some tracks. I only ever get arguments from amateurs. Pros invariably say "ok" and play their best regardless of whether they are using their "favorite" instrument.

    Musicians and engineers/producers don't have to be at odds with each other. The music is the thing that suffers.
  19. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    Never been asked to play house bass.
    I have recorded with a number of basses.
    Musicman, Padulla, FBB, Stambaugh, Fender. Lakland.
    My FBB was fretless 6-string.
    Got some looks when I pulled it out.
    I find that, studio's like passive 4-string basses because there use to using them. And can get a good sound quick.
    Plug in, turn up, go.
  20. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Almost twenty-two years ago, I was recording a demo with a band I played in that was heavily influenced by Prince and the Minneapolis Sound. My bass at the time was single pickup (single coil) Rickenbacker 4000. The bass sounded great live but it didn't record well at all. The studio had a P-bass but it had asuper high action and it would have impossible to slap on it. My solution was to go through a phase shifter that was set as low as possible so that my tone was almost regular. That covered up the single coil hum that was coming through.