Doubling Bassline with Guitar

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thegummythegummy Frets: 1117
Anyone ever done this for a record? Just played exactly what the bass plays but an octave higher on a guitar?

I got the tip from a session guitar tutorial video so just tried it out - it was weird, it felt so much like using an octaver pedal, my brain couldn't disconnect the already-recorded bass part from the guitar I was recording at the time.

Sounds kind of synthy really, makes a massive difference but not sure if I like it on my first attempt.

Any tips for doing this or how it's mixed? Tone/guitar/pickup settings etc.?
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 19280
    Panning them hard left and right while recording the part will allow you to mentally ‘seperate’ them. Funnily enough, I’m doing the guitars on a friend’s project at the moment and he asked me to do this on a section of it. We both agreed it was ‘too much’ listening to it back - though in some genres - metal obviously - it’s a pretty standard arrangement technique.
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 9325
    edited October 11
    @richardhomer ;; (hi!) is right. Some 3-piece blues-based outfits did it. Maybe the guitar would start a riff, then the drums join in next time round, and the bass piles in after that. Possible examples include The Groundhogs.

    PS you will find instances in George Handel's music where the double basses play what the cellos play only an octave lower. I'm not sure it is new ;)
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  • GrangousierGrangousier Frets: 180
    I think on the Making of Aja video Becker and Fagan refer to it as "the Nelson Riddle trick". Or maybe Mancini or another of those classic arrangers. I've found it works best with palm muting, to bring out the bass rhythm. It ought to kind of disappear.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 7385
    It's a pretty common thing in blues, punk rock, heavy rock, a lot of country, a lot of ska and reggae. Certainly in Jamaican music it's palm muting. 
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3485
    Fairly common recording practice - when deemed necessary.

    If palm muted, the guitar contributes a transient attack that a finger style bass part played on flat wound strings may lack. It can reinstate the definition that might go AWOL when an analogue multi-track recording is mastered to analogue stereo then and, then, cut to disc.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 3406
    Led Zeppelin did it a fair bit, especially just before a big solo where the guitar then splits away from the bass once the general gist is established.

    More modern examples would be Muse and Royal Blood (though in the case of the latter, it is of course more automated with octave pedals and a whammy).

    On the other hand I quite like double tracking a solo an octave lower for a bit of variety, although again it's easier to use the octave down/octave up setting on the Whammy to do it when not recording

    Water, come drown me, I'm done

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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3485
    Led Zeppelin did it a fair bit, especially just before a big solo where the guitar then splits away from the bass once the general gist is established.
    On latter day LZ albums, Jonesy often played an eight string bass - especially on songs where he was the main composer.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • Before the other guitarist left my band we used to cover lets dance, he would play the Nile Rodgers part and I doubled up the bass part on guitar with a fairly dirty sound and slighly muted. Sounded great and very punchy.

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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 1117
    @richardhomer ;; (hi!) is right. Some 3-piece blues-based outfits did it. Maybe the guitar would start a riff, then the drums join in next time round, and the bass piles in after that. Possible examples include The Groundhogs.

    PS you will find instances in George Handel's music where the double basses play what the cellos play only an octave lower. I'm not sure it is new ;)
    I think that when the instrument was first introduced in classical, it would always play the bass line (played by cello or other instrument) an octave lower rather than having its own part and that's why it's called the double bass.
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 1117
    Fairly common recording practice - when deemed necessary.

    If palm muted, the guitar contributes a transient attack that a finger style bass part played on flat wound strings may lack. It can reinstate the definition that might go AWOL when an analogue multi-track recording is mastered to analogue stereo then and, then, cut to disc.
    The fingered flats thing is exactly what I was thinking it would be useful for and what I was testing it out with. I wasn't muting though, will need to try that.

    Would the palm muted guitar part be played clean or distorted?
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  • danowensdanowens Frets: 5
    Phil Spector used to double the bass with palm-muted baritone guitar to get more presence on the bass part; he called it 'Tic-Tac'. I don't like it when the guitar is dominant; it sounds like a guitar and a bad octaver... however I LOVE it when the bass is dominant and the upper part is simply reinforcement.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 7385
    danowens said:
    Phil Spector used to double the bass with palm-muted baritone guitar to get more presence on the bass part; he called it 'Tic-Tac'. I don't like it when the guitar is dominant; it sounds like a guitar and a bad octaver... however I LOVE it when the bass is dominant and the upper part is simply reinforcement.
    That's usually referred to as Tic Tac on old country recordings so I presume he would have taken it from there. 

    Always seemed interesting to me that the country style doubling thing is used on ska recordings and I assumed it was coincidence but, apparently, in the late 50s, early 60s in Jamaica you could pick up radio stations from the American southern states so country music was widely heard. 

    thegummy said:
    Fairly common recording practice - when deemed necessary.

    If palm muted, the guitar contributes a transient attack that a finger style bass part played on flat wound strings may lack. It can reinstate the definition that might go AWOL when an analogue multi-track recording is mastered to analogue stereo then and, then, cut to disc.
    The fingered flats thing is exactly what I was thinking it would be useful for and what I was testing it out with. I wasn't muting though, will need to try that.

    Would the palm muted guitar part be played clean or distorted?
    In reggae doubling the bass line with a clean palm muted guitar part is known as tracking. By the 70s it pretty much comes to an end but what you get is a muted guitar part that's played as a counter rythmn - almost a second bass line. On a lot of Bob Marley recordings for example. 
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 1117
    danowens said:
    Phil Spector used to double the bass with palm-muted baritone guitar to get more presence on the bass part; he called it 'Tic-Tac'. I don't like it when the guitar is dominant; it sounds like a guitar and a bad octaver... however I LOVE it when the bass is dominant and the upper part is simply reinforcement.
    That's usually referred to as Tic Tac on old country recordings so I presume he would have taken it from there. 

