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Fix It In The Mix

Lesson 10 of 17

Bass Guitar Techniques

Kurt Ballou

Fix It In The Mix

Kurt Ballou

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Lesson Info

10. Bass Guitar Techniques

Lesson Info

Bass Guitar Techniques

Bass guitar um, as you remember from watching the video earlier bass guitar bass guitarist plays finger style so let's, check out what the raw bass actually, we don't need to go out there we can, we can we could stay down here. Um, let's, check out with raw bass sounds like, um without any of the funny business that I'm doing to it done so it's kind typical of finger style based, like he's got a pretty bright tone, but it's also like pretty clack e and there's sort of some a couple of voids in it, which are a bit unavoidable when you're you're playing finger style base. I think that like, I mean, certainly there's there's plenty of great finger style basis for a thrash type music, but uh, generally, generally speaking, I would have preferred a pic for this type of song. Um, but we'll see what we can do to kind of get rid of some of the claque that's, that's inherent in the actually well, but of the video again, I can't forget kind of based this guy's using all right, so let's like a fe...

nder jazz bass, I'm not sure which which version of the jazz base it is, but a lot of times I've found that what happens with to pick up bases is that you know, the basis will instinctively just turn everything up all the way, and so they have both of their pickups running all the time, but you know, guitar players very rarely used the middle pick opposition because they know that it has kind of a jangly hollow sort of sound but bass player the same sort of switch doesn't click with bass players, and I found that you know why on a guitar that there's kind of like a hall anus to the centre in the middle pick opposition on to pick up guitars, there's a subtle sort of phase discrepancy between the two pickups, and I think the same thing happens on basis with two pickup basis, and when you end up hearing as a result of that is a bit of a hole in the mid range and then also certain notes as you sort of run up and down the neck chromatic lee, certain notes will appear louder than others. So generally speaking, I prefer only one pick up on a bass, and I don't know you know how he had his base set, but it kind of sounds like a typical aggressive jazz bass to me where both pickups or turned on and maxed out so there's kind of like a hole in the mid range that we're gonna want to address as well as some of the clacking that just sort of inherent in all finger style base and then also a bit of just sort of inconsistency and level that comes naturally with finger style day so my old trusty pro m b is gonna come and help save us so it's let's hear what that could do? I think maybe I'll just walking through each each band so here's the here's, the high bambi newsome clack reduction with this one that's tough to hear ad the ad the high mid van to see if we can hear what's going on with a with a classy stuff a little better oh, so that'll just even though that stuff sounds natural on its own like in context, you'll just hear like clack clack, clack popping through the mc so we're gonna try to get that stuff under control. Um I like mid range a lot of mid range of my bass sounds some and it's it sounds pretty good here that to the tones actually pretty good in the mid range. So let's just kind of not compress the mids too much and just kind of boost up the mids a little bit using the gain control of our mid van de que and then in low mid world this is where we're gonna hear a lot of the cancellation because it's to pick up so let's see if we can enhance the limits of its way all right, fat filter if you are watching my biggest complaint about your multi band plugging is when I solo a band the controls don't follow the band that I'm salt that I've most recently solo, so I always like accidentally, um adjusting things on the wrong man because I sold one man in the the the threshold in attacking other controls don't follow. So anyway, um, I just messed up my high made band a little bit, but I think I fixed it so back to the lumen band way hopefully we're gonna make the the sound a bit more forgiving on dh consistent down there it's a bit froggy if we boost that stuff too much, but I think a little goes a long way down there and then in the bottom we we just we want to preserve all that punch, but we also want to try to make the bottom and a bit more consistent so let's see what we can do there? Yeah, that feels pretty level I think that this this sounds like a d I tracked, but it also doesn't sounds a bit affected, so I wonder if there was like a sand sam por there another those terror base heads have like a d I feed right from ahead so it's possible that it could have been a feed out of the head it's probably not a mike I don't really hear he bleed into the other instruments so I think that's what we're dealing with but so let's see what this program be does to the whole signal now? All right, so that's helping out it's a bit more aggressive now and a bit sort of the lows in the highest field but less disconnected. Jimmy um so moving on let's uh try another another favorite of mine. Um called sound toys decapitate er in this one seat in the ampex mode right now, but I wanted to see how the need one sounds I tend to like that on base because that is, um, you know, stereotypically needy it adds, adds a bit of of warmth and harmonic content to the bottom end. So, um, so see what I'm doing here? No, looks like I'm doing nothing. Yeah, all the controls air are did I wonder if maybe when something happened when this, when this session got important with my stuff in a way so let's see what we can do with this? Maybe we want to add a bit of a bit more consistency, takes some of the claque off the top and use this as a subtle compressor and see, you see what the possibilities are all right, so I think we got something a bit maur consistent and a bit more aggressive and just kind of mohr ever present now we're just kind of run through this and bypass it again and toggle it in and out of gas done ah, so a bit more uh cohesive and a bit more a bit more focused in general uh now we'll try some kind of out of the box and sort of against my overall philosophy on on this project, which is tio it's not quite a re amping the base but it's re capping the base and I may end up backing off on some of the decapitated settings that I just made once I start doing this and basically what this is it's very similar concept to what I did on the overhead track where I had a convolution river, but I made from impulses that that I that I blasted through p