How Do I Record Myself Playing Bass Guitar?

The Bass Guitar is the foundation of the groove. It gives the groove life and style. You may be wondering, “How Do I Record Myself Playing Bass Guitar?” If you are trying to figure out how to make a demo, lay down some bass tracks in your DAW, or create a YouTube Video of you jamming on the bass guitar this article should be helpful to you.

How Do I Record Myself Playing Bass Guitar?

If you want pro sound, the best way to record yourself playing the Bass Guitar is with an audio interface, a computer, and DAW software. You can also record your bass guitar amp with a microphone and your audio interface. Some other things you will need are headphones or studio monitors to listen to the playback as you create your bass guitar recordings. Simply plug your bass into your audio interface, set the level so it’s not clipping. Check inside your DAW software to make sure you are getting a good input level. Arm your bass track for recording, hit record, and start playing the bass. Your DAW software will record the bass as you play it. When you finish playing your part hit stop. You now have a recorded bass line and it’s ready to be edited, mixed and used however you like.

What Do I Need To Record My Bass Guitar?

So, let’s take a look at what you need to make a pro quality recording of your bass guitar.

All of the components work together to give you great sound. Let’s take a look at each component and talk about how they work and why you need them.

Audio Interface

How To Connect You Bass Guitar To An Audio Interface

An audio interface has several uses and you will find it is a great tool to have in your home recording studio setup.

1. Gives you a central location to connect your instruments and microphones to your computer.

2. Has high quality ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) and DAC (Digital to Analog Converter). The ADC converts the Analog signal from your bass or microphone into digital signals your computer needs. The DAC converts Digital signal from the computer back to Analog signal that your studio monitors or headphones need to play back.

3. Helps eliminate Latency. Latency happens when a computer is over processing and the sound from your instrument is delayed and it makes it difficult to create an In Time recording.

4. A great way to connect your studio monitors and headphones.

5. Better sound quality. The ADC / DAC converters in your audio interface will be better quality than the converters in your stock computer. Your audio interface will allow you to record with 24bit / 192kHz quality. (Better Sound). Also, because your audio interface is doing the AD/DA conversions, this frees up your computers processing resources reducing or eliminating latency.

Computer

You need the computer to run your DAW software.

If you already have a computer, try using the computer you already have to run your DAW software and record with.

You will find a newer computer with a multi core processor and a minimum of 16GB of RAM will work best. (32GB-64GB RAM will be even better).

If you are serious about setting up a computer for a home recording studio you will want to get a computer built for performance.

DAW Software

DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation.

DAW software allows you to record your instruments and vocals, record midi, edit your instrument and vocals, create mixes, and create master tracks for different media and formats.

The DAW is a must have for anyone who wants to make pro level recordings, mixes, and productions.

Currently there are several dozen different DAW software programs you can choose from ranging from Free to $1,000.00 dollars or more. It just depends on what you like and need to do.

I personally like using Studio One Professional. It’s a great price, easy to use, and can do anything you need. You can check out my review.

The DAW software is where the magic happens.

Relevant Article: PreSonus Studio One Review

Bass

Obviously, you will need a bass guitar to record with. If you are reading this, you probably already own a bass guitar.

Before you start recording it is important to make sure your bass is in tune, and you have a good set of strings on the bass.

If your strings are old, they will sound a little dull.

Also make sure that your intonation is set properly and that there is no excessive string buzz or rattling going on.

As a side note, if you have never had a proper set-up done on your bass then you should.

Your local luthier or music store can usually take care of this for you, and it is well worth the money.

They will set your intonation, your string height, set your bridge and nut, check your frets, clean your frets, and get you a fresh set of strings.

A set-up usually cost anywhere from $45-$85 dollars and will greatly improve the way your bass plays and sounds.

A good sounding bass makes all the difference when you are trying to record a nice track.

Instrument Cable

You will need a good instrument cable to connect your bass guitar to your audio interface.

This may sound like a no brainer but, many times instrument cables get damaged or worn and can cause buzzing and clicking noise when you are playing.

Check your instrument cable and make sure it’s in good shape.

Studio Monitors

I absolutely love studio monitors. If you are using regular speakers to listen to your recordings a good set of studio monitors will give you greater clarity when you are listening to your mixes.

If you have regular speakers that is ok and is better than nothing but if you want a more accurate mix then studio monitors are the way to go.

