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Dirt pedals for bass - help me explore them?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by gdro, Dec 17, 2020.


  1. gdro

    gdro Commercial User

    Dec 12, 2020
    Healdsburg, California
    Owner of Karma Guitar Amps, LLC
    Hi everyone! This is the first forum I’ve ever joined and the first I’ve ever posted. And I’m not a bass player. So please forgive my noob-ness!

    My main gig for the past 30+ years has been as a producer/engineer/mixer in LA and Nashville. I’m now located in Northern California and mostly mix now, but also own/manage a boutique amp and pedal company.

    While I’m not technically a bass player I do own three basses and love the instrument. As a guitar player, I strive to restrain myself enough to (barely) get by on bass.

    I love a touch of dirt on bass, so I’ve acquired a collection of pedals intended for bass to try and compare them. What I’ve found is that every one of them has merit in its own way; I would never say one is better than another. What I’ve done so far is run a compilation track, culled from my own recordings over the years of much better players than myself, through each pedal. I’ve adjusted each pedal not to sound alike or even similar, but just to where I enjoyed the sound. My own bias is towards “edge of breakup” overdrive and some of these pedals excel at or are intended for more drastic distortion, so I would never claim it’s a balanced comparison.

    Without getting any more long-winded than I already have - is there any interest to explore this (and sorry if it’s been covered extensively here before)? I’d be curious to hear comments/advice on how to best present this on the forum. I have recorded audio of the same track played through each pedal and photos of each pedal’s settings.

    Thanks!
    gdro
    BassEfx.jpeg
     
    nuage420b, HCF, Zbysek and 11 others like this.
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    I don't know the best answer to your question, but I'm certainly looking forward to hearing the comparisons once you get them posted!
     
  3. gdro

    gdro Commercial User

    Dec 12, 2020
    Healdsburg, California
    Owner of Karma Guitar Amps, LLC
    @mmbongo Thanks for being the first to respond! I should mention that in the photo there are two pedals that aren't specifically intended for bass, but I included them because, well, they sound good on bass! The Croak is a quirky filter-based pedal and the Revival Drive is a guitar-oriented overdrive.
     
  4. You should also experiment with stacking. A few of those will stack awesome together.
     
  5. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    Welcome. While dirt pedal questions, requests for recommendations, rants, and such all come up regularly in here, I haven’t seen many specifically from the perspective of producers/engineers/mixers. That alone would make another dive into the topic worthwhile.

    FWIW, I like the Tech 21 YYZ (“Geddy pedal“) for edge of breakup, and Mesa V-1 Bottle Rocket for full-on distortion. Dunwich Cthulhu fuzz gets an honorable mention; I love it, but wouldn’t recommend it as an all-purpose fuzz.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2020
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  6. gdro

    gdro Commercial User

    Dec 12, 2020
    Healdsburg, California
    Owner of Karma Guitar Amps, LLC
    @FaithNoMan Thank you, that's a great suggestion! If you have personal experience with stacking any of these, please let us know. It wouldn't be a big deal for me to record the same track through a stack and post those as well.
     
    AlexanderB, FaithNoMan and LowRenzo like this.
  7. gdro

    gdro Commercial User

    Dec 12, 2020
    Healdsburg, California
    Owner of Karma Guitar Amps, LLC
    @Riff Ranger Thanks for the tip on the Tech 21, I'll check it out. I'm finding that edge of breakup tones may be harder to achieve in pedals, so I'm intrigued by going down that route.
     
    Riff Ranger likes this.
  8. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    I prefer to get there with a clean boost in an effects loop beating directly upon a tube power section, but even though that doesn’t require quite the same volume as getting there “the old fashioned way,” I think the distinction would be lost on my neighbors :smug: so that’s out until studios and stages become part of my life again; the YYZ does a remarkable job at any volume. I don’t have experience with other Tech 21 products yet, but I don’t think I have ever heard a disparaging word about any of them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2020
    LowRenzo likes this.
  9. arepa_funk

    arepa_funk

    Nov 2, 2020
    Welcome! Looking forward to the comparisons too. Fwiw, my go-to edge of breakup overdrive pedals are the Keeley Super Phat Mod and the Way Huge Pork Loin (not JohnK modded). I tend to have one on the board at a time, and it is usually as an always-on pedal for my "dry" tone.
     
