Metal Bass Tone

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Thread: Metal Bass Tone

  1. #1

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Glasgow - Scotland
    ME: Suhr M5
    MB: Squire Jazz
    Rig: VHT Pittbull + Axe FX II

    iTrader: 3 (100%)

    Metal Bass Tone

    Anyone have any tricks for this? I was using Ola's trick for doubling up and using one track to add a bit of dirt to the bass tone but i find my bass sound is passable at best and really only adds a bit of low end rumble to my mix that i cant get with a guitar.

    I'm using the axe fx 2 for my tone and I've tried Kostein's patches and i just don't seem to get the 'bigness' I'm looking for.

    Bass is an Ibanez SR505.

    Anyone got any tricks worth knowing?

  2. #2

    Join Date: Aug 2013
    Location: Nottingham, UK
    ME: Music Man Silhouette
    Rig: Amp Sims

    iTrader: 0

    I don't think the bass tone alone should be an indicator of a good sound in a mix. The bass frequencies can be the hardest to get to play nice with each other when you bring multiple instruments into it. Shaping the tone with EQ to let the bass guitar breathe around the bass drum is key to a powerful mix. If done right it can bring a mix to life.

    I keep these as notes for a starting reference:

    Add a high pass of 100 - 140 to everything except bass guitar and kick drum

    Bass guitar - Cut 60 - 80, boost 120 - 150 and boost 900

    Kick Drum - Boost 60 - 80, cut 150 - 400 and boost 3000 (Shape the tone with other EQ first)

    You could just do this and you should see a noticeable difference in your mix but these rules are open to interpretation. Try and think abstractly about frequencies and see them as trying to fit puzzle pieces together rather than layering them on top of one another. It's not much of a problem with higher frequencies but the lower ones hate each other so have to be fenced off from one another to a certain degree. Basically, whatever frequencies you subtract from the bass guitar, add them to the bass drum and vice versa. The notes I gave you are supposed to be the best frequencies to cut and boost without losing the characteristics you are looking for in both of them.

  3. #3

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Boston, MA
    ME: JP6 / Carvin CS4
    MA: Martin DC-1E
    Rig: Axe-Fx II XL

    iTrader: 34 (100%)

    Grab Ermz' systematic guide, there's a GREAT section on recording bass in there. A lot of it comes down to your ear, where your guitars sit in the mix and really what your bass and your rhythm section sound like. There's a lot of great starting points (like Hawkevil just mentioned) but there's no magic formula. It's fucking maddening, too.

  4. #4

    Join Date: Jan 2012
    Location: Southampton, UK
    ME: PRS SE CU24
    MB: Squier VM Jazz V
    Rig: AxeFX II XL

    iTrader: 0

    When I do bass I record a DI and reamp that to make 3 tracks - one is through the Ampeg sim on my Axe FX ultra with a bit of drive on, which I high pass in Pro Tools to give a nice bit of clunk. Second track is the DI low passed with the shit compressed out of it for dat bass, then the third is put through my rhythm guitar patch with the OD turned off (since I found it a bit much) for some distortion and even more clunk. Then balance the levels of the 3 tracks to taste. Waves BassRider on all three tracks because if you don't then you're wrong. Easiest way to get an awesome bass tone is get a Darkglass pedal though.

  5. #5

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Glasgow - Scotland
    ME: Suhr M5
    MB: Squire Jazz
    Rig: VHT Pittbull + Axe FX II

    iTrader: 3 (100%)

    cheers all. will have another go at it tomorrow!

  6. #6

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Somerville, Ma
    ME: Suhr Modern 7
    MA: Martin MC16-GTE
    MB: Dingwall Afterburner 5
    Rig: Mesa Roadster, Recto 4x12

    iTrader: 5 (100%)

    Definitely grab the Ermz mixing guide. I'd started doing a less extreme version of what he advocates a couple years ago with good results (essentially, record both a DI and a gritty bass track, compress the DI heavily and lean on it for the low end, then leave the gritty track fairly uncompressed and lean on it for the high end, to keep the low end right and under control but let the gritty track preserve your attack). His approach takes it a bit further and is something I found very helpful; even if ultimately you decide it's not right for YOU, I be you'll learn some things from it that will stick with you.

    Also, in my experience bass is the instrument (barring maybe drums) where getting an extremely tight performance is critically important to having a tight low end in your mix.
    "They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are a bit dicier." - David Foster Wallace

  7. #7

    Join Date: May 2013
    Location: montreal

    iTrader: 0

    Latly Ive been taking the DI and running it through the sansamp vst, hitting two stages of compression 5-10 DB gr each, once before once after sansamp. Then i find out where the meat of my gutiars are in the mids, and scoop out a hefty amount of the bass in that area, HP ~ 90-100, LP around 5K with the mids scopped. I then blend in the 2nd track which is dirty, to make up for the scoop in the dry/clean track, and bring out the growl and notes more. I try to sculpt the two tracks togther, (removing what I dont need in each track) rather than just simply layer them. I then throw on a limiter on the bus and set to taste. But I am still learning, and I know most of you guys have a lot more experience.

    Playing the right notes to support the guitar is something I have been studying latly, trying to come up with proper bass parts that dont just mirror or follow the gutiar. That was the biggest revelation to me, and I am still learning. But I am sure you are already doing this

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