I have an article all about studio monitors that you can check out.

Relevant Article: Are Studio Monitors Necessary?

Headphones

A good set of headphones are a great tool for every home recording studio setup.

Headphones allow you to listen in while you are recording your track and also have a low impact on your recording enviorment.

Headphones are great for listening for small details in your mix like reverb tails, delay times, and fine edit points.

Headphones can also be good to mix with, but I prefer to mix with a good set of studio monitors.

If you don’t own studio monitors, then by all means use your headphones.

Headphones are also great for late night work, so you don’t disturb your neighbors and family members.

Connect Your Bass Guitar To Your Audio Interface

Three Methods To Record Bass Guitar

When it comes to recording your bass guitar there are three basic methods that will work and give you good results.

1. Direct Input:

Plug You Bass Guitar Directly Into Your Audio Interface.

When you plug your bass guitar directly into your audio interface this will provide a direct signal coming from your bass guitar that will go through your audio interface and directly into your DAW software.

This is a good way to record because any noise happening in the room you are recording in will not show up in the recording you are making.

This will give you a good clean, strong signal to work with.

2. Mic The Bass Amp:

If you are using a bass amp and have a microphone you can mic up your bass amp and plug the microphone directly into your audio interface.

Some people prefer the sound of a bass guitar that has been recorded with a microphone on the bass amp over a direct in sound.

Place the microphone near the bass amplifiers speaker. Start playing the bass guitar and listen to how it sounds through your headphones.

Try moving the microphone around in different positions and distances from the bass amps speaker.

When you find a position that sounds good, you have found the position that works best for your bass rig and microphone.

Keep in mind that the microphone will be picking up the bass amp, the way the room sounds, and any noises happening in the room.

This method takes a little more skill and a better room for recording but is a great opportunity for you to learn more about recording.

Record Your Bass Amplifier With A Microphone

3. Direct Input And Mic The Bass Amp:

When you record a bass guitar with the direct input line you will receive a good strong signal and should sound very close to the way your bass guitar really sounds.

When you record your bass guitar and amp with a microphone you get a little more room ambience in the recording due to the microphone picking up the sound of the room plus the sound of the bass amplifier.

Both methods are good and will work. It just depends on what you prefer and what type of sound will work best in your mix.

Some engineers prefer to create two tracks for the bass guitar in their DAW software.

Track One may be the bass guitar being recorded with the Direct Input from the Bass.

Track Two may be the bass guitar amp being recorded with a microphone.

Now when you play both tracks at the same time inside your DAW you can adjust the two tracks volume and EQ and create a blended sound of each track.

This way you get a little of the direct input sound and a little bit of the bass amplifier with a microphone sound.

Try it out and see what kind of results you get.

Video Credit: deppwaswho

Recording Your Bass Guitar Will Force You To Become A Better Player

When you start recording yourself playing the bass guitar for the first time a couple of things are going to become very apparent to you.

The first thing you may notice is that your sense of rhythm and timing could use a little polish.

You may notice that your bass guitar has some fret buzz and string rattling going on. (Get a setup done on your bass guitar).

You may notice that a couple of the notes you are playing are not quite right and need to be revisited.

All of these things are normal so don’t beat yourself up.

The fact is, when you start recording yourself playing bass guitar, singing, or playing any instrument you are going to get the raw truth of the sound and timing.

Do your first recording and take a listen. Does it sound good? Is it in time? How is the tone of the bass guitar?

If it needs a little work that’s ok. Take some time to rehearse and practice the part you are trying to record until it sounds like you hear it in your mind.

By working on the parts you want to record, you are also developing your skills as a musician and recording engineer.

I know you are in a hurry to create something cool you can show your friends and the world but take your time and do it right.

How To Create A Video Of You Playing Bass Guitar With A Band Or Backing Track

If you want to create a video of you playing bass guitar with a backing track that you can put on YouTube or use as a demo for a music director or talent agency these directions should get you moving in the right direction.

1. Record The Backing Track Into Your DAW Software

The first thing you need to do is record the backing track into your DAW software or download the backing track and place the wave or MP3 file in your DAW software.

*Note: Make sure you have permission to use the backing track, or the backing track is royalty free. Copyright infringement can get you into hot water so be sure and check out permissions and usage on the backing track you select.

