Mixing Bass Guitar with David Glenn
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Today’s tutorial comes from my latest course, it’s called Mixing Pop Ballads, and it’s going to be some good stuff. We’ve got bass tutorials, low end, and a couple of drum tutorials for you.
We’re going to fade in, I want to show you a before and after sample of the song. It’s called, “Save Me,” it’s by Jeremy Rosado. Jeremy was an American Idol finalist and is an awesome guy. I loved working on this song, and I think you’re going to love it.
So whether or not you check out the course, I think you’re going to gain a lot from the tutorials. I hope you love it, and stay tuned for that. Thanks again for checking it out!
[mix, before and after]
Alright, so I’m back from a mental break. Had a little food, and I’m feeling pretty good. You know, my drums were a little bit loud. The — I brought down the parallel compression, the drums crush a decent amount. About 5dB or so, and then I even pulled back on the low end of the kick for now with the Pultec.
So wherever you guys saw that, it is now just about one and a half here, and then almost to one on the attenuation. 8kHz, I hit just a little flick of 8kHz there, but the bass guitar. So I just took some time, I referenced. I’ve got a Jeremy Rosado mix that I did not do, but I wish I could’ve done it, it’s a pretty cool tune. It’s called “Hope for Tomorrow.” You can check that out on iTunes.
That sounds like this.
[Hope for Tomorrow mix]
I’m missing the snare in this one.
So I dig the tune for the genre and everything. It sounds pretty cool. I reference a little Jonny Diaz here. I forget the name of this one…
Much brighter. A little more of that Keith Urban, Pop Rock, Country-ish kind of thing. Wider. Lots of things nice about this.
Hope for Tomorrow seems a little filtered, missing the snare, but I really like this beautiful mix. If you’ve been around The Mix Academy for awhile, you know that.
Then here we are.
Low end issues, right?
These mixes are done. They’re finished, so cut me some slack guys. [laughs]
We’re going to widen our instruments, we’re going to push up our faders, all that kind of stuff on the music tracks, but for now, I want to take a look at the low end, because that was way more balanced. These two tracks, even the Jeremy track, the low end was more balance than what I’ve got right now.
I felt pretty good about my low end before going with this video here, except I put R-Bass on. I probably need to back that off a little bit, but we’ll do that by listening in the appropriate way here in a second.
But anyways, so Beautiful by… I forget his name. We’ll have to look it up.
Hope for Tomorrow by Jeremy Rosado, Jonny Diaz, Use Me Too, and those are the references I’m going with for now.
The mix — let’s take a listen to this — the bass guitar, actually, let’s talk about the bass. I want to show you what I did to the amp tone. I just did this real quick. Really only took about ten minutes experimenting a bit. Then we’re going to look at our low end, because we have some stuff to work on there.
I decided to keep the beginning, the intro, clean. Just the DI. I added a little bit of sub to it. I added the Pultec, a little bit of 30Hz to kind of fill it out. Sung beautiful here.
Dan Bremnes is the artist. Dan Bremnes, Beautiful. His low end was just feeling good, so I modeled it after that at the intro section here.
Probably even needs a little bit more love, but anyways, I wanted to keep that clean, and then when the band kicks in, I decided to add the bass amp.
Okay. So before, we just had a clean DI.
Okay, and we have first up, the Ampeg from Universal Audio. I love this thing. It brings things to life. This could be Sans Amp. I’ve actually had times where I prefer Sans Amp to this plug-in, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have this, but it’s definitely one to test out and see if you dig it.
I love that. I just went through the presets, I found this one, eight by ten Funky Rock A. Ran with whatever it gave me, but I felt like it needed more dirt. So I went to Decapitator — at first I had the Punish off, but I went ahead and — why not, right?
Put the Punish on, didn’t even touch the drive. Backed the mix percentage off just a hair. Here’s without the Decapitator.
And then with it.
[bass amp with Decapitator]
Probably would have worked to show you a section with some upper mid-range there.
More round, smooth. Tiny bit more.
I added that after this EQ, so obviously, we’re taking the lows out, we already have that committed with the bass subs pushing the mid-range, trying to pull it forward a little bit. Taking out the “ticka-ticka.” The string noise, that was nothing like what it sounds like, but this…
Yeah, I’ll have to really boost that in volume, but the string, the pick noise, all of the stuff hitting the fretboard, not loving that. So I pulled that back quite a bit.
Then it just felt a little bit like, “Eh, I don’t really need any of these low mids.” I really just wanted the mid-range character of the amp, and then to level it out, I threw, why not, Butch Vig Vocals on. I wanted to just kind of flat-line it, and I thought, “Let me try this!”
So here is with no compression.
[bass, no compression]
And then with it.
[bass, with compression]
Obviously a huge volume difference there, but a lot more mid-range, upper mids, you can hear that. The compressor, and then I have the focus. The multi-band section of the Butch Vig on, and I’m driving the tube here. That’s probably making the biggest difference is driving that tube there.
So pretty cool stuff. Digging that. Just kind of getting creative with some plug-ins. Been a minute since I’ve mixed anything in this genre, so I’m having some fun, and let’s see. Maybe out at the end here, do we want the bass back in, or do we want it…
Probably about four or five dB, and then — I’m going to fade that out so that it reduces at the end.
Eh, I think it’s fine.
Okay, so that was the bass. Now those three tracks together, I actually didn’t even touch, because I didn’t feel like I needed to after I cranked the bass amp, but the compression on this is probably not doing very much, I didn’t check it.
No, the bass DI is not really getting compressed. The bass subs are getting compressed, the bass DI is not, but the bass amp essentially is that parallel compression from the Butch Vig vocal, so.
Plenty of level going on. Leveling, excuse me. Flattening out the signal there.
The processing here on the bass level. So I’ve got these three, they blend together the bass level. I’ve got VMR. A little rusty on my tutorial delivery here. VCC is just part of my template. I leave that at the SSL, except for like, earlier, we moved the kick to the Neve for a little bottom, but I haven’t messed with this yet. What I have done is activated the Pro-MB. This kind of takes 250Hz, similar to what we do on the subs track, I’m just trying to just lock in the low end.
I referenced a little bit, felt like their 250 and below was a little tighter, so I compressed this one extra layer here. 250Hz and below here is just getting flat-lined.
R-Bass for smaller speakers. Going to generate some upper harmonics for the bass so that it feels warm and low on laptop speakers, smaller home studio speakers, things like that.
I’ve got a limiter for some of the slappage on the bass, when the strings are moving around. Taking that off a couple of dB. Maybe three dB at the most. Then the Pro-MB for sidechain compression from the kick, you can see this is receiving signal. Kick SC that’s coming from my kick drum, I’m sending right there. It’s off on the right. Sending a full signal into this compressor, and it’s compressing against the bass from 110Hz, probably 114 and below every time the kick hits, so that makes a little bit more room for the kick.
We still need to do some surgery, but that’s the basic layout of what’s going on between the kick and the bass. Let me…