Originally Posted by confooshus
Does anyone know any details about the signal chain for Salazar's bass? He has the ultimate rock bass tone in my opinion. Any tips on how to get that? Obviously there's the "tone is in the hands..." issue, but I'm just talking gear-wise, like direct, or mic'd, and if so what mic/amp/cab...
There has been a few questions about Arion's bass sound, I guess it makes sense to put it all in this thread. First, about Arion... He is, of all the bass players I have worked with, probably the most "into" being a bass player. He is really really passionate about it... about his parts, about his tone about his performances... everything. He has more of a guitar players attitude towards his bass. He would show up with tons of ideas about parts and tones and everything. He said very early in the process when were recording demos for the band before they got signed that "his bass has to sound huge and different and special". It is always great when a musician walks in and says that sort of thing. It inspires me to try and help make that happen and Arion shared my same patience, determination and endurance for chasing cool tones. Oh yeah... and he is a profoundly gifted player. Good technique is kind of essential when you are recording bass players that play with their fingers. There is a lot more leeway with pick players.
This is what I can remember on the gear that was used. I am pretty sure we had all of the following available to us through out the recording process. A fender P-bass, Jazz Bass, a Spectre bass, A Music Man stingray and a Rickenbacher 4001. The Fender basses were probably used the most but I can't remember exactly what songs were P-bass and which ones were Jazz. I know for sure that the stingray was used on Semi-Charmed Life. We wanted to get an especially punchy sound for that and the Stingray seemed to do that the best. The amps were an SVT and a Fender Twin (silver face) for the main percussive punchy parts. at about 3:10 both of the amps change. We actually punched in on the same amp tracks on the analog master a magnatone replacing the SVT and this weird little Gibson Skylark both with vibrato going. The bass transforms into this fluterry underwater sounding thing for that break down. In the mix I mult'd those track to some other channels that EQ'd and panned differently to accomodate the amp change. I also remember specifically using the Alan Smart C1 compressor on the punchy percussive parts for that song. It is a great bass compressor.
I know for sure that the Rickenbacker was used on The Background. I remember it because it was really hard to keep in tune. There was a leslie speaker only used on the intro of that song. The intro starts very lofi and slowly expands into a full range sound. That was achieved in the mix with the HP/LP filters on the Orban 672A EQ. I had to "perform" that EQ move for every mix pass that was printed. It was a little different every time. After the intro I think the amp setup was pretty straight forward. Just an SVT a B15 and the DI. Arion wanted to try and get a Wings era McCartney-esque tone on that... hence the 4001. In the mix on that stuff I would just play with blends of the signals to try and get all the notes as even as possible and then maybe a little compression on the blended signal via a buss on the console. Usually the main compression is already on the printed tracks.
Losing A Whole Year is a bit of a bass extravaganza. There are sections of the song I am quite sure the bass is triple tracked. The main bass pass is a DI, SVT and the bass going through a marshall feeding a Leslie speaker. The marshall/leslie speaker signal is added in the all of the loud parts. Whenever Arion plays the bass melody after the choruses there are 2 other distorted bass tracks that are layered in to make the bass sound bigger/wider for those moments. Although I never discussed this with Arion the whole distorted leslie bass thing is a sound I had been chasing for a long time. At some point I finally realized that the incredible growling distorted instrument in the verses of Led Zeppelin's Heartbreaker was a bass!!!! For some reason it had always just registered in my brain as a guitar and then one day I had one of those driving in my car "oh my god thats a bass playing that part!!!!" moments as I almost crash my car veering off the road. From that moment on I was always looking for opportunities to recreate that sound. It is truly a magical sound for sure. So when Arion started talking about distorted bass... out came the leslie. I am just doing my part to (secretly) help modern music
sound more like Led Zeppelin
Arion was also really into this Boss Metal Zone pedal for bass distortion. He loved it because it has a very active EQ on it that can restore a lot of low end
when things are really distorted. The best example of that is on the song Graduate. I am pretty sure on that song we used the Spectre bass ran it through an SVT and another amp that had the Metal Zone pedal. He also had an envelope filter pedal before the Metal Zone. The lazer gun effect that pops up occassionally is from the envelope pedal going into the Metal zone. He would turn on the envelope pedal at the same time as thumping all of the string with the palm of his hand. The resonance was turned all the way up on the envelope pedal and it create that sort of "Bew" sound you hear at :51 on the song. Metal Zone sound is blended in with the bass sound through out the rest of the song with the envelop pedal off.
On bass at that time I was mostly using my 47fet on the SVT 8x10 cabs. i also occasionally like the C12A as well. i have always had the best luck keeping the mic further away from the SVT. I point the mic either at the center of the top 4 speakers (brighter) or the center of the bottom 4 speakers (bassier). The mic is usually 20 to 30 inches from the cab. When the mic is close up on one speaker it always sound a little nasally to me.
Ok that is as much detail as I can remember without seeing my notes (which I haven't been able to find). If I find them and discover any of this is inaccurate I will post corrections.