2. Record Your Bass Part Into Your DAW Software

Now that you have your backing track in your DAW software it’s time to record your bass.

Make sure you have a good signal coming into your DAW software, arm the bass track to record, hit play and record your bass part in time with your backing track.

Hit stop when your bass part is complete. Disarm the recording option on your bass track so you don’t accidentally record over your recording.

Now take a listen to the backing track with your bass recording.

How does your recorded bass sound with the backing track?

If you need to practice your performance or make adjustments now is the time to do so.

Often times when you first start this process you may have to do several takes to get your bass part just right.

Take your time and get your performance up to par before you call it good.

3. Create A Master Audio Track

Ok, so you have your bass track recorded and you have your backing track so it’s time to mix them together.

The first thing you want to do is adjust the volume of your bass track, so it is setting at the right volume compared to your backing track.

Your bass track should not dominate the backing track but should sit at a volume that allows your bass guitar to blend with the volume of the backing track.

Next take a listen to see if your bass guitar sounds a little dry, a little muddy, or lacks low end compared to the drums in the backing track.

You can use the EQ function on your bass track to pull out some of the muddy sound to give your bass a better sounding low end. You may also want to try some compression on your bass track.

If the backing track has a nice soft reverb sound you can add a splash of reverb or chorus to your bass track so that it matches the sound of your backing track.

Work with the sound of your bass track so that it sits in the mix and blends with your backing track.

Once you get the bass track sounding the way it should with the backing track you might bump the volume just a smidge to spotlight you playing the bass guitar.

4. Create Your Video

Today we are going to keep the create a video section simple and to the point.

There are literally a thousand ways to create a video for your project.

On good tip may be, have someone shoot video of you putting this project together. Let them capture video of you learning, connecting gear to your audio interface, turning knobs, capture your joy and frustrations.

Get video of you playing bass, follow your imagination and create a cool video.

There is much to be said for creating videos but that is not today’s topic.

5. Sync Your Master Audio Track To Your Video

Once you have your master audio track created and your master video ready to go it’s time to sync the two together.

Most DAW’s will have a video upload option so you can upload your master video into your DAW software and sync your master audio track to your video so that everything is in time.

Once your audio track is in sync with your video, you can export the video to your desktop or any file you want so you will have a master video with your master audio track embedded in your video.

Getting The Right Sound For Your Bass Guitar

The tone of your bass will affect the way your bass guitar sits in the mix and blends with your backing track.

Let’s take a look at some different ways to make adjustments to the tone of your bass guitar and different effects that can help your bass blend into the backing track better.

Tone: Your bass guitar will most likely have a tone knob where you can adjust the way the bass guitar sounds. Try turning your tone knob to see how it affects the way your bass sounds with your backing track.

When you find the tone sound you like with your bass guitar and backing track try using that tone when you record your bass part.

EQ: Once your bass track is recorded inside your DAW software you may still want to make some adjustments to the way your bass guitar sounds.

An easy way to do this is with an EQ plugin inside your DAW. More than likely your DAW software has editing plugins that came with the software.

Try pulling up an EQ and make some adjustments until you find the sound you are looking for.

Mixing With DAW Software

Delay: Delay can be used to thicken up the bass guitar. Maybe try using 10ms-60ms delay setting and see how the sound of the bass works with your backing track.

Delay can also be used to enhance the groove or rhythm. A good delay setting should be in time with the tempo of the music. An easy way to set the proper delay time is with a tap tempo.

If you have a delay plugin with a tap tempo, simply tap the tap button in time with the music and this will set your delay to the proper timing. You can then double the time of the delay or half the time of the delay for different repeat cycles.

Listen very carefully to your backing track. If you can hear instruments with delay happening in the mix, then you may need to add a little delay to your bass track.

A little delay goes a long way so go easy.

Reverb: Reverb is a good way to blend your bass guitar with your backing track. I can almost guarantee your backing track has some reverb going on.

If you have a dry bass (no reverb) and your backing track has plenty of reverb, then you will need to add a little reverb to your bass guitar track, so it sounds like it was recorded at the same time and place as the backing track.

This is part guess work so listen closely to your backing track to get a feel for the amount of wetness, color, and depth of reverb being used in the baking track.

Pull up a reverb plugin in your DAW and try to match a reverb sound for your bass guitar to the backing track.

I think you will find a little reverb will help blend your bass guitar into your backing track better.