    Nunovsky likes this.
  10. You know how in Ant Man if you fall into the quantum realm it can become nearly impossible to find your way out?

    So much dirt to choose from. So much. And that's not even getting into ways to stack or otherwise route them.
     
  11. 4andnomore

    4andnomore Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2008
    Yeah, I was gonna say you're headed into huge rabbit hole. Pedals choice is a very subjective and personal thing.
    That said, presentation wise I would suggest using the same two or three loops consistently across all the pedals you are testing. Still, the possibilities are endless, let alone with stacking, and any who is familiar probably already has their fav's and will be biased toward those. Just sayin'.
     
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  12. Subscribed, with high interest. I've owned the Vintage and B3K, still own the Tone Hammer, and the Valve Drive (DI) is high on the G.A.S. Looking forward to the comparison!

    5sg.
     
  13. gdro

    gdro Commercial User

    Dec 12, 2020
    Healdsburg, California
    Owner of Karma Guitar Amps, LLC
    @Riff Ranger I can't speak for their more current products, but I used to use the original Sansamp on lots of things, including percussion. And I'm with you on doing things the old fashioned way, which is tough for most of us these days. This may be for another thread, but many guitar players including myself love the UAD OX. I'm not sure how good it is for bass, and I don't own a bass amp to try it. But I rarely mic guitar amps anymore; the OX is really good!
     
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  14. gdro

    gdro Commercial User

    Dec 12, 2020
    Healdsburg, California
    Owner of Karma Guitar Amps, LLC
    @fivestringgecko I'm personally loving the 12v Valve Drive, especially with an alternate tube. I've been told by someone who has both models that he much prefers it over the DI model.
     
  15. gdro

    gdro Commercial User

    Dec 12, 2020
    Healdsburg, California
    Owner of Karma Guitar Amps, LLC
    @4andnomore Oh yeah, huge rabbit hole and only bringing it up here because I was doing it for myself anyway. No way to do a direct one-to-one comparison so I'm not even trying. Just taking a totally unscientific approach to see which of these pedals gets me where personally want to go. And yes, I've made a comp of short snippets of bass tracks and run that same comp through all of the pedals - so at least that part is consistent!
     
  16. gdro

    gdro Commercial User

    Dec 12, 2020
    Healdsburg, California
    Owner of Karma Guitar Amps, LLC
    @arepa_funk Not sure how many more pedals I'll look into for this, but I'll definitely check out those two. Thanks!
     
    arepa_funk likes this.
  17. eliascalles

    eliascalles Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2013
    Mexico
    go healdsburg! I'm from Guerneville.

    yes to your pedal comparisons! I find those hugely useful, esp for folks like me who don't live anywhere near music stores or any chance to try before we buy.

    fwiw the latest dirt pedal I'm using with bass is the JHS pulp n peel v4. I think I like the dirt part more than the comp lol.

    look forward to your comparison vids.

    cheers
     
  18. zombywoof5050

    zombywoof5050

    Dec 20, 2001
    The Fairfield Circuitry 'Barbershop' might be another good one to compare.
     
  19. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    Overdrive pedals for bass can easily take over your free time (and more, if you let it). I've spent a lot of time and money trying a LOT of the, to find a few good ones. Somehow, even though I've achieved that, it hasn't dampened my entusiasm for finding just one more.
     
    Sergi, mdalamond and dedpool1052 like this.
  20. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    If it's 'edge of breakup' you're looking for, you can't beat the Creative Audio Grizzly Bass or Amptweaker Bass Tight Drive Jr. Sadly, the new owners of Amptweaker have discontinued all of their older pedals though. Such a shame.
     
    fivestringgecko and Nunovsky like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Mar 2, 2021

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