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Bass Guitar for southern gospel music

Discussion in 'Bass' started by Hack, Jul 3, 2003.

  1. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    I need some advice on what to listen for when mixing Bass Guitar for southern gospel music. All the parts are locked very tight with the kick drum. Bouncy low end has been a struggle for me. I guess I am asking for some starting points but more importantly why something is a starting point.... in other words, what part of the bass sound bounces with the kick drum? And what tool(volume, eq, comp, etc.) do you use to bring that out?

    I am starting to think that the absolute loudness and/or dynamic range(if those are the right words) of the mix has alot to do with punchyness or bouncyness translating from my studio to my house. What kind of levels should I go for in mixing? Do I want to see the kick drum pump the L&R meters? Should anything be very noticable on these meters? Is this question making sense?
     
  2. Guest

    Ordinarily I'd leave this question alone, because I'm terrible at answering this kind of thing. But your post was looking kind of lonely with zero responses...

    On the one hand I'm not sure if I really understand your question, and even if I did, I tend to mix with my ears not my eyes, so I rarely notice what various meters are doing.

    But maybe a few random suggestions could be useful:

    •Reference lots of commercial CD's in the style you are mixing. Notice the roles of the bass vs. kick - which instrument tends to claim the deep lows, which instrument tends to have more percussive click, etc. You can use EQ (or multiband compression) to carve out frequencies from one instrument so the other can be heard properly.

    •Take note also of how they sound when blended together, when they are both hitting simultaneously.

    •Compression is your best friend for getting instruments to sit in the mix. Too much attack transients, not enough sustain, some notes leaping out of the mix, some notes too wimpy? These are factors that can be altered with compression.

    •As far as levels go, if you start too high with just the drums and bass in the mix, you may find when you add in everything else you are overloading your mix bus. Start conservative. Adding volume to a mix is usually more transparent than being forced to reduce volume. (Just as long as the mix isn't so low that noise becomes an issue).

    •the perception of loudness is from the average level of the mix being louder, which means less dynamic range. In pursuit of "punchiness" don't squeeze all the dynamic range out of your mix. Leave some squeezin' room for the mastering engineer.
     
  3. Treena Foster

    Treena Foster Active Member

    Hack...question to a question, are you mixing a 5 string bass with a low B and having problems getting it to sit in the mix just right with the kick? :confused:

    I agree with using commercial recordings as a point of reference, although there are many production styles regarding gospel music.

    Check out a few of these artists I have listed for some ideas....

    Cathedrals, Gold City, The Kingsmen, Greater Vision, Poet Voices, and Brian Free.

    Treena
     
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    And yet another question within a question...Are the two parts,ie kick and bass guitar,being played right on the mark with each other?

    If so, I've heard this before and yes it requires some surgery to get them separate yet the same.
    As dog jr. suggested, carve out the eq in small bits to get these two apart.Compression will help here also.If they are really in the groove together, you might consider side-chaining a compressor with the kick being the trigger for the bass, much like the effect from the 80's where they would use the drum machine to trigger a sequenced bass part.
     
  5. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    roll off (filter) the lo end on everything else. get a good ballance of the track without the bass. Add the bass untill th stereo bus is now 3db louder than it was without the bass....NOW you've got some bass happening,
     
  6. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    I find that approaching a mix, reqires approaching the sound. A bass guitar is more than 52hz while playing the low A string! The sound you hear consists of lowmid, and high frequencies at the same time. Right? I like recordermans suggestion, but it is flawed only in the sense that 3db might not be what the mix requires. You have to use your ears for that one. listening to how two parts blend, like bass and kick, requires listening to how the components of these two sounds blend. Example:
    You say your mix is muddy in the low bass right?Can you hear tonal definition of the bass in the midrange? No? Roll off some bass(180hz and down to start) and when the track starts to dissapear bring it up in the mix until you can hear all conponents of the sound. Is the kick saying "shoompf" or "tick" or something in between? maybe you want "shoompf", or "thump", or "thwack" I don't know, cuz I can't hear the mix. If you like the tone of the kick, but cant distinguish it much, giver a little boost @ 2-5khz and see if that works. OR roll off a little bass for the kick.

    is your kick drum gated? For music with complex kick patterns I find a tight gate and little more attack than usual is needed to make it audible.