a system at my recording studio here's some, um some cabinet impulses that I just just I just I think I just googled free guitar cabinet impulse and found this collection called catharsis I'm not sure who made them, but they seem pretty cool and what they are is somebody miked up a guitar cabinet and then did the same sort of thing where they created a model of that guitar cabinet by blasting some some tones some you know, some specialized tones through that guitar cabinet recorded those tones back in and then used to deacon volver to compare basically what the signal going into the cabinet was versus with signal coming out of the cabinet is and then kind of back calculates it creates an algorithm that you can use within a river about convolution reverb plug in in order to mimic the sound of that guitar cabinet as well as that mike position and associative mike priam so basically what I'm doing is running the bass guitar single since it's d I going to run it through one of these cabinets simulators and I only have some guitar cab simulator so I'm gonna be running through I think I'm assuming it's like I don't even know what the cab is, but I'm assuming it's some sort of, you know, some twelve inch speakers but you know, maybe that'll get us something um in the bass that sounds, you know, maur like the sound of a mic that base and less like the sound of a d I base, which is really a favorite sounded fine so let's hear this and mess around a little bit yeah, that seems to be doing a nice job like getting rid of a lot of that clack e stuff that I don't care for and and even that it's kind of like a fifty fifty wet, dry let's hear it like one hundred percent wet for a second wait yes, I guess I don't need to be quite as heavy handed with the captain hitter since I'm getting a lot of that like clack reduction and sort of just just classiness from the uh from the cabinet impulse uh yeah so that that I'm pretty pleased with that sounds a lot more like miked up base rate which is sort of mohr in line with with what I like and also like, you know, the context of the live show um you know, I certainly didn't hear it on a piece of d I base in that room mike which is, you know, pretty pretty dominated by the p a system and it was just like the sound since it's a small club the people at the show are probably just hearing the bass guitar out of the bass amp in the room so let's try to do what we can to make, um the bass sound feel mohr like it felt at the show itself rather than like this kind of clinical d I set up that that it is you know again all this is is we make sure b to make this video feel like you're at the show and I think that that cabinet thing helps and then finally my old tried and true console simulation type of thing here be ex consul by brain works and I promise I'm not paid to say that um and we're gonna do kind of like what I would do with this sound on my console with that so you're pretty basic just a bit of a queue a bit of compression let's check that out so you know pretty basic itjust helps kind of contain the bass a bit and I'm filtering off some of the some of the sub bay stuff just so it's ah, not in the way of the kicker toms and ah you see one of the things I didn't do that let's let's let's do just for fun because we like fun is um oh you know what? No, I am doing it sorry, I just I've got to address it so we'll back up a few steps on this bass guitar back to the first plug it I had in line which is fat filter pro m b so see this little key ikon up in the upper left corner fab filter that's um that's the key input so and why I'm using I have this set to bus five well where is best five coming from that is actually coming from the kick drum so I'm actually feeding the signal of the kick drum into the the multi man compressor that's on the bass guitar so pull up that bands with low band in this little expert area over here I have side chain connected to external so let's addition that real quick it's crazy. I wonder why that sounds like that and why we're hearing it because the band is basically inherently soloed. Um, we're only hearing the low component of the kick, but basically, yes. Oh, of all these frequency bands is five frequency man's going right now? I'm only using, um the only feeding aki input from the kick into the low band. So what that's gonna do is whenever the bass drum hits the the low frequency on the kick is going to duck out of the way. So that's going to enable us two have sort of mohr low end from the bass guitar, but that low end is going to disappear a little bit every time the bass drum hits so that is going to give us just the overall mix. It'll give a tighter, more focused low end because the low end of the kick drum and low into the bass guitar will not be competing with each other. So let's, listen to I think I had to make that send. You made it a pre fader send. So we console the bass guitar and still hear the signal coming in from the kick. If this was not pre fader when we saw the base, the send from the kick would go away um, so let's let's hear that again just so this band wait it's, tough to hear, but you can kind of hear the kick drum pulsing along with the kick I mean with along with the bass as I change between internal and external um that'll that'll let you hear what what the difference is between side change, no change when it's on it's on external that's when the kick is feeding into the detector path of the low component of this multi main compressor wait, so it's it's subtle, but it's it's one of those like little things that he's really noticeable in the context of a full mix. Um, sorry, there's a little a little farty sounding in here, it doesn't seem like the speakers are happy with that low, low end stuff. Yeah, so? So I think I think pretty much done with with bass guitar hero was just listen to one more time is actually at a little bit of reverb, you know, I don't usually usually use a ton of reverb on base, but in the context of a live show it's going to be reverberant and I'm also panning the bass a little bit to the right just to match how it appears in the in the room, but that bass sound is going to bouncing all over the walls and you're going to hear some real brother base even which which does make a base a bit murkier, but it will also make it feel a bit more realistic to what it's like toe, sea bass and a live show. You know, and also as we as we add reverb here, we have to remember that we're also, you know, as we add reverb to the room mikes and add reverb, too. The overheads invention. Just as we use room mikes, we're adding revert to the base in that way. Also. So we don't really want to go overboard here. This is stuff with done, really, as we're listening to the full mix in conduct in context.

