Can the Bassdrive do smooth?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by bassguppy, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. bassguppy


    Jan 8, 2003
    Maybe I'm having trouble locating all the clips out there of the Fulltone Bassdrive but of the ones I've heard it sounds more "grindy, slightly trebly, almost raw" if you know what I'm talking about. Can the BassDrive do a more creamy, smoother overdrive? Something similar to Jack Bruce, Geezer, etc. I've heard the BJE Blueberry (not easily found) and OCD clips and they are something that's in the ballpark.
  2. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger

    Feb 21, 2006
    Boise, ID, USA
    Funny that you mentioned Jack Bruce... according to the Fulltone website, he proudly uses a Fulltone Bassdrive nowadays. :p

    Anyhow... it's important to realize that most recorded clips on TalkBass are done without an amp. An amp provides an important layer of color that can make a "raw" sounding overdrive pedal sound creamy. The interaction between an amp and a pedal is very different than that of a pedal going directly into a recording interface.

    It's my understanding that the Bassdrive can be very mild, but there really haven't been any clips on TB demonstrating that. I would blame the users of those pedals for not choosing to show that side of the pedal.
  3. bassman251


    Jan 30, 2007
    Funny that you mentioned that too. In my setup I describe my fulltone bassdrive as a creamy smooth overdrive. I'm sure one can get different sounds out of it though.
  4. Racermech


    Apr 10, 2007
    I would also agree that the bassdrive is pretty "creamy". Sure, at lower drive settings, it can be kind of grindy and punchy. But, at higher drive settings it gets so smooth that my fingerstyle playing loses most of its definition and becomes a big smooth sound.

    It also really depends on which mode you are using. The "comp cut" is pretty punchy, but the "vintage" (I think that is the name of it) is very buttery.
  5. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger

    Feb 21, 2006
    Boise, ID, USA
    True... and now that I think about it, practically all the clips on TB were done in FM mode.

    Someone owes us some vintage mode clips!
  6. The staple of the Bassdrive is smooth, mild overdrive - it is the antithesis to buzzy and clanky.
    It has a tone knob that is basically a high roll-off (like what is on your passive bass) so you can tailor to taste.

    Something to remember - if you want a nice sounding overdrive, you MUST turn your tweeter off on your cab (I refuse to buy cabs with tweeters, so it's not a problem for me). Tweeters only accentuate the harsh treble tones when there is OD going through them.

    If you want that vintage thing (Jack and Geezer) the Bassdrive is the ticket. Roll back the tone knob (on the pedal) to remove some of the treble, set the drive to your desired level, then use the volume knob to bring you back to unity gain.

    I tweak mine to ear and mood, but usually, I have the tone around 3:00 and the drive around 9:00. The volume and boost knobs I adjust to the basses output (the drive knob as well - hotter pickups will require lower drive settings).

    The boost knob adjusts the volume of the boost when the boost switch is engaged. By hitting the boost switch, it has the same effect as if you turned the drive knob all the way up.

    The comp-cut is designed to be a CLEAN BOOST ONLY. I have read some people say negative things about this pedal, then go on to say they were only using it in Comp-cut mode. This is where user expectations and designer intentions failed to meet. The purpose of the comp-cut is to hit the front end of an all tube amp hard, thus creating tube overdrive from the amp. In comp-cut mode, all knobs (other than volume) and the boost switch do nothing.

    Another thing, don't be afraid to use the full range of the knobs with this pedal. I can't tell you how many times I have played with guys that think there is some mythical range in a knobs travel and anything all the way left to or right must be unusable.

    I have had the Bassdrive for years. It is the only piece of gear that has never been swapped out (basses, cabs, amps and all my other pedals have been upgraded or changed at some point). And I don't plan on letting go of it. I believe that it is the best overdrive you can buy. Some people buy it expecting it to sound like a Muff or a Rat or a fuzz, etc. That is not what it's for. It is the most touch sensitive, dynamic OD you can buy.
  7. thejohnkim


    Sep 30, 2003
    i've owned a couple of fulltone bassdrives and i agree with what the OP is hearing. while it is smoother than other pedals like the rat, odb, muff, etc, the clipping is still more harsh and raspy than pedals that have a much warmer type of clipping such as the mxr blowtorch and tech 21 sansamp. however, the tone of all these pedals differ as well, as a separate trait from the type of clipping i hear.

    however, when i owned a bassdrive, you can get a smooth overdrive sound if you use certain amps that are less hi-fi and more vintage. i don't really use vintage sounding cabs, so the best examples i have first-hand are ampeg combos. but once i moved it over to my studio monitors and acme cabs, and even eden xst cab, the sound of the bassdrive changed to become much more aggressive and not 'creamy' at all. still sounded good, but nothing like a warm synth-y fuzz a la mxr blowtorch.

    but if you do get a bassdrive, just roll the tone knob back to take out the highs, and then what you get left, is a nice chunky and smooth overdrive. i personally liked vintage mode and compcut code. didn't like the volume jump..esp in comp-cut
  8. lowmid


    Feb 2, 2005
    I had one for about 2 months but sold it (not all the features I was looking for) But its a GREAT pedal for smooth overdrive, what you get in vintage mode is very buttery and FM mode is a little bit colder, in the sense that is affects the tone of your bass much less than in vintage mode. So I'd say go for it it's nice. if you want a little more grit you can also buy the mosfet bassdrive which has an option for adding mosfets in the feedback loop, giving a slitghy warmer tone (a bit more fuzzy)

  9. assboglin

    assboglin Inactive

    Jul 13, 2007
    If you want a creamy sound from a Fulltone Bass-Drive, you'll want to turn the tone knob down a lot, probably run it in vintage mode, and definitely run it through a tube amp.

    I did samples for the Fulltone Bass-Drive Mosfet and you can find them in the DataBass thread, including the smoothest Vintage mode, but for the samples I did I'm going for a more aggressive sound, which is kind of my thing, but also the Bass-Drive didn't really inspire me to want a creamier sound. It may not be it's strong point, but I'm sure you can do a lot worse for a creamy sounding pedal.

    OK here's the soundclip of the vintage mode, see if you think this is creamy:

    You can turn the tone down and get an even creamier tone if that's too aggressive, turn the gain down if it's too hairy, whatever, but that should at least give you some kind of benchmark.