The bass guitar is a very important part of laying the groundwork for a song. Along with the drums, it is often referred to as the “foundation” of the arrangement. It is, therefore, imperative to make sure your foundation is solid, or the house you build on it may become hard to inhabit. Tracking bass guitar is a fairly straightforward notion.
It is a very common practice to start off by DI-ing the bass and having one output leading to its own track and the other feeding a cabinet in your live room. In fact, many times, people do not even go that far, satisfactory results can be achieved by a DI alone, but for the sake of safety, it is best to also mic a cab as well. Mic’ing of the cabinet itself should be fairly straightforward. A directional mic or two should be placed very close to the cab to reject any boomy sounds from the room and maintain a tight low end. You may wish to move the mic around in front of the cone in small increments to dial in the perfect sound you are looking for. The signal flow from the mic(s) should be tracked in parallel to the DI. Both the DI and the mic could benefit from some compression, so if you have two channels of compression available, you may want to run them through lightly. There is no go-to compression setting, so you may wish to take a second and find something that works for the specific artist, guitar, and song. Do not be afraid to take your time to reach a sound you like. It will save you time in the end mixdown when you reach to get a bass tone, and low and behold; you have it already!