    Approach a sound for what it is. a complex mishmash of frequencies put together just to make one note.
     
  7. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    To further define...what I meant was....get the mix pumpin' @ around -3db vu on the stereo bus. This is after you've gone through and filtered off the bottom of everything. Up to 300hz even for things like gtrs, etc. Then put the bass in and increase level until the whole mix is 3db louder (@0dbu). This exercise should give you a new outlook on how loud bass really should be for anything gospel, r&b, rock, etc.
    Someone once asked Jimmy Page how Led Zep sounded so huge and he replied that it was the bass being really big (i.e. Loud). Thew best rock engineers usually have spent sometime working on various forms of r&b where you learn the importance of this.
    The above tip is how Geoff Emerick approaches a mix (at least the ones I witnessed)...also when he was asked to make the solo a little louder he rode the boost of the upper-mid eq a few more db as opposed to riding the fader up and increasing level @ all frequencies.
     
  8. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    Hey recorderman, I really hope you don't think I was trying to say you don't know what you're talking about. I know a pro when I see one, and you are a pro, I don't know your credits, but I don't have to.
    I just wanted to clarify a couple of things to hack, so that he mightent be misguided by liddy biddy bitz'o'missin information. :D

    I have another mixing tip for hack. Listen first at a low level, just high enough that low-mids appear as audible as highs. Mix until you have a nice blend, and then crank it up. When you listen loud look for dynamics, clean, puchy, balanced. When you listen quiet, listen for detail, stereo image, smoothness or shinyness.
    This is the way I approach a mix, and it yeilds good results for me. I hope it could work for you too. :c:
     
  9. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    Thank you so much for all your advice. Its all good, IMO. I think the bass sound I want is where you think your almost hearing a finger actually fling the string, like a little "poof" at the front of the bass sound. I think that combined with a good tight kick (the gate suggestion might be what this needs) will make for the "bouncy" sound I want. I do love high end in the bass guitar. so definition, or hearing the notes really ins't a problem. My normal approach to bass is to use eq to balance the volume of notes so that the upper octaves are equal to the lower octaves. This usually requires a dip in the 80 - 150 range.(please let me know if dipping these freqs sound weird to you). Ive tried using a HP filter but I seem to miss the really low stuff, kinda like a "size of the whole mix" thing. When I mix live I dont have this problem, i just roll off the lows, to taste, on the bass untill the kick is pumping the whole mix. But in that situation the mix will only be heard at 100+ db on a full range PA. At softer volumes, the studio or house, is where i cant seem to get the right kind of kick pump....

    anyway, I havent messed with this mix since reading all your responses so I try a few of those ideas and let you know.
     
  10. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    Here's another suggestion for you hack. Compress the hell out of the bass. You should start with as much as youve got, bring down the threshold until you have constant gain reduction, and then increase the attack time until you have some note definition.

    Steve
     
  11. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    I havent started mixing yet but I was messing around with it a little. The gate on the kick is really helping. Im finding that playing with the attack time on the kick gate is cool to, very sensitive though. After adding the kick I compressed the bass taking off around 3-7 db @ 2:1 - 3:1. And I can hear the adjustments to the attack and release knobs better, I think. I rolled off a bunch of stuff up to 150 - 350 hz. Its starting to come together. You'll probably think im really stupid, but its just never really crossed my mind to gate the kick in the studio. I do it when I mix live all the time. Thank you for opening my eyes. I am also more liberal with HP filters in live situations. Perhaps a major mental block is falling... I have always thought of HP filters and gates as tools to overcome room acoustics(feedback) at 100+db. Thanks again!
     

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