Get­ting bass gui­tar to sit…

Future Music - - ADVICE -

I’m strug­gling to get my bass gui­tar to sit nicely in my mixes. Do you have any point­ers please? Elec­tric bass is hard to get right as there are many sonic vari­ables. The play­ing may re­sult in in­con­sis­tent tone or loud­ness. Then the strings that are played less may be brighter and the more reg­u­larly used ones duller. Plus there’s po­ten­tial in­ter­fer­ence which can cause headaches. Hu­man in­con­sis­ten­cies are im­por­tant to cap­ture for au­then­tic­ity/soul but man­ag­ing them for a great re­sult is chal­leng­ing. Ide­ally, get a great con­sis­tent take, use fresh strings with a well set-up bass and stay away from com­puter screens when record­ing.

If some strings/notes are brighter than oth­ers, in­stead of us­ing a com­pres­sor across the whole mix, use a multi­band com­pres­sor to fo­cus in and com­press any fre­quency ar­eas that are jump­ing out too much in the mix. The re­sult will be a more man­age­able and nat­u­ral bass tone.

If your bass part is sound­ing weak, try us­ing a sub-har­monic en­hancer (plug-in or hard­ware) to add a solid syn­the­sized foun­da­tion un­der the real bass. Or track a synth bass part that copies the real bass part, then com­press to­gether with the real bass on a buss.

If the bass is stick­ing out in gen­eral, it’s worth try­ing sidechain­ing the bass to the kick, so that when the kick hits, the bass gets tucked in a lit­tle. This often gives a nice push and pull to the groove of your track and helps the bass sit bet­ter.

All that may be needed is some sub­trac­tive EQ (to get rid of ex­ces­sive low/mid/high) or ‘rub­ber-band’ com­pres­sion to im­prove gen­eral con­sis­tency of tone/level. For smooth­ness, try fast at­tack/slow re­lease and ex­per­i­ment plac­ing the com­pres­sor be­fore or af­ter the EQ.

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