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Bass Synth Talk

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by idoker, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. idoker

    idoker Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Charlotte, NC
    Plain and simple... what are the best sounding synths for electric bass on the market today? These synths can be either pedal format or rack-mounted, multi-effect or single, analog or digital, complex or simple, cheap or expensive, from the past or current models, etc.

    I play in a Funk, Disco, R&B, and Modern dance band. Although I have been getting along without a bass synth effect for some time now, it's clear that the band wants a more "authentic-to-the-record" sound from the bass on certain songs.

    Some of the tunes we play are well known bass synth tunes, like: Boogie on Reggae Woman - Stevie Wonder, Let it Whip - Daz band, Let's Groove - Earth, Wind and Fire, Nightshift - Commodores... the list goes on.

    There has been a suggestion by my bandmates to play the synth bass keys on the synth songs we play. But, even though I play the keys, I'd like to have my hands on the bass guitar the entire gig. Plus, I really don't want to go out and buy a synth module AND a controller.

    I'd appreciate any and all suggestions. Thanks for the help.
  2. the EHX bass synth looks and sounds really awesome
    i heard the ibanez model is good for the price
  3. apener


    Jan 25, 2008
    maybe a Roland midi pickup with the V bass...
    I heard Bone playing it and it was great.... but he could play a tin can and sound great.
  4. almix12


    Apr 3, 2008
    if you mean best for the price, then the digitech bsw is up there. If you been best regardless of price, i'd say some combo of moogs into that moog voltage controller thing, and a EHX bms

    and although i haven't been fortunate enough to try it, people seem to want to hang onto their akai deep impacts
  5. sikamikanico

    sikamikanico Supporting Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    I'd suggest either a Korg G5 or an Akai Deep Impact, for their presets. If you're gonna play all those songs in one evening, it's better to have presets, than to adjust the knobs or sliders.

    I have the Korg and it is fantastic. Id suggest some modulation pedals as well, mostly a chorus pedal. And any other pedal can be fun, hehe... I have no experience with the Akai DI...

    There is a problem with both of them - they are rare and therefor quite expensive on eBay, if you find one of them... if you can find one somewhere else, you can probably get it a bit cheaper (if you negotiate for the price... auctioning makes the prices too high imo, for that money, I'd suggest a keyboard...)

    and, there is the third way, buying multiple pedals... probably most expensive and the hardest way, but it can be educational and fun :p the results are not guaranteed :D

    or, I remember people saying that an old boss multieffects unit does have some cool synths on it (search for "Jamiroquai" or "Stuart Zender", this unit is mostly associated with him and his former band, where he used it live...)
  6. bassplayertom77


    Sep 24, 2008
    Zender used a Boss ME-8B. I used to have one. Killer synth tones. Look on Ebay or the like. Great unit. You can create some of your own cool sounds once you get the hang of it. God I miss that thing. It's yellow and black, floor unit.
  7. Delta T

    Delta T

    Oct 3, 2008
    Hi Everyone!

    I've been using a Roland V-bass for a while and the synth tones are really good. Plus, you get the poly-octave capability thing and decent array of effects included. The effects are ok - not outstanding compared to some of the stand alones out there, but they do a good job. You do need to install a GK 2B (if you can find one) or GK-3B. You can do a temp mounting of the pickup by using double-sided tape and velcro. Or, you can bolt it on to the bass (which I did on my Peavey Grind 6). I recently purchased a new Spector Euro 6LX EX and I am not going to screw anything onto it, so I have to figure out a good way to temporarily mount it.

    Of course, you can get the GK pickup and a guitar-to-midi convertor like a GI-20 or Axon unit and hook it into a rack synth or soft synth on a laptop. Unfortunately the latency and tracking can be unusable for some. I have this as well and only use it for pads and such. The V-bass tracks significantly better.

  8. akai deep impact for sure. that things NAILS late 70's and early 80's keys synth tones. plus its very flexible.

    trust me, i've owned 2 of them, and love the type of music you're talking about.

    good luck finding one, they are around $525 used on the TB classifieds (i think there might still be one there) or on eBay.
  9. pjmuck


    Feb 8, 2006
    New Joisey
  10. RCCollins

    RCCollins Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    San Diego, California
    The band has a point about the keys - a lot of those songs featured keyboards AND bass, and besides a synth bass (while very cool) is ultimately a poor substitute for a keyboard bass line... take it from somebody who plays both...
  11. soulplane83


    Aug 16, 2008
    Portland, OR
    I'd suggest an Akai Deep Impact or Chunk Systems Octavius Squeezer if you've got the money. Both sound awesome.
  12. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Add some controllers on the keyboard, left hand on the mod wheel, a pedal for swell volume, and a breath controller to open up filters and you can get some amazing synth bass lines. If you're not inclined to learn a keyboard a Starr labs ztar would be the next best choice. Next would be the Axon and Roland guitar to midi, and then the Roland modelers - vg-99. Then finally pedals that square and filter the signal to do a synth like sound. YMMV - it's all subjective, and music can be made with anything.
  13. almix12


    Apr 3, 2008
    it ALLL depends how much you're willing to spend.
    From what i can tell all you need is the basic really quick synth sound. They'll all do that, you could even pick up a multi effects pedal like the behringer bass v-amp
  14. I bought the Behringer unit to noodle with, and I think it has some very useable tones for like $45.
  15. RCCollins

    RCCollins Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    San Diego, California
    Want something that sounds like the (non keys) synth bass from back in the day? BMS, baby. Octave up/down/dry, square wave fuzz, attack delay, filter trigger sensitivity adjustment, adjustable up/down filter sweep with rate and resonance control.

    Some folks even swear by octave down + an envelope filter, no BMS. But the attack delay, resonance, filter trigger and other points give the BMS a lot of bang for the buck. And if you've already got an envelope filter lying around, put it ahead of the BMS for more funk!
  16. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    The BMS is one of my favourite pedals, but!

    IMHO if you're playing covers, buy a keyboard. "Synth" bass kit is all well and good, and yeah the BMS makes awesome noises, but if you're trying to cop someone else's sound, or lots of other peoples' sounds, especially if those people were playing synths, you could end up spending a fortune on bass FX and still not cop it all.

    If you're dead set against using a keyboard and authenticity is key, the Roland V-Bass system seems to me to be the most sensible route. But buying a decent modelling synth would be cheaper.

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