Compression: Compression helps even out the level of your bass, add some punch to your bass, and allow you to play soft parts without losing volume and getting lost in the mix.

It takes some practice to get your compression settings just right.

The best thing you can do is load a compressor plugin on your bass track and try experimenting with compression.

Compression is a great way to control your overall volume, contain the dynamics of the attack, add punchiness or sustain, and helps meld the bass’ fundamental notes to the impact of the kick drum.

Good Bass Guitar Microphones

If you are interested in using a microphone with your bass amplifier to record your bass guitar, I have included a list of some great microphones that are designed for capturing bass.

Electro-Voice RE20

Electro-Voice RE20 Dynamic Microphone

The Electro Voice RE20 Is a great all-around mic and an industry standard for broadcast, voiceover, acoustic and electric bass and kick drums.

The RE20 is smooth across a wide spectrum of frequencies (45Hz – 18kHz) and resistant to proximity effect.

Variable-D technology minimizes proximity effect for smooth and consistent sound and the bass roll-off switch makes it easy to rein in low frequencies.


Sennheiser MD 421-II

Sennheiser MD 421-II Dynamic Microphone

The MD 421-II is one of the best-known microphones in the world. Its ability to handle high pressure levels makes it a natural for bass guitar, guitars, drums, vocals and broadcast.

The Sennheiser MD 421-II has a Five-position bass roll-off switch which compensates for proximity effect and handles exceptionally high sound pressure levels.

You can use the MD421-II in close-miking situations and still get clean, clear response with no unnatural bass boost.

The Sennheiser MD 421-II has a frequency response of 30Hz – 17kHz.


Sennheiser E 602-II

Sennheiser E 602-II Dynamic Microphone

The Sennheiser E 602-II is a cardioid dynamic instrument microphone that captures deep, powerful bass and is perfect for miking bass drums, bass guitar cabinets and other low-frequency instruments.

The E 602-II is light weight and a very durable microphone. The E 602-II has a frequency response of 20Hz – 16kHz.

This microphone is built to capture low frequencies and provides clear and tight low end for your bass guitar.


Shure BETA 52A

Shure BETA 52A Dynamic Microphone

The Sure Beta 52A microphone is specially designed for all kinds of bass, from kick drums to bass guitars and has an impressive SPL level of 174db.

This microphone is primarily designed for the kick drum but will also work well on the base guitar.

The frequency response is perfectly tailored for bass instruments with a 20Hz to 10kHz frequency response and a presence boost at 4kHz to let electric basses and kick drums cut through the mix.


Audix D6

Audix D6 Dynamic Microphone

The Audix D6 is a microphone designed primarily for the kick drum, but the low frequency response is also tuned for recording bass cabinet as well.

For low-frequency instruments such as bass, the D6 captures the low end and transients very well.

The D6 has a deep frequency response of 30 Hz to 15 kHz, a high maximum SPL of 144 dB.

Playing Your Bass Tracks On A Midi Keyboard

What if you need to record some bass tracks for a song or project you are working on but do not have a bass guitar?

If you have a keyboard, you can play bass lines on your midi keyboard through a virtual instrument and get some good results.

Connect your keyboard to the audio interface or directly to the computer via the USB connection. You are now ready to record your bass parts inside your DAW software.

Try experimenting with different bass guitar sounds inside your DAW software to find one that will work with the sound and style of music you are creating.

Bass Guitar Virtual Instruments

If you are interested in Bass Guitar Virtual Instruments, there are a bunch of different manufactures on the market today.

UJAM, EastWest, IK Multimedia, Waves, and Native Instruments all have some great sounding Bass Guitar Virtual Instruments that you can check out.

Virtual instruments have come a long way since they first came out and some of them sound very good.

Virtual instruments are a great way to record instruments that you may not have available to you in the form of the real instrument.

You can play virtual instruments with your midi keyboard inside your DAW software.

Simply purchase the virtual instrument you want and download the software to be used inside your DAW software.

