Best pedal to go from standard tuning to 1/2 step down?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Pedulla-Player, Jun 17, 2020.

  1. Pedulla-Player

    Pedulla-Player Founder of the WI Bassist Club / Bassist for SLAB

    Mar 5, 2009
    My band plays in both standard tuning and 1/2 step down to help the vocalist sing a few certain songs. Instead of re-tuning between sets a few times I would sure rather be able to have a pedal drop my tuning 1/2 step for me. I also prefer the way my bass plays tuned standard compared to drop tuned. I heard that with some drop tune pedals you have to sacrifice some tone - true or not I have no idea. I'd prefer to keep my tone as is.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
  2. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right?

    Apr 9, 2012
    Occasional Beta Tester for Confusion Studios, Singular Sound, and Source Audio
    A few years back I did this:
    Pitchshifting---a blind shootout for your perusal

    TL;DR - the Digitech Drop beat the Eventide Pitchflex algorithm (barely), the Morpheus Droptune, and the pitchshifter in my Line6 M5.

    Some people swear by the EHX Pitchfork but it's not really intended for this purpose, though you can use it that way. However, it doesn't do 1/2 step as one of its settings, you would have to use an expression pedal to estimate the middle pitch on its full step setting. I have never played the Pitchfork, at least one review I saw directly compared the Drop and Pitchfork and said the Drop had better latency and tone for this purpose. I've seen people on TB disagree. YMMV.

    EVERYTHING will affect your tone to some degree. For the Drop, at the 1/2 step setting, it's minimal but not zero. Again, YMMV. Same with latency.

    For really high end (read: expensive) stuff I liked what I heard out of some demos with Axe FX.
    MDBass, Ultradust and Pedulla-Player like this.
  3. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    My humble opinion- they all sound like synthesizers. I just use basses that have a note in between the full steps.
  4. Pedulla-Player

    Pedulla-Player Founder of the WI Bassist Club / Bassist for SLAB

    Mar 5, 2009
    So far sounds like I thought it would. Guess I'll just stick to re-tuning between sets.
  5. Digitech Bass Whammy
  6. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    DFW Metro
    Only thing I can recommend is to downtune and recapo back to standard. I used to do this on guitar when a set needed both standard and Eb. You will have to get used to all fretted notes being a fret above where you'd expect them at all times; that's easier when the song is all first-position chords on the gitfiddle, but if you bounce around up and down the fretboard it can be a much more difficult mental exercise.
    Pedulla-Player and Eli_Kyiv like this.
  7. sillyfabe

    sillyfabe keeping the low-end silly since '06

    Mar 13, 2009
    San Bernardino,CA
    I use a EHX HOG2 with great results using the filter and resonance to find the tone I want. It also has the spectral gate.
    Pedulla-Player likes this.
  8. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Two basses.
  9. Ultradust

    Ultradust Commercial User

    May 19, 2007
    Seoul, Republic of Korea
    General Manager, Moollon
    Along the lines of one of the above replies, the Digitech Drop is quite effective in retaining most of original timbre with very little latency in smaller intervals, and if you do have to go the digital route, it's probably the best at doing it, maybe down to a major 2nd or minor 3d (everything below that quite poorly tracks on bass).

    If it had to do with subbing for a 5-string or tracking in the studio I'd have nothing add, but for a live performance needs with just a half-step on tap, I'd feel that the Drop would be more than sufficient with little to complain about.
  10. Lex P.

    Lex P. You've got it awful loud -Kathy P.

    Mar 19, 2003
    I agree and in a live situation I would be surprised if anyone would notice a difference. I can tell a very slight difference when flipping back and forth when I am playing alone but with the band...meh. The reason I got mine was because my SRV obsessed guitarist would switch guitars at the drop of a hat and play an unscheduled SRV song! It made life easy!
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    This, if it's an option, but IMO it should be. I never gig without backup. When I played a few sub gigs with a band that detuned for half their set, my backup bass became the detuned bass.

    FWIW I currently play in a few bands, some of which play in standard, some 1/2 step down. So, I keep half my basses in standard, half detuned. Fortunately none of my current bands switches tunings mid-gig! So for each gig I bring a pair of basses in the appropriate tuning.
  12. TheDirtyLowDown


    Mar 8, 2014
    Piling on here, but if it's only a half step, just bring two basses and switch. Our lead guitarist has used a Digitech Drop, and it's pretty good, FWIW. Good luck! Our lead singer often asks for tunes to be 1.5 -> 2 steps lower, so I envy you.
  13. 2112

    2112 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    Lex P. and Pedulla-Player like this.
  14. Our rhythm guitarist uses a digitech drop a lot and I messed with his. If you’re playing a 4 string the digitech drop works pretty good to get to Eb. The farther you drop the pitch using the pedal the more artificial it sounds but for 1/2 step or even a full step it works pretty darn good. Something else I noticed is running it into an overdrive helps make it sound even better as the overdrive masks some of the artificialness of the drop.
    Pedulla-Player likes this.
  15. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Bergantino-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    All detuning pedals degrade the tones and induce latency unfortunately.

    The Digitech Drop is the best one, but I still found it an unacceptable compromise.