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"Dry" bass playing? Should I get into effects?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by kebbs, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. kebbs

    kebbs Modus vivendi

    Aug 30, 2005
    Ottawa, Canada
    Hello everyone,

    For some reason, I've convinced myself that I don't need/want any bass effects. I am not sure why, but I am obsessed with playing only dry, as I think it gives me more of a natural tone and lets the instrument speak more clearly (fretted 5-string active). I play jazz-rock fusion and prog rock.

    I do realize that many bassists play with at least some effect: chorus, reverb, or simply a multi-effects pedal.

    As much as this is matter of personal opinion, I would love to hear what the talkbass community has to say. Am I at a "disadvantage" because I like it "effectless"? I feel like the effects can take away from my playing.. how wrong am I??

    I like my tone as it is, but I wonder how will that be perceived by pros and other musicians? I've already had questions as to whether I had any effects to bring in...

    Any suggestions/opinions are welcome.

  2. johnnycat42


    Feb 27, 2007
    Denver, CO
    No need for effects. When I used them, they only saw spot duty and not even very much at that. Other than a tuner, you dont need anything. I would venture to say that EQ/Compressor/Distortion might be the most useful effects to a Bass Player if you were inclined to use them. My only pedals are a SANSAMP BDDI and a Boss TU2 tuner.
  3. Nils


    Oct 9, 2006
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I suggest you play with what you're comfortable with and don't bother caring what other musicians and bassists say. If you listen to rock and alternative music you'll hear alot of effects on bass, and if you think it sounds good, maybe you should try some effects out. Most bass player play clean most of the time, except some that has an overdrive going 24/7, so having effects doesn't mean you have to use it in every single song. It just adds a bit to your sound here and there.
  4. another vote here for not needing effects--I like effects a lot, and a lot of TB'ers here do too, but if you can't find a use for effects, then don't force it. maybe one day you'll hear a guitar line or something and think how your bassline might sound better with overdrive or chorus and then you'll try it, but there is no point in forcing effects. Effects should mostly be used for enhancing your sound, and if you feel you sound best clean, go with that.
  5. TheBassBetween


    Jun 25, 2005
    Effects are more subtle than you think. To me, it's more just enhancing the tone, not really to add effects. I put a little chorus to make my sound a little fuller, and if the song is heavy, a little distortion. Nothing that completely changes the sound of the bass, but more just putting the little edge on your sound.

    Now, I'm kind of a toneaphile, so you may not be like me at all and think that your direct input to the amp is awesome. If you don't feel you need effects, then by all means, don't use them. But I WOULD suggest trying them out at a Guitar Center or something of the sort, and maybe you can get a tone you like even more than your natural tone.
  6. For me it's bass+tube amp+speaker=what I like to hear.

    Plus there are enough knobs to fool with on the amp and bass, who needs more.

    YMMV -
  7. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I like effects a lot, but I don't need them, nor do I think anybody is a fool if they choose not to use them. OTOH as TBB said above, effects can be used to subtly enhance your tone in ways that sound more like "your bass only better" rather than "psychedelic wank time". For example, even though I don't believe compressors are necessary at all times for all players, I do find that a nice compressor can give me just a bit more "oomph" and "edge" to my existing tone. Similarly, a phaser or flanger set to a fairly low setting can give your sound a sort of natural "motion" and interest without making you sound like you're "leaving on a jet plane".
  8. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I bolded your question and your answer to your question.

    not to pick on you or anything, but this is sort of how these epic 4 vs more strings, dry vs. effects battle get started. In the end it's very subjective.

    I play with mostly no effects, but I like them once in a while too, that's my choice.

    No one can give an objective yes or no to this. Use them or not.
  9. I wouldn't necessarily say you need to get "into" effects, but I would recommend not keeping yourself closed to them. A professional bass player should keep all their options open, so to speak.
  10. SpankyPants

    SpankyPants That's Mr. SpankyPants to you.

    Aug 24, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    Threads like this are pretty common. One pops up ever couple of months with the same question.

    Here in Effects, we're about having an open mind and experimenting. If something isn't right to you, then that's okay. :D Just don't come here to pee all over our parade.

    What matters is how you feel about your rig. If you like it, then why change it? If you want some psychadelic wank time pedals, then we'd gladly help you find whatever you're looking for.
  11. SPAN-KY! SPAN-KY! You tell'em!!!
  12. scootron

    scootron Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    Keep in mind that I am a newbie, and my opinions should be discounted accordingly.

    I like effects when I am playing alone, or when I am jamming with the guys, or when we are recording tracks.

    But, when we are playing a gig, I like to send as clean a signal as possible to the mixer and let the sound person do their thing. The only effect I use is a small amount of overdrive on things like "Come Together" to accentuate the bass on the chorus only as in 'Come together...right now'. Other than that, the only tinkering I will do is blending the pups if I'm playing something with a P/J configuration.
  13. I'm a no-effects guy too. I used to like effects, and would own them for the sake of having them, but I quickly discovered they weren't useful to me and what I play.
  14. Akito


    Dec 1, 2003
    I've found that no matter how I tweek most effects when I am preparing to play, it almost always sounds radically different with a full band when I engage them. Since I dislike trying to achieve a good sound while in the middle of a set, I usually end up skipping the effects as a pain in the botox.
  15. fishtx

    fishtx Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Genzler Amplification/Spector Basses/Mojo Hand FX
    I have a boat load of pedals, and love to noodle around with them...but when I play out live...it's tuner -> Compressor -> Chorus -> BDDI. I use the comp (as bongo mentioned above) to add that little "oomph", and the Chorus is set very subtle, just to add a bit of depth and motion. If I need some grind, i bump the OD up a tad on the BDDI...but seldom do I ever use OD...
  16. nastyn8c


    Feb 7, 2005
    Tampa, FL
    I agree. However, I do use the LMB-3 Limiter Enhancer (enhance set to 0) at all times to help me have a more consistent tone.

    I've tried distortion, tried flanging, tried envelope filters, etc.. I find that while they are awesome solo, I like dry tone from my bass much better in a band setting.
  17. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    I'd like to think of myself as an effects junkie - many of the bands I listen to are laden with effects. And I've gone through a lot of pedals myself!

    But right now... I own only six effects pedals, and only use two of them somewhat often. Most of the time, I'm relying on what my amp can deliver me - clean and overdriven tones.

    I'd say... give a few a try just for the heck of it. You might find something useful... or you might not. It's really all on you to figure it out :D
  18. neatobassman


    Jul 16, 2005
    Antelope CA
    In my band, all of the songs can be played with or without effects. It all depends on how lazy I am when setting up. lol. It's all opinion.
  19. Sir Edward V

    Sir Edward V Not Actually Knighted... Yet!

    Dec 11, 2006
  20. vtwo


    Dec 16, 2006
    Don't mess with a winning formula. If you like it clean, then that's that. :bassist:

    Like a few others said, effects CAN enhance your current tone. You know about blender pedals? A person like you can find one very useful if you ever venture into the effects world. Effects also give the player more options, more voices, more textures... more adjectives. :D Like previously mentioned, you can make your bass sound like a jet plane. Personally, I find that REALLY COOL.:ninja:

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