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Trying to find a tone. Suggestions??

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by harlon, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. harlon


    Jul 13, 2007
    Hi. I've been lurking here for quite some time, and I've learned a ton just by searching around. Great forum.

    I've been trying for some time now to record a bass tone I'm really happy with. Some have said what I've done sounds fine - and maybe it does - but it's still not what I'm looking for.

    I have 2 basses ( a squire vintage modified P-Bass, and an old Peavey Fury, also a P-bass knock-off). neither are great, but honestly, neither of them are too bad. I was recording with a Bass Pod. Wasn't happy so I sold it and got the Ampeg plug-in. It has some great sounds, but I have yet to capture anything with it that sounds right in the mix. Also - I have a Sansamp DI. Again - nice sounds, just doesn't mix like I'm looking for. On top of all that my mic-pre is a FMR RNP. Just going direct so far, with slight tweaking in Sonar 6 sounds closest to what I'm looking for.

    So - what am I looking for? This is a tough one. Just hard to explain. Everything I record has this booming sound that fills out the bottom end just fine. But I'm looking for something a bit more focused (??) I just want the bass to sound like another instrument in the mix, not the entire bottom end of the music. Am I making any sense? Listen to "Something" or "Penny Lane" by the Beatles. You hear the bass moving around, very melodically. It sounds very tight and focused, not all over the place sonically. In my tracks, all that melody and moving around just kind of gets lost - can't really hear the bass for the bass, you might say.

    I've considered modifying my Peavey. I was thinking of replacing the pickup with a Duncan SPB-1, and adding a SJB-1 Jazz pickup at the bridge (a bit more vintage). Then, replace the crappy bridge with a Badass II. Would these mods help? No?

    If needed I can grab a 10 second sample so you can hear what I'm getting.

    I appreciate any advice. Been playing guitars live and in studio semi-pro for over 20 years. Up until now I haven't had to spend much time with bass. But I'm learning quick!

  2. Harlon,

    I've had the very same problem, (maybe not worded as well!) (see my thread about a dozen below yours).

    In your case think about what McCartney was playing, very much a vintage bass probably with flats on it and hollowbodied, which all of which combined gives a particular short-decay thumpy sound. You might duplicate it on a solid body by stuffing some foam under the strings near the bridge or muting with your right palm whie playing. Eq-wise you probably would need to cut a significant amount of lows and highs otherwise due to the modern sounds of todays basses and all the harmonics.

    I finall had to go through a small amp to get the sound I needed and just miked it.
  3. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    Well, one of the things about McCartney's tone on those particular songs, and a lot of Beatles tunes in general, is that he played a lot in the upper registers of the bass between the 7th and 12th fret. This was because he did not like the way his Hofner sounded in the lower registers. Those higher notes generally sound a bit crisper when recorded, then notes played in the first position. Just a thought. ;)

    Best of luck and have Fun!! :bassist:
  4. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    If you're trying to get a Macca-type of tone from your P-bass, it's going to be a challenge. The closest you'll get is by putting a set of flatwound strings on it and play with a pick (check out my song "Last Time Around" for a P w/ flats + pick sound - link in sig).

    Getting a bass (or any instrument, really) to sit right in a mix is about using your EQ. A bass needs to occupy the area above the bass drum and below the guitars. Trimming the low freqs and boosting the low-mids (around 800hz) will keep the low end from getting too muddy and get the bass heard. I find that some top-end trim also helps to keep the bass and guitars separated better. A little compression can help focus the bass sound, as well, and bring it out of the mix a bit.
  5. I have duncans and a badass bridge on my second bass. I think it did the charm, and should do the same with you. I'm also using tapewounds, so that's probably 50% of the timbre right there.
  6. drummerboy1533


    Sep 1, 2007
    Hi,I'm quite new to playing bass,but as a Gearslut.com member,I can personally recommend the A-designs REDDDI...damned!It as THAT good I swear.You won't even bother to mic your cab. Get the newest edition with the THRU-OUT.
  7. csholtmeier


    Feb 8, 2004
    omaha, ne
    I use the Ampeg SVX plugin a lot as well.

    I've found you need to use compression after the plugin to keep it from filling too much space and losing focus.

    I really like the Waves SSL Channel for this.
  8. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    What's your reference ?

    Have you ever tuned your room ?

    It does more damage to a bass sound than you might think.....

    BTW , I absolutly love the RNP ( and RNC ! )

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