Chris Smith Upright Bass Recording

Chris Smith Upright Bass Recording

The bassist performing on these recordings is Kameron Watkins playing an Andreas Eastman upright bass crafted by Eastman Strings.

Upright Bass Recording #1 – Sennheiser KM184 positioned at bottom of F hole & Neuman TLM49 positioned at the bridge

I like the body the Sennheiser gives to the overall sound of the mix and the Neuman gives the mix more articulation.

Sennheiser KM184 positioned at bottom of F hole & Neuman TLM 49 used as a room mic

I like the body the Sennheiser gives to the mix but the Neuman is placed to far away to offer anything substantial to the overall mix.


Sennheiser KM 184 positioned at top of F hole

The position of the Sennheiser at the top of the F hole results in a boomy, low end response.


2 Easy Tips for Recording Upright Bass

Recording the Upright Bass

How to Record a Double Bass in the Studio: The Low Down on the Down Low


Madison’s Upright Bass Recordings

Above are our Upright Bass Recordings. This recording session was conducted on 10/15/17 at 5 pm in the Black Box studio at JU. For these tests we use two different mics and placed the mics in four different postions, two for each mic. Totaling four recordings in all. We used a MXL 860 ribbon microphone and a Shure KSM313 ribbon microphone. We decided to test two different ribbon microphones due to our research. To learn how to record the Upright Bass I refrenced three different sources including: The Recording Engineers Handbook by Bobby Owsinski, Recording Magazine and Practical Recording Techniqes by Bruce Bartlett & Jenny Bartlett. The Recording Engineers Handbook by Bobby Owsinski says “Place a ribbon mic like a Coles 4038 or Royer R-121 about 2feet away and aimed below the bridge”.  We decided to give this try with both the MXL 860 and the Shure KSM313. We place the mics one foot away and two feet away beacuse we wanted to hear the difference in sound. We eventualy decided that two feet away, under and pointing at the bridge was the best postion. All of our refrences said the more space the better and that close micing the bass would not sound right. They were correct, after all no one listens to the bass with their ear right next to the bass.

We tried the miking th sound hole as well but it sounded to muddy and boomy.

The best sounding recording to me is the with the Shure KSM313 Front #02. The mic on this one was facing directly in fornt of the bass.

Derisa’s Upright Bass Listening

Her 2010 Grammy Award-winning album “Chamber Music Society” Esperanza Spalding plays upright bass on “Little Fly” and sings to the words of poet Willam Blake. What I like about this recording is even with graceful strings and bird-like chirps, they are all unintrusive when it comes to the bass which is at the very center of the piece.

This one is by Grammy Award-winning bassist Christian McBride “Gettin’ to It.”  Even though the bass is not at the forefront of this song in comparison to the previous listening I love how he is playing in the pocket. His timing and groove drive the entire song.


Daniel Hubert Upright Bass Recording

Recording Partner: Taylor Neal

First Configuration:

For this recording an Andreas Eastman 3/4 size upright bass is played first with fingers, then with a bow. A Neumann TLM 49 large diaphragm condenser microphone was placed about 3-4 inches away from the center of the bridge of the bass. The sound is punchy when fingered and the string articulation is present, but when bowed, sounds somewhat shallow.

Microphone Placement:

Please ignore the KM184 in this picture, it was not active in this recording.


Second Configuration:

The same Andreas Eastman bass is used here, played with the same bowing and fingering techniques and again is mic’d with a Neumann TLM 49. In this recording, a Neumann KM 184 small diaphragm condenser microphone was added. The KM 184 was placed in front of the top of the f-hole about 1-2 inches away from the bass. The 184 fills out the sound more, but puts perhaps too much emphasis on the low end. A low frequency cut was applied (at 70hz), but did not completely solve this issue.

Microphone Placement:


Third Configuration:

In this recording, the same bass, playing techniques and microphones are used as in the previous two. The difference here is the placement of the Neumann KM 184 mic. This mic was placed at the bottom of the f-hole and was moved back about 6-7 inches from the bass. The TLM 49 microphone remained directly in front of the bridge about 3-4 inches away. This configuration, with the same frequency cut at 70hz, captured a good balance of string articulation and low end support.

Microphone Placement:


Studios, Tool. “Resources.” – Upright Bass Miking : Recording Magazine –,

Audio-Technica. “2 Easy Tips for Recording Upright Bass.” Where It’s A-T, 29 Nov. 2016,

Donovan Stokes | Bio Monday, May 9th, 2011. “Recording the Upright Bass.” No Treble,

Daniel/Taylor Upright Bass Recording

Upright Bass Recording

Daniel and I recorded upright bass using 2 microphones.

