The first thing to know about the Waves Bass Rider Plug In is: it’s not a compressor. A compressor controls levels by squashing and coloring the sound of the instrument or vocal being compressed. It’s not usually a huge coloration but it definitely changes the tone. The rider works like an engineer riding the fader. Bass Rider reads the incoming mix signal and adjusts accordingly.
There are maximums and minimums to the fader travel to set, which you can do by ear. The more even the original bass playing was, the better, but the Rider will adjust a pretty wide range of variation in the original levels. As a matter of reference, here’s what pro bass guitar sounds like.
But what if you want some complimentary motion in your mix? What if you want the drums up slightly, bass down in the verse but reversed in the chorus? In Pro Tools simply create two duplicate tracks with the Rider Plug In on each and set one overall volume up, one down and mute the sections according to what you want.
Note that you can still use a compressor if you like. I recommend inserting the compressor, your EQ plug, Max Bass and whatever else you use, after the Bass Rider. While it’s fairly common for most engineers to compress bass guitar automatically, with the Rider you may not find it necessary on some songs.
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The Waves Bass Rider isn’t the cure for everything, once again, great tone and even-in-volume playing, as well as tightness all contribute to how the bass guitar will work in your mix. But the Bass Rider is absolutely a must-have you should have in your plug in tool box- b.e. watson
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that if you play guitar, you “can throw a bass part on too, after all it’s only bass, right?” Wrong!The bass guitar track is the most critical part of a recording.
One quick and easy way to get a fantastic sounding bass track is to try this secret. It will give you great tone and an excellent performance without spending thousands of dollars to do it.
Another way is to use a high quality instrument and put your bass through processing before it gets to the mixing board. While plugging in to the board direct gives passable results, and for a few tunes might even be the best choice, it will never have the huge, robust bass sound featured on most major label recordings.
Bass players here at Nashville Trax use a variety of rigs but common to most Nashville session players is a quality bass guitar costing in the $1,000 and up range. Second, all bass players here use some sort of Avalon preamp before the signal is inputted to the XLR that routes to the mixing board. The 737 works well, but the Avalon U5 is THE bass preamp almost every session player has in their rig.
When I play bass on a session I feed my Fender Precision or Washburn bass signal into the Avalon pre-amp. Sometimes I’ll use the compression built into the Avalon and sometimes I’ll use an outboard compressor. This provides the nice deep, tight, round tone needed and many songs and achieved by all session players. Often I’ll run a dual line through a bass guitar amp and put on a microphone on that so I’m recording two signals at once (of the same same part). This gives tone options at mixdown.
After recording there is software made specifically for bass that I commonly employ during the mixing phase. The Waves”bass rider” plug in (see photo above) acting like an automatic fader rider, helps even out any volume fluctuations without further compressing the signal. Max Bass generates super deep bass signals not present in the bass itself that can be added as desired to the original bass signal to create a solid bass tone. EQ and additional compression are typically used, but note that if you’re happy with what you’re hearing and it’s working with the other instruments and supports the song, you may not need all these plugs.
So should you play bass parts yourself? If you are really a bass player, not a converted guitarist who really doesn’t get the concept of the bass guitar’s function, I’d say no, don’t do it. The other caution would be that even if you are a great bass player, Nashville abounds with players who are awesome. play major label artist gigs and have a bass in their hands all the time but can’t break into the session scene because recording is an entirely different animal than live playing. So you may not be capable of delivering true session quality bass tracks.
In both those scenarios. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend purchasing a new bass, preamp and associated software because with the knowledge of how to play the right notes for the song tight in the pocket, all that would simply be a waste of money. In that situation it may be better and far cheaper to hire a professional bass player for $75–
So one of these methods will absolutely give you the bass sound you need to achieve pro results- b.e. watson