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overdrive/fuzz quest

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by johnk_10, May 17, 2012.

  1. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    for years, i've always been the type that never uses a pedal on my bass. in the early days (early 70's) i used two pre cbs fender showmans with JBL cabs, and frankly my intention was to play clean but the amp's broke up (and really super nicely). nowadays, if i want a little hair, i just use a lower powered vintage tube amp and push it a little to get some natural breakup, but generally i go for a loud and clean type of tone.

    there are a few classic rock songs that my band covers and i've been on a quest to find the perfect pedal to get my more modern, yet somewhat old school sounding, high powered clean rigs (like my SVT7pro/215 3015 cab) to have some grit for a couple of numbers.

    i used to scratch-build some of my own overdrives and fuzztones back in the 70's to occasionally use when not using my 60's FuzzFace, vox tone bender, mosrite fuzzrite, or jordan boss tones. in the early 80's, i also built a rackmounted unit with 8 of my own tweaked vintage fuzztone clones in it, including one of them being a tube one (i'll have to dig that one of storage out next week)...... lately, i've kinda been on a quest for one that does exactly what i want, but i'm not quite sure if i've found it yet, since dialing in an overdrive or fuzztone, to me, is practically an art unto itself.

    here's a couple of pics of some of my current ones (not shown: vintage 70's mxr distortion +, fulltone '70, 60's maestro FZ-1)



    for me, alot of them sound good as a fuzz but it's pretty hard for me to get a tone that closely simulates an overdrive tube amp at the flick of a footswitch. while really good on a guitar, alot of them are just too dirty for bass, and most of them lose quite a bit of low end punch (too much color).

    right now, my favorite is the fulltone '69 for a heavy, punchy Jack Bruce type of dirt.

    now that i'm kind of on an overdrive binge, i realize that tere are 100's of them out there now, and i have a duncan twin tube blue and a catalinbread SFT on the way to me which i'm looking forward to trying by the end of the week.

    what i've found is that while someone will love and recommend their favorite, another person will find it not to their liking or even unusable, since the many flavors of distortion is such a specific/specialized type of thing.

    i mean, i can get great distorted tones out of my sansamp PSA-1, but it's a rackmount preamp and i want to just get it out of pedal for convenience' sake for a few songs .
  2. First, a clean blend is almost necessary to retain the low-end punch. Even if the input cap is big enough, distortion kind of takes punch away.

    You should like the SFT, it's based on the SVT. I recall you like the old Acoustic amps as well? There's a thread on a fuzz/pre based on them.

    There are a few proper tube ODs out there, look at the Swell thread and the Frequency Central thread if you haven't already. They're not the weak starved-plate style; there's some real voltage in there. There was also a thread worth checking out on power tube OD, I forget the title though.

    Since dirt is so very subjective, you might want to spend awhile looking up sound samples.

    You already seem like you have an idea of what you want, which helps a lot for finding the right sound.

    I hope this helps, and you will get many more recommendations.
  3. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Try to check out a Marshal JH1 (the Jackhammer pedal). Yeah, it's a guitar pedal, but it has a clean blend and a parametric EQ built in, and they can be found for DIRT cheap!!

    I've tried a bunch of different dirt pedals before this one, and it have me exactly what I needed in an overdrive.
  4. mi_weesp


    Jan 17, 2012
    Belarus, Minsk
    I love Drive Channel in SWR minimo. Really fat and goot sounding.
    Also i will recommend you to try T-Rex Bass Juice. Also a great thing.
  5. Sponsored by:

  6. caeman

    caeman The Root Master

    Sep 17, 2008
    There are a bunch of tube-based pedals for to choose from if you want to get more authentic.
  7. I just picked up a Fulltone Catalyst. It's a JFET based booster/overdrive/fuzz and I've been quite impressed with it. It has a nice dirty boost sound and I flip a switch to get some nice distortion. I actually have had to dial back some bass (the pedal has a tweaked James stack) when using full on distortion.
    Dash Lashes likes this.
  8. MSUsousaphone


    Dec 4, 2009
    Lake Charles, La
    Endorsed Artist: Myco Pedals
    If you're cool dropping $380 after shipping, it's ALL about the Swell tube/OD pedals. I've played on quite a few ODs and fuzzes and used to be on a tube search....the Swell pedals were the ones that I thought best emulated that tube sound.

