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  #1  
Old 03-04-2012, 04:37 AM
ChaosDecides ChaosDecides is offline
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Default Bass guitar in heavy music

Is it me or is the bass guitar treated as the red headed step child in heavy music? Unless I'm listening through a quality sound system, I have a hard time picking out the bass guitar. It might just be the result of a lousy final production, or it's just so distorted it comes across as a third guitar, but when I can actually hear it I find the extra dimension it adds to be very worthwhile.
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:37 AM
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Default Re: Bass guitar in heavy music

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Originally Posted by ChaosDecides View Post
it's just so distorted it comes across as a third guitar, .
This.

And in modern heavy music, guitar players tune so far down, the guitar and the bass start sharing the same sonic territory.
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:32 AM
ChaosDecides ChaosDecides is offline
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Default Re: Bass guitar in heavy music

Makes sense. Not really a big fan of the ultra low-tuned guitars, since most of it sounds like mud when you get playing fast enough, at least in most cases. I guess the whole idea of each instrument taking up it's own space is lost when all you care about is "brutal" tone.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:30 AM
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Default Re: Bass guitar in heavy music

First time I heard bass notes sounding like distorted guitar was Lemmy in Hawkwind, and later in Motothead. Also John Wetton in Crimson.

I prefer it if the instruments each have their own sonic space too unless you're going for a blend of two or more instruments or a total band wall of sound.
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:28 AM
ChaosDecides ChaosDecides is offline
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Default Re: Bass guitar in heavy music

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First time I heard bass notes sounding like distorted guitar was Lemmy in Hawkwind, and later in Motothead. Also John Wetton in Crimson.

I prefer it if the instruments each have their own sonic space too unless you're going for a blend of two or more instruments or a total band wall of sound.
Yeah some bands might need a more distorted bass sound if they only have one guitar player and want to have a more guitar sounding backing rhythm when the guitar player is playing a solo.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:01 AM
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Default Re: Bass guitar in heavy music

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Yeah some bands might need a more distorted bass sound if they only have one guitar player and want to have a more guitar sounding backing rhythm when the guitar player is playing a solo.
That makes sense, though one of the fun things about playing three piece is filling in during the solos.

King Crimson's Asbury Park is an early example - just guitar, bass and drums. It's an insanely good jam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMYCQa5keaI
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:04 PM
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Default Re: Bass guitar in heavy music

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First time I heard bass notes sounding like distorted guitar was Lemmy in Hawkwind...
I loved this one back then: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfniG-AdSC4
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:56 PM
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Default Re: Bass guitar in heavy music

Rex Brown is my favourite example of a heavy bass player whose bass lines nicely rumble through the mix - especially on an album like Far Beyond Driven. I never saw Pantera live, but those latter-period heavier records [Cowboys from Hell onwards] have a lot of bottom-end from the bass and drums. Hard to say how much of that was Terry Date and how much was the band, but the results are pretty meaty.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:18 PM
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Default Re: Bass guitar in heavy music

I dislike the distorted bass guitar sound, even in the heavy metal genre. Steve Harris didn't distort his bass in Iron Maiden and a lot of my early years playing bass were spent playing this kind of stuff.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:27 PM
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Default Re: Bass guitar in heavy music

A lot of it depends on the band - and the bassist. When Cliff was in Metallica, he cut through nicely and had his own slice of the sonic pie. In comes Jason Newsted, the guys put his bass way low in the mix on his first record to screw with him. I would have walked if I were him, but you know.

Plenty of music out there where the bassist is doing just fine, and doing it without having to distort to far. I do agree, the tuned-down guitars make it hard to hear the bass, but so too does the fact that the guitars and bass are playing most things in unison.
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:35 AM
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Default Re: Bass guitar in heavy music

Quote:
Is it me or is the bass guitar treated as the red headed step child in heavy music? Unless I'm listening through a quality sound system, I have a hard time picking out the bass guitar. It might just be the result of a lousy final production, or it's just so distorted it comes across as a third guitar, but when I can actually hear it I find the extra dimension it adds to be very worthwhile.
Listen to a song, cut out the bass and you will hear the difference.

It is not necessary to use huge amounts of distortion to sound brutal. Paul D'Amour (formerly with Tool) did not have to use a distorted tone but instead played aggressively on a down-tuned bass with a strongly picked sound.

Bass guitar in "heavy music" is quite key to contributing to a "bigger", "chunkier" sound...but guitar players can also hang a little around in that domain using low tunings like drop D - or, even drop C.

Daron Malakian of System of a Down even used baritone guitars live and on some records.
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: Bass guitar in heavy music

I've got to disagree really. As someone who plays the bass and makes recordings, I think a small amount of crunch on the top end of the bass in a heavy music setting can really add to the sound. Because you've got the guitars mixed wide and the bass in the centre, it still allows you to have them in their own seperate spaces. You can also mix the distortion in different ways. Normally you would expect to cut the 1-2 kHz range of a guitar slightly, and add this in to the bass distortion sound. Of course too much distortion will just leave it sounding vague.
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:00 PM
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Default Re: Bass guitar in heavy music

Our bass player does a great job of separating himself from the guitar. They tune low. Drop A. Our EP is mixed pretty bass heavy and you can hear everything very well.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:03 PM
Thecowslayer Thecowslayer is offline
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Default Re: Bass guitar in heavy music

I think Maximum the Hormone does a really good job of making their bass sound unique.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-o0ktYbNgU ((Sorry, it's the only video I could find of the song that wasn't a cover))
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:58 PM
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Default Re: Bass guitar in heavy music

It's all in the way the band operates, sonically.

Take my good friends here - Don (their bass player) is very prevalent, and his tone is filling, with just a touch of grit. Their engineer did a good job fitting him in the mix in a very, very guitar heavy band.

But live, it's a mixed bag. A good soundman will usually give your an honest representation of what you sound like, but you always find folks who bury you behind everything else.

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