What Others Are Saying

Direct QuoteSource
“To get started, all you really need is a computer, a bass guitar, an instrument cable and an audio interface. Probably you already have most of this at home.”https://bassessentials.com/what-you-need-to-start-recording-bass-guitar/
“A PC will inevitably have some lag time if you are inputting a signal, running it through your CPU and then outputting it. Even basic software (e.g., Audacity) will compensate for the input lag, but you really need a high-quality interface that has a direct audio output if you need to be able to monitor your input signal mixed in with the existing recording.”https://www.reddit.com/r/Bass/comments/27iwq9/how_do_you_record_yourself_playing/
“WOW! Recording yourself really shows up all your flaws. Playing along to the song you don’t sound bad. Record yourself into a DAW and listen to just the bass and it sounds terrible.”https://forum.bassbuzz.com/t/recording-yourself/4979/15
“Mic placement can help you get the bass sound you want. The mic’s distance from the amp, its angle, and where it’s pointing will all change the tone.”https://www.musicianonamission.com/recording-bass-guitar/
“you’ll need to record video for every recording take you do… Then drop all the videos into a video editing program, and then (here’s the tricky part) sync them up to the actual music. So tricky, but do-able.”https://www.quora.com/I-want-to-make-a-video-of-myself-playing-guitar-bass-and-drums-is-there-a-program-app-that-can-let-me-do-this
“One of the easiest ways to record your bass is to go direct into your audio interface, and then the interface goes directly to your DAW. An audio interface is basically a low-latency box that has some inputs on it which then connects to your computer via USB.”https://www.bassguitarguide.com/how-to-record-bass-guitar-to-a-computer-and-phone/
“You’ll want to get your bass guitar set up with minimal fret buzz, check that the intonation and tuning is correct, and that there are no issues with the internal electronics. While you’re at it, ensure that the effect pedals and amplifier you’re using aren’t producing any unwanted artifacts.”https://www.blackghostaudio.com/blog/5-tips-to-record-bass-guitar-like-a-pro
“Another technique would be to first convert the YouTube video’s audio component to an MP3 or WAV file – there are several paid and unpaid online resources that will do this easily. That would be your first track. Then you can record your bass part on your computer as a second track, and then mix the respective levels. Again, a suitable interface might be needed to feed your bass signal into the computer.”https://www.talkbass.com/threads/recording-video-from-you-tube-while-playing-along.1458626/
“We want a tight bass sound that’s thick and deep but still has definition and punchiness. You can either record bass directly, via a DI box, or you can mic up the bass cabinet. Some engineers rely only on DI to get their sound, dismissing the cabinet entirely. But others like the combination of the DI’d signal with the miked-up cab.”https://www.audio-issues.com/recording-tips/how-to-record-a-punchy-and-powerful-bass-guitar/

In Conclusion

Today we talked about, “How Do I Record Myself Playing Bass Guitar?”

I hope you found some helpful information in this article to get you started.

If you like to play, write, record, and produce music, you are in the wright place.

Take a minute and look around my website. You will find many helpful articles and buying guides to help you out.

Please leave your questions and helpful comments below.

6 thoughts on “How Do I Record Myself Playing Bass Guitar?”

  1. I have always wanted to record my own songs. And during the pandemic, I got to spend a lot of time with my bass guitar. So, I feel the moment has arrived to record. And I am excited I can record myself from home. My next purchase will be a Digital Audio Workstation software. I am excited about this project!

    Reply
    • Hi Paolo, I think the natural progression of all musicians is that they get to the point that they want to start recording themselves playing their instrument.  It’s a great thing to start recording because this gives you another prospective on how you can improve your playing.

      There are some really good DAW software programs available on the market today.  I have a review on Studio One Professional that you may want to check out.  

      Also, If you are interested in learning more about studio monitors: Are Studio Monitors Necessary? is another great article to give you good information about studio monitors. 

      Let me know if you have questions about DAW software.  I’m happy to help out when I can.

      Reply
  2. As a bass guitar player, this article is giving me a way to go and record myself and produce my talent to the world. So many talents are being pressed to the ground since they don’t know how to air them to the world. By reading this article, you can follow the precise and clear steps to record yourself playing bass guitar. I am definitely giving the world one of my moments when am embracing the inner me.

    Reply
    • Now, more than ever musician have so many tools available to them to record audio, video and easily edit and share their music.

      If you need to make a demo, video, or create your own music for media this article should help get you started.

      Reply
  3. I was literally talking about this with a friend of mine a few days ago. He is a producer and he was looking for ways to record his guitar. Wow! I will be sure to share this article with him. I am sure that he will appreciate it big time so thank you so much for this! 

    Reply

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