"remove" the bass line from a track

Hi folks ! :smile:

I plan to record a bass cover of a song I like, and I need to remove the original bass line to replace it by mine. To put it in a nutshell, I’m creating a backing track from an album track. Of course, as I only have the final mix, it can’t be a real 100% removal. The idea is to drop drastically the main bass guitar frequencies, so I will have some room to hopefully place neatly my bass line into the mix.

I’ve already done that, so I’m not really asking how to do (but if you have a better way than mine, please share !) : I just wanted to share with you some EQ settings that do the job pretty well, hopping it could help you do some bass covers of your favourite songs.

I’m using Reaper and the ReaEQ 1-band parametric EQ (negative band-pass = notch filter), but you can easily copy the same settings on any sequencer.

By the way you will see on the screenshot that I use an automation to apply the notch filter only when the bass is playing, so the track remains unaffected (exactly like on the album) when the bass doesn’t play. it sounds way more natural than applying the filter on the full track.

I hope it helps :slight_smile: so here are the settings :


That’s approximately what I do when I need to pull bass from a track too!

BUT it also depends on the bass player. Getting Geddy Lee out of a track is harder because there are ton of high mids in his sound too, and if you pull them then you lose a ton of guitar and vocals. :slight_smile:

I also sometimes will throw a little boost underneath the cut, around 80Hz or so, to try to bring the kick drum back to life.


yeah Josh, agree and agree :slight_smile:

I find the 240 Hz notch works reasonnably well with Precisions (I only listen to records using P basses :joy: some kind of religion I guess :joy:), in most cases, but with a slapped Jazz Bass the frequencies will be a lot different (higher) and it will cause a lot more issues in the mix … it depends. here I just wanted to show the principle on how to create a backing track from an album track, hopping it would help some fellow bass players to do their thing with their own favourite music :slight_smile: and hopefully share their cover, why not ?

the boost underneath the cut sounds like a good idea to me, the common problem being that the bass and the kick are partially on the same frequencies, of course. I’m saying that for all the people maybe a little less familiar to how a mix works (frequencies/interactions between the different instruments ; it’s not a simple thing ; not at all).

also I should mention that the cut filter should ideally match the new bassline’s frequencies. if not, the mix will sound strange and may lack some narrow frequency ranges. so ideally the notch filter should be adjusted after the bass line is recorded, to give an overall good mix :slight_smile:

(mmmmmm … I feel I’m making a lot of english mistakes right now … I’m really sorry, I’m a poor french guy and I do my best to be understood !)


@terb No, your english is fine.

Can you post the before and after tracks? So, we can hear how it changed?


Yeah no problem at all understanding you @terb.


here is a short extract. the filter is off first, then it’s turned on 6 seconds later.


Yeah, there’s definitely overlap a lot of the time. But it does seem like when I do that, I get more kick-boost than bass-boost, which makes sense with the information I’ve seen from Warren Huart and others about how engineers usually structure their mixes.

For the uninitiated (which almost includes me): Kick drum and bass guitar can fight with each other for sonic space, so often engineers will boost the kick drum somewhere in the realm of 50-80Hz (maybe up to 100Hz?), and then cut it just above that, and do something like the reverse to the bass, so that the kick sits a little lower than the bass sonically and they aren’t both fighting for 150Hz.

Every sentence I write about this, I think about how much I don’t know…


I even heard about using an octave down on the kick, not sure how it really works because the kick is more an impulse than a note … Another guy told me about a trick like applying a volume enveloppe on the bass track, and this enveloppe is controlled by the kick track (I don’t know if this filter applies on the entire bandwith or only the low frequencies). so when the kick is high the bass gets down, it’s some kind of temporal way of making room for everybody. I don’t know if this trick is commonly used.


So, for those who may be interrested, here is the final result with the album bass track replaced by mine.

I shot a video showing my best bass face, @JoshFossgreen would have been proud of me :joy: but Youtube decided to block the video for copyright reasons :roll_eyes: so I can’t show more than the audio track.

The audio chain is : Fender Precision > Dod FX84 > Line6 TonePort UX1 (with POD Farm and two B15 models in parallel, one set up clean and the other one in light crunch), recorded and mixed with Reaper.
By the way this modest cover has been an opportunity to test/use my new compressor for the first time, I’m pretty happy with it.

the song is Gacked On Anger by Amyl and The Sniffers.


Holy cow.
This band name and song title seem like something a comedy writing team would come up with as a joke.
I love it. So much.
And - great job using the tools to make the bass cover happen. Very cool to see/hear it all come together.


they say about themselves : “In Australia we call poppers Amyl. So you sniff it, it lasts for 30 seconds and then you have a headache - and that’s what we’re like!” it made me laught a lot :joy:


@terb Dude. That. Is. AWESOME! :metal:


You mean sidechain compression? If so, to my knowledge that only makes sense in certain styles, like in house music where you want that “pumping” sound. Otherwise it would make the bass transients feel weird when it hits with the kick. I think? Anybody with real engineering knowledge disagree?

Also, nice playing!


I don’t know the name, as you see it’s easy to reach the limits of my knowledge too !

thank you very much !


Can you do this same thing with Transcribe software? I thought there’s a setting in that program where you can remove the bass.

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You can sorta “remove the bass” by using the EQ tool, but you’ll also be removing anything else that lives in the frequencies you’re cutting (like drums). It definitely has its uses though.

I’m really curious about this:

It’s a “source separation tool” that uses some kinda fancy-ass algorithms stuff to pull voices/instruments from recordings. It seems pretty amazing, haven’t tried it personally though. Anyone tried it?


that’s mind blowing ! :dizzy_face: seems incredibly more efficient than what we do with EQs !


Nice… but, really for pros only, considering the price-tag alone :wink:


@terb Would this also work on Audacity? How about Transcribe?


yes @PamPurrs it would work on Audacity, and on every DAW with an EQ filter (which is the most standard effect you could imagine). I don’t know Transcribe at all but if it’s a DAW it must have an EQ !