EQ Tips for Bass Guitar – James LoMenzo’s Guide To Recording Bass – Part 2

EQ Tips for Bass Guitar – James LoMenzo’s Guide To Recording Bass – Part 2

December 8, 2019 10 By Kailee Schamberger


Okay let’s discuss EQ EQ is to me
probably, next to just having an amplifier the most significant thing
that you can really understand and really learn about the bass guitar. The way I like to look at EQ for bass guitar I like to look at in three bands
obviously you can break it down into as many gradients of bands as you like but
I think three is manageable and I think that if you kind of work with me on this
if you understand the three bands as I do you’ll be able to make some really
quick choices on your amplifier or on your studio desk or on your bass guitar
if you have those controls there. To me the most important EQ control is the
mid-range control it’s crucial to the personality of tone. I like to think of
the mids as residing in that area from 300 Hertz to one kilohertz you can slide
it down a little you can slide it up a little but somewhere in there that’s to
me that’s where all the action is that’s where you really kind of find a
personality of an instrument. Instruments all speak differently depending on the
woods and the pickups and the amplifier you use they’ll just kind of be
preponderate in certain places so it’s it’s a sliding scale but when you find
that mid range that really speaks for your instrument the thing really starts
to breathe and you really feel like you’re singing through it.
So that area of 300 through one kilohertz whether you boost it or
whether you cut it can make a big difference in the way your notes are
perceived and the way they actually read out in in the audience or or on a recording. On this preamp made by Ashdown they have a very nice breakdown of EQ
you’ve got bass, middle and treble knobs and you’ve got some EQ knobs in between
those and this EQ breaks down really nicely in the specific spaces I was
talking about. First we’re gonna listen
to the bass without any EQ at all let’s work the midrange first as I said
mid-range is the king that’s what we look for let’s just listen to that again flat now let’s pull it out That’s when they refer to ‘scooped’ the shape of a scoop. Low frequency okay that’s the power and the floor of the bass guitar and that
area to me is most preponderant between 40 Hertz and 250 Hertz and it’s almost
250 Hertz is almost into that big range area I was telling you about. That’s
where you can fill a room you can move the dance floor you can get a booty
shaking or you can just totally ruin the band okay very important to understand
how much, when it’s appropriate, when you need to abuse that much power or
actually when it’s time to duck it down a little bit and and maybe keep it out
of the way so that the rest of your bass guitar and the rest of your band can
kind of come up to where they can be really understood and heard So my advice with low
frequency depending on where it is apply it judiciously listen to what’s
happening make sure the amps not just breaking up because of it or if that’s
the sound you like please do it and sometimes just cutting some of that low
frequency, which I don’t often advise but sometimes it’s necessary, it can be used
as a clarifying tool to make your instrument be a little more articulate to be able
to hear the notes a little better and also to be able to hear the
band a little better. This is all up to you and all to the situations sometimes you
might find yourself in a live situation where there’s a big standing wave and it
keeps catching that one low note sometimes just a little bit of cut in
that area can really help. Okay now lets listen to the bass end
of things here’s the very lowest notes I’m gonna turn down the output for this okay now let’s put it back let’s cut it you can see when you cut it makes quite
a difference in the clarity you lose a lot of power but that’s a technique if
you turn up the volume and turn down the bass change the whole tonality Okay high frequency High frequency is the percussion and the sibilance of the bass guitar it’s really important for old school and new subgenres of metal you
can’t have metal band well the metal bass player in band
without all that high frequency clanking away because the truth of the matter is
and I discovered this at an early age the bigger and louder those marshall
amps are the more treble you’re going to need to kind of get through there and
navigate so people actually hear the notes you play, the oddest thing is that
the more, the worse it sounds the more terrible your tone is because of having
too much treble once you put all those guitars and cymbals around then all of a
sudden it kind of sits back and does its thing and one of my tips and one of my
tricks is to overemphasize that treble and you have to do it in context with
the band playing you can’t just kind of set it up and go that sounds awful I’m
going with it you got to listen to how it kind of reads within everything
around you and it can really help you to kind of, I wouldn’t say stand out, but
stand in with the band so these ranges are anywhere
from 1kHz on up to 8 -10 kHz that sounds really high usually there’s
nothing happening at 10kHz for bass guitars passive bass guitars, the
bolt-on type I’ve been telling you about they usually fall off
very quickly around 2 kHz at the very top but for some of the bolt on
neck active ones you’ll notice that those high frequencies really sing up
there and you can really get a really kind of a sibilant, percussive top-end
that doesn’t necessarily read as a note but reads as an attack just as when
you’re hitting a snare drum and you hear that rimshot it’s kind of the same thing
for a bass guitar so it’s a useful thing to have just like all the other EQs
I’ve been telling you about you can easily cut them you can lower it down
and you can get that range down for mellower music like reggae sometimes
it’s it’s helpful to do that and bring that down and bring down some mids along
with that and if you’re playing something like folk music for instance
you really don’t want to hear all that string noise and sibiolance at all
you just want to hear a nice fundamental like it’s an upright bass Okay this is the treble knob
all the way on top let’s start with the flat okay let’s bring the
treble and the bottom end of the treble in with this okay we’ll push them both
up pretty substantially As you can see on this bass it’s pretty active in the
treble range around 2.6 kHz let’s make it flat again and let’s make it go
away So high-frequency, the percussion and
sibilants of the bass be aware of it a useful tool when put in the wrong hands
though a very destructive one.