Distortion That Cuts Through?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by BassGod, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    I've got a question for all you distortion freaks...

    I recently purchased a Marshall Guv'nor II distortion pedal, and I love the tone I get out of it when I'm playing alone. But when I'm with my band, the guitarist always drowns me out of the mix. Is there a way I could make my distortion cut through the mix, by changing the pedal's EQ? For those of you not familiar with the pedal, the controls are Gain, Deep, Bass, Mid, Treble, and Volume. Any help is appreciated, thanks. :)

    Graeme :bassist:
  2. Not familiar with this pedal, but generally speaking boosting mids will help you cut through better. However, generally speaking, distortion will not cut through as well as a clean sound.
  3. I have heard very good things about the Guv'nor and even heard some people say that it does the Muff thing even better than an actual Big Muff. Could you give a mini report, by chance?

    I think the best way to still cut through the mix with distortion is to retain some of the original unaffected signal in the mix. Since the Guv'nor doesn't have a blend knob you'd need to to it externally in some way. I've gotten the best sound by splitting my signal and running one amp clean and another with effects on it. That is rather expensive though and a pain to set up for shows.
  4. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    Thank you both for the help... and about the Guv'nor review, check the distortion Megathread, and on the last page I do a review of about ten pedals, and the Guv'nor is in there. If you read that and have questions, I'll be happy to help.

    Graeme :bassist:
  5. thesmallprint


    Jan 4, 2005

    i am going to get these two and have one signal clean and the other with effects. i am trying to get the sound that chris wolstenholme gets, coz he uses distortion better than anyone.

    "Chris's monstrous amp rig consisted of three Marshall bass heads and three different Marshall cabinets, and how much room we had in any given studio basically determined what size of cabinets we set up. One of them produces a cleaner bass tone, while the second amp largely goes through [an Electro-Harmonix] Big Muff [distortion pedal], as well as a few other pedals that he'll occasionally hit. Then his third amp, which is the most distorted, uses an obscure Japanese distortion pedal, which is pretty weird, expensive and apparently difficult to find. It has a real nasally tone that doesn't necessarily make any sense on its own, but when you mix it within the context of the rest of the bass sound it's critical to what Chris wants."

    however if you want to use distortion its gotta be for lead parts coz it wont cut through no matter what you do if te guitarist is also playing. but if you are going to use it at the same time as the guitarist you need to split the signal and maintain a solid, beefy bottom end because when you use dist it just drops through the floor and you wont be able to hear anything.
  6. csholtmeier


    Feb 8, 2004
    omaha, ne
    Give the "Old Dirty Bastard" a shot!​
    Boss ODB-3. It says "Overdrive" on the pedal but it is really a distortion unit. It has level, 2-band eq, blend and gain controls. Allows you to blend the distorted signal with the clean signal. Really helps me keep the bottom end. I'm up against two full guitar stacks and this pedal cuts through like a chainsaw. I really love the way this pedal sounds. You can pick them up used for $35-40.
  7. Heckxx


    Nov 2, 2004
    Libertyville, IL
    I use the ODB-3 too, and it cuts through fine. Tho with the dirty guitars and all, the difference between my clean and distorted sounds is hardly noticable.
  8. Isn't the Guv'Nor a guitar pedal? My guitarist uses one alongside his amp's distortion to cut thru for solos.
  9. protoz


    Nov 30, 2000
    Yea it is a guitar pedal but so is the Big Muff and the DOD250 but we use them anyhow because the sound it very useful for bass. There aren't enough bass pedals around that are affordable so we have to go to the guitars.
  10. So's a Big Muff, technically, but it just so happens that you can use these for bass as well.
    Since the ODB-3 came up, I felt that that pedal was by far too brutal in terms of distortion. It sounded very sterile and fuzzy(sadly not the good kind) to me, at all stages of gain. The blend knob was it's only redeeming feature but I found that the distortion always sounded like it was added on top of the orginal signal. It didn't "blend" in but rather just seemed to add upper harmonics on top of the bass. So if you're looking for organic sounding OD/distortion I wouldn't recommend this pedal.

