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Bass Tracking

Lesson 44 from: Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp

Eyal Levi

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Lesson Info

44. Bass Tracking


Class Trailer

Intro to Bootcamp


Purpose of Pre-Production


Technical Side of Preproduction


Pre-Production: Setting Up the Tempo Map


Pre-Production: Importing Stems


Pre-Production: Click Track


Creating Tracking Templates


Intro and the Tone Pie


Drums - Lay of the Land


Bearing Edges


Wood Types


Depths and Sizes




Sticks and Beaters


Drum Heads


Drum Tuning


Drum Mic Placement Intro


Basic Drum Mic Setup


Cymbal Mic Setup


Touch Up Tuning


Microphone Choice and Placement


Drum Tracking Intro


Getting Tones and Final Placement


Primary Tracking


Punching In and Comping Takes


Guitar Setup and Rhythm Tone Tracking


Amplifiers - Lay of the Land


Amplifiers & Cab Shoot Out


Guitar Cab Mic Choice and Placement


Guitar Tracking and Signal Chain


Finalizing Amplifier Tone


Guitar Mic Shootout Round Robin


Intro to Rhythm Tracking


Setting Up Guitars


Working with a Guitarist


Final Guitar Tone and Recap


Guitar Tracking with John


Guitar Tracking with Ollie


Final Tracking


Tracking Quads


Intro to Bass Tone


Bass Tone Setup


Bass Tone Mic Placement


Bass Tracking


Intro to Clean and Lead Tones


Clean Guitar Tones


Lead Tones


Vocal Setup for Tracking


Vocal Mic Selection and Setup


Vocal Mic Shootout


Lead Vocal Tracking


Writing Harmonies


Harmony Vocal Tracking


Vocal Warm Ups


Scream Vocal Tracking


Vocal Tuning and Editing Introduction


Vocal Tuning and Editing


Routing and Bussing


Color Coding, Labeling and Arranging Channels


Setting Up Parallel Compression


Setting Up Drum Triggers


Gain Staging and Trim


Drum Mixing - Subtractive EQ


Drum Mixing - Snare


Drum Mixing - Kick


Drum Mixing - Toms


Drum Mixing - Cymbals and Rooms


Drum Mixing Recap


Mixing Bass Guitar


Mixing Rhythm Guitars


Basic Vocal Mix


Mixing Clean and Lead Guitars


Mixing - Automation


Mastering - Interview with Joel Wanasek


Lesson Info

Bass Tracking

Okay, so these strings. Are nice and fresh? Nice and fresh, alright. Not for long. Not for long. Not with my acidic sweat. Can you tell us about that bass a little bit? That bass is ridiculous. Yeah, so it's my custom bass from Aristides Instruments. It's a composite material base, so it doesn't contain any wood, apart from the maple fretboard that you can see there. It's kind of set up like a traditional jazz bass, but the material it's made from was developed by the company to resonate most efficiently in three dimensions. So, it's a lot more resonant. Quite loud, even when it's not plugged in. And it just has a very solid fundamental low end. That's a really loud bass just unplugged. Kinda hot too, isn't it? Yeah. It's a bit frightening with everything clipping out. What kind of pickups you got on that? They're Seymour Duncan, Quarter Pounders. Single coils? Yeah, single coils. Yeah, I prefer single coil pickups on bass. And at the moment we're just...

