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Reverb On Bass?


henryrobinett

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I've always mixed bass, except for a very few cases, with no reverb. I was listening to Brian Broombergs latest and he has very distinctive reverb on his bass. Now I'm talking acoustic bass, jazz. There's normally so much ambience and mud I'm trying to get rid of I decide not to add to the confusion with verb on bass. Lack of it brings the instrument upfront and clear. The only effects I opt for are EQ and compression, sometimes.

 

So what do you bass folk like to hear? Any of you like reverb on your bass?

All the best,

 

Henry Robinett

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Originally posted by henryrobinett:

So what do you bass folk like to hear? Any of you like reverb on your bass?

I don't think reverb is that useful. I find chorus often useful...which is similar in some sense, but fundamentally different from reverb (pitch oscillations instead of volume oscillations).

 

What I can't figure out is what the fundamental difference is between reverb and tremolo.

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Originally posted by Adamixoye:

Originally posted by henryrobinett:

So what do you bass folk like to hear? Any of you like reverb on your bass?

I don't think reverb is that useful. I find chorus often useful...which is similar in some sense, but fundamentally different from reverb (pitch oscillations instead of volume oscillations).

 

What I can't figure out is what the fundamental difference is between reverb and tremolo.

You mean by chance the difference of reverb to echo? Reverb and tremolo are completely different animals. Tremolo is a variation of a tone by the manipulation of it's volume, vibrato is a variation in tone by manipulating it's pitch. Reverb and echo are essentially the same thing I think. Echo is sound waves reflecting off of surfaces in distinct repeats of the original sound, as in a rifle shot echoing through a canyon. Reverb is sound waves bouncing off of all surfaces equally without a distinct repeat, such as bouncing a basketball in a gymnasium.

 

I've experimented a bit with echo and reverb on bass and found that there's no quicker way to make a muddy mess out of everything. In my own humble attempts at home recording I've discovered that bass guitar is a difficult instrument to record well and adding reverb or echo really compounds the problem. The only time I've gotten satisfactory results was with a very simple bass duet I recorded where there were only three tracks, drums and two bass tracks, and even then only the lead bass track got the echo treament.

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Henry, Reverb occasionally has its use.

For instance in a jam situation, using an SWR Workingman's 12 (one of the few SWRs I don't care for-very HONKY in my opinion) just a hint of ' verb can make it come alive.

 

I also find it occasionally useful in recording fretless but agree that it usually muddies up things more than it helps with fretted.

 

I'd say, experiement with reverb lightly and you may find some instances where it's useful.

 

At least one of the Ampeg small combos had a reverb built in and I've used that live with success. It's definitely going to be a subjective

thing.

"When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had, and never will have."

Edgar Watson Howe

"Don't play what's there. Play what's not there" Miles Davis

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One additional thought regarding reverb on electric bass when recording...

 

The effect will vary greatly depending on whether you add the 'verb prior to or after adding compression and or limiting to a bass track. (Or any other effect.)

 

Remember that in the great majority of cases, some reverb is added to most of the other tracks/instruments in a mix and sometimes a

"dry" bass sound will cut and mix in best and other times you'll want enough verb to make the bass sound like it's in the same "room" as the other instruments/musicians. There is no hard and fast rule.

 

Remember also that oftimes reverb is added to the ENTIRE mix even if everyone has been previously mixed dry just to give some life to the imaginary "room". In that case, if you've already "married" 'verb to the bass track and then add it to the entire mix, you'll most likely get mud. Other times, it'll bring that bass track to life. Trial and error...

"When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had, and never will have."

Edgar Watson Howe

"Don't play what's there. Play what's not there" Miles Davis

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Thanks all. I've never discussed this with anyone. I've just never done it. And then after hearing Brombergs CD, whose playing on it is exquisite I think, I thought maybe I was missing the boat. I'll experiment a little but I think it'll just muddy the waters. I'd have to EQ everything else very carefully I'm afraid just to make room for it. I'll wait for when I'm doing a bass players CD.

All the best,

 

Henry Robinett

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