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Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by jeff schmidt, Oct 7, 2004.

  1. jeff schmidt

    jeff schmidt no longer red carded, but my butt is still sore.

    Aug 27, 2004
    Novato, CA
    Hey Steve - oh master of the Echoplex. I've had one for about a week - and while the manual can keep me busy for months - I have a simple question.

    In listening to your work I notice how clear all the parts you loop turn out - they never seem to diminish or mush togther into an unintelligable mass of bass frequency gumbo. How do you do that?

    I'm just starting to think in layers and plan accordingly (similar to video editing in a way) and use frequency cuts to keep the low mids from building up. I'm also trying to figure out how hard to hit the echoplex going in. It seems that there's a sweet spot where you can get a full signal - and still have room to "mix" as each new part is added.

    Any other hints or tips?

  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi Jeff,

    that's just about the trickiest thing with looping a bass - avoiding mush.

    I'd say a good place to start is to remove all the EQ on your amp, and experiment with how much separation you can get just using your right hand technique and the pickup pan control - EQ can often greatly confuse things... Once you're on top of just how much variation there is just using those two factors, bring in the onboard EQ on your bass (if you have any), and finally tweak the overall sound at the amp...

    see if that helps!

  3. To me, more important than worrying about frequency overlap causing mush is the polyphony. The mind will separate different distinct voices better if each voice has something interesting to say, regardless of whether its range overlaps another voice.

    You can create more interesting polyphony by varying what range each voice plays in but I don't concern myself too much about overlap. In fact, I try to get a little bit of overlap in the voices to cause some dissonance. I learned that from Bach. :)

    I am pretty sure that the Echoplex will lower the volume of previous layers when overdubbing. I've done bass loops with up to 10 layers of lines without clipping. I've also noticed that after adding many new layers, the original line is a bit quieter.

    I'll try to get some of my looping stuff posted sometime. Me and my drummer sync up to a drum machine to get perfect loops. Then my guitarists (in two different bands) just do whatever they want on top of it. It's really fun!

    Actually, I do have some recordings at http://www.unpronounceable.com/bargooma/audio/ . It's mostly improv and was pieced together by my guitarist ( Gene Jun formerly of Idiot Flesh ) as a rough demo.

    Be warned though, this stuff is pretty out there and has been shown to cause brain damage in laboratory animals.

    - Dave