using the bridge pickup. Alright, great. And everything's just turned to 11. Now, you brought a different bass with you as well. I did, I brought a more traditional jazz bass. Can you just hold that? I'll hold this. This bass is kinda heavy. It's purple. That's all you need to know, it's purple. Oh, yeah, this thing's beautiful. The purple gives it a little bit of extra tones. This is the other bass I bought. It's a Lakland Joe Osborne five string and it's got swamp-ash body, and a maple neck, maple fretboard. We bought it just in case we wanted something a bit more traditional. It's got a very, very nice tone, but in going back and forth between the two, that one just fits this better. A lot more aggressive. Yeah. A lot more full. Bite. The Lakland was actually used on the first record, Gnosis, that bass, as well. This is the OG Monuments bass. Cool, so, alright let's get plugged in. Alright, you want to try some stuff? Um, I mean, double triple check, you know? 'Cause bass, if it's out of tune, it sounds horrendous. Yeah, it'll ruin the mix. If you get it in tune, it should be okay as long as we don't hit it on the EL chord or anything. (bass notes) Yeah, there we go. But you know, the low string's flat. Did you tune it flat on purpose? Yeah. Yeah. 'Cause you hit like a beast. Beast. Beast mode enabled. You want this loud? Yeah, really loud. Okay. (bass notes) That sounds great. (metronome clicking) (heavy rock music) Yo, let's get from the fill and then just keep going. 'Cause it sounds like you started to drop off. I did. (laughing) Good listen. Alright. He's done this before. Yeah, he has. Yeah, two days ago. That was my first time. Okay, so halfway through the first half? Yeah. (heavy rock music) Missed a note, so let's do that again. If anyone missed why I restarted it, it wasn't 'cause he hit any wrong notes, but it was because bass needs to be full power at all times. It sounds the best when you are just manhandling it, so his power just decreased halfway through the riff. Lots of times I will basically restart somebody halfway through a riff just so that they can come in at full power. Let's do it. Alright, ready? Nice and in tune. Yep, let's do it. (heavy rock music) I think I hit the wrong note in that part. Only thing I was gonna say was if you want to hit that high note you did, maybe hit it on a lower string. That's what I'm doing. Okay, cool. I'm gonna hit the fifth or the four, yeah. I can punch you in just for that fill. Okay. (heavy rock music) You can do it better, but that is. That was it. The way to go. (heavy rock music) Okay, let's hear that real quick. (heavy rock music) It's a bit garbled. A bit garbled, I can do that better. It's a bit garbled, yeah for sure. (heavy rock music) I liked the slide. (heavy rock music) I didn't like the ending, but I really liked the slide. Okay, let's keep the slide. Okay, ready? It's getting a little punchy now. (heavy rock music) That was alright. That was pretty good. Six out of 10. Okay, so the question. Do you want to do it again? (melodic bass notes) Yeah. Alright. (laughing) The bass is the most important to me, so. To me, six out of 10 is zero out of 10. Okay. Let's do it. (melodic bass notes) Slide it down. That's pretty cool. Yeah. Slide was better on the other one though. I kept the old one. That's the old slide. Yeah that's cool, sounds good. Okay, so question now. Do you want to do all your parts while you're warm? But then if the bass strings die. Yeah true. So maybe we should get 20. Okay, so we'll pass the bass back and forth. I do kill strings faster than Browne will. Okay, maybe I should just do all my parts then. Because my sweat is a bit more. More acidic? Yeah. Okay. You know the lowered down bit before this repeats? We could probly do a CMP, if you wanted to. Or do you want us just to play it in so we get a little bit of variation? Oh, copy paste? Yeah. One second. He's playing the chorus, right? Yeah. And the post-chorus jam, right? The post-chorus jam is practically the same as that, but. The ending. The ending's different and it'll probly sound better if he plays it with his fingers 'cause it's just the bass focused, so. (heavy rock music) That's pretty fast for fingers. You're asking if we should copy paste the verses? I'm gonna say no, and the only reason I'm gonna say no is because since we're just starting bass now, you're probly just getting warmed up. Yeah. You might do verse two better than you did verse one. Then we can copy and paste verse two. Yeah. Okay, let's do it. If this was like maybe five songs in, and we were already hitting our flow and really warmed up, I probably wouldn't need to do this, but I find that usually the first song I record with a band, I end up re-doing a lot of stuff. Exactly. 