Isolating/hearing basslines in songs

I have a hard time isolating bass lines in song and am absolutely horrible at trying to learn by ear. “Bass centric” songs are easier, but I am wondering how people mentally “hear through the mix.” A lot of times I can’t tell if the bass is going with the kick drum or playing under the rhythm guitar because I can’t hear “through” the kick drum and can’t differentiate the octaves if it is playing under the RG.

I have tried using an equalizer to boost the low end, but then the drums overtake everything.

So, I am wondering how people do this.

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I think after a period of time as a bass player, my “bassdar” became much more acute.

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For bass-heavy bass lines, I try to dicker with the high mids and treble. At least to my hearing, a majority of bass lives in the low to low-mid range, so I try to ease off the “tinny” stuff". That said, for some very trebly bass lines, such as Geddy Lee or His Entwistleship, this is very difficult and probably won’t work.

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Like all other answers no one wants…practice and time.
Active listening, try to find a song where the bassline is also separated and listen to both full song and that one.
There are apps that can spilt and isolate the bass like Transcribe+ as well.
The more you listen actively, the better you will get at it.

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Did you mean Transcribe.
I believe Transcribe+ is a different app.

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Does transcribe actually pull out the bassline?

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I take it by ‘pull out’ you mean to isolate the bass line completely.
The best you can do is cut the mid and treble frequencies but the drums live in the same area of the frequency spectrum as the Bass so you cannot isolate the Bass completely that I am aware of.

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No @Celticstar, I meant Transcribe+ (have on my iphone) and it does isolate bass track vs. others.
I do not use Transcribe (no + sign).

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@Old_Noob these apps are in-aptly named.
Transcribe and Transcribe+ are different things.
Transcribe+ will pull out bass and allow you to isolate it for listening, or, to take it out for recording over the rest of the track without the bass (I do this for my covers).
It works pretty darn well for most songs. Some odd mixes or higher register bass, not so much.

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I have pretty much the same problem and question. I’ve been led to believe that Transcribe! will help greatly with this, but I have not tried it yet. I don’t have an iphone to try Transcribe+, but I believe it is supposed to accomplish the same thing. Here’s a video Josh put out about transcribing songs using Transcribe!.

You can hunt for existing tabs and use them as a starting point, or an isolated bass track on youtube or something. Maybe find videos of the band playing the song in concert and note hand positioning (ha! like they ever show the bass player!)… Get the chords of the song and try to derive the bass line from that (tools like Chordify can help in that regard if you can’t find a chord chart anywhere).

Good luck…

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Thanks. Even when a bass player is shown for 1 second on a concert clip, I have a hard time discerning specific finger placement.

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Yeah, for sure…

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Personally don’t have a problem with focusing a single instrument in a track. However, if you cannot really hear some baseline, the best is a couple of plays with focusing 1st on drums and then on 1st beat bass notes. When you will be able to get the general drum/bass/key interactions first, your musical back catalogue will try to anticipate/predict Bass lines in the song and with this pull/push listening you will be able to slowly dissect any song.

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Because the way low frequency waves travel, it is often easier for me to hear bass lines when listening at lower volumes. Especially in a car. I hear a song, like the bass line, decide to check it out. Listen at louder volumes several times, getting a feel for what is kick and what is bass. Then I listen at low volumes and the bass line emerges pretty cleanly… for my ear anyway.

I have tinnitus from a work related injury (air traffic control, audio equipment failure), but that is more mid-spectrum. And of course there’s the time I stood/danced right next to the FOH stack for three hours (George Thorogood, House of Blues, New Orleans). We wore high -DB earplugs but you only get so much protection when starting at 200? DB minus 40DB = 160DB sustained. Young and dumb for that one :rofl::rofl::rofl:

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