Changing tuning with a pedal

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by GregS, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. GregS


    Mar 29, 2014
    Hi Guys,

    I'm brand new to this Forum and have just started a new project where I will be playing bass in a 3 piece band. I'm finding in the material that we'll be playing that I'll need to tune up or down frequently during performances. To save time, I'd like to be able to do this with a pedal. I have a Digitech BP-355 and have tried the pitch shift effect on it (adjusting the "mix" so that it's 99% effect, 1% original signal - it won't go to 100% effect). That works, but the sound is far from pristine. It produces a noticable "warble", almost like a bad chorus. Does anyone out there know of a pedal that would serve this function? I'd hate to have to haul around several basses and take the time between songs to have to change basses, or have to frequently re-tune between songs.

  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
  3. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008
    Why don't u get a 5 strings bass?
    You will be able to play all this without changing tuning.
  4. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    If I could only own 36 basses what would they be?
    6 string bass.
  5. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Octave pedal.
  6. FerK


    Dec 11, 2011
    This has been discussed a few times already, and the community seems to agree that there isn't a good pedal to do this. I wonder if it's a real technology gap. Some members pointed out that the Eventie Pitchfactor does an OK job at 1/2 step detune:

    Haven't tried it yet, but it'd be a nice addition if it worked well. Anyone has experience with it to chime in ?
  7. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    Whammy. Or the new Basas Whammy coming out. Or you could just have two basses. I know you said you dont want to do that, but just having two wont be so bad. You could also just get a TC polytune and practice different tunings really fast. Or even get a Drop D tuner for a faster D.
  8. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    I don't think there are any pedals out on the market that will do it convincingly enough for live performance. Use two basses or a 5 string and minimize the different tunings that the band plays in.

    With 4 strings, if you're using Dropped D you can always get a Hipshot detuner to flip from E Standard to Dropped D very quickly. If you're using E Standard and Eb or D Standard and use two basses, coupled with the detuner that effectively gives you 4 different tunings.

    A 5 string is an option if you can transpose the songs effectively. That's not always easy to do if you're playing rock or metal and require pedaling on an open note regularly.

  9. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    if you were one of my students ( and I have had to do this before ) I would make you justify your decisions, your 'need' to change your tuning

    So I will put you on the spot. Why do you need to change tunings? Are there alot of openstring hammers? If not some reason you cannot play all of your songs from the lowest tuning?

    1) I had this one student who insisted upon doing this double drop tuning; I forced him to realize that not only did it make his bass sound bad but he was unable also you learn any song without having to take it home and find everything. At the end of the day he gave up his desire to be synthetically unique in favor of being able to play good bass. Now he just tunes down a half step and never looked back

    2) I won't say that you will never be able to find the pedal that will do this for you, but I would make a bet that it won't happen anytime soon unless not sounding terrible is not important

    3) if you decide you truly need to change keys then the obvious decision is to get hipshot drop tuners. If those are too expensive or too hard to install then you need to save some money and learn how to edit your bass, or figure out a more reasonable way to play your songs ;)

    A side note maybe that thing for you to do is to get a capo? Even if it is a compromise it will work a lot better than constantly re tuning and putting your neck shifting unstable environment, and A LOT better than expecting a Digitech pedal to organically detune you
  10. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    if I had to do that with just one bass, i'd just install heavier strings to maintain tension and neck alignment, and tune the bass down to the lowest tuning that your band requires, then i'd just use a capo for the higher tunings.
  11. I have a Morpheus Drop tune that I use for a community kids theater gig. They drop the tuning quite often for the kids, and I'm provided charts so it makes transposing a PIA. Its not the most ideal sound, anything past -3/-4 sounds really warbly, though I use -4 quite often. However, I'm usually pretty low in the mix and in the context of the performance which is in a gymnasium, my tone isn't that clear to begin with.

    The other caveat to a pedal like this, is you have to alter your voicing to accommodate the pitch change. The lower the note the worse the warble effect, so at -3 or -4 I wont play anything lower than a B or A (on the E string), I'll play octave up on anything lower.

    That said, the amount of time saved on transposing sheet music makes it worth it, for me anyhow.
  12. johnbegone

    johnbegone Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Nothing is going to be perfect. I've seen guitar players use a Morpheus droptune with decent results, but as bassman134 just said - if you go below a 4th half step, good luck.

    I use the pitch shifter in the M5 for this and it works adequately for half step or whole step drops. Otherwise, I'd suggest getting a good clean octave pedal (maybe the Micro Pog) and transpose up for the super deep stuff, if that's what you're missing.
  13. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    get hipshot d-tuners (or similar) for every string. if you need more than two notes per string, this will not work...
  14. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Inactive

    Nov 20, 2000
    Harrison Mills
    The Pitchfactor tracks pretty well (not much if any warble) but the processed signal is pretty squashed sounding compared to the dry signal.
  15. GregS


    Mar 29, 2014
    Thanks for the replies everybody - sounds like there's no "good" option. I do have a 5 string bass, so the lower notes aren't a problem. I just like to play using open strings if the original used open strings. That requires changing tunings to whatever the original bassist used. But I'm not willing to create the dead spots in the show so I can change basses or re-tune every string. Oh well. Guess I've got some woodshedding to do! Thanks again!
  16. For full songs i would get a bass with more strings(look at my picture, i take my own advice) I have used the whammy IV in the past and I'm waiting on the bass whammy to come in the mail. Real whammy pedals can do it better than anything else I've tried but i wouldn't use it for an entire song. At most just a section of a song.

    A capo is actually a good option. Just tune to bass to the lower tuning and use the capo. 4th vs 5ths when it comes to drop or standard don't really matter to me. I always tune in 4ths anyways. Main guitar tuning in my band is drop B (BF#BEG#C#) and i tune standard

Share This Page