How To Make Bass Sound Like Rhythm GuitarPosted by Mike Schuck
When bass guitar players learn how to make their low notes sound smooth and fluid, it is usually referred to as learning how to play bass with a heavy tone. This isn’t always the case, however!
Some bassists choose light tones because they like that quality of sound. It can be very cool when you listen to music that uses lots of bass — just make sure your own style doesn’t get lost in the mix!
If you are looking to develop your bass playing skills, then this article will show you some easy tricks for creating lighter bass sounds. Read on to see these tips.
Use your high-mids less
When bass guitarists use their low E string as our rhythm instrument, what tone they play depends on which chord we are working with at the time.
If we are in a major key like A or G, then their lowest note is usually an open E string. For this reason, it’s called an Open E String Resonance. This type of resonance is very powerful and can sometimes overwhelm other parts of the song that may sound weaker when using the lower strings as part of the harmonic structure.
When playing along with a familiar melody or riff, it can get really easy to stick to the notes of the pattern without thinking about how the lower tones affect the harmony. That’s why it helps to become more aware of your lower registers — learn how to control them!
By doing so, you will find yourself naturally adding effects such as reverb, compression, or even tuned down modes to make the bass sing where before it was just plain loud.
Use your highs more
As we mentioned before, bass guitar is all about low frequencies. These are the notes that get deeper as you play higher up the instrument. However, not every player uses very many of these low tones in their music.
Some musicians skip them completely because they feel like they take away from the song. They believe there’s no sense of solidity or weight to the bass track unless it includes lower frequencies.
However, what if we told you that you can use your high tones more than you think? In fact, using higher frequency sounds will help make your bass sound like rhythm guitar!
We’ll show you how to do this right here for your next bass solo!
Step 1: Start by tuning your bass string one whole step down (a a half-step drop)
By doing this, your first note will be one full tone lower than usual. Begin playing your bass and add some volume!
Now try moving the pick around the fretboard and see which ones create the best ringing effect. You may even find yourself adding slight trills, flourishes or slides to yours.
These are called harmonic drops and they’re totally fine! Harmonic drops work with our first tip – use higher pitches more often!
The reason is simple – when you raise the pitch, you start creating overtones at other frequencies.
Use your lows less
As we mentioned before, bass guitars are tuned to sound lower than other instruments. The trick is using less of a low note to create the effect that it does!
By lowering your bass slightly, you can make it seem like there’s more treble in the instrument. More treble means it sounds higher pitched, or sharper- which is what most people associate with bass! This article will show you how to do this in all genres of music!
Beatboxing is a fun way to add some bass to your songs. If you want to try it out, here are some easy steps!
Step one: Take a breath
Holding your breath while singing can totally take away from the quality of your voice and tone. Before practicing beatboxing, breathe through your nose only!
Step two: Muffle the notes
When singing into the mic, push aside any loose hairs or facial hair so that your mouth is completely covered. This helps reduce feedback, as well as muddling up the pitch.
Step three: Breathe heavily
Next, hold your breath for a few seconds while singing at a normal speed. When timing beats per minute (BPM), multiply by 2 to find the length of time for each word.
Use a different pedal
A bass guitar has two pedals that are used in making specific sounds or effects. The first is called an octave up/down (Odu) pedal, and it raises or lowers your low end by one whole step.
The second effect pedal is referred to as a harmonic booster or high pass filter. This boosts certain frequencies of the sound while lowering others. Both of these can be activated using modulation sources such as expression controllers or vibrato units.
By combining both of these together, you can make any note ring like a bell-shaped tone with the lower notes rising and falling depending on the rhythm. This also creates a nice flutter effect when playing fast chords.
These types of tones are great for laying down some groove under vocals or music with other instruments that have a steady beat. They can also be mixed in during recording to give your song more depth.
Learn to use your amp properly
Properly working with your guitar amplifier is an integral part of bass playing. You want to make sure that you are using it correctly for its function, but also so that it does not damage your equipment.
Many novice players begin experimenting with their amps by changing settings or switching functions around without knowing what these do. This can really hurt your instrument!
Never change anything on your amplifier unless you have experimented with the same feature on another player’s amp first.
Use a different recording technique
Mixing bass guitars is not like mixing other instruments, such as guitar or piano. When recording your bass, use a low-frequency effect instead of just boosting the volume.
A low-frequency effect is an app that produces new sounds by altering existing ones. The most common one for bassists is EQ (electro-quality). It cuts out high frequencies and adds others in their place.
You can also add resonance, which makes it sound like there are ghost notes after the main note.
Record using a different microphone
When bass guitarists play notes that do not have much pitch, it is because they are either singing or playing an octave lower than their normal instrument. A very famous example of this is when music artists like Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande will sing a low note followed by a high one.
The reason why this works is because your ear naturally assumes the higher pitched tone is coming from another source. For instance, if you were to listen to someone sing a short song with no lyrics, you would be able to tell which part was sung lower and which was higher due to the way your ears work.
This can also occur in instruments such as brass where there is a constant drone sound that never changes. This does not work for people who want to hear the true depth of the instrument though! (For those people, try recording yourself playing the bass.)
When recording bass guitars, use a mic other than a pre-amplifier. Many microphones can be connected directly into your computer via USB, so you do not need to connect them to a device such as a smartphone or tablet first. Some examples of mics include shotgun, closed mouth, lav, ribbon, etc.
With bass guitars, the position of the strings influence what parts of the instrument we record. Depending on how the string is positioned, some areas may get louder over time while others stay the same.
Compress your recording
In music, compression is when someone amplifies something (like a voice or guitar) but then they reduce how much power it has by this amplification. This works in reverse for what we call decompression or relaxation of the signal.
In bass playing, compression can be using software like Reamp4Bass, GarageBand, Pro Tools, Logic, etc. The settings vary depending on the style you want to achieve!
Usually, starting off with very little compression is best so that your bass doesn't lose strength. As you increase the compression, the tone becomes slightly thinner and lower. You can also add re-echo which reverses the sound coming back from the compressor.
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