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RECORDING BASS AND GUITAR - PART 1

INTRODUCTION

I often seen in this board and others too, people not happy with their guitar or bass sound. 

They used synths (onboard or external) and couldn't achieve the sound they expect. so, maybe it s time to record a real guitar or bass and bring some life to your songs. In theses tips and technical advises we'll see how to do it so you could achieve the best recording takes in an HOMESTUDIO for the low cost as possible. 

CHAPTER 1

The choice of your guitar or bass: I will presume in all the chapters that you have a computer hard disk recorder setup, you are not a professional musician and have not (unfortunately) thousand and thousand Euros to spend in your homestudio. But, hey guys! you all need some. The most common mistake we have all done is to buy cheapest gear thinking we will have in spite of the price THE SOUND. Don't be fool that's only a DREAM. Great studio sound is very expensive only good sound is quite accessible. See now some of you who says: I don't play bass or guitar! I will answer: learn! No need to be a guitar hero to play reggae "skank" rhythm guitar or double your bassline. Only few months of practice and you all can do it! Buy a cheap guitar chords book. Only few chords will be needed. It's a bit more complicated to play bass cos the way of finger playing do the most of the sound and the groove is more difficult to achieve. I mean if you make a mistake with a skank,as the chords are separated on the track, you can cut or replace one note or chord by another. But often, bass notes are bonded so it will be more difficult to cut a note and replace without audible "pop" on the wavefile. Now let see the gear: Never buy a cheapo guitar. Always buy a well know trademark! Later you could sell it without loose money!! Don't buy too expensive guitar: no need for dub. I'll recommend you to buy a second hand guitar. If you don't know anything in guitars ask a guitarist friend to help you. The most important thing is a good neck. No curve. And well fretted. My choice will be : 1) A Fender stratocaster, Mexican issue or Japan. I found a Mexican strat, mint condition with bag, for 305 euros few months ago and compare it, in studio, with a us strat: no sound difference in the mix .and remember we are talking skanks licks&riff no virtuoso leads. At this price I can sell it anytime

2) A Fender telecaster idem Mexican or Japan issue. you could find a mint one for approx 280 euros. a real good guitar for what we have to do.

3) Bass choice: The one and only FENDER JAZZBASS. No deception with it.

An Italian Rasta friend of mine who own a semipro studio have steinberger guitar and bass put my old 69 jazzbass in his desk...(I bought my bass for 228 euro with its flight case in 1978.second hand. At this time nobody want jazzbass cos of his name "jazz" and prefer the precision bass. I have one too(1972),bought in 1982 for 182 euros (and at those times it was cheap! So nowadays...) I was telling you my friend plug the jazzbass direct in the mixing desk and what happened? He re-records all his basslines with it. This bass is THE BASS. Warm low end, Moving just a little the mics pots and you 'll have infinite tone subtle variations so you can play any style with it. Maybe it's because so much records have been done with it. Ours ears recognize his tone and love it. Well I guess you 'll understand I am a bass player. Don't expect find one cheap. But maybe a very old Squier (the early ones) could do the job for cheap. Or a Mexican JB one. early jazzbass neck are thin (more than a guitar) so take care of the curve!!! And never put heavy gauge strings! Imho i find buying a guitar is better first.Much easy to learn and play with good results.It brings you new composition ideas and it s quite easy to record.You can have good synths subbass for dub. Record a bass is more difficult and,synth or real, well sit a bassline in a mix is the most difficult thing to achieve.

Before chapter 2: the record session, i will tell you about one effect you NEED to make live your guitar: i mean a whawha pedal. I tell you that now cos you 'll could not do it after your recording take (opposite to all others effect). My choice will be again second hand one. no more 76 euros. you can buy a Dunlop crybaby gcb-95 or a vox. as they are analogue no ones sounds real equal to another. Some are much warm or seems to go higher in tone. That s a funny thing. A whawha pedal is a must for reggae guitar: never twice the same sound in your rhythmic and no automatic wha or soft can do it!!! You can use it with other sounds too such Hammond vibes or hihats. Always records your improvisations with it: Maybe one or two samples sounds with it could be great in your song or another one heavily treated with delay. That's all for today dubfolks, next time we 'll attack the serious things.

JAH

Yesus Kristos

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