    Always seemed interesting to me that the country style doubling thing is used on ska recordings and I assumed it was coincidence but, apparently, in the late 50s, early 60s in Jamaica you could pick up radio stations from the American southern states so country music was widely heard. 

    thegummy said:
    Fairly common recording practice - when deemed necessary.

    If palm muted, the guitar contributes a transient attack that a finger style bass part played on flat wound strings may lack. It can reinstate the definition that might go AWOL when an analogue multi-track recording is mastered to analogue stereo then and, then, cut to disc.
    The fingered flats thing is exactly what I was thinking it would be useful for and what I was testing it out with. I wasn't muting though, will need to try that.

    Would the palm muted guitar part be played clean or distorted?
    In reggae doubling the bass line with a clean palm muted guitar part is known as tracking. By the 70s it pretty much comes to an end but what you get is a muted guitar part that's played as a counter rythmn - almost a second bass line. On a lot of Bob Marley recordings for example. 
    When you say "it's known as tracking" is it that they use that term to specifically man that or are you making a point that it's a thing done on every single record of that genre?
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 7385
    thegummy said:
    danowens said:
    Phil Spector used to double the bass with palm-muted baritone guitar to get more presence on the bass part; he called it 'Tic-Tac'. I don't like it when the guitar is dominant; it sounds like a guitar and a bad octaver... however I LOVE it when the bass is dominant and the upper part is simply reinforcement.
    That's usually referred to as Tic Tac on old country recordings so I presume he would have taken it from there. 

    Always seemed interesting to me that the country style doubling thing is used on ska recordings and I assumed it was coincidence but, apparently, in the late 50s, early 60s in Jamaica you could pick up radio stations from the American southern states so country music was widely heard. 

    thegummy said:
    Fairly common recording practice - when deemed necessary.

    If palm muted, the guitar contributes a transient attack that a finger style bass part played on flat wound strings may lack. It can reinstate the definition that might go AWOL when an analogue multi-track recording is mastered to analogue stereo then and, then, cut to disc.
    The fingered flats thing is exactly what I was thinking it would be useful for and what I was testing it out with. I wasn't muting though, will need to try that.

    Would the palm muted guitar part be played clean or distorted?
    In reggae doubling the bass line with a clean palm muted guitar part is known as tracking. By the 70s it pretty much comes to an end but what you get is a muted guitar part that's played as a counter rythmn - almost a second bass line. On a lot of Bob Marley recordings for example. 
    When you say "it's known as tracking" is it that they use that term to specifically man that or are you making a point that it's a thing done on every single record of that genre?
    Lot of musical terms unique to reggae ( and completely unhelpful for anything else) and doubling the bassline with a guitar part is known as tracking apparently. Quite hard sometimes to know what is going on with old ska and reggae recordings but it was very, very common as it had been in country. Really just to help give basslines some audible definition from the days when flatwounds ( or even double basses on country recordings ) where standard. 

    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • prowlaprowla Frets: 1139
    I think it was done on Roundabout.


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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 9369
    Here's a good example of using a clean guitar to add attack to a bass line;


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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 1117
    Loads of great comments, thanks.

    Any thoughts on guitar type, neck or bridge pup etc.?
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  • olafgartenolafgarten Frets: 1408
    It's also done on Lazaretto.

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  • menamestommenamestom Frets: 2367

    Works for Vulfpeck
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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 3406
    It's also done on Lazaretto.

    Oh yes oh yes

    Water, come drown me, I'm done

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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1865
    It's also done on Lazaretto.

    LOVE that!
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 9325
    thegummy said:
    @richardhomer ;; (hi!) is right. Some 3-piece blues-based outfits did it. Maybe the guitar would start a riff, then the drums join in next time round, and the bass piles in after that. Possible examples include The Groundhogs.

    PS you will find instances in George Handel's music where the double basses play what the cellos play only an octave lower. I'm not sure it is new ;)
    I think that when the instrument was first introduced in classical, it would always play the bass line (played by cello or other instrument) an octave lower rather than having its own part and that's why it's called the double bass.
    Possible. Wikipaedia suggests there were separate parts written for it quite early in its development but doen't say that was exclusively the case
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • GassageGassage Frets: 20991
    The Cure’s entire back catalogue is based on this.

    Donald Trump has spoken movingly about 7-Eleven. It reminded him, he said, of the way Americans came together in 1941 after Pearl Necklace.

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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 4343
    Doubling the guitar line with a bass is fairly normal, doubling the bassline with a guitar less so. If you have to ask if its a bass line or a guitar line then its a guitar line.
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  • jdgmjdgm Frets: 176
    edited October 12
    Slightly off-topic but Joe Zawinul always used to double the bass lines with synth on Weather Report albums, which reportedly really pissed Jaco Pastorius off on "Teen Town"..... B 
    Sounds really good though, also on tracks like "Domino Theory" and "Procession" with Victor Bailey on bass.
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 1117
    jdgm said:
    Slightly off-topic but Joe Zawinul always used to double the bass lines with synth on Weather Report albums, which reportedly really pissed Jaco Pastorius off on "Teen Town"..... B 
    Sounds really good though, also on tracks like "Domino Theory" and "Procession" with Victor Bailey on bass.
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 19280
    Gassage said:
    The Cure’s entire back catalogue is based on this.
    Even ‘Love Cats’?
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  • mburekengemburekenge Frets: 648
    loads of soul does this as well. I love the sound.
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