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Boss RC-20 or Line6 DL4..HELP!!!!

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Murf, Apr 9, 2002.


  1. Murf

    Murf

    Mar 28, 2001
    Ireland
    Hi Steve,
    Having recently downloaded 'Drifting' from your website I've become fascinated by this 'solo bass' idea and as such I've been devouring as much info as I can. Currently I'm doing some work with a classically trained guitarist who's writings/songs heavily rely on the idea of 'soundscapes' (ie he writes 'mood' music), now there are only 2 of us and his sound is pretty full (he uses a Roland VG8) and after hearing what you did on 'drifting' the approach seems perfect for me to accompany this guitarist.

    Now I've recently come across both the Boss RC-20 and the Line6 DL4 here in Dublin (which is amazing 'cos most music shops here tend to give you a choice of distortion pedal or distortion pedal) and having tried both I'm leaning more towards the Line6, I like the spacey ambient sounds I can get from it especially with my fretless BUT it only has 18 seconds loop time as opposed to the 5 minutes with the Boss pedal however the Boss dosent have the sounds that the Line6, as I'm fairly new at this could you give me your opinion on these and advise as to which would probably suit me (as a beginner looper) better.

    Thanks in advance

    Niall
     
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi Niall,

    my personal preference is for the DL4 - it actually has 28 seconds of loop time (you can loop in half speed mode, and the sample rate is still excellent), and also has those fantastic double speed and backwards options, as well as all the other delay sounds that it offers, which for soundscaping are vital. If you got the Boss pedal, you'd have the extra loop time and the option to store loops, but you would need some other pedals or a multi FX unit to get you moving.

    Have a listen to the various sound clips from my new CD with pianist Jez Carr - they are available on my website - the whole album was recorded 'live' in the studio (ie one take, at the same time, no editting) and the only pedal that I use on the whole thing is the DL4 - any sound that you hear that isn't piano is me with my 6 string fretless and the DL4... it's a pretty versatile pedal.

    If you've already got some other processing gear, you might get on well with the Roland, but as a stand alone soundscaping box, the DL4 wins for my money...

    have fun, and let me know if you get any sound-clips together...

    cheers

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk (new album, listen and order here)
     
  3. Murf

    Murf

    Mar 28, 2001
    Ireland
    Thanks Steve,

    Thats exactly what I was thinking myself, its great to get a pros confirmation as well :)

    Best of luck with the CD and you can be sure I'll be purchasing it...(of course if its anything like your others it'll probably make me just want to give up altogether :D


    cheers
     
  4. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Make you want to give up?????? Nah, gotta get passed that one. I remember the feeling - when I first started listening to 'bass' music (whatever the hell that is), thinking 'I can't even imagine how people do that!!!', but I soon realised that either a) I didn't actually want to do it after all (x-ref endless crap tapping albums), or b) it was all much simpler than it sounded... :oops:)

    that's the magic of looping - it takes the focus off 'chops' and places it on music, texture, harmony etc... you can build up some very very rich music without having to play big-stretch chords, tap, slap, whatever... you can put the piece down one track at a time, and use your sense of space and form to make the music work rather than the twiddly stuff..

    ...it's all smoke and mirrors! :oops:)

    cheers

    Steve (new CD - listen and order here)
     
  5. Murf

    Murf

    Mar 28, 2001
    Ireland
    WOW!! couldnt have said it better myself, its funny but I find as I'm getting older I'm going further and further away from bass 'pyrotechnics', slapping, tapping, playing with your eyelashes just dosent appeal to me anymore, that's why I'm getting a great buzz investigating this solo bass idea and I'm intrigued with the sonic possibilities.

    I know for a fact there are two tracks I do with this guitarist friend of mine (who in fairness is an ASTONISHING musician....even though he plays guitar;) where the ability to create loops/ambient soundscapes would work perfectly..ESPECIALLY in a live situation.
     
