How to Reduce Bass Noise

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When you play the bass, you might notice unwanted noises. If you play with a pick, for example, you could get clicking noises from the pick hitting the string or even from tapping the pickup. As an instrument on the low end of the sonic spectrum, the bass also can cause issues with hums or hisses while playing live or recording. To combat these issues, play around with EQ, or equalizer, to adjust the amount of high, middle and low frequencies that pass through your amplifier.

Noises While Playing the Bass

  • To avoid pick noise, the best option is to play with your fingers for a smoother, rounder sound. You also may play around with the placement of your picking hand to avoid hitting areas such as the pickups. Another source of noise can come from varying levels of “action” on the bass, or how low or high the strings are from the fret board. If you notice buzzing when you pluck an open string, you might need to raise the action as the string is too close to the fret board and is bouncing on it. Raise or lower the bridge on your bass to change the action.

Recording the Bass

  • Recording with a bass guitar requires some finesse to get a good tone and reduce noise. You should have a tone knob on your bass, which affects the amount of high frequencies that pass through the amplifier. The amp also should have some tone and EQ knobs. Play around to see which combination gives you the least amount of noise; every bass acts differently with EQ. Add an equalizer plugin when you record to further reduce noise. Use a low pass filter to reduce high frequencies, which can cause a hiss, or use a high pass filter to reduce low frequencies, which can cause a hum.

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  • Photo Credit the_guitar_mann/iStock/Getty Images
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