'Cause you're not totally warmed up. Exactly. So, the verse two, let me play through both repeats of their parts, okay? Sure. (melodic bass notes) Is this fine for lead-in? Yeah, it's fine. Okay. (heavy rock music) Second half was way better than the first half. Yeah it was. Ending was weird. Was it? I thought it was great. Maybe I don't know what I'm listening for, let's check it out. (heavy rock music) Yeah, I just heard it weird, it was great. Let's just listen through and see if first half really wasn't as good. I find it hard sometimes to totally know when I'm tracking bass if the take is great until I listen back, because bass is such a loud instrument in the room, that I could get thrown off by the sound of the pick. Exactly, yeah. (heavy rock music) It just goes off the grid at the end a little bit, doesn't it? Yeah. Yeah. I think it sounded good though. Yeah, yeah that was a killer take. Did you not like the very end? It's not the very end, it's like when it comes around again. About there, yeah. (heavy rock music) There yeah, just there yeah, so let me just play that bit and then, just let me play the whole second bit and then we'll take what we need. Got it, ready? Yeah. (heavy rock music) I actually prefer the other take more. Well, there is one thing I like better about. Is that C slightly out of tune? Yeah, maybe. Yeah it's tuned low. What I liked better about this new take was really mainly just how it started. The (mumbling)? Yeah, so basically I've got the new take and then going into the old take. Yeah, okay, that's fine. Let's see if this (mumbling). (heavy rock music) Move that back a little bit, yeah. Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Next to that, yeah. (heavy rock music) And then I'll go from the next bit. Okay, hang on. Let me just see one more thing, I just want to see if this is the. Oh, yeah, that's what I was hearing. (heavy rock music) Cool. Maybe tune that thing. (melodic bass notes) Also probly a note for people when they're tracking, it's best to go below the note and then tune back up, otherwise the strings gonna go out of tune when you hit it. Sharp. Yeah. Especially if they're really fresh strings. Yeah. That sounds good to me. You know another thing is that every time that I've done one of these records where there's a lot of tuning involved, the very last step in the tuning process is your ears. Yep. You always have to ear check your guitar. Definitely, yeah. Which a lot of people don't trust. No, they don't. You got to learn to trust your ears and to improve your hearing. If you don't trust your ears to hear when something's out of tune, then you need to work on your hearing, because if you just go by the tuner, you will not have records that are in tune. Exactly. You go by the tuner and then double check, especially octaves. Especially just for bass in general. And know your instrument as well, because there'll be some parts of the instrument that can go out of tune more frequently than the same note in a different place. Yeah, your ears are the last line of defense. Alright, so what's next? The next riff after that. The pre-chorus. Yeah. Okay. (melodic bass notes) Alright, ready? I'll do that one, yeah. (heavy rock music) As well, try and keep the pick near the bridge. Right back, so you'll get a really strong. I always pick in between the pickups is where I always do it. Yeah, it's cool, it's just you get stronger bass if you pick near the bridge. (melodic bass notes) I think you got nice towards the end. Okay. It started strong though. It did. I'll put you in here. Okay. Okay. Ready? (heavy rock music) Punch you in right here. Ready? Okay, yeah. (heavy rock music) I just want to get the very last thing. (heavy rock music) That. Okay. Ready? Yeah. (heavy rock music) Are you picking every note on that? Yeah. Okay. Hang on. (heavy rock music) That's tight. So again, the reason I'm having you punch in isn't 'cause you're playing badly or anything, it's because I want the consistent amount of power coming out of the bass throughout this whole riff. The bass is what gives the mix power in my opinion. Okay. Okay, what's your next riff? I want to do the end of that again, if possible. Oh, you want to do the very end? Yeah. Got it. Ready? Yeah. (heavy rock music) This. (heavy rock music) Is it just because of what the drums are hitting? Yes, because he was hitting bass drum, so I'm getting fooled by the drums on that. (heavy rock music) 'Cause see, he didn't end with bass drums, that's