    The Swell B-PEG is designed to get that SVT sound. I have one ordered and it should be heading my way, soon.

    If you wait a very long time, you might be able to find one used for sub $300.
  9. a friend of mine gave me a seymour duncan tweak fuzz and I like it a lot! I sound like the black keys. minus a drummer I guess when I play alone haha
  10. You've tried that one too? I saw it for cheap and thought, why not? It stayed on my board for daaaaaays.

    I recall a clean blend though. Mine had the stacked vol/gain, bass/treble and the mid one. Was the volume one just for dry signal? That would explain a lot.
  11. vegas532

    vegas532 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2006
    Claremont, CA.
    Some good ones for what you're looking for:

    Fuzzrocious OSD/ Fulltone OCD - both based on the same circuit, but the tone stack in the Fuzzrocious has a much fuller midrange

    Fulltone Bass-Drive MOSFET - getting harder to find these, but well worth the scratch

    Keeley Baked Mod/ Mod Plus TS9 - the Baked has a lot more gain on tap, both are fantastic on bass!

    Keeley TS9-DX Flexi 4X2 - when nothing less than a swiss army knife will do!
  12. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    thanks for the suggestions guys. i've listened to alot of clips of a zillion pedals over the internet, but when you get one home and try it thru your amp it seems that it's always a 'new ballgame". ;)

    i've been playing aroud with the TC Nova drive and i'm getting a pretty good overdriven sound out of it now when i run the two channels in parallel so i can blend the dry with the distrotion. i just wish it's distortion was a bit less fizzy and more cohesive and less seperate from the original signal.

    my SFT shold be here today so we'll see how that one goes. i'm sure that the swell pedal is really nice, but i really don't want to spend $300 for a pedal that i'll use on just a couple of songs. most of the ones
  13. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    2 pedals that come to mind, EBS Valve drive, and TRex Bass Juice. I've used the EBS for years, for exactly what you describe. it's so natural sounding, not an o/d "effect". The Bass Juice is what I use now, (size), though it's really good, it's not as natural sounding as the valve drive.
  14. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    got the SFT and i'm playing around with it right now. my first impression is that it's pretty good and reacts to touch response very well.

    but for a raw punchy tone with more distortion, IMO, the fulltone '69 (early version) is going to be hard to beat.
  15. willbassyeah


    Oct 9, 2011
    I can get a Tim commerford killing in the name tone with bddi and aguilar agro, sound super cool
  16. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    thanks for the suggestions.......
    the EBS valve drive looks nice but it's way too big for me and costs a bit more than i'd want to spend for just a couple of songs. i am considering one of their multidrives though.

    i realize that it's subjective, but i didn't care for the sound of the several T rex bass juice sound clips that i've heard at all.

    i'll post a few clips of my o/d & distortion pedals to show kinda what type of grit that i'm going for.

    IMO, the catalinbread sft is pretty close but loses some of the punch and size (whichi've found is pretty hard to maintain wit a distortion/OD pedal).
  17. John, you ever build the Anderton Tube Sound Fuzz when you were rolling your own pedals? I dug mine out today and I'm really liking the sound I get with the tone knob down on my P bass.

    I hate to call it tubey but it does have a pleasing type of distortion. It makes me want to try the Blackstone Appliances Mosfet Overdrive.
  18. vegas532

    vegas532 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2006
    Claremont, CA.
    Don't know if this is the type of OD you like, but Chris Wyse uses the Bass-Drive in the riff at 1:02 of this clip:

    The SVT's don't hurt, of course. ;)
    Driven Crane likes this.
  19. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    yep, it did build one in 1978. it sounds great on guitar but for me, it's a bit too dirty for bass. here's a pic of it.


    i also built his 'octave doubling fuzz' in 4/79:


    ...and his 'quadrafuzz' but i haven't been able to locate it yet. ;)
  20. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    thanks. i'll have to check it out.
  21. nubs


    Mar 1, 2005
    i picked up a way huge swollen pickle not to long ago and i really dig it, you can dial in allot of great fuzz/OD/distortion tones...

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