  6. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    there does seem to be a bit of a shift away from that sort of mindless, technique-centric way of playing in the last few years, which can only be good news... and it's not that chops are bad, it's all about the order you put things in - what's your priority, impressing bassists or writing great music??? I end up kind of torn when I get reviews and write-ups that go on about the technical side of what I do, as it's so not what it's about... as far as I can tell, there's not really such a thing as 'bass music' at least not as far as anyone else who's not playing bass thinks, so why do we get so hung up on it? I guess it's that underdog thing, trying to prove that we can be as fast and flash as the guitarists...

    well, fortunately, lots of people with mullets and spandex did all of that in the 80s, so now we can focus on the music... there are some great players coming out with solo bass stuff now - here on talkbass there's Max Valentino (searhc for Max at www.mp3.com ) and Michael Dimin (www.michaeldimin.com ) who've both released fine albums in the last few months. Then there are guys like Ed Friedland (you HAVE to go and listen to the MP3s on his website, his solo looping stuff is fantastic - www.edfriedland.com ) and Todd Johnson ( www.revjazz.com ) who are fantastic, and are really going to make a splash when they release their solo CDs... and of course, Michael Manring, who continues to get deeper deeper inside what his Hyperbass can do, whilst still managing to get further and further away from chops driven drivel... :oops:)

    have a look at http://www.solobassnetwork.org.uk - the mailing list is dormant at the moment, but the links page has got loads of links to people doing crazy stuff with solo bass - plenty of inspiration there...

    cheers

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk (new CD, listen and order here)
     
  7. Murf

    Murf

    Mar 28, 2001
    Ireland
    Thanks Steve,

    (I agree Ed Friedland is 'da man'........great instruction books too).
     
  8. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Seconded re. Ed's books - there are VERY few good bass books around, and Ed's are some of the clearest, most useful and consistent teaching methods I've ever come across... he one of the few authors that doesn't bring me out in a cold sweat when students turn up with a pile of his books that they've been working through... :oops:)

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  9. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Thanks for the very kind "plug", Steve. I have been out and about, so to speak, doing some duet gigs with your pal, and fellow edp-wrangler, Andre LaFosse...which were great fun and truely inspiring!
    I think you really hit on some thing in mentioning that looping opens up creative avenues which have little or nothing to do with the mullet-crazed, show off, chops heavy "lead bass" syndrome of yore.
    Through the use(s) of looping devices, (btw, I second the vote for the DL4, I use one along with a JamMan, soon to be augmented by an edp, and find it to be a most wonderful, fun and creative instrument) it is possible to truely get inside a tune, and explore the MUSICAL possibilities sans wanker-isms. As a solo bassist, this has made it possible for me to really express my own creative desires, and explore new compostional and improvisational approaches.
    I strongly urge bassists, as well as players of other instruments....or those who find creative realease through found sounds...to explore some of the real time loopers out there. The DL4, Boomerrang, and Boss RC20 are all fairly affordable and can be great and valuable aids in the exploration of music and sound.
    Oh...there are mp3s of three of the tunes from my cd athttp://www.mp3.com/max_valentino best always... Max
     
  10. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Max,

    thanks for chipping in - your music is a prime example of where the new wave of solo bass is heading - melodic, textural, emotive... I'd have loved to see you playing with Andre - he's one of my favourite musicians in the world at the moment (check out his website at www.altruistmusic.com ) and I'm looking forward to playing with him again next time I'm in CA...

    The rest of you, do check out Max's music at http://www.mp3.com/max_valentino - good stuff, well worth checking out. Ordering details for his CD are available on the MP3 site...

    Taking over the world, one bass at a time (a phrase coined by Ed Friedland...)

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  11. Murf

    Murf

    Mar 28, 2001
    Ireland
    :eek: Oh my God,
    I just checked out some of Max's stuff on mp3.com...and all I can say is anyone who can come up with the idea of using crocodile clips over harmonic node points to create amazing percussive effects (ON AN ACOUSTIC BASS!!!!) deserves respect..

    way to go Max

    great tunes as well by the way :)

    Jeez this has suddenly opened up a whole world of new possibilities for me.

    On a side note, I've been reading about the "loop" festival that Steve, Max and Michael Manring did last year(I think) so Steve, any chance of recording any future gigs you guys do to-gether?
    It would be great to have a complilation of this stuff for inspiration.

    cheers

    Niall
     
  12. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Murf,

    we did record the gigs on the last tour - I was listening to the show from San Jose just the other day, thinking how good it was... at some point in the future I hope it will appear on CD, perhaps to coincide with another tour... Some of Max's playing from the tour made it onto his CD - I'm sure it says on the box if you buy a copy (mine is at home and I'm in the studio at the moment...)

