How To Record A Great Fretless Bass Guitar Sound

Ever come up with a killer sound only to have your bass lost in the mix? This video lesson reveals a great technique to retain the low end whilst adding effects to create an atmospheric, beautiful fretless bass guitar tone.

Parallel Processing

When using effects with bass, the first thing that happens is often the loss of the low end. The main two roles of the bass are to provide groove and low end to the music and adding effects usually interferes with the latter. Parallel processing is where you have two channels. One is your unaffected (clean or 'dry') channel and the other contains your effects (the dirty or 'wet' channel). You then blend to taste. That way you get to add your effects and the low end remains.

This technique is known as New York compression when using a compressor. You can use any signal processing you like on the second channel and this principle can also be applied live with a variety of setups. Be sure to sign up to the newsletter (below) as I'll be doing some videos on that soon...

Fretless Bass Tone

The classic effects to use on fretless bass guitar are reverb, delay, and chorus. In the video, I used Soundtoys Effects Rack and Valhalla Room for some delay and reverb. Then some EQ just to remove some of the mud from the low end not required.

Learning a few basic mixing tips is a great idea as anyone can record world-class tone with the right gear these days. Some of those principles can be taken to the stage too and if you want to be a great bass player, your sound is an important piece of the puzzle.

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