Today we tracked another song for the album I've been producing for the last century. Unfortunately, we all have day jobs, night jobs, and other jobs. There's a lot going on with this band and as of late it's been difficult to get everyone together to focus on the record. So we sort of have just agreed to widdle the record down as time allows.
One major problem with recording in this fashion (besides the fact that no one can take a week and get bass tracks done) is handling bass strings. I've always have problems with the various local bands I've recorded having bass tones that were simply way too muddy and were devoid of any midrange character.
These days I'm big on getting as much definition as I can get out my bass tone. I find that when I listen to the bass by itself, it sounds nice and clear (and maybe a tad thin), but when put the bass track with drums, the bass immediately sort of disappears. The fears I had of the bass being too bright go away immediately and are replaced by fears that the bass won't be heard with guitars on top.
Either way, it turns out the bass player had an emergency situation and had to move out of his house. In other words, he's mega broke and he can't be shelling out $30 a week for new strings so he can record a single song. While I'd prefer him to walk in with brand new strings each and every day, it's just not going to happen. Oh well. I'll deal with it.
I was having MAJOR problems with the any note from the Low E string sounding dull, woofy, and undefined. It has sort of a cloudy vibe to it. This was totally unacceptable for the song. Ironically, this bass (Fender Jazz USA) only does this when the strings get old. The problem is magnified greatly when a pick is used. That may be due to the fact that A string sounds mega clear when using a pick.
So, we tossed the strings into my pot that I normally use for making tea or Ramon noodles. Fair warning! Put the strings in first and then heat up the water. Like an idiot, I got in a hurry and boiled the water and then tried to figure out how to cram 4 bass strings into the tiny pot.
Boiling the strings saved the day. The bass came back to life....maybe not quite as much as 2 minute old strings, but more like the life of strings that are a day or two old. Ironically, many people prefer strings that are broken in just a little. Boiling strings seams to give this sound quite nicely.
I couldn't get the low end the way I wanted it with my Sansamp. I just need more knobs. So, I ran the bass straight into my Redeemer Impedance Matcher and sent that into my BBE Sonic Maximizer (which I had never done before). That went into my Presonus M80 and then into my Mytek AD96. I was REALLY happy with the bass tone we got with this setup. It's very clear, but still thick.