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Pitch correct Upright Bass?
Old 16th November 2009
  #1
Pitch correct Upright Bass?

I am recording a rockabilly outfit at the moment, with an upright acoustic bass player. It is one of those sessions that we do not have the whole band available for the overdubs, and yesterday it was just myself and the bass player.

We had the drums tracked and there was a guide guitar track. My concern is the pitch of the bass tracks we put down. See the guide guitar was out of tune (groan) and a lot of times played out of the groove, and added to my pitch doubts.

The bass ended up with 6 tracks of audio per song - several mic's, DI's and amps all kept on separate tracks (I like to have a "click" bass and "bottom end" bass tone on different channels).

I am thinking I can use some pitch correction, but with the 6 tracks of audio, if one track was pitch shifted then the other tracks would need to follow that same curve or things will get bad. My question: is there any way to use one track as a "key input" or "master pitch source" to correct the remaining tracks to the same degree?

I am scared when we track guitars tonight these pitch issues are going to really bite us.. thanks for any suggestions.
Old 16th November 2009
  #2
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roger's Avatar
 

Man you know it's gonna be a mess...tracking upright bass to out-of-tune and out of time guitar is gonna be tough...if you start tryin to tinker with 6 odd tracks it's gonna get bloody aweful very quickly! Track the guitars so they are pumpin then redo the bass....if the upright player can't get it right then...well...I heard a good one the other day: the best upright bass sound in a rock mix was the one played on a p bass!

Good luck man
rog
Old 16th November 2009
  #3
Messy indeed but the vibe is amazing on these bass tracks.. It may well come down to a retrack.

I've got good ol' Autotune and use Samplitude 10 which has some cool pitch correction but I need something that will shift pitch equally across several tracks using one track as the "key input"..

Maybe Melodyne? Seen it but never used it...
Old 16th November 2009
  #4
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davedarling's Avatar
 

less than ideal of course, but you can do it.
Make your decision on the bass sound now- bounce to one track, and tune...carefully.
You can't tune individual mics and di's - it will be a phase nightmare.

Side note for the future - I've had to track drums and upright together without a harmony instrument a number of times. Your best bet is to put down a guide piano/synth/guitar/drone note - anything for a constant pitch.

good luck dd
Old 16th November 2009
  #5
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GYMusic's Avatar
Melodyne may work for your situation and if it doesn't, it's still a no-brainer of a purchase.
Old 16th November 2009
  #6
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Old 16th November 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNJ Studio View Post
Messy indeed but the vibe is amazing on these bass tracks....
Dont touch it dude , i would break your legs if you try to tune my bass lines

both of them

Last edited by bass man; 16th November 2009 at 03:08 AM.. Reason: just to make things clear
Old 16th November 2009
  #8
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roger's Avatar
 

Yes just a simple 1-finger melody on a synth or whatever so the bass player can have something to play to is the ticket for next time...I know what you mean by that cool cool vibe...I am a bit obsessed with my upright at the moment...can't put it down and it just makes you smile.....but don't cheat with the devils work: autotune! Retrack dude!

Geez that would sound dodgy the bit about not being able to leave my "upright" alone if this wasn't gearslutz...haha
Old 16th November 2009
  #9
Yeah there was one song that had a guide Rhodes part that sounds fine to me for pitch, definitely will have guide keys in the future.

Thanks for suggestions and threats of violence

A bad bass note is a bad bass note and if I gave you 10 takes to get it right and you kept playing flat even after marking with tape on the fret board then you know what I'm gonna try technology cause I got guitarists and horn players rocking up soon and the band has no more budget.. not an ideal situation but I have to make something work here and tracking everything over bung bass notes will make me want to kill myself!dfegad
Old 16th November 2009
  #10
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roger's Avatar
 

Breaking of legs....now suicide...this thread is badass....good to see some pashion!

I hear ya tho man....you gotta do what you gotta do...certainly comp first tho!
Old 16th November 2009
  #11
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travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bass man View Post
Dont touch it dude , i would break your legs if you try to tune my bass lines

both of them
Both bass lines, or both legs?
Old 16th November 2009
  #12
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Sounds Great's Avatar
This is what is wrong with modern music. Why worry about getting it right when you can just fix it later. dfegad
Old 16th November 2009
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Autotune and Melodyne doesn't work for pitch correction of a double bass. A simple pitch shifter (i.e. the standard cubase pitch - not the new variaudio) works perfect on many (but not all!) notes.

