Recording upright bass, advice?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by cheng&eng, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. cheng&eng

    cheng&eng Member

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    Hi there,

    I'm going to be tracking some upright bass on monday & was wondering if
    anyone has any advice. I've got an Audio-technica 4033 condenser mic & a
    sm57 to work with (into protools). does recording acoustic bass require a different approach than recording acoustic guitars?

    many thanks
     
  2. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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  3. covert

    covert Member

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    One approach: Wrap the body of the 57 in foam and wedge it under the neck, aimed at the bridge. Set the AT back a couple of feet, and experiment with where you aim it. Mix the two signals, try reversing the polarity one one, if needed.
     
  4. onemind

    onemind Member

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    Some kick drum mics, do an admirable job. If you can find an old D12E, that will sound great!
     
  5. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I have not done it myself, but an engineer at one of my sessions set one up. He set up either a U67 or U87 (don't remember which) about a 18" from the front of the bass, slightly below the bridge and angled up toward it. It sounded very good, got everything I wanted as far as fundamental, nice "wood" tone, a little bit but not too much string sound, etc. I barely had to do anything to the track; it sat very nicely.
     
  6. KungFuLio

    KungFuLio Senior Member

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    Fortunately, all acoustic instruments have there own character. Unfortunately, that means we, as engineers, need to listen to those instruments and find the sweet spot.

    First listen to the bass, front, side, f-hole, even the back. If it's a good instrument and a good player, you will find a sweet spot. Put on a set of headphones that you know well and move the mic (prolly the 4033) around the area where you heard the sweet spot until it fairly represents the sound that you heard acoustically, then clamp it down. If you feel you don't have enough presence try adding in a bit of 57 place up near the top of the finger board. Think about a third of the way down.

    Blend appropraitly... YMMV
     
  7. trpullen

    trpullen Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    If you have a windscreen for the 4033, you are in business. I also really like using an AKG D112 right in front of the f hole on the bass side. The D112 will take all that wind and deliver a really nice thwap. :)
     
  8. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    awesome thread! :cool:

    and cmon people, we're talkin' a beautifully carved instrument that IMHO would demand nothing less than a sweet condensor. i've used my Shure KSM32 on my teacher's 140yr. old german upright, and good lord, anything less woulda been criminal.

    kick drum mics are fine for mic'ing, say, an SVT 8x10 cab, but you're not gonna need its SPL toughness for something as luscious as an upright. like using a radiation suit to pull muffins from an oven. besides, they have a really annoying lower mid bump that'll sound unnatural with an upright for jazz. course, if you're doing rockabilly sans the bass drum w/ a drummer workin' just a snare and some brushes? now THAT would be awesome.

    most any condensor that hits a healthly 31Hz (enough to capture a lower B or lower C extension's fundmental) should suffice. mix w/ a nice compressor, stir, and enjoy!
     
  9. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    wow,

    soooooo lucky. :angel
     
  10. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    :confused:
     
  11. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    i have yet to see my own U67 in the flesh, let alone facing my upright. :p
     
  12. cheng&eng

    cheng&eng Member

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    Thanks for the advice
    lots of good suggestions here
    the sessions been pushed back to weds- i'll let you know how it goes
    one more question:
    on one of the tracks the bassist will use a bow. is there anything I should do differently- as far as mic placement, for this?
    thanks
     
  13. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Oh, OK. I had no idea what you meant.

    Again, I don't know that it was a 67. At the time I assumed it was an 87, because that would have been more likely.

    I've seen 67s in radio stations now and then, but I only knew because I was told that's what they were. They look almost identical.
     
  14. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    it'll get much louder. bowing brings out WAAY more volume vs. mere pizz playing. address accordingly. :)
     
  15. EVT

    EVT Member

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  16. Effect of Sound

    Effect of Sound Member

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    Get a small diaphram condenser mic, warp in a towel, and wedge the mic in bridge facing upward. This method yeilded excellent results. Any mic will work, but chossing the right one will capture all the nuances of the upright bass really well.
     

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