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Toontrack presents: Studio Pass

Lesson 11 of 26

Tracking Bass Guitar

Ulrich Wild, Brendon Small

Toontrack presents: Studio Pass

Ulrich Wild, Brendon Small

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Lesson Info

11. Tracking Bass Guitar


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:06:20
4 Songwriting Q&A Duration:26:32
5 Tracking and Comping Drums Duration:27:24
6 Editing Drums Duration:16:25
7 Drums Q&A Duration:31:15
8 Micing an Amplifier Duration:25:09
9 Rhythm Guitar Tones Duration:18:52
10 Tracking Rhythm Guitars Duration:34:13
11 Tracking Bass Guitar Duration:23:34
12 Bass Q&A Duration:21:45
13 General Q&A Duration:16:30
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Tracking Vocals Duration:18:27
3 Vocal Mixing on Galaktikon Duration:24:37
4 Vocals Q&A Duration:17:50
5 Mix Prep Duration:34:45
6 Mixing in Logic Pro Duration:42:03
7 Mixing Blazing Star Part I Duration:27:14
10 Mixing Blazing Star Part 2 Duration:19:34
11 Mixing Blazing Star with EQ Duration:30:09
12 Final Q&A Duration:24:12
13 Closing Thoughts Duration:11:22

Lesson Info

Tracking Bass Guitar

Now we're going to talk about something that uh again we make fun of very often on the show the bass guitar rightly so I mean, you kind of deserve it but the truth is that the base part of the base recording part in the base the way the base factors into the death clock song there's a really important part of song writing if you if you guys were here during segment number one um you saw me kind of go over a little bit of the theoretic the theories behind what I think is makes a baseline interesting or how to arrange your son through base we're going to get a little bit more of that, but first we're going to talk about just how to get a good workable usable bass sound. We have a base over here I'll go get it and all ricky's going tio where you going to do a way for you to bring the bass? Yeah, I'll be back in about a half hour so all right sounds good just we have a base. Did that stand up and fight them? Um base can be tricky sometimes uh largely because it's so low and tuning is an is...