why it doesn't sound as powerful, it's not 'cause of you. Program 'em in, though. Yeah, dude. Just program all the drums. (laughing) (heavy rock music) It's tight. Yeah. Alright, what's your next part? I think it's the chorus and then he's gonna do the dropdown bit. Do you want me to do that bit, that. (melodic bass notes) Try it and. Do you want to do the last one, or should I? Why don't you both do it. Let's hear the difference on that. Is that the bridge intro? No, it's the bridge. Do you wind up with the guitars then? Yeah, it's what you did. I never did that. (heavy rock music) I guess what we'll do then is I'll do it this way and then you do what you do as well and we'll see which one sounds better. Yeah. 'Cause I can't remember a lot of the bass parts. Yeah, I would like to get at least one part where we can show the difference between the two of you guys. Okay, yeah sure. (melodic bass notes) We're good? Okay, yeah, ready? Yeah. Okay. Okay. (metronome clicking) (heavy rock music) Strap got in the way. You can take it off if you want. I want to hear the beginning of that. That's fine, okay. (metronome clicking) (heavy rock music) I kinda feel like we should punch in here and just keep going. Yeah okay. I really like how it first started. Yeah, it's cool. (melodic bass notes) Ready? Yeah. (heavy rock music) Let's get it right. Right there. Okay. Okay. (heavy rock music) Right about here you start to fall apart. Halfway through the repeat. Okay. This is part of why these bass strings die so quickly is. Because I'm, it's already dead. (melodic bass notes) What about changing again? Yeah. Before the (mumbling) place? Yeah. Yeah. Maybe just the low string, the rest seem okay. We have extra low. Ooh, it's warm in here, isn't it? Yeah, we ordered extra low strings just for this reason. Yeah. I make people play this hard, he plays this hard anyways, but this is part of why the bass strings just goes. They are being abused. Alright, ready? (heavy rock music) Hang on a sec. (melodic bass notes) I don't think you're hitting as hard. I'm sorry, son. Well maybe it's the top end of the strings. Maybe. Could be. It sounds, listen to how soft this sounds. (melodic bass notes) Compared to. (melodic bass notes) That's ridiculous. Okay, let me hit harder, then. Or. (melodic bass notes) Listen to the beginning of the song. Yeah. Compared to. (melodic bass notes) Do you know what that is? What? Fatigue. Okay. I also think it could be that high end sizzle that you get off of really fresh strings. But yeah, slap it. I'll hit it harder, okay? Try, but if that's not it then I'm gonna say we need to change out. That was quick. (giggling) Yeah, that was quick, but you're hitting really hard, and don't stop hitting hard, alright ready? Let's do it, yeah yeah. (heavy rock music) I got a little link wrong again. (melodic bass notes) (heavy rock music) That's not tight enough. That's not tight enough. Not tight enough, but. This top end's gone. Let's change it, man. Let's change it, that'll give your hands a rest, and we can finish this and it'll sound good, 'cause the strings are dead. It's gone. Yeah. So what was that, four riffs? Yeah. (laughing) And I'm gonna just play a back to back for people so they can hear the difference. Because it's not a subtle thing. This is now. (melodic bass notes) And this is when we started. (melodic bass notes) Versus now. That's a dead string. Alright, time to change. (melodic bass notes) So we're back and we just changed the strings on this bass after only doing three riffs or four riffs, and it already, play for a second. (melodic bass notes) we've got our bass tone back and it stays in tune better. It does. Yeah, so now we can actually track again without hating our lives. (laughing) Okay, what part were we on? We were in the modulated part. Ah, the funny. The modulated repeat. End. The 12 fret fill. Yeah, the 12 fret fill, isn't it? (melodic bass notes) We've kind of got to do the whole modulated repeat, 'cause that's when the strings just collapse on us. Okay. (melodic bass notes) You ready? Yeah, so we're gonna do all that again? I don't think you have to do all of it again, but just through the half, the repeat. (melodic bass notes) Yeah, it's back. Back. Ready? Want to do the first half, and then we'll fix the ending? Yeah. Okay, here goes. Ready? Yep. (metronome clicking) (heavy rock music) That duh-duh-duh-duh, this. (heavy rock music) That. Yeah, let's just do that. (heavy rock music) That was better. (heavy rock music) I'm not sure about this fill, though. No. The very end? Yeah. Yeah, the ending for the other one was better. I didn't like any