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boss phaser or flanger

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by KB, Mar 21, 2000.

  1. KB

    KB Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Has anyone used a boss flanger or phaser with their bass? Did you like the sound. I assume you can get real psychedleic with these. Also what is the difference between them. I have heard a phaser on a regular guitar and i liked the sound, but I havn't heard one on a bass. I think "The Cure" use one of these effects on about everything in their music but I am not sure. Any comments.


  2. puppeteering


    Mar 16, 2000
    Hey now,

    Flangers are a lot more sonically versatile than phasers, in my opinion. Ultimately, if overused, they will muddy things up if you're not careful. The Flanger would be my bet if you were to have one or the other. I use an Electro-Harmonix Small Stone, and I find in one setting it does some nice swishy stuff in the high range of the bass. Lower stuff still sounds kinda mushy, so I try to include octaves or higher end runs within my low open string drones to really bring out the effect.


    - Andy Z.
  3. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    KB --

    Try to find one that's designed for bass. Either of the ones you mentioned will cause the bottom to drop out every "swoosh" cycle. This isn't a problem for solos, but it's crummy in a groove.

    Most of the ones designed for bass affect only the upper frequencies so the bottom stays clean and strong. I THINK Boss makes a bass flanger but I'm not sure...
  4. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I use a Boss flanger (the purple one) on bass and it's great-it's probably the strangest sounding Boss pedal there is biggrin. . You can go from subtle chorusing type fx to zany swooshes to weird hollow cavelike resonance just by twirling the dials. Granted it's not necessarily appropriate to do this in songs calling for tasteful bass, but it's great for freak out sections in more exploratory pieces. Boss used to make a bass flanger pedal that had a mix control but fewer knobs--I haven't tried it. The regular one works fine, preserving the bass' punch. I used to own a Boss Super Phaser and was not as impressed with it-it had some interesting sounds, but mode 1 was too gentle while mode 2 was too extreme for my uses. MXR makes some really good classic stompbox phasers (and a flanger too). In general, I've had better luck with stompboxes for bass than kitchen sink processors (like the Boss or Digitechs) that impose arbirary limitations on your sound-it's a lot easier to reach down during a gig to twist a knob than it is to scroll thru endless menus.

  5. number28


    May 4, 2000
    I think I remember reading in guitar magazine that when they asked Robert Smith (The Cure) about his trademark bass sound he's had since the cure started, he said he's been using the same boss pedals set the same w/ same damn cabs for years. If I remember right, Chorus and Delay were the main ones I think. I don't remember him saying anything about a flanger, but I wouldn't be suprised. One band though that I know for sure uses a flanger is Alice in Chains. Their bass player has used one in a few songs, and I know he even used one on his acoustic bass for their mtv unplugged on the song "over now" i think it was.... or maybe it was "brother." Anyway, I think if you're looking for The Cure's sound, the flanger probably isn't your best bet first. Personally, I think the phaser is a more useful effect.
  6. Simon Gallup (their bassist) did use a flanger (not sure what model) on a number of earlier Cure basslines.
  7. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    When I bought my phaser, I A/B'd it with a flanger. Both were Boss. I ended up buying the Boss PH-3 (I think that's the model). I found it to be a little sweeter sounding.

    The thing with effects, however, is that they can be very personal. You'll have to ultimately see which one fits you best. Or, another idea is to just buy each one:D
  8. I find a flanger on bass is a bit too much most of the time. A slight phaser effect is nice - adds a lot of swirl and thickness to the sound.

    As people have mentioned, the main problem with any effect like these (incl. tremelo, vibrato) is that frequencies are lost as the sound swirls - which is the normal state of things with these effects. The thing is that ALL frequencies tend to swirl; bass, being dependant on low frequencies, can seem to get holes in the sound where the frequencies drop off. Chorus is probably a better (and easier) effect to use on bass where some swirl and glitter is required.

    Bass-specific pedals/units are best; also any that have a separate Blend control - that way you can mix the straight and FX'ed signals.

    Try out any effect you can - you'll soon find those that turn you on. Try out effects in a band situation (if you can) as well - FX that sound killer solo can either get lost or bury the fundamental bass sound behind other instruments.
  9. Small Stone is a phaser, so which one do you actually have - a phaser or a flanger?
  10. paigehaleyrulez


    Mar 25, 2001
    a chorus and delay will basically make a flange noise
    a flanger is actualy a chorus and flange
  11. p0w3rman5ooo


    Aug 27, 2000
    I use a yamaha fl-10mII flanger pedal, ive made alot of songs for my band on it, i throw all teh knobs to 10 and i get a cool sound, like a puddle of water, i used that sound on one song. try using a flanger with trills and vibratos. and yes i like run on sentences
  12. PawleeP


    Oct 8, 2012
    thanx yall, needed info on a lot of the above.. mainly phasers and flangers.. chorus is old hat .. just kidding
  13. I use a boss BF-3 and it has a bass-specific input which really keeps the bottom end from dropping out. It also has a gate/pan/slicer effect that is pretty cool. I can get a synths modulated body wave with little swooshing, or a more typical top-end swooshy jet plane kind of sound depending on how I set it.

    I tried the older phaser, still green, maybe PH-2? Anyway I found I was losing the low end at certain parts of the cycle. Now that I have more dirt I bet I could use a phaser, but with the boss flanger and a cool boutique chorus it seems I have enough modulation. I could see the right phaser working in most situations where I use the flanger, but the BF-3 really works for me so I'll just stick with it for now.
  14. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    I recently acquired a BF-3. I like it a lot.
  15. I'm gonna have to go with Flanger too.

    If you are going Boss you don't need a "bass
    specific" pedal. Try a BF-3 or maybe a used
    BF-2. The BF-2 Doesn't have a separate bass
    input but still sounds freakin' awesome.

    Personally I prefer the BF-2 but thats probably
    because I have had it on my board for the past
    18 years.
  16. Darknut


    Apr 4, 2009
    I use a BF-3 these days but I used a BF-2 for years and both are good ..... IMHO the BF-3 is better on bass with the bonus of the gate and momentary modes.

    Def like a flanger over a phaser on bass
  17. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Simon uses the following Boss guitar effect pedals: BF-2 Flanger, CE-5 Chorus Ensemble, MT-2 Distortion, DD-3 Digital Delay and NS-2 Noise Suppressor.

    BF-2 is a terrific flanger and it's analog.
    The BF-3 has an expanded range but it's digital.
    I like to keep my stuff analog, but it's just me.

    MXR just came out with a Bass Chorus deluxe which incorporates a great flanger. You get two pedals for the price of one and both are terrific.

    Other options the AD/A flanger is the mother of all flangers. The Arion Bass flanger (out of production) is very nice.

    For Phasers the Moog Phaser MF103 is breathtaking. Also Boss PH-1R sounds very good on bass.
  18. PawleeP


    Oct 8, 2012
    Thanx Laurent, greatly appreciate all the suggestions...

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