    Edit: protoz beat me to it.
  11. protoz


    Nov 30, 2000
    I can't reccomend the ODB either I tried it out and I can't get a subtle distortion out of it that doesn't sound horrible. I've been told to try to put the distortion more to the dry side but I haven't really wanted to play with it much because it kills my tone something fierce.
  12. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    The Guv'nor is BY FAR the best pedal for distortion I've ever used. Well, I used the original one, and not the new one, but I imagine it's just as good. I hope i can get another someday, I regret selling it more than the past 10 basses I sold...

  13. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'll chime-in for the ODB-3 also. I'm very pleased with mine. I usually use it for a light, tube-ish overdrive, but it has a pretty killer distortion sound too - and of course you can always whip the drive way-way up, yet set the blend way over to the clean side.

    One important factor with my sound though, is that I always run the high-mids on my Hartke head way-UP - clean and overdrive. The other three bands can be flat, that's fine (though I usually run a little boost on lows, and a tad of cut on low-mids). This makes a big difference on the distorted tone, and when I do everything else the same, but run the amp flat, I can sort of see why some have had a bad experience with the ODB.

    The only address on my server that I can find here at work (don't have FTP here) is this recent recording - I don't like how this recorded, though; it was just a quick scratch-dump that I made at the end of a practice session when I was FIRST learning this tune (I do it much better now, and faster. Really), I didn't even really notice where the mic was placed - it was just a 'hit record and go' thing. This sounds too boomy - I must have finally found a bad spot in our 'acoustically correct' rehearsal studio.

    But anyway: here's the ODB something like the way I usually run it (I don't really remember the settings):
    That's CS-3 compressor first, then the ODB set lows=1:00; highs=9:00; blend=10:00; gain=7:00 - something like that (?).

  14. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    Try a voodoo labs sparkle overdrive pedal. You can blend your clean sound with the distorted. Your clean channel will not be effected. The other pedals who do the clean/distortion blend all alter the sound of the clean bass channel. I hate them all. The dod bass grunge isn't bad but, the clean sound is still altered. I hate the sansamp for this very reason.
  15. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    I tried both the Boss and Voodoo Labs overdrives. Like some others here, I found the Boss sterile, and also very loud. The Sparkle Drive was cool for some grind, but I found it was too mild, and also too expensive.

    Thanks for the tips though guys, they are very appreciated. I am still working with a few of the controls, and I beleive I'm starting to get something. 'Tis a long tedious process. :)

  16. NOLA Bass

    NOLA Bass Mr. Worst Case Scenario Man Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Orleans LA
    Endorsing artist: Bergantino Audio Systems
    I find that the bass you play makes a difference with distortion. The Big Muff sounds great with my passive G&L SB-2, Fenders,etc. , but it drops out of the mix with my active Spectors. That is why I switched to the Sansamp is because it was the only thing working good with those bright EMG loaded basses.
  17. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    .....Also, whether or not you run a compressor before the distortion. I use the the boss bass limiter which sounds alot like the compressor thats built into the svt4-pro. Your right, the sparkle is more of a grind, I keep it on 85% of the time. For a full tilt crazy distortion, the boss metal zone isn't bad and the big muff is a different kind of crazy. I am a distortion nut, I own about 8 pedals..... maybe more..... I have been weeding out my gear a bit lately. Good luck. Use the force, kick some ass, take their wallets!!!! :smug:
  18. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    Wait, so running a compressor first helps to cut through? Hmm, I should figure out how the compression works on my BP50. It's pretty confusing. But thanks for the tip! :)

  19. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    One more thing worth trying is a guitar amp with a dirty channel. I went through a lot of pedals looking for the "perfect" distortion and I found that splitting my bass' signal between my bass rig and a 2x12 guitar combo worked best. You can control the mix of clean and dirty tone with the amps' respective volume controls and there is no chance of losing your low end. A decent mid-sized amp should be able to mate with your rig and can be found for about the same cost as some higher-end pedals. Good luck......
  20. xbradx


    Oct 25, 2004
    Bloomington, IN
    i used to use the boss bass overdrive(along with several others), but it just didn't sound quite right to me, so i borrowed one of our guitar player's extra boss MT-2 metal zone pedals and haven't stopped using it since! it gets a really heavy, grinding distortion(i use chords alot when distorted) and still maintains a good solid low end thanks to a nice eq section(low/high/mid/mid freq adjust). might get a looper and see how it sounds with some of the dry signal mixed since it doesn't work too well through the fx loop of my head.
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