    Max's use of Alligator clips is indeed a great idea - I'd heard it done a lot in avant garde circles as a weird effect for scary noise, but Rick Walker and Max are the first people I've met to use it as musically as they do. I've got a great piece recorded from a radio show that we did with Rick and I duetting where Rick is playing a bass prepared with alligator clips, using percussion mallets as though it was a hammer dulcimer... the guy's crazy.... :oops:)

    I'm sure Max will chip in with some more of his great prepared bass ideas - it's not an area I've explored much, I've tending to look for altered technques just using my hands and processing, rather than sticking things to my bass...

    cheers

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  13. Murf

    Murf

    Mar 28, 2001
    Ireland
    Heh 'CROCODILE' clips.......doh!!:D

    That idea of using mallets like a dulcimer reminds me of Tony Levins story about 'inventing/discovering' his funk fingers technique, I think it was when he was recording Big Time with Peter Gabriel and for one section he put the bass down and had the drummer hammer out the rhythm on the bass while he fretted the notes.

    my brain is starting to hurt now :D
     
  14. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Murf: Thanks very much for the compliments, and I am glad you enjoyed my music.
    BTW...you can e-mail me to get info on acquiring your very own copy of "A Caravan Of Dreams"...
    on to the topic of Aligator or crocodile clips:
    It was not MY idea, really. As Steve pointed out, players in avant garde circles had been using the technique of "preparing" their instruments for some time. I borrowed the concept from Bill Laswell and Fred Frith, both of whomn used the technique to extemes for some very sinsiter and frightening effects (I had seen them both even weave kitchen utensils thru their strings..then play!), and I had also done some study into John Cage's prepared piano techniques. Rick Walker really helped me out by making suggestions of clipping points...he has done some wildly creative stuff with his own very mutated bass!
    After much experimentation I found that placing the clips over harmonic nodes ABOVE the fingerboard gave both the metallic "clipped" sound, the harmonic and a muffled tone all together, thusly providing a faux gamelan or steel drum type sound. I use this quite a bit, in conjunction with my loopers, and "normal" string muting, percussive slaps et al. to create some of the drum-like rhythm beds I use in a few tunes. I have also found, thru the recent duets with Andre LaFosse, that the technique is also wonderful in improvisational music. By moving the clipped points to other nodes, aftercreating a looped part, you can make a percussion'd loop evolve and and change over the length of an improvised performance. Very cool, indeed. This is not to mention the look of astonishment on the faces of the audience ans they watch you apply clips to your bass! :-0)
    Max
     
  15. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    On the subject of Avante Garde bass, at the moment I'm listening to a CD by Mark Dresser, called 'Invocation' which is all for solo double bass, but heavily effected double bass, and using some pretty extreme techniques... well worth checking out if you like that sort of thing. I think there's a link to his website from http://www.solobassnetwork.org.uk

    cheers

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  16. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Steve....I too have that Mark Dresser CD! I have listened to quite a bit of his stuff, and it is really amazing. He possess an array of phenomenal techniques for the DB, and gets some of the wildest tones I have ever heard.
    If I understand right, he does a lot of manual effecting; that is using his hands to wrangle and mangle tones from the bass itself. Playing an ABG myself, I have been working very much in this vein...using my hands (and perhaps the sundry alligator clip or two :-0) to create "effects". Watching you perform "Drifting" was, by the way, a seminal moment for me...an awakening, so to speak.

    On that note....and it is funny how this began as a thread on looping devices...I strongly urge any reading this to go to Steve's website and check out his clip of "Drifting". A great tune with an amazing ersatz-koto intro which still sets me rushing to my bass everytime I hear it.....
    or better yet, order the CD (and by the way, I will be ordering my copy of your new duet CD, Steve!)
    Max
     
  17. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Thanks very much for that, Max - Drifting is probably my favourite track of my first CD, and that pinched harmonic intro (the Koto bit) has cropped up again and again in things that I do... :oops:) Is it OK to Plagarise your own music??

    I really like what you're doing with the ABG/prepared bass interface (this is turning into a mutual appreciation thread, but it's good to find out what you're up to and let others chip in as well, I guess... ;o) - what other prepared techniques have you looked at? How do you find the piezo pickup responds to percussion on the body of the bass? I've seen you use muted strings for percussive sounds, but have you done much with hammering directly onto the bridge or the body of your bass? It might be fun to see if Godin with fit a second piezo ala Manthing onto the body of your bass for scratchy noises, percussion and some strange resonances. How hollow is the Godin? Oooh, so many questions!

