recording upright bass!

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bace135 in the house tonight!
Member Since: Jan 28, 2003

So, this thursday, I'm having an acquaintance come over to record his upright bass. Anyhow, his bass has a line out like an electric bass, but I want to mic the instrument as well.

I wondering if anyone has any advice on how to mic the bass in a quality manner (got anything for me walt?). Where do I put the mic, what type of mic is prefferred I can pick from an SM57, SM58, and a neumann condensor, should I angle the mic in any manner? I would even consider using more than one mic, but I only have one mic stand so it looks like I'm limited there.

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Contributor
Since: Dec 30, 2002


Mar 02, 2004 09:18 pm

Wait for walt's answer, he knows his stuff with this one.

I'd go about it personally by using the Neumann just above the "neck" of the instrument (eg: where the equivilent of the "12th fret" on an acoustic guitar is) - the sm57 could then be used for room ambience if you have a live sounding room.

Mix the Di's and Mic'd siginal together until it sounds smooth and warm (wow, baking a cake!) - if it's sounding thin, flip the phase on the DI'd signal - this can some times help when mixing a Di'd and Mic'd signal). The ambience mic (if used) should really be added when you have the whole mix up to add more character to the bass in the overal "picture" of the whole piece.

But, like I said - wait for walt's answer.

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Member
Since: May 10, 2002


Mar 02, 2004 10:23 pm

Good answer Jues!!!

Yes, try the DI first. If it is a good pick up and especially if he has a pre-amp you may not need a mic at all. I use a bridge pick up with a Fishman Pro EQ Platnum pre-amp/DI and it is just sweet! If using the DI the tone lacks depth as Jues pointed out, try a mic about 4" from the fingerboard pointed down at the fingerboard between 20 and 30 degrees from perpendicular to the fingerboard. Adjust the mic up and down the neck between where the fingerboard ends and around that 12th fret mark. This should shore up any lack of depth from just the pick up. Last if you are lacking bottom or bloom (if you want any) point a mic at one of the "F" holes. This one you will probably do best at angling to the side of the instrument. Now it's a "fiddle with it" manouver. Change angle, direction, and distance until you get the "bloom" (sound resonating in the body) until you like it. You may find depending on the instrument and pick up that you don't use the pick up at all. I would definately use the neuman on the neck and the shure on the "f" hole. Last but not least... use the biggest room you can find. Those monsters create increadably large waves! Real easy to make a small room part of the instrument, and not all small rooms sound very good as a bass!

Good luck! They can be a beautifull sound. Oh last note. If you decide to use compression open up the attack quite a bit. It takes a while for those strings to get moving. Real easy to chop off the rise time and make them sound like a cheep plastic guitar!

The Quiet Minded
Member
Since: Jan 01, 2003


Mar 03, 2004 10:54 am

is there a place where I can listen to the effect of this kind of micing? Like, only the bass?

bace135 in the house tonight!
Member
Since: Jan 28, 2003


Mar 03, 2004 11:03 am

Bruno,
After I record tomorrow, I can post some samples to show how it went.

Walt, Jues,
Thank you much for the tips. I was going to record it in my bedroom, but it looks like I will move all my equipment down to the living room for the day because it is somewhat cavernous in comparison. I will attempt to compress it with software. I'll let you guys know how it goes tomorrow.

bace135 in the house tonight!
Member
Since: Jan 28, 2003


Mar 05, 2004 02:51 am

goodness gracious, moving everything down to the living room, and then back up to my bedroom was a huge pain in the ***. The bass tone came out real cool on the upright. We went direct, and put the neumann on one of the f holes. it sounds nice. the bassist then picked up my electric bass and played some funky stuff, but the volume differences are insane, and I'm having some serious problems trying to compress it. There are a lot of finger hitting strings hitting the fretboard sounds that just get super prevalent when I compress the sound. Anyone have any tips on compressing (or even eqing) an electric bass that is popping and slapping? And to top it all off, I got coerced into making some chocolate chip cookies for my sister. Whew, what a day.

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Member
Since: May 10, 2002


Mar 05, 2004 09:08 am

Send the cookies to me! I yikes cookies!

Open up the attack on the compression that will help a lot.

bace135 in the house tonight!
Member
Since: Jan 28, 2003


Mar 05, 2004 11:05 am

That reminds me, I should start a new thread asking about attack and release and what results higher numbers of each give.

Czar of Midi
Administrator
Since: Apr 04, 2002


Mar 05, 2004 10:42 pm

Me likes choco chip kookee's.

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