of 'em. Let's just get this. (heavy rock music) Just that. Okay. (heavy rock music) Much better, thank you. It's quite alright. Now we've got to get the very end of the riff. Yeah, which I can't remember properly. (melodic bass notes) That's it. That's what I thought, yeah. Sounds like the Oh-Lee riff, okay ready? Yeah. (heavy rock music) (melodic bass notes) Okay. (heavy rock music) You had it that time. (heavy rock music) It's a little bit loose. Yeah, I think you're like. Rushing. Pulling the strings too real hard. Yeah I was. Let's do it again. (heavy rock music) That sounded better. (heavy rock music) It's just the end riff now. Okay. Ready? Yeah. Almost there. (heavy rock music) Let's get the last one and then the ending thing. Okay. Ready? (heavy rock music) That felt a lot tighter. Yeah. (heavy rock music) I think I can do it slightly better still, but. Yeah, I'm not deleting that one, though. Ready? Yeah. (heavy rock music) That was better. Yeah. For sure. (heavy rock music) Maybe it wasn't. Wait wait wait. But, let's see the. (heavy rock music) Let's do that link again. Sure, ready? Let's just do that, yeah. (heavy rock music) It's not quite there yet, man. No. I think you had it better before. Yeah, maybe. Let's just get the ending and then we'll come back and see if we like this. Yeah. Alright, you ready? Yeah. Alright. After the pause? Yeah. (heavy rock music) Cool. Do you hit the low for the last one? Yep. Yeah, let's just do that end one again, then, could we? Yeah, ready? Okay, yeah. (heavy rock music) Okay. Alright, you go lay down, we're gonna track. Yeah. Cool. We just finished tracking John Browne on bass, now we're gonna track Swan. They just play completely differently, they just have a massively different tone and we're gonna go for the parts where the bass and the guitar aren't doing the exact same thing, so. Alright. Do you want to do the chorus? Yep. Alright, cool. First one. The first one. Alright, and are you playing with a pick? Yep. Okay, cool. Alright, ready? Yep. Let me know if this is enough lead in for you. (heavy rock music) Was that good, lead-in wise? Yeah. Okay, let's just get that a couple more times. Yep. Ready? Yep. (heavy rock music) Let's listen to what you've got, I think some of that was good. (heavy rock music) What's that? Just the start. Yeah yeah, get the start again, okay. Ready? (melodic bass notes) Yeah. (heavy rock music) This thing right here. (heavy rock music) Can we get that just like, hit it a little harder? Yeah. 'Cause it's not coming through. (melodic bass notes) Alright, ready? Yep. (heavy rock music) That was better. Cool. It just wasn't poppin' before. That's cool. Do you mind if we just get the second half? Yep. Alright, ready? (heavy rock music) You played a lot harder that time. (heavy rock music) Let's get that ending. (melodic bass notes) Yeah, try to play that hard the whole time if possible. Okay. (heavy rock music) That might have been. (heavy rock music) That's cool. Now I kind of feel like maybe re-doing the first half now that you're playing like that. (melodic bass notes) It just sounds a lot better. Alright, you ready? Yeah. (heavy rock music) Yeah, you've already got the ending. So, I don't want to re-do that. (heavy rock music) That sounds way better. In my humble opinion. Okay, so, we're gonna do this next part. Um, did Browne do this next part? No, well do you play over? He's wanting me to play my fingers, I don't know how fast it's gonna work, 'cause it's quite fast. Then how 'bout this. Why don't we do the remaining heavy parts. Because the finger parts can sound a little, they don't need to sound quite as what's the word, bright. Yeah, okay. I can copy-paste this chorus. Just in the interest of saving the life of those strings. The second chorus is twice as long. Okay. A variation on the end. On the very end. But just on the very end. Okay, cool. Okay, so let's get the ending of the second chorus. Okay. Ready? (heavy rock music) That was pretty cool. (heavy rock music) Now this is the finger bit. Okay, there's no more pick stuff? There's the end chorus. Which is the modulation. The modulation, yeah. Let's take care of that. And then that's got a bit slightly different. Yeah, let's take care of that, and then we'll handle the finger parts and we'll be done. Ready? Yeah. (heavy rock music) Okay. You actually started playing better in the second half. Yeah. (heavy rock music) That might be the end? I think the first half was better than the second half. I like it right here. (heavy rock music) That end again. (melodic bass notes) We gotta get the. (heavy rock music) Is this the same thing right here? Yeah we could just punch in the ends of the riff. Okay. Basically it's just little fills at the end that change. Okay. Let me just see if it works. 