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Effects not working as expected

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Landy67, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. Hi all, I'm a new member, and new to playing bass.

    I'm having a difficult time getting the tone I'm looking for with the Bass's and amp that I have, so I picked up a used Boss ME-20B. I was hoping that the pedal would give me a variety of tones, and effects, but the changes aren't what I had hoped for.

    Today I tried the ME-20B with a travel bass that has a piezo pickup, and the box works great! It does exactly what I had hoped it would do. The bass is too bright, but the pedal makes a huge difference to the sound.

    Why doesn't it work well with my other bass's? I have a Dean Edge with EMG-HZ passive pickups and a Peavey Grind with EMG-J active pickups. With these, the effects all sound the same, delay is junk, and compression doesn't seem to do a thing.

    Does this make any sense?


  2. Ideas?
  3. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    What kind of amp are you using? how are you eq'ing it, and the preamp? (if those basses have them).

    If you have an amp that can't handle lows the bass and effects may be fine but the cab / amp is incapable of producing lows.
  4. rratajski

    rratajski Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2008
    Mount Laurel, NJ
    If your bass/es are active, turn down the volume. Def need more info on your eq and amp situation.
  5. EskimoBassist


    Nov 2, 2007
    Leeds, UK
    It does sound like you're overloading the input of the pedal with the high gain output of your basses: try turning down your bass' volume knob a little.

    Also remember that some basses can sound dramatically different to others and so may react with the effect settings differently, so you may have to alter your patches a little to get the best sounds out of the unit.
  6. I'm just learning the bass now, and I have inexpensive gear. The amp is an Acoustic B20, I don't have any equalizer other than the tone knobs on the amp and the bass. On those the Low, low-mid, are at the mid point the high-mid and high are about 60%

    Dean Edge: (Passive pickups) has a volume control, a pickup control that fades between the two pickups, and a tone control that does almost nothing.

    Peavey grind BXP: (Active pickups) has volume control Low, mid, high pots, and the pickup selector. (I have the tone knobs set to the detent in the middle) and I've tried with with the pickup pointing to each of the pickups.

    Fernandes Nomad: (Piezo pickup) nothing but a volume control, and this is the bass that works best.
  7. I tried turning the volume down on the bass, but still nothing. I also tried turning down the tone knobs, and trying one pickup, the other pickup and then both.

    One thing I've noticed. The bass with the Piezo pickup is real "bright" when plugged into the amp, where the other two basses are more mello.

    I sent an email to Boss tech support to see what they have to say.
  8. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    First, and I apologize if I'm making this a little more complicated than need be... Is this what you're using?


    I have a Zoom b2.1u multi effects pedal, not exactly the same but comparable... Do you have the documentation? Mine took some getting used to.

    Now the B20 has some decent reviews online, and if the Grind or the dean can sound decent through it you can trust that the issue is between the bass and the amp - the pedal.

    The fact that the trebley or "bright" Nomad works best might indicate that the effects you're trying to use prefer the higher frequencies... or the the amp can't produce the effects to your satisfaction.

    I'm not certain I could figure it out if I had it in front of me. It should work well at low volumes.

    Can you play all of the basses with, say, a delay?
    That's the quickest way to check if the pedal can 'effect' the input it's given from each bass.

    Here's how I'd try finding the problem...

    If you can play the basses without the pedal => the issue is with the pedal.

    If you can play the basses with the pedal, but the pedal on bypass (I assume it has that feature) => the pedal might be fine, just need tweaking for the basses input.

    If you can play certain basses with some effects and not others, see if there is a gain / level setting, or if there is an EQ setting on that effect/patch/bank (however it's done or labeled).

    Hope this helps... :hyper:
  9. That's the pedal I have, and I see the EQ settings, but I believe that's the output.

    I got a response from Boss Tech support (Roland) but it doesn't help me. Maybe it will make some sense to you.

    Hello Dan,
    Input specs for the ME-20B are as follows;
    Nominal Input Level = -10dBu
    Input impedance = 1M ohm

    You'd want to match these specs as close as possible with your bass's output.

    Roland US Product Support
    M-F 8:30am-5:00pm Pacific Time
  10. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    AFAIK these are basically how loud your bass needs to be when connected to the pedal (which kind of acts like a preamp). An active instrument should be plenty loud. My basses are both passive and work with my zoom - which has values of -20dBm and 1M ohm. So if your basses work direct into the amp they should be audible through the pedal.

    Now - I probably am not perfect at trouble shooting but I'll give it ago (hopefully a little clearer than above).

    1. Do the basses work with the amp? (Stupid question but I like to begin on solid stuff).

    2. Do the basses work on bypass mode similar to how they work without the pedal in the chain? I'd compare the bass that seems to work first... they should sound roughly the same.

    3. Try a simple chorus or overdrive effect on each basses signal to see if it's audible (my 112 combo can't reproduce some of the effects on mine - it could be similar in your case).

    - I'd try rechecking the documentation, see if the pedal has a reset switch, and look on youtube for user guides/demos that might give you hints...

    Good luck! :smug:

    If you can, try a guitar or other instrument with the amp and pedal. My hunch would be that given 1/3 basses work, it could be simply the choice of effects.
  11. If you have a global effect that is staying on (I'm thinking compressor or EQ as the most likely culprits) it is possible that the piezo based bass is the one that is reacting positively to that effect, leaving you to wonder what the hell is going on with your other basses.

    My first multi was a ME50B and it took me a good month before I regularly got good sounds out of it, due to a combination of my ignorance and it being a little bit tricky. See if there is an effect that stays on even if everything looks off.
  12. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    As a new player, and especially with such a small underwhelming amp, I would suggest you put the fx unit away for now, and focus on learning "how" to play the bass. I suspect the issues you're having with the fx unit are twofold, one being the inadequet amp, the other being user error. those big multi-fx pedals can be complicated, and your focus should be on playing bass, not programming effects that will never sound great through that amp. i wish you the best, and hope you stick with it.
  13. RickenBoogie: You are correct. I need to focus more effort on technique, but I get frustrated when I don't improve fast enough, and to relieve the boredom/frustration I take my mind off my playing around with different sounds and techniques till I get charged up again to learn.

    CheapBassLovin: How did yo post the sