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Tips for Playing Funk Cranston RI

To create the perfect funk bass tone, you must have all of the necessary elements at hand—a funk playing style, good bass-miking technique, and a fat and funky approach to the mix. These elements all cascade together into one warm, mammoth funkosaurus bass sound that will bump speakers off their stands. Here’s how to get down with the low down.

Guitar Center Warwick
(401) 823-4433
1245 Bald Hill Road
Warwick, RI
Store Information
Mon-Fri: 11-9
Sat: 10-8
Sun: 12-6

Borders Books & Music
(401) 944-9160
190 Hillside Rd
Cranston, RI
 
Chris BS Music
(401) 943-2520
1675 Cranston St
Cranston, RI
 
Oaklawn Music Studio
(401) 463-7117
1150 Oaklawn Avenue
Cranston, RI
 
Lous Music Center
(401) 944-9768
828 Atwood Ave
Cranston, RI
 
Guitar Center North Attleboro
(508) 399-0000
1505 S. Washington St.
North Attleboro, MA
Store Information
Mon-Fri: 11-9
Sat: 10-8
Sun: 12-6

Noll Guitars LTD
(401) 275-0880
173 Macklin St
Cranston, RI
 
Potter Rathbun Organ Co
(401) 942-5410
520 Oaklawn Ave
Cranston, RI
 
Edsac Music
(401) 942-6398
2059 Cranston St
Cranston, RI
 
Dan & Aposs Music Center
(401) 467-8080
2121 Elmwood Ave
Warwick, RI
 

Tips for Playing Funk

To create the perfect funk bass tone, you must have all of the necessary elements at hand—a funk playing style, good bass-miking technique, and a fat and funky approach to the mix. These elements all cascade together into one warm, mammoth funkosaurus bass sound that will bump speakers off their stands. Here’s how to get down with the low down. . . .

BOEQ tweaks are cool, but it’s all about the pocket if you want your tracks to be as funky as Bootsy’s.

Style

This is crucial. Funk bass playing is its own beast, and it a has very playful, syncopated relationship to the kick drum. This is not to say that the bass and kick don’t hit together, but it’s a bit of a dance—sometimes on, sometimes off—but always interacting in a way that pushes the groove forward while remaining in the pocket. A sensitive producer will critically assess the player’s style to determine if the groove is working, rather than immediately ask that he or she play “tighter.”

Pocket

Ask five funk musicians to define “pocket,” and you may get five different answers. But ask the same five musicians to play in the pocket, and you’ll get a groove so fat that you’ll put on ten pounds listening to it. I define the pocket as the space and distance between the kick hit and the snare hit within the same bar. These spaces are obviously governed by meter and tempo, but there is flexibility in there that a savvy player can push, delay, and otherwise funk-ify. Again, getting obsessed with metronome-like precision may destroy the funk. Let the groove breathe and flourish, and soon you’ll be in the house that Bootsy built.

Tracking

For me, the optimum funk bass has a huge quantity of bottom (around 50Hz–200Hz) and top (between 6kHz and 9kHz) in order to allow the bass to bump up against your chest while still cutting through the mix. To get such a tone, I like to record a direct signal and a miked-amp signal simultaneously in a relatively dead space (no hardwood floors, big windows, or other bright, reflective surfaces). Remembering that bass frequencies take more physical space to roll out, I typically mic the amp with a large-diaphragm dynamic (such as an Electro-Voice RE20) positioned two or three feet from the speaker, and turned slightly off-axis. I also place a large-diaphragm condenser (such as an AKG C414) about seven feet away from the speaker cabinet at a height of two to four feet. This technique allows much of the bass waveform to interact with the room and develop maximum resonance as it’s captured by the mics. The direct signal provides clean, sharp, and present tones. Both the direct and mic signals are lightly compressed (a 2:1 ratio with a –10dB threshold) to deliver more punch.

Mixing

To bring it all home during the mix, I blend the three separate bass tracks together. The dynamic-mic track is often the main sound, as it delivers warmth, bottom, and booty. A subtle boost at 100Hz can make the party even bigger. The direct track is mixed in for clarity, and ...

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