Hey guys, so I have a Swollen Pickle and I love it to death and beyond, but whenever I play a chord or let ring strings between notes, the sound kinda degrades, like when doing double stops on a monophonic octaver and it kinda glitches. Is this normal? I don't have much fuzz experience, but does this happen on every fuzz? I'm getting to play some postrockish / shoegaze kinda music and I want to play tremolo chords to make a wall of sound effect and I can do it with my VT Bass on extreme gain settings, but the SP doesn't seem to like it.
What is your pedal order?
I have'em set up like this:
Bass > Digitech Bass Synth Wah > Sansamp VT Bass > Swollen Pickle > TCE Flashback > Amp/interface
The Sansamp and the SP are never on at the same time (my clean tone is heavy on low and low mids, so it collides with the heavy bass-iness of the Pickle), but even with other effects off, it still happens. Do you reckon it has to do with it's position in the chain?
Just out of curiosity: How are your internal dials set?
Fuzz and distortion effects can have problems with any signal containing harmonically impure tones.
Unfortunately, that's precisely what equally tempered tones are. The 3rd interval is one of the worst
because it has a large "error" from just intonation, which is harmonically perfect (pure). The equally
tempered 5th is a lot closer to just intonation, and so not as bad.
The extreme nonlinearity of the effect can cause discordant beat tones to appear in the output at high
levels. The phase of the various tones in the input signal are also continuously shifting in phase and
level. This can cause the discordant tones to appear and dissappear
The harmonics in the notes cause additional discordant sounds. Because of their higher frequencies,
the harmonics have faster (and harsher) beat notes with chords.
You can try adjusting the tone of the signal going into the fuzz. More fundamental and less overtones
should help. Also, how the notes are played (plucked or picked) can make a difference. And also, where
the notes are played along the length of the string can make a difference. Playing closer to the neck
might make things better (or worse).
Guitar players will sometimes fine tune the 5th interval in the power chords to get a "clean" output
from a distortion or fuzz effect. They have the same problem - equally tempered intervals. It can work
very well for the 1 - 5 chord.
In a double stop, try altering the tuning of the lower note, and then the higher note. You can do that
by simply bending the note. If bending one makes it better and bending the other makes it worse,
then the problem is the beating between equally tempered tones.
Great post megafiddle, always wondered why thirds were so much less fuzz/distortion tolerant than fifths.
My experience with the SP is that it's just too fat to handle double stops very well. Should do fifths (aka "power chords") ok though.
Seconding what Thom said. Internal settingssssssss.
Vegas, my internal settings are 11 for clip and about 8:30 for scoop. Do you think this would affect the issue? rratajski, do you run into this kinda thing in your pedals?
About megafiddle's post, very informative. I plugged in and started checking every point in it and found that, efectively, the 3rd interval is the one that causes the effect the most, and also playing with a pick (I play exclusively with fingers) and near the neck produces a more defined sound. Guess I should start learning to pick.
Wish I could have Geddy's mutant flamenco nail :(
Do you have any recommendations for building up nail strength? I too find picking a bit unnatural, and I tried picking almost on top of the bridge... it kinda works but since I dig A LOT, it shreds my fingers. I love pick + fuzz tone... sounds tighter, indeed.
The problem described, I mean. The conflicting freqs in 3rd interval and the other problems described in megafiddle's post.
All jokes aside, an SP is in the "muff family" and muffs aren't made for being frequency-specific or for special techniques. Their made to be loud, fuzzy, gnarly, and noisy. Sounds like the OP wants something more in the distortion family that sounds "big" can handle the techniques he wants to play. The SP might just be better for single notes, sustained parts, and power/5th chords. Messing with the internal trimmers should help the SP be a little more tame to not glitch out as much. Sounds like it's overloaded.
OP - are you using an active bass?
Your nails are aided by a high protein diet, plus over time they start building up resistance. Don't laugh, but nail polish is helpful as well. ;)
Awesome, Vegas. I shall raid my mom's nail polish drawer hahaha In all seriousness, though, maybe some kind of clear poly resin in my right index and middle nails... I wonder...
rratajski, it's true what you say about the gnarliness of the SP... I think I should use it strictly for simple non doublestop lines and use a distortion for my original intent. And my bass has an onboard preamp, but the pups are passive. I hardly use it, tho.
Thanks for the ideas, guys!
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