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Dirt pedals with flats?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by obsidianbass, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. Hi guys,

    Just wondering if anyone else is using a dirt pedal (OD, distortion or fuzz) with flats and if you're digging the tone. I play a jazz deluxe with flats and recently got a B3K dirt pedal. I'm really liking the sound I'm getting, but can't help but wonder if I'm missing out on some magic by not having rounds in this situation. I REALLY like the feel and punch of the Chromes I have though...

  2. i know juan from the mars volta uses dirt with flats.

    ive never tryed it
  3. willbassyeah


    Oct 9, 2011
    never had experience of using dirt pedal with flats, but all youtube demo that i watch whereby the player used flats and dirt pedal sounds weird to me, IMO the zing of the roundwounds creates a different sound all together when using dirt pedal,
  4. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I have used all types of dirt with flats. The flats in question are Thomastik-Infeld and Sadowsky. These are very bright for flats. They are very close to nickel RW in brightness and attack. I can tell you with great confidence that this sounds very good. These flats have a very bold mid-range which works very well with distortion. The resulting sound has great grit and definition without harshness.
  5. Lazarus.Bird

    Lazarus.Bird Mr. Personality

    Aug 16, 2010
    Dirt? With Chromes? Did someone put up the Lazarus bat signal?

    For at least the past 3 years I've been running Chromes on every single one of my basses. I think for best results, you need to make sure you have the tone knob on your bass wide open and a decent amount of treble running on your amp.

    Here are some examples. This is recorded with a Zoom H4N using a Guild B-301 with flats into an Ampeg SVT-7 Pro and Berg NV610. The Guild has a fat single coil pickup, so you could get similar results with a Jazz or Ric. The softer, bluesy riffs I am running a Bluebeard fuzz. For the heavy parts, I'm running a Bluebeard fuzz with a Heavy Electronics El Oso.

    Here's me riding a riff at home, DI'd out of my 7 Pro with both the Bluebeard and El Oso running.

    And here is me just messing with some settings running just the El Oso.

    I think these are good examples of keeping that "bite" and using fuzz/dirt/OD and pulling it off well with flats. Keep in mind the DI'd clips are unaltered, so they would likely sound "fuller" running through a speaker cab.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014
  6. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    Tried it, but didnt like it. Imo rounds are much better for dirt/overdrive sounds.
  7. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO
    I really like the sound of dirt and flats, but I know not everyone agrees. It's just one of those taste an flavor things. I'm with BFunk on the Thomastik-Infeld flats, they are awesome for me.

    One of my favorite dirt sounds I ever got recording was with a Rob Allen Mouse, Labella Tapewounds, and EHX Ram Head clone (D*A*M).

    I think non-traditional combinations of strings, basses, and effects is where a player can still really explore to help forge a unique sound identity. So it really comes down to what you are trying to accomplish.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Half the dirt sounds of the 70's and pretty much all the dirt sounds of the 60's were done on flats. I've been using flats with dirt and it sounds freaking awesome to me, like an old Steppenwolf album ;)
  9. aens_wife

    aens_wife Commercial User

    Jun 14, 2011
    Co-owner, Dwarfcraft Devices
    Aen and I both use flats with all dirt pedals. All the Dwarfcraft bass demos are made with flats. I love the tone.
  10. Thanks for the input everyone! I'm going to try to record a couple of clips this afternoon so you guys can hear what I'm getting. I kind of feel that with the jazz / flat combination, I get really nice punch live that helps me control some sonic space (I play in a heavy thrash band), and with a decent quality OD like the B3K, I can gritty it up and make it sound aggressive as well. Hopefully a best of both worlds and not a master of none sorta thing.

    Also Lazarus, great clips! Thanks!
  11. Oh hell yes. Rushton Moreve and Nick St. Nicholas! Awesome tone from back in the day!

    Like Laz wrote, nothing is quite like Chromes with dirt/fuzz. Clear, controlled and beefy.
  12. 254 stringer

    254 stringer Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2010
    Waco Texas
    Didn't Ben Shepherd from Soundgarden use flats and I know he used some dirt every now and then.
  13. Well, I recorded a quick and dirty sample of my jazz with chromes > B3K > VT bass deluxe > Boss Micro BR. I'm playing fingerstyle.

    I'm no wizard with recording so this is the raw track. Also, I've never uploaded audio to the forum before so I'll just link to the soundcloud track. If there's a better way, please feel free to educate me!

    The VT bass was set flat according to some of the threads here. (Drive off, Character 12:00, Low 12:00, Mid 12:00, High 9:00, Level to unity with the B3K).


    I think this setup sounds better going through my rig, though.
  14. I use flats on all my basses. Used to use Chromes, now Precision Flays. I have a Rat clone that sounds good with it. The Rat is already pretty bright so it helps add some high frequency content. With the steel flats I notice less of a difference since they are already pretty bright.
  15. I like the way this sounds. Nice.
  16. Thanks! I think I'm going to try rounds soon though. Just to see what I'm missing.
  17. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    I use an ibanez precision and jazz from the 70s with rotosound 77 flats and a EHX bass muff for a sabbath tribute band I play in and they sound awesome (I like it). Also used ernieball group IV flats in both basses with good results. I prefer the rotos though.
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm down with Rushton and Nick (except for Nick wearing a bunny suit onstage...you don't wear a bunny suit in Steppenwolf), but George Biondo who did 7, For Ladies Only, Slow Flux, Skullduggery and Hour Of The Wolf, is a badass, too, plus he sings really well and made a great vocal foil for John Kay.
  19. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    I don't think you are hearing the usual magic of the B3K > VT Bass combination there IMHO :( .

    For me, the fun bit of using a dirt pedal like the B3K is what it does to the twang at the beginning of the note. The treblier that twang from the bass, the more gritty/bitey the pedal. If you have a less trebly / twangy sound from the string, you tend to get a plummy / buzzy / farty sound, not a bitey raw sound.

    Of course some people do like 'buzz', and some songs call for it, but I don't think you're getting the sound that most people enjoy from the B3K.
  20. Hellb00m


    Feb 22, 2009
    You look like you need a monkey!

    Yamaha BB614 with Thomastik Flats through a Bad Monkey.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014

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