Effects for making a guitar sound like a bass?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Xeper09, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. Xeper09


    Sep 4, 2018
    Hi all, new member here and I have a pretty unusual question (I guess)

    I play guitar in a guitar/drums duo, and we recently got a couple of gigs booked to next month. For obvious reasons, our sound was very thin and I want to add some low end to it. As of now, we would like to stay a duo so "just get a bass player" won't be a helpful answer :p

    I recently got a Boss OC3 because you can apply its sub-octave to a specific range, and it sure helps (I split the signal - one goes through the OC3 to a bass amp, and the other through the rest of my rig) but the octave sound leaves a lot to be desired.

    What pedals do you think I should add to the "bass" signal chain in order to make it sound more like an actual bass? I am aware that it'll never be as good as a real bass, but I want something with enough definition and punch to provide a solid, hard rock backbone.

    Due to pedalboard real estate limitations I can only use small sized pedals (mini / micro or whatever they're called). I'd realy appreciate your help. Suggestions for specific brands and models will also be greatly appreciated.

    BamaBird likes this.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Eq. pedal I would say.
  3. (Walking bass in my mind) I'd focus on the notes you play first, then on the sound. Bass players often can play their part on acoustic guitar so it sounds like a satisfactory bass. As for effects, i'd start with tweaking the EQ (maybe more bass, and surely enough time spent on the mids), and then add the octaver if necesary. Check against the sound of bass on records: people tend to think that bass is just lot of lows; when I listen to (jazz) records, I wouldn't say this at all.
    Right hand technique would do a lot too. If you use a pick, you might want to try to right hand mute the low strings on the bridge. If you play bass parts only at times, you might try finger-tip the guitar as you would a bass.
    tfer likes this.
  4. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Hello. Pedals won't help much. As has been suggested, technique in support of (most important) arrangement/voicing will help.

    Learn and apply the Ben Lacy technique. Then you can just play solo. ;)


    Be sure to watch these with good speakers or headphones, to hear the low end:

    basscapes and Element Zero like this.
  5. Xeper09


    Sep 4, 2018
    Sure, I'm gradually changing the arrangement to better fit this setup. Great tips and great videos. Unfortunately I do not play with my fingers, and we play fast, heavy rock with mostly overdriven tones. The drums are very aggressive and prominent, I doubt subtle nuances will be felt. The sound I'm looking to get is a rather aggressive picked bass.
  6. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Sounds to me like the ideal (though perhaps not practical financially) solution would be to play a "Bass VI": a short-scale 6-string tuned E-e like guitar, but an octave lower. Check out Julie Slick, both solo and with her band EchoTest, for some great examples.
  7. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Rather than pedals for the bass, use guitar pedals for the guitar to differentiate the tone.
  8. Alien8


    Jan 29, 2014
    There are an arms length of reasons why you will have challenges doing this - at least having it sound good.

    Latency for pitch down can be a big issue. Tone, as you ha e found is not awesome.

    So, that said, an EHX nano POG or Pitch Fork can get you there for octave down tuning. The best way to do this is to keep your bass and guitar signals separate, maybe even use a bass amp \ cabinet. And yes, EQ will go a long way on your bass sound. The POG may be the best choice since it splits the signal for you, then into an amp with a strong EQ section.

    Definately experiment LOUD before you go anywhere near a stage. Phase issues can tak all your bass away, as can mud from latency.
  9. Rambazamba


    Dec 14, 2012
    I'd suggest a bass amp and splut signal as well.
  10. Besides the distortion and reverb you probably already have as a guitarist...

    Mooer Tender Octaver MKII (octave down)
    Mooer Pure Octave (11 different octave modes)

    Also look into a fuzz pedal.
  11. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies! Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
    Chrisk-K, Alik, gumtown and 1 other person like this.
  12. Volunteerk9


    Oct 20, 2015

    Recently saw this band open up for Stone Temple Pilots - lead singer was using a Fender Bass VI. I’m pretty sure he was using an octave pedal with a split signal as he had a bass amp and a guitar amp on stage behind him. He had a great sound going.
  13. gumtown


    May 7, 2007
    New Zealand
    Boss GP-10 with guitar/bass modelling, after installing the add-on GK3 pickup, you can select certain strings to use, like the E and A will play bass while you play your usual guitar.
    Plus you get multi effects and some polyphonic synth tones, and a selection of electric guitars and basses, acoustic and nylon stringed guitars.
    Plus alternate tunings per string.

    BOSS - GP-10 | Guitar Processor

    The Submarine
    A pickup under 2 strings, then run into an octave pedal.

  14. Holy Tuck Andress's Ghost! LOL
    Snaxster likes this.
  15. Congrats on the gigs by the way :)

    also -- "getting" a bass player can be a fun experience ---your cutting yourself short of one of the the dreams of band ownership--- do you have the right bait?
    Is your Mom a "looker" ??? Girlfriend??

    Oh come on -- its a legit question----we all know the bass player gets the GIRL!

    no really can you borrow a bass player?-- bribe one---- trap one in a snare?

    look for airfare and beer I'll come do it-- I need a vacay. :)
    kohanmike likes this.
  16. trailer

    trailer Thumper Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2008
    Guntersville, Al.
    I know it's "not helpful" but I think the best answer is to get a bass player. I mean this is a bass players's forum and all.
    kohanmike likes this.
  17. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Touché. I would say that Lacy is the next generation and took the approach squarely to the next level higher. In fairness, though, I think that Andress is a melodicist who plays truly lyrically, to Lacy being a rhythmist who enables lyricism indirectly with structure. But I generalize. They're both great. :D
    basscapes likes this.
  18. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    (Sorry, OP!)

    One more of Ben Lacy:

  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    A little on the expensive side, but an Eventide H9 may work for you.
  20. rylie


    Sep 25, 2017
    somewhere stable