    Did you record any of the gigs with Andre? I'd love to hear what you got up to...

    cheers

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  18. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    aw shucks, Steve....
    Yes, I have been doing some "playing" the body of the bass. the Godins are semi-hollow, and much like the Turner Renaissance and Rob Allen designs, consist of two hollow chambers, which in this case are careved out of the solid, 1 pc maple body. They are quite resonant. MIne are equipped with LR Baggs Ribbon Transducers, which I have found to be much more responsive than other piezo systems to top vibrations. Even so, the responsivness to top vibrations is much diminished in comparison to the sensitivity to downward string pressure. I have been considering a change to a Baggs Duet system or a Highlander system which would incorporate a small condenser mic placed inside one of the chambers. This would make playing the top, and body, much more viable.
    Yet, I do frequently tap out rhythms on the bridge, bridgepins (yes, Godins, unlike many other ABGs, have bridgepins), and saddle...all of which produce different tones. Quite often these positions produce a very tight and focused sound, much like a klick drum beater. Using a looper (remember, this thread was originally about loopers...) I can loop those rhythms and then overdub some whacks across the muted strings to place some air around those.
    Another trick I am keen on is playing mutes with my right wrist while I finger false harmonics (even as triple stops) above the fingerboard. It produces a tone similar to your koto-effect, but imagine that mixed with those dreadful dx7 steel drum sounds! :0)
    Many of the percussive techniques I use are borrowed from studies in flamenco guitar....and from an amazing Abe Laboriel video I have. Abe has the most dazzling array of right and left hand techniques, which are way beyond tricks and flash. They are very creative and extraordinary examples of the seemingly unlimited possibilities for MUSICALITY on the bass guitar (much like yerself, Steve!). These techniques can be done on solid body basses, but what attracts me about the ABG is the sonic anomallies which are inherent to acoustic instruments. Not only does this make the player approach and play the instrument differently, but in turn, the instrument gives something back to the player. Add to that the extended dynamic response of and acoustic instrument, and the extended frequecy response of the piezos...well, you get the idea. This added freq range also makes for a wide pallette of tones; far beyond the faux-upright sound ABGs have a reputation for.
    The only trade off in using piezos is that the ouput impedence, even thru a high quality buffered on board preamp, is higher than mag pus. This means plugging into ANY fx box gives you some signal loading or other sonic compromises. I have found this to be the case with the DL4 (hey...we're back to loopers, again!). Altho, for most, (even our pal Rick)this compromise is hardly noticable or at very least worthwhile, I have found it not acceptable and so use my DL4 on mag pu equipped basses only.
    Of course, with ABGs, the greater dynamic response means a plethora of right and left hand techniques are now at your disposal. With the right strings (Thomastick Acousticores) even a fretted ABG can be made to swell its notes like a fretless. I use an "apoyando" right hand technique which, again, is borrowed from classical/falmenco guitar. In this style, even slapping is available as a technique (notice I did not say "style") in playing. Even the much ballyhooed "double thumbing" technique can be used (which, btw, is adapted for bass from a flamenco triplet technique). Of course when I slap on the acoustic it is a far cry from the rather cliched and tired psuedo-funk we are all getting a bit weary of hearing. I will use thumb slaps more for timbral and dynamic effect.
    oh yes....using these techniques, and studying fingerstyle and flamenco guitarists, has also made me grow out my fingernails on my thumb and index finger to allow for still more timbral and dynamic possibilities. I guess now might be a good time to ask for recommendations on nail varnish ;-)
    No recordeings with Andre, yet. But, Hans L. did video one show...in which our set was interrupted by onstage entrance of a "looping groupie" (yes, really!) we considered posting this to LD...but it seemed so far fetched and incredible that no one would believe it!
    best always,
    Max
     
  19. Steve Cat

    Steve Cat

    Mar 19, 2001
    It would be real nice if you and/or max would elaborate on the use of alligator clips. My chances of seeing either of you live a pretty slim. I have puchased both of Steve's CD's and am trying, really hard to purchase Max's (Max, if you expect to sell any CD's you can't make it this hard.)

    PS why can't Talk Bass sell "indie" cd's...makes more sense to me than selling underware and coffee cups?
     
  20. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    I'll leave to Alligator clip explaination to Max - he uses it as a main part of his set, whereas I've not even experimented with it for many years... :oops:)

    As for CD sales - it would be cool if Talkbass.com had a CD shop, or at least a 'hub' where there were links to pages where you could buy them all..

    Max, time to find a simple online CD transaction deal, and get your website happening!! :oops:) you're losing sales dude... :oops:)

    However, I must say that Max's CD is worth the effort - you spend a lot of time trying to work out what on earth he's doing, but the rest of the time you'll just be digging the tunes... :oops:) I'm listening to Eberhard Weber at the moment, and there are some striking similarities in concept between what Max does and what Eberhard does... and Eberhard has had 25 years to refine his craft as a solo artist, Max is making great music with his first CD... that's not a bad place to be!!!

    cheers

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk