Effects for Solo Bass Playing

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by slipperyPete, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. I'm just starting with my solo project on bass (played a couple of open mics), and I've found that I am having a hard time coming up with enough material without effects. I mean I have enough material for a 20 minute set no problem, but I don't want to play the same stuff every week.

    Currently I only have a compressor, but I am saving up for a looper, probably the Boss RC-20XL, as well as a 7 string bass, to help branch out into more possibilities.

    So my question to you all is, what are some effects that you solo players (or non-solo players) feel you couldn't play without? Also, any suggestions for other loopers to look into would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. Tedintheshed

    Tedintheshed Banned

    Oct 8, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio
    I love the MXR Phase 90 for mellow stuff. Add to that a harmonizer and you have some really cool textures.

  3. Basstyra

    Basstyra Commercial User

    Apr 3, 2005
    CTO @ Two notes Audio Engineering
    I love my TC chorus and my Big Muff for choruses. I keep the Phase 90 for groovy basslines. :)

    I'm waiting for a Digitech bass synth wah which I surely will use for solos... And a Jacques Trinity (autowah, wah, envellope filter) which will also be quite usefull.
  4. If you don't have one already, a nice EQ or Graphic EQ will help you dial in your sounds. I'm also a big fan of the chorus effects! Reverb is always good too!
  5. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    A whammy might be cool too.
  6. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Provided the dynamics are right (i.e., there exists enough space in the music), a subtle delay is a good way to go as well. Get your hands on some recent (last two years) live Primus and listen to some of Claypool's more mellow solos. He uses delay (among other things) and really acheives a nice vibe with it. I have an old (80s) DOD analog delay that I swear by because it really dials in a nice, subtle, echo-y delay for just such a purpose.

    You can couple the delay with other effects, such as envelope filters, etc.
  7. syciprider

    syciprider Banned

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    Modulation and echo effects.
  8. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Get your self a Line 6 dl-4 instead of the Boss rc20xl therefore allowing you to have various delays and even some modulation or if you are set on the RC-20xl get your self some sort of delay pedal to go with it.

    Also try and pick up an ebow these things are amazing for setting droning loops.

    Hope this helps
  9. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Yeah, basically for solo bass you need looping, and after that delay. IMHO.
  10. dhodgeh


    Jul 15, 2004
    Just starting down this path myself.

    Here's what I'm working with. I've still got a lot of work to do mesh this stuff together, and it may not work for anyone else.

    Boss RC-20XL - I like the capability to store loops. A great place to store drum loops for those occasions where you might need or want them.

    Boss DD-20 Giga Delay - Lot's of sonic potential, plus another looper if needed, and pre-sets. The Line 6 DL-4 would be a useful alternative to this.

    I tried a Digitech Bass Synth/Wah, and while I like some of the sounds I can get from the thing the lack of pre-sets would limit it's use in a live situation. Of course as cheap as it is, one could always get a couple of them. I've just taken possesion of a Line 6 FM-4, and it' going to be a while before I figure that thing out.

    The aforementioned E-Bow. Takes practice to make it work on bass, but I do like what it does.

    One thing I'm not using solo is a compressor. I've discovered that the Digitech is sensitive to playing dynamics, and I can get a couple of entirly different sounds out of a setting based on my playing dynamics. I've not had the FM-4 long enough to discover how it interacts with playing dynamics. A compressor might smooth things out too much and eliminate this trait.


  11. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Yeah, looping definitely. And I would skip using a compressor as well: I only really use a compressor when recording or mixing to help punch through a busy and/or loud mix; for live solo bass I think it's better to let all the playing dynamics come through (akin to playing solo acoustic guitar.)
  12. Some excellent suggestions guys, thanks.

    I will look into the Line 6 DL-4 if it also has delay as that would kill two birds with one stone (at least to start while my money is tight.)

    I'm pretty set on using my compressor, it helps me get the tone I want, though I have thought about having to set up an A/B loop so I can play with dynamic sensitive effects better.

    Keep the suggestions coming guys, and feel free to post experiences you've had with any solo shows you've done. I just got this picture of an open mic I did on Wednesday, I'm working on borrowing a minidisc player so I can get soundboard recordings which I'd like to post and get feedback on.

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