Getting bass guitar to sit…
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.