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Choosing a bass guitar for DI recording
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richsj
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#1
14th March 2011
Old 14th March 2011
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Choosing a bass guitar for DI recording

I'm a guitarist by trade and have been doing all kinds of production for the last 3 years or so.

I'm looking to purchase a good value bass guitar without an amp - the sole use will be to record direct into a standard interface, no fancy preamps yet I'm afraid!

Any idea what bass would be good?
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14th March 2011
Old 14th March 2011
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I have been using a Fender Precision with a J neck (I have short digits and prefer the Jazz bass). However, I do miss the tonal range of the Jazz bass. The precision is good and round (passive, of course), but I usually like a little more midrange warmth.
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15th March 2011
Old 15th March 2011
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I'm also interested to see the responses you get as I am in a similar situation as a guitarist songwriter who likes to demo in my home studio.
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15th March 2011
Old 15th March 2011
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I'm glad to see this question too. I have some half way decent mic pre's that might allow me an okay sound from a direct bass for my hobby needs. I've been considering a Made in Mexico Fender bass off and on for a while. Hope to see some responses with experience.
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15th March 2011
Old 15th March 2011
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For me, Precision + good DI = bliss.

I have a Fender Classic 50's MIM which is superb on a budget.

I also have an Am Std (latest revision, 2009 I think) P-bass which is probably (well, arbitrarily) 15% better, but more than 15% more expensive, if that makes sense.
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#6
16th March 2011
Old 16th March 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richsj View Post
Any idea what bass would be good?
I have been researching for the last month for the same purpose and the consensus seems to be that:

- Passive pickups are better or easier (I forget which) for recording than active pickups.

- Jazz style basses with 2 pickups offer a greater variety of sounds than a Precision style bass with only one.

- A maple neck will have a slightly brighter sound whereas a rosewood neck will have a slightly warmer sound. Given that different types and gauges of string also affect the tone I am not sure that the neck's wood is a major contributor to the overall sound.

- A good preamp will assist with getting a good sound.

I decided to buy a Squire Affinity Jazz bass; it is about as cheap as basses come. The only significant negative I kept reading about is that the pots have a poor reputation at anything other than fully on. For recording this is less of a problem as that can be catered for when gain staging.

I hope you find something that suits your purpose well.
#7
25th March 2011
Old 25th March 2011
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Do you plan on leaving the original pickups in the Squier bass? I've considered going the Squier route with some upgraded electronics.
#8
26th March 2011
Old 26th March 2011
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Jamie Mallender is offline
Bass Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
I have been researching for the last month for the same purpose and the consensus seems to be that:

- Passive pickups are better or easier (I forget which) for recording than active pickups.

- Jazz style basses with 2 pickups offer a greater variety of sounds than a Precision style bass with only one.

- A maple neck will have a slightly brighter sound whereas a rosewood neck will have a slightly warmer sound. Given that different types and gauges of string also affect the tone I am not sure that the neck's wood is a major contributor to the overall sound.

- A good preamp will assist with getting a good sound.

I decided to buy a Squire Affinity Jazz bass; it is about as cheap as basses come. The only significant negative I kept reading about is that the pots have a poor reputation at anything other than fully on. For recording this is less of a problem as that can be catered for when gain staging.

I hope you find something that suits your purpose well.
The answer here, as with many things, depends on what you want to spend, and what sort of music you want to make/what kind of tone you want from the bass.

Active pickups are way easier to record with than passive, largely due to the much increased output. However, if you're making music where the bass is really going to shine through and you want to hear some of that classic old fashioned bass tone - the passive instrument is more likely to please your ears. If the instrument is going to be buried under piles of heavy guitar or a huge production, the extra punch you usually get from an active instrument will be a winner.

The wood the fretboard is made out of will have a greater tonal effect than the strings, but not so much as the pickups. A bass with maple fretboard will sound drastically brighter than rosewood.

The Squier Affinity is the industry standard starter bass. It won't give you the greatest recorded sound, but if it is set up well, it will make a huge difference, which I can help you with if you wish to mail me for any advice.

Recording passive basses, di box imperative, not so essential with a good active.

The Precision has one sound. It's the most popular bass sound since the beginning of bass time, but it's one sound. The Jazz is easier to play, it's more comfortable to sit with, better balanced, and the blend of sounds you can get will help you achieve something that sits in the mix just right. Wouldn't suggest rolling off much tone at all.

For a passive bass with a great sound but not a bank breaker, I'd go for a Vintage or a Squier. For a good Active, look at Ibanez SRX or Yamaha RBX.

For strings, I'd use rotosound.

If you get a different guague string to whats on, you might start needing to make neck adjustments.

Bass amps - Hartke. You simply can not go wrong.
#9
26th March 2011
Old 26th March 2011
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P bass special deluxe

Slightly smaller body than p bass with a jazz bass neck.
noiseless active pick ups
P bass pick up and jazz bass bridge pick up.

Lots of different tones for a variety of styles instead of just one p bass tone.

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#10
26th March 2011
Old 26th March 2011
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Ampeg Baby. Hands down. Followed by any carved top with piezos built into the bridge.

But I skate by with an Ibanez Soundgear on plenty of direct recordings. The stock model has one Precision style pickup and one Jazz style pickup. For those keeping score at home, the P is a split-coil humbucker with kind of a single coil tone at the neck position. The J is a single coil with plenty of hum by the bridge. The P on its own is great. A blend works often. The J on its own... doesn't do much for me. But two sounds, plus a tone knob has been plenty for me.

I didn't really choose based on brand or features. I just went to the store the day I decided to switch to bass and played the intro basses they had. When I found one that was set up well with a decent action and all the harmonics matching the fretted notes, I took it home.

Also, bass hurts. You're not going to like just playing it for recordings. Take it seriously as an instrument you can play or find a bass player who loves it and write out some chord charts for them to follow.
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#11
28th March 2011
Old 28th March 2011
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Finger Strength

Very good point. Guitarists that pick up a bass now and then often comment how much strength in the fingers the bass takes. With that in mind, Ibanez 24 fret models, Yamaha RBX and similar basses may help with that problem. Also, the P Bass Special Deluxe is a great choice for that particular application. Nice bass actually.
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29th March 2011
Old 29th March 2011
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I bought a MIM Jazz bass 12 years ago, put in a Badass bridge and Duncan Basslines pickups and it records great.
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3rd April 2011
Old 3rd April 2011
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You should buy my 62RI P.

Best sounding bass I've ever owned. DI all the way. Why am I selling? Well--too many basses...and the AmStd P5 is 95% there with a 5th string. It will leave me with 3 basses--all fiver's, all sound totally different. JazzV, Carvin Fretless HB 5, and the newer P5.

Anyway, it's THE tone...if you don't want a fifth string (and most people don't now)...it's a killer axe.
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#14
11th March 2012
Old 11th March 2012
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I have a Squire Affinity 5-string Jazz bass with Lindy Fralin single coil pickups. Sounds awesome! I think it's funny that the pickups cost more than the bass. And honestly, the original pickups didn't sound bad, especially considering the $130 I paid for the bass.
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