Bass: In The Studio

Bass: In The Studio

The low end. The rhythm. The driving power behind a song. Combined with drums, bass becomes the cornerstone of any good band. For an instrument that creates such low, deep sounds, it can be difficult to capture it’s true essence. With that in mind, I’ve always been curious to hear how different players achieve their tone. Jeremy [our drummer] came up with the idea of writing a blog about how we recorded our individual instruments in a way that let Brian [our incredibly talented producer/pianist] mix down what you can hear on the record. I used the same bass on all five songs. It is my love, my pride, my joy. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce, my American Fender Jazz Bass Deluxe V.

There’s a reason so many players use Fender bass guitars: Leo Fender got it right the first time. The 1951 Precision Bass [or P-Bass] was a revolutionary instrument. By the time the Jazz Bass came out in 1960, Leo Fender had perfection locked in [I know I sound like a fanboy, but it is what it is ^_^]. Granted, all guitars and tones are subject to taste, but the Deluxe Jazz I played for the EP allowed our engineers maximum flexibility to craft the sound of the low end and implement it appropriately into the overall mix. I’m writing this blog for any curious bass players [like myself] that like the bass tone and would like to know how we achieved it. Here we go.

Equipment

Bass Guitar: American Jazz Bass Deluxe V w/ Samarium Cobalt Noiseless pickups
Amp: Ampeg SVT-3PRO
Cab: Ampeg Classic SVT-410HLF
Pedal FX: CMAT Deluxe Signa Comp[ressor] > Electro Harmonix Bass Big Muff Pi > SansAmp Bass Driver
Rack FX: Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1 > Empirical Labs EL8-X Distressor



How We Know


As Jeremy put it, “How We Know” is the closest thing we have to a “pop-groove” format. We dialed in the bass tone to be punchy yet full and ran it through several effects pedals: Signa Comp, Big Muff Pi, and two racks [listed above] to get that gritty, overdriven tone you can hear. I played the first half of this song with a pick on a higher register. The second half was played finger-style on the far bottom end for that larger-than-life low end. The B string definitely came in handy for this EP, as I made use of it throughout.


Greatest


The five of us found our start in music predominately from playing in the church we grew up in [it seems like a theme among musicians]. While the other songs on the EP are a little more in the indie vein, “Greatest” is our ode to the sing-a-long anthem style of music that we know so well. The bass tone for this track was achieved by dialing the 3-band EQ of the Jazz to a fairly flat level and running through several effects: Deluxe Signa Comp > SansAmp Bass Driver [clean tones] > and the two racks listed above.


Darkness Falls


The first song we wrote in preparation to this EP, “Darkness Falls” has a soft, beautiful flow throughout with a large build culminating at the end. The overall sound called for very minimal, yet very solid parts on bass. The bass tone for this track was achieved by dialing in the 3-band EQ on the Jazz to a fairly flat level and running through several effects: Deluxe Signa Comp > SansAmp Bass Driver [clean tones]> and the two racks listed above.

Heartbeat


The bass lines for “Heartbeat” were composed in a similar style to “Darkness Falls”. Large single notes and a big warm low end provided the support structure for guitar and piano to tug at your heart strings 😉

The tone for this track was achieved by dialing in the 3-band EQ on the Jazz to a fairly flat level and running through several effects: Deluxe Signa Comp > SansAmp Bass Driver [clean tones]> and the two racks listed above.


Revolving


One of the bigger sounding tracks on the EP, “Revolving” needed not only a massive bass sound, but a gritty growl to help punch the bass through the mix.

The bass tone for this track was achieved by dialing dialing out the mids [from the Jazz’s onboard EQ] completely and running through several effects: Deluxe Signa Comp > SansAmp Bass Driver > Big Muff Pi [to add some grit] and the two racks listed above. The verses are played with a pick on the B string giving that super low, dirty growl. From the bridge on out, I stayed off the B string and switched to finger style for a slightly less punchy tone.

 

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