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does speeding up tunes help transcribing bass parts?


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hi all...ive often have to write out charts for a monthly showcase gig we do...music is mainly R&B and sometimes bass notes are really hard to pick out...ive read somewhere that speeding up a part, or raising the octave can really help transcribe bass part...does this work? can anyone recommend any software that does this?


im a keyboardist...who for some reason have never struggled to transcribe higher ranges but often struggled to pickup bass notes!!!

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I find that raising the pitch can make it easier to transcribe bass lines, especially in old recordings where the bass is not very distinct.


I like a program called "SlowGold" for that job. It will loop a section, change the speed from ~30% to 200%, or change the pitch up/down a full octave in half-step increments.


You can download a demo with limited capability, or buy the full version. I think my copy was about $50, but I've had it several years. The company is called World Wide Woodshed.


The version I have works best with CD tracks, but it could be made to work with .wav files. I don't remember what it does with .mp3's and such, never tried that.




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Well, this one looks to be well and truly answered, but yes, I agree that speeding stuff up helps. I used to do this using an old double tape deck with high speed dubbing. It really helps you hear the bass in music where it might be buried a little. It's been a real life saver on some occassions actually.



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Why isn't your bass player transcribing the bass part? Why are you doing it?


Granted a lot of old mixes weren't kind to bass notes, since putting a lot of energy down there might cause the needle on the turntable to skip. Still, it may be worth getting a hearing test. Maybe you really can't hear the low frequencies so well. (Can you even hear your bass player when playing live? When recording my bass line my old guitar player once remarked, "Oh, I didn't realize that's what you played!")


The mix itself can also be a problem. Unless the engineer carved out a little sonic space for the bass it's going to have to compete with the kick drum and the distorted guitar (if either is present). These can pretty effectively mask the bass part if the mix is not engineered carefully. You may be able to hear the bass with a notch filter to block the extreme lows of the kick and the higher frequencies of everything else, notably the guitars. Of course you'll invariably cut some bass frequencies as well.


I would think that if the bass is that thoroughly masked in a mix, speeding up the recording would be of little help.

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