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Processing slap bass
Old 28th January 2007
  #1
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Processing slap bass

What do you guys do to a slap bass track?

Compressor wise, do you try to kill some of the peaks with a limiter type setting, or do you want the peaks to slip through with a slower attack?

Are there any specific frequencies you try to boost or cut?

Any ideas would be great!
Old 29th January 2007
  #2
The dynamic range is going to be a killer....in tracking I set high ratio, fast attack and fast release, with moderate gain reduction only on the slapping parts. Then in mix I usually will put two comps in series, one set similarly as the one in tracking, and then another after the first set to a more gentle low ratio, open attack, medium slow release for the average levels.
Old 29th January 2007
  #3
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I have a friend who would use the erase tool, but that isn't the help you're looking for

One of the top session bassists here once said. "I don't need no comp, this (points to his thumb) is my comp" may also not help...... but try and grab a Steve Bailey vid off youtube.......the greats don't smack that hard, same goes for Marcus Miller who I watched at NAMM (8 feet away)......the better the player, the less work you'll need to do.

For the rest, a multiband comp will be very helpful. The slap requires a completely different set of parameters than the pop and you don't want them catching each other's tail. Think as if you'd be processing kick and snare on the same track. If you don't have the hardware tools, cut the pops and make a slap track and a pop track....remember since nothing is pasted or moved (l-r), you shouldn't create any artifacts....and then assign each track appropriate processing.

Andy
Old 29th January 2007
  #4
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Thanks!

I'll try some of these things!
Old 29th January 2007
  #5
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Bob Ross's Avatar
 

I almost always use parallel compression for slap bass tracks.


On rare occassions I've used 3, 4, or 5 tracks to get the part to sit right. Lots of automation to crossfade between a completely unprocessed track, a subtly squeezed track (eg., dbx OverEasy on 2:1 w/ 4-6dB of gain reduction), a hard limited track (1176 w/ fast attack, 8:1), and multed variations of those last 2 EQ'd to bring out all the tone that's often lost when the comps kick in. But that's a lot of work; if the bassist is actually a talented slapper & not just someone who practices in their bedroom a lot, it's rarely necessary.

But 1 compressor in parallel, almost always. (Come to think of it, that's been my recipe for most electric bass, regardless of whether it's slapped or not.)
Old 19th July 2008
  #6
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IntenseJim's Avatar
 

bump since I have lot of that Marcus Miller Sadowsky J bass thing going on
Old 19th July 2008
  #7
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philosi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sysexguy View Post
I have a friend who would use the erase tool,


+1.
Old 19th July 2008
  #8
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travisbrown's Avatar
Really depends on the player. I'm rubbish at slapping, so I use hefty compression. A great player shouldn't need comp, or very little. Only use as much as is needed. A doubled track compressed or some parallel compression can tighten up the sound without compromising the range.
Old 19th July 2008
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joemamma View Post
What do you guys do to a slap bass track?

Compressor wise, do you try to kill some of the peaks with a limiter type setting, or do you want the peaks to slip through with a slower attack?

Are there any specific frequencies you try to boost or cut?

Any ideas would be great!
As a bassist and frequent slapper myself I tend to use hard quasi-limiting compression ratios to really clamp down on the sustain and open the attack way out to let those slap spikes through. More of a tonal thing than a dynamic thing. I might slap a fast limiter on the end for those "enthusiastic" transients, but not clamping down on the signal by any means. A majority of the funky "slap" style of playing bass relies a lot upon sub-accents and s***** dynamics IMHO so I think it's a matter of using the compressor to enhance this rather than work against it. I have however attained an absolute killer bass tone using four compressors in series...!

Tonally, cutting out/shaping the mids is usually good for slap tone for some basses, but it's better to leave this until the mix - you never know if you're gonna go too far.

SK
Old 19th July 2008
  #10
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IntenseJim's Avatar
 

If I recall correctly, I remember Marcus Miller saying he used
  1. using a dbx 160 or dbx ___
  2. using compression more on 'rhythm' and backing bass tracks but using less compression on his bass solos
Old 19th July 2008
  #11
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espen askelad's Avatar
Riding the fader down as far as is physically possible is a solid start.
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