sue that's why I yes, I like to tract base after the guitars because it's just a lot easier to keep guitars in june than it is to keep a base in tune and if you have guitars that are in tune hopefully in tune uh and you do based overdubs to that then you have a much easier time telling whether or not the thing is out of tune yes and because the reason is that the strings are just much bigger it's just much easier to pull them sharp it's easier to hit them too hard on but it also starts raising some hack well, this here a really good bass player which I'm not I'm not bad on passable but I get to play with one of the world's best bass players I think which is brian beller and he has an amazing controlling has this base set up he he's got his he's got he's, got it all worked out and he's got a sound worked out but but which is and he does play I think he did play on the song they were going to show casing a little bit more later on as we keep getting closer to what that's going to be is the song blazing star which he recorded on the base for um but um I think I think he record I think I sent him the tracks and recording is in a different studio yes on that song he that they were some sent out right and on death out in three he recorded I think in my studio and galactic khan he may recording your studio or my story that he did in my studio also um death um three was in my studio remember the bridge pulling out do you remember that yes ok that was your studio now I do remember that galactic on was my studio yes ok but they're so uh some industry standards that I think you're going to go over on how to get a solid base sound the other thing it's really tricky that with death clock is if my if I'm in c standard on guitar I will take I will normally take a five string bass and tune it up a half step because of the beast of the bc and the is f b flat and so forth thank you for doing that because I don't know why people don't do that um what is in the insist to have that fifth low string to be even lower oh and just go that's on that yeah it can get so murky and it's sometimes tone centers air hard you know when you're trying to get his heaviest possible and it's you can sometimes hear it differently than you here like it changed cords and all of a sudden it's ah then you find out what you really and I'm gonna find the cable for this oh I got the cable for you all right we're going to make that sound okay um so we have here um this is a thunderbird base this is not too dissimilar from what murderface uses but there's a fourth string version and if we are gonna record in my original song idea song from the top of this whole thing then we will probably stay in and to hear everything first we have to get some signal into this pro tools rig um won the easiest ways to go about it is to use a d I if you can see this uh where you got that overhead coming to um going to base straight into d I and die out into pre empting a compressive for me um we also are going to split this off into an actual amp which is always fun and loud in low on doll those low frequencies said really low to the ground be put the mike on the floor I'm and that's a job for your previous segment that wasn't andy johns thing yeah we'll never know I guess so ok anyway so what we have set up right here is a pretty standard d I but we just plugged it in we haven't checked in yet let's hope it works uh would go from here into this beautiful box just preempt and we'll see you can get something this isn't l a six ten you know that no not happened towe that's awesome don't even need the other one really yeah I get is that, um I don't see any level coming in but there's there's a sixty one seventeen six ten I know it's uh it's all good do we need any phantom maybe even some single somewhere or something a good way really use this box very often so just find my way through it but that is uh that's not a problem really because a said earlier on you find yourself in positions we have to use care that you I don't know like you get a new piece of gear and he just kind of have to go forward and play around with it and get something good to happen so that's what we're doing with this um way have ourselves ah compressor built in and we don't want a compressed too much off the bat but maybe maybe dio just not sure when I thin fingers on this thing and I think sometimes it's putting it over here brian miller has been slowly teaching me his technique, which is basically a john endlessly kind of thing where he does hit the strength and she's like either here of the pickup and you get an extra clinging attack and he does that all throughout the death clock stuff yeah, I was actually for some songs I was surprised how gently actually hits the strange he's got his action so low that it doesn't have to hit that hard I'm hitting really hard and to get them to happen way to be some kind of mitchell mismatch somewhere just a lot of level out of its way got nice distortion out of it thes they're not these air also simply what are you going because of this thing way too compressors going on which is pretty fun too it's over by best in this tub when just because way decided to use an eleven, seventy six um also our gain reduction here were supposed to e center influence and our alba's air threshold or attack r release and compression setting basically it's just like anything else you have in put on dh er mike pre and we're using a compressor to tame it because of it's it's a very dynamic instrument and especially in in mental and he's just really cut through a lot of it is tuned down so low you know that you're really battling for for low and space for frequencies for definition and you know some some notes are a little louder than others on some bases and yeah it is very true to dig in and compress uh theoretical basis seeing at the same time another thing I've noticed and I think I've noticed again through watching great bass players like brian beller he changed the strings before every recording make sure he has this bright steel you know absolutely freddie gets a lot of it's a lot of attack on it but this is these air lived in a little bit and that's sometimes is a great just good. It depends on the style of music, tio so I like to have yes, you can play a little. I'm done. Yeah. Um, I like to have a d I sound because it gives me, um, this is one the few instances where I want to have, uh, clean the eye. Sounds without without any who, uh, distortion any affects anything on there just a backup as my so I can I can play with it later. Um, I get a lot of the tight, low and out of it because sometimes, uh, that, you know, depending on the am for using it's lacking, especially if we haven't basically nobody likes more of a distorted sound. It's nice to to complement to the story that sound in the am sound and the d I sound so you find something that will blend them very often nowadays I get actually tracks in where is just to die and do with it as you please get a thing and that in that instance, I do multi doubt on guy put a distortion on one of him in an am seeing the leader on the other, they or maybe that's one of the same thing it's just depends a little bit on on what's going on well, I think on the on the dune star I played probably ninety percent of the base beller played the song and then thunder cat played how can I be a hero with houthi guy is just amazing bass player he just plug into my sixty one seventy six and I just dialed in the sun is like that's good and everything was in his fingers and a big like a six string hollow body and he's just with flat rock wound strings and it just was a completely different sound sure. And you should listen to that song if you have the doom, start requiem and listen to thunder cat play based on that because that's just a completely different take on the base. The guys a monster? Yeah, absolutely. So the trick is to compress it enough but not too much because you don't want it. You can always compress mohr at this point we just want to make sure we get enough level and enough enough volume and enough excitement going on with the compressed d I track so that they can. The