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Chord Strumming Bassist - Help
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Chord Strumming Bassist - Help

Hi All!

My band plays post rock, and I do all the recording and mixing.

Our bassist strongly prefers to strum chords (with his nails) when we record. It's challenging to capture a pleasant sound in the recording phase, and challenging to mix into the song as well.

Specifically, strumming the chords creates a lot of mud, and the nails create harsh metal pulses with each hit.

I understand - garbage in garbage out - and I think we HAVE to adjust his style (works great on stage...), but I figured I'd ask all the smart people here if they have encountered the same issue and if there is a solution.

Thank you



-Andrew
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
Compromise! You won't get it to sound good and keep a good bass sound. Get him to play straight bass and then track the the chord bits separately.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Addict
 

Just wanted to offer my condolences. There is absolutely no worse bass sound than what you are describing. Turn his faders down to -∞ and overdub your own bass parts after everyone’s gone home for the night.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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DCtoDaylight's Avatar
 

As others have noted, it's an uphill battle - but speaking as a bassist who sometimes plays a chord or two:

-- If the bass has two pickups, try using the bridge pickup on its own and turning up the bass's treble control - this can often provide a little more definition (a Rickenbacker works well for this kind of playing, in my experience)

-- If you can get the bassist to stick to only two strings at a time, that can make a big difference, although if the player's style is to use more strings this might not be feasible

-- This probably goes without saying, but if you're using any compression, try not using it....and you might even experiment with a downward expander

Good luck!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AvatarMode View Post
works great on stage...
..you say :>) Well maybe kinda sorta. Reminds me of a bit of tough experience with slapped' upright bass+pickup. Acoustic band, no drums, sure it's a natural out growth. But recording, amping that D/I.. yikes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zasterz
Just wanted to offer my condolences. There is absolutely no worse bass sound than what you are describing. Turn his faders down to -∞ and overdub your own bass parts after everyone’s gone home for the night.
After some lengths trying for the "fix" it routes..
I say leave it up. After a bit the bassist begins to get the clue [ought to..]
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Curious to hear these bass chords in the context of the song/band, I wonder why the band thinks it works
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
microwave's Avatar
I’d definitely ask him to play the bass parts straight and then overdub the chords. Because they’re so amazing that they deserve their own track.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Quote:
Our bassist strongly prefers to strum chords (with his nails) when we record. It's challenging to capture a pleasant sound in the recording phase, and challenging to mix into the song as well.
As a bassist myself, the only time i played chords on the bass is when it was needed for that part. Example: The song 'smoking in the boys room' has the bass play a power chord every so often in the verse part. it goes great with the song.

Ware I'm getting at and this goes for every instrument in the band, If someone is playing a part that doesn't fit in the song, then you need to be straightforward with that person. Honesty and truth is the way to go.
If he still insist and playing chords with his long nails on the bass, have the band take a vote and get him out of there.

Why would you want all your songs compromised by a bass payer wanting to be a guitarist? That's my take!!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Here for the gear
 

My response to all of you:

Thank you for the feedback! It's very appreciated and very helpful (and validating, because this has been an ongoing conversation/debate).

This is a nice forum - I think I'll stay a while.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCtoDaylight View Post
As others have noted, it's an uphill battle - but speaking as a bassist who sometimes plays a chord or two:

-- If the bass has two pickups, try using the bridge pickup on its own and turning up the bass's treble control - this can often provide a little more definition (a Rickenbacker works well for this kind of playing, in my experience)

-- If you can get the bassist to stick to only two strings at a time, that can make a big difference, although if the player's style is to use more strings this might not be feasible

-- This probably goes without saying, but if you're using any compression, try not using it....and you might even experiment with a downward expander

Good luck!
Thank you for the very specific advice! I'll relay this to him - perhaps it'll result in a cleaner sound live as well.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zasterz View Post
Just wanted to offer my condolences. There is absolutely no worse bass sound than what you are describing. Turn his faders down to -∞ and overdub your own bass parts after everyone’s gone home for the night.


Thank you for that
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AvatarMode View Post


Thank you for that
On a more serious note, usually a person plays this way just due to lack of experience in considering arrangements and how things fit together (or don’t) across the frequency spectrum. It would probably be helpful for your band to incorporate some type of multitrack recording earlier on in your writing process so the bass player can evaluate how his parts are fitting in with the whole before he gets too attached to them.
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