'Cause these drums are not edited to grid, so it might not work. (heavy rock music) Oh no, does it? What's that, no it didn't work. Is it slightly slower? Or is it just him playing? The drums? Does the click drop down there slightly? Yes, it does five BPM. Ah, okay. Ready? Yep. (heavy rock music) Are you feeling the tempo change a little better? Another lead out? Yeah, yeah. (heavy rock music) Yeah. Okay, cool. Tune up again. (melodic bass notes) That was like way better. Yeah well I was just been playing loose. It's faster though. It's good to note there's a tempo change. Yeah, the details. Ready? (heavy rock music) Okay so that was like the best one yet. Yep. Certainly helps to know. We five. There's a tempo change. Let's listen to what we got. I think we might need to re-do a few of the endings, but I feel like that was overall way better. (heavy rock music) It cools off on that last time through. Yeah, and then the first ending as well. Okay. This bit. (melodic bass notes) That's so much better with the drums now. Yeah. Okay. Alright, you want to get that first ending? The first ending and then we'll get the second half of the repeat. Okay? Yeah. (heavy rock music) Cool, that works. And then, let's get the second half of the repeat. Okay, ready? Yep. (heavy rock music) Ah, let's hear it again. (heavy rock music) That's alright. Yeah, it is. Okay, so now we got to do the finger parts, right? Yep. (heavy rock music) You want to get that under? Um, I think, so it's basically the same twice through. The first half seemed a bit groovier to me. Yeah, I think so too. I will be getting totally different compression settings on this than the rest. So it sits in. Yeah, so it doesn't just. In the mix a little bit. Yeah, so the high notes don't just pop out. So, it's a direct repeat. Yeah, pretty much, as long as we end on. (melodic bass notes) Okay, ready? Yep. (heavy rock music) (metronome clicking) Cool. Yeah, I'm gonna give that a whole different treatment. We have one other part, right? Yep. The. (melodic bass notes) This? (heavy rock music) Okay, you ready? (melodic bass notes) Yeah. Alright. (heavy rock music) (laughing) I think you pretty much got that. I think it might be the start. Except for the ending. The start? Yeah, it was a bit like. I just want to get the end, you want to get something in the middle? Should we just try it one more all the way through? Sure. Why not? May as well. (heavy rock music) That was a lot better than the last take I think. Should we do one more? Which part did you not like? It's just coming in too rushed again. Well. That's my standard problem, but if you're happy with it. It is at a higher tempo. Yeah. Okay. Try it again. Yeah. (heavy rock music) That wasn't as rushed, was it? No it felt better. (heavy rock music) And again get. What? Different compression and like. Oh well yeah. Time for this bit. Yeah I have to get different settings for (mumbling). Yeah, of course. (heavy rock music) I just want to get the ending of the first half of that. Okay, the. (melodic bass notes) Yeah. Ready? Yep. (heavy rock music) Play a little harder, though. Yeah. (heavy rock music) I think you bent it out of tune again. (heavy rock music) That was not out of tune. (heavy rock music) Cool. (heavy rock music) Alright. Dr. swan, I think you're done, aren't you? I think so. Congratulations. Yay. Yay. Alright, cool. Album done. Thank you. Thank you. Alright.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Eyal Levi Bootcamp Bonuses
Drum Editing - HD

Ratings and Reviews


I'm on lesson 19! Already worth every dollar!!! Priceless insight! I have already incorporated some of the ideas (preproduction common sense stuff that I never thought of, but damn). VERY HAPPY with this course! ALWAYS LEARNING and looking forward to the next 50 (or whatever) lessons!!! Excellent course! GREAT PRODUCER/ENGINEER, GREAT DRUM TECH, and GREAT BAND!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!


I'm just part way though and I'm blown away by the quality approach Eyal takes to getting the best out of the sessions. I love how well everything is explained and Eyals calm manner is just awesome it really makes you want to listen to the gems of wisdom he offers.


Amazing knowledge is being presented here. If you want to start out recording, this should be your first step, it'll save you lots of time and get you awesome results. Highly recommended class.

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