If you correct a few notes everything is fine - also if you have to do it on six tracks. If you intend to do it to on most of the notes you will be totally nuts after 2 hours - and that's definately not worth it!!!! And i'm sure you will lose the vibe.
Old 16th November 2009
  #14
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I don't see the big problem, you have keeper drums and according to you a keeper bass part. It doesn't matter if the bass is tuned to whatever. Just immediately dump the scratch guitar part and have all further instruments tune off the keeper bass part. If the musicians can't tune to the bass part, do it for them and start tracking using the bass and drum parts.
Old 16th November 2009
  #15
Can you create a pad synth part to play sustained root notes / basic chords, then tweak the pitch of that to see if you CAN in fact establish a tuning reference for the song?

If so - calibrate the session's master tuner to that pitch and proceed with that.

If not - you are screwed.. re-track or propel yourself into an slow and painful session 'tuning death' experience..

But, (no offense meant here BTW) are you used to working on sessions with upright bass? I am not so experienced myself but I feel that double bass pitch isn't a wholly exact science, there is a lot about it (IMHO) that is 'approximate'.

(folks with perfect pitch dont have these issues.. lucky them.. but then they are tortured by out of tune stuff on the radio heh )

Obviously, dont record any vocals unless there is enough in tune music recorded to pitch to..!
Old 16th November 2009
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
Both bass lines, or both legs?
There can be only one
He seems like a nice guy so ill let him get away with only one broken leg
Old 16th November 2009
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
I don't see the big problem, you have keeper drums and according to you a keeper bass part. It doesn't matter if the bass is tuned to whatever. Just immediately dump the scratch guitar part and have all further instruments tune off the keeper bass part. If the musicians can't tune to the bass part, do it for them and start tracking using the bass and drum parts.
Winner!
Old 16th November 2009
  #18
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travisbrown's Avatar
My thought on this is....how did you end up with an out-of-tune guitar scratch?

I'm with Bassmankr. I'd just now make sure everything is tuned to the bass. And like Jules suggests, intonation on the upright, especially for rockabilly and bluegrass, can be very much a style thing, so you might not need to fret about it as much. (That joke just came out of nowhere).

I hear Viktor Krauss, Huskey, Wasserman, Meyer all play things that are "off".

Of all the instruments, it's probably the one you can worry about the least. Just make sure it's generally in the right key. Ask the bass player if it's what he's happy with.
Old 30th April 2012
  #19
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I think the problem with redoing the guitars to the tuning of the bass part might be that it is the intonation that is out on the upright so even if they tune to it some notes will still be out. Like was said before, group all the bass tracks to a single track and tweak. Be careful though, don't over do it as it can sound unnatural also some times with digital pitch correction it doesn't grab the lowest harmonic on the tail of a bass note and can cause a weird wobbly decay.
Cheers
Old 30th April 2012
  #20
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funkycam's Avatar
 

melodyne can be surprisingly transparent, but you have to do it by hand.
for 6 tracks you will probably want to break your own legs by the end of it!
Old 30th April 2012
  #21
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Igotsoul4u's Avatar
you should get your bass sources sounding good and bus down to one track and melodyne that track. I have fixed tuba and trombone so I don't see why it wouldn't work on bass. I feel like i did melodyne a bass once but can't remember if i actually did it.
Old 30th April 2012
  #22
Harmless Wacko
 

Uhhmmm...

The session was Nov. 2009.

I think the current batch of advice might be a little tardy.

Just a thought.

SM.
Old 30th April 2012
  #23
Deleted User
Guest
If you really want to keep these takes, and you really need to tune, mix your sources the way that you want them to a stereo source ( ie, click left, body right) and do some gentle tuning in melodyne, as a stereo track. This will keep your phase constant, but still get you some degree of mixing later on.
Old 30th April 2012
  #24
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agreed on Melodyne. It's an amazing piece of software.
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