3 Tips For Achieving a Great Bass Guitar Sound in Your Mix

mixing Apr 06, 2020

Do you ever struggle with getting a good, solid, consistent bass sound in your mix? Do your mixes always sound either too boomy or too thin, or do they simply not cut through the mix and sit well in the track right?

We have all had this issue at one time or another and I have a few tips I have picked up along the way and they have really helped me, so I want to pass them along to you.

1. Use Small Amounts of Distortion or Chorus - Most times people record bass by simply plugging straight into an interface directly and they don’t use an amp. Or they use an amp and the tone is rather clean. One way to make that bass “pop” is to add a little of distortion to grit things up. Not too much, keep it barely audible and you will be surprised how much this helps. Another thing you can try is adding a pinch of chorus to the bass track. Again, keep it subtle. Too much will make the bass sound too wobbly.

 2. Spend Time Playing with the Attack Settings on the Compressor - I usually will somewhat heavily compress the bass to achieve a consistent performance. The problem is that will also bring out the trouble frequencies more and muddy things up.  One way to combat this is to play with the attack settings.

If the bass lacks punch, then go with a slower attack to allow for the transient to cut through and thump more. If the bass has too much punch, then go with a faster attack to clamp down on the initial transient. A lot of times the bass cuts through too much “on the 1” of every bar or measure. This will cause the bass to jump out too much and cloud the kick drum. A faster attack will help control this issue.

   3.  Be Aggressive with EQ - I always seem to throw the “rules” out the window when it comes to EQ on bass. I have done massive cuts at 250hz and, at the same time boosted 700hz to get the bass to sit in the mix proper. Don’t be afraid to be aggressive with your EQ and NEVER EQ IN SOLO!! Always do it in the context of a mix.

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