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can an octave pedal do stuff besides octaves?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by fr0me0, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. fr0me0


    Dec 7, 2004
    Winnipeg Canada
    Like could it put a bass thats in drop D into drop C?

    I'm trying out for a band tomorrow that plays in C and I tuned my bass to it and its really sloppy. is there anyway an octave pedal could knock it down a step for me or does it only work in octaves?

    is there any kinda of other solution that anyone knows of?
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    no, you'd need a pitch shifter pedal such as the boss ps-5.

    Even then, the results won't sound that great. I've tried it in the past.

    If you're going to be in drop tuning constantly, maybe get strings more suited that tuning.
  3. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    There's a reason why it's called an "octave" pedal - it does octaves. What you're thiking of is a "pitch shifter". This would change the pitch of all the notes you play, not just on the low string.

    The best solution would probably be use a heavier gauge string to get a reasonable tension on the low-C. However, this would likely require a setup (truss rod, intonation, etc.).
  4. fr0me0


    Dec 7, 2004
    Winnipeg Canada
    so realisticly a pitch shifter is going to sound pretty crappy? I guess i'm just going to have to bite bullet and set up a bass with heavier strings and stuff.
  5. You could try it with a Digitech Whammy, one of those settings will get you down to those. but even then, it wont sound good unless your using a distortion, whammies don't track well clean.
  6. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    You can get a pitch shifter to sound pretty good.
    It's latency that kills it. Depending on the string you play there's always a few millisecond lag between the note you play and what gets out.
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I sometimes use an EBS Octabass...you can turn down the normal 'octave' to 0(is that called 'dry'?) & hear only the lower octave.
    Anyway, what I'm saying is you play a "C" note on the "A"-string & it approximates a low "C" on a 5-string bass...maybe not as clean, although 'thicker'.

    Bear in mind, anything on the "E"-string may become unusable.
  8. idoru


    Dec 18, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    I just read a good article about MIDI today which explained that nicely: any sensor for incoming audio needs at least half a wavelength to determine the pitch of the note. That's fine for higher strings on a guitar, but when even a guitar's low E needs ~10 ms to be read, and 5+ ms for signal processing, it puts me off getting a divided pup & synth unit for bass. The inherent latency would be too high for my tastes - the sad part is that things are unlikely to ever get much better as you just cannot change the laws of physics :(
  9. I've recently tried to find opinions on the MX M-88 octave pedal....not alot out there. As for MIDI and bass, I've had some great sucesses. These days midi requires a computer processing Cubase at 3.0Ghz with 1 or 2 Gb ram, and 2 or more 80gb hard drives......then you're there. Roland's bass p/u and converter unit is great! Set up of the pup/guitar is REALLY important.

    Balancing the wet/dry signal thru a "sound sampler" (eg: Halion) will not only give you an octave, above or below the fundamental, but also allow you to choose the instrument for the octave track. Lots of fun........:D

    Maybe some help I hope.........D.g
  10. Why's that necessary to process midi? :confused:
  11. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    So the problem is that they want you to play lower notes than you have? ..Or you have to use a lot of open strings?

    When you say that this band 'plays in C', You mean that's the key of the songs they write?

    If I were you, I'd tune the bass to B, using four strings out of a 5-string set. I guess I'm saying this because it would preserve the fret positions - I mean you could play the way you're used-to by just 'moving-over a string'.

    I'd kind'a freak on having my bass tuned to an 'in-between' key like that. I play 5-string, my self - tuned with a low-B.

    The guitarists are tuned to low-C? Are they special baritone guitars?

  12. gravaged


    Dec 9, 2005
    If the band is tuned to Drop-C its probably (90% chance) some modern metal or alt-rock band who will be playing really simple power chord stuff. I'd be surprised if they knew what keys their songs were played in.

    Are you using really light strings with low action? Try raising your action to improve the "sloppy" sound first. If that isn't enough, step up the string gauge. I would try a cheap set of nickel Heavy 4's or Medium 5's (the top 4 of course, saving the G as a spare for when you play standard-tuned later on) from Webstrings.com, to see which will work best.
  13. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    +1 I tried a Roland MIDI bass in the mid 80s and made the same conclusion. I use MIDI with my keyboards, foot pedals, and Chapman Stick (via a Roland GK-2A on the treble side). But have not entertained putting a MIDI interface on a bass.

    In using an Octave pedal with a bass, it works best with notes played higher up the register with the pedal set for an octave lower. If I was going to MIDI a bass, I'd play the parts an octave up (to minimize the recognition latency) and have the MIDI proceessor take it down an octave.
  14. psi


    Mar 11, 2005
    New Jersey
    This is not entirely correct in the advent of neural network MIDI processors (e.g., the Axon).