regular d I track is not necessarily all that fun to listen to initially, right? You know, but it's czar safety is their safety track and I've learned over the years to use a different mic for most from what most people would use on a bass amp let's go over here and talk about that for a minute um this is a leftover uh this is ah a kg for fifty one which generally is associated with acoustic guitar and overheads and uh way I found out about this thing wass um well it was set up accidentally left set up in a room uh from percussion perhaps or something and it was the same room that the base cabinet was set up in and and I was frantically looking for the base mike and I found the one that worked yeah and it was this one it's the wrong one sounded awesome and amazing right on ever since I've been using it for fifty one on the base on a quite regular basis okay um so let's see if we can get some sound out of this thing okay and uh bring this back here for game. All right? So what we have set up for this um not unlike guitar set up except which is using one one base mike you could use two or three or ten or whatever pleases you really it's just be careful phase issues um using a pre amp um opting to use this one that use for migratory kun because that's the one that's here if I was in this situation if you got a record a base this is your pre amp this that would totally make work for I could use something else that's around um you could rent something you could buy something whatever it's gonna make it gonna make it happen if it's midnight and you just came across somebody who wanted to play based on your own you're not going to turn him down right? Right recording someone get to it right and then uh we have a nice l a two way that is ah it's a great compressor it's do you studio standard everywhere really it's nice to have one of those around doesn't have to be this one but that's what we have right now we are again in this situation where we have a loud amp next to us so it is going to record some of this um go for it let's see what this sounds like to us at here? Um we're gonna mute just uh d I and listen to just the bass amp that sounds thing but that's what? It sounds that's about what it sounds like in the room so again uh we used a little bit of just a little bit of compression really? No e q on there yet um you know if you can get away with no e q that's awesome you know I mean again it this starts with the playing the amp the instrument the strings is but the right hand, the picking of the right hand if you play that really sloppily yeah with pick or with fingers it's going to sound sloppy and bad but if you master instrument when on you know you're you're take it easy you're miles ahead of where we need to be right? This is uh yes and I am no bass player, so I do play a lot of base, but I'm no, I'm not I mean, I was with a good bass players and they really can't pick up tricks, you know that's that's what happened to me over the last twenty years I've learned from a lot of really great players I'm nowhere near a player of any of this stuff a plate of stereo basically and but I know all these little tricks, these little secrets because I've learned him over the years from all these these people that do all this stuff really well right um so that so do you what sound listen to see what it sounds like with the dye in there too, okay? Because this was just the amp. Okay? And, uh well, turn on the this gives us a little bit of it's a little clean or sound and obviously it's a little puncher, but here this is the chance to really shape your sound by digging into the amp and get your personality I like the d I will have the personality of the base right like, you know like this base will sound different from I don't know like a pee base or or whatever it is in your hands at the time and the other active pickups or soothe passive pickups sure and you know different strings and the wood and all that stuff does make a difference some of it less than others but yeah, it cz one thing that counts the other thing obviously is the emp and that could nowadays be like an ant simulator it doesn't have to be that but that's where you're the personality of the of the of the sound really comes out of of what you like is a bass player and you know, you go for it and uh you dial it in like, you know, the nspd classic is is little classic even says it on there yeah and I like you get a certain sound out of that am first is like a esta br you know, whatever view you've grown toe like and become accustomed to grown accustomed to so but that's basically how I get a bass sound and you can see it took you know like ten, fifteen minutes to get it together iand once you have it set up it's it's great if you have oh enough gear to leave your chain set up so you don't have to go change them yes otherwise we're you know, probably gonna have to write down some settings or whatever, which is which is ok too because, you know, having enough gear this sometimes a luxury for some you know, you always wish you had one extra thing that's just you know, that's just life, I think. Um yeah, um but sometimes you'll do a three base approach, though. Yeah, but that's, where did the eye comes in? Because that I can easily take off the d I you know, you can t s oh, yeah, you just you can duplicate the dea on another track and use s o the third base track that we're talking about is the dirty bass track. Yeah, and you can either have, like, record with that and that will be well called it just put a plug in on this thing of sorts. Er, wait, honey, uh, demonic time was not box starboard rocks. Which one tray? Uh, trying that that one, you know, stump to monastery stereo. So you click down here in this photo there e what's a kid here? Yeah. You know what? I had the front pickup down, so I thought maybe this is more of a bridge pickups, but, um, it was hard for me to hear that in here because that ample still blasting in may but a zay was moving favors up and down. You probably could tell on, you know, through your feet, like the different sounds and combinations of things, and, you know, it takes a little little searching and little little digging. Um, do to find the right story and, you know, it's, nice to commit to it while you're recording. Sure, but that's. Why, after the die, because you can actually, then go change it, if you want to like we're doing here, so you could, you could have, like, instead of just a plain d a, you could have a d I did also said, distortion out in the stores now, put like the stands, and for some, like that, um, on dh record, a third base track, or duplicated and do it with the plug in like this in the mix, basically great.

Class Description

Adult Swim's Metalocalypse is a cheeky parody of metal culture — featuring the shenanigans of a cartoon band called Dethklok. In Toontrack Presents: Studio Pass, you'll get a closer look at the creative process behind this mesmerizing metal powerhouse-turned-TV-series.

Brendon Small is the creator and primary musician driving Dethklok’s music, including its four full-length albums. In this installment of Studio Pass, Brendon and producer Ulrich Wild (Pantera, White Zombie, Slipknot, Deftones) will show how they compose, engineer, and mix the music of Metalocalypse – explaining the recording techniques used for Dethklok’s drums, bass, guitars, vocals and effects.

The music behind the hilarious spectacle that is Metalocalypse is no joke. Join Brendon and Ulrich for Studio Pass and learn about the unique creative process behind the music of Dethklok.


John Thaxton

I love Brendon. He has always treated fans super well. There's so much wisdom to be gained from listening to him about workflow and music in general. Great class!

Aaron Thurtell

Being someone new and looking into recording songs, I found this class very informative and in a way essential, the idea of recording seemed over whelming and I had no idea where to start, being a fan of Brendon small and Ulrich Wilds work on Dethklok and Galaktikon I found it very enjoyable and must for any fans of Brendon small looking into how he goes about making a record