1.  Neumann TLM 49 Large Diaphragm Condenser

2. Neumann KM184 Small Diaphragm Condenser

Based on our research from Recording Magazine and No Treble, we started off by putting a Neumann TLM49 a few inches from the bridge. This got a decent amount of low end but mainly a lot of the higher ‘plucking’ tones when the bassist played with his fingers, and a lot of ‘sizzle’ from the bow when he bowed the strings.

The article from No Treble suggested to use two mics to get a variety of tones that you can mix and blend later. This is why we decided to use the Neumann KM184 on the F-hole.

We noticed this got a different sound of the body of the bass, and I found these tones to be a little bit more ‘natural’. The TLM49 picked up a lot of higher frequencies that you wouldn’t hear from the bass from a distance, like in a concert hall or room, specifically when the bassist was bowing.

We liked the overall tone of the TLM49 mixed with the KM184, so we kept the 49 at the bridge and blended it in to the recordings.

The last file on the Soundcloud is of the TLM49 solo’d.

We tried multiple configurations with the KM184 to achieve a variety of tones.

First, we had the KM184 up towards the top of the sound hole. This sounded very boomy to me. Even after applying a low cut around 70 Hz, there was still a lack of note definition and ‘snap.’

As we moved the KM184 around the F-hole, we got very different tones from the bass just from moving it a matter of inches.


We decided to move the KM184 down towards the middle of the sound hole, but kept it the same distance away from the bass. This sound had a little more high end tone definition.

We wanted to back the mic off the bass to get less low end, because I had to apply the low cut at 70 Hz for every take. Due to the proximity effect, the further the mic was, the less low end we picked up.


On the final take, we moved the KM184 about 5 inches back from the bass, and angled it towards the bottom of the sound hole.

The final take is my favorite configuration, as the mic picked up a decent blend of low end and airy slap tone. It sounded the best bowed, in my opinion.


Studios, Tool. “Resources.” – Upright Bass Miking : Recording Magazine –,

Audio-Technica. “2 Easy Tips for Recording Upright Bass.” Where It’s A-T, 29 Nov. 2016,

Donovan Stokes | Bio Monday, May 9th, 2011. “Recording the Upright Bass.” No Treble,

Aaron and Derisa’s Upright bass recording

We recorded upright bass today and used several techniques in the process.  There were a few challenges, mainly having to do with a few bad mic cables and making the ignorant mistake of not having the phantom power turned on for the small condenser mic ( AKG C460 B).  We tried three techniques, one using  a large condenser ( Neumann Mic), a dual mic combination with  a dynamic mic ( Sennheiser 421) and a small conderser ( AKG  C460 B), and a GK MB 122 bass amp with a dynamic mic (Sennheiser 421) on a stand in front it. We found the best technique and sound produced  was in fact just using the larger condenser slightly to the left near the bridge of the bass about 3 inches away from its F Hole. The sound produced was very warm and really captured the woodyness of the bass and me being a jazz musician, I love the sound that this one mic alone produced. The dual mic combination we tried produced a more drier and light sound. We placed the dynamic mic ( Sennheiser 421) at the bridge of the bass and the small condenser(AKG C460 B)  near the fingerboard. However we had to adjust the gain level in Logic to match the sound level that was reached with the larger condenser ( Neumann mic). We felt that the Sennheiser 421 was not the best mic for the lower end of the bass because it really didn’t capture the essence of the instrument in terms of its overall sound. With this configuration I personally felt that the bass sound did not have enough body in the sound and it sounded more thumpy and light. The final technique we tried was using a GK MB 122 bass amp with the Sennheiser 421 placed in front. We both felt like this matched the sound of the larger condenser but of course the sound was very full because their was another form of amplification involved.  My favorite sound and mic was the Neumann mic because it captured the instruments’s true sound and feel.


  • Peakcock, Justin. ” Recording the Upright Bass”. Recording Magazine: The Magazine for the Recording Musician. Date of Publication:N/A. 14 October, 2017.
  • Sound on Sound. ” How to Record a Double Bass alongside other Instruments”?. Date Published: September 2011. Sound On Sound Magazine. 14 October 2017.
  • DPA Microphones. ” How to Mic a Double Bass”. Date Published: 1 November 2015. DPA Microphones. 15 October      2017.