Class Description

The best way to get a great recording is to start with great source material, but that’s not always possible. Occasionally you are stuck with a less-than-perfect recording and the only thing you can do is to try and clean it up. 

Lucky for you, there are reliable techniques for restoring poorly recorded audio, and Kurt Ballou will teach you everything you need to know in Fix it in the Mix. 

While replacing drums with samples and reamping guitars are often effective ways to rebuild a sub-par recording, they are time-consuming and can diminish the uniqueness of the original recording. 

Fix it in the Mix will explore organic approaches to recovering and enhancing the natural tones from the original performances. Kurt will use recordings from real-world scenarios and walk you through, in detail, the audio restoration process. 

In Fix it in the Mix, Kurt will show you how to think outside of the box to come up with creative solutions to audio restoration problems every engineer has faced. 



An absolutely fantastic course for anyone who is new (or even experienced) on how to use very innovative techniques to help bring some life to an otherwise poorly recorded demo. Thank you Kurt!


another fantastic course in the creative live audio section, kurt kills it,!! thank you!

Ashton Thebault

Definitely some handy tips in here that are useful for mixing live music, poorly recorded tracks and anything else that couldn't be rectified during recording. Kurt gave some tips I had never thought of and there were some valuable insights that came out from his discussions with people in the room. Very valuable if you deal with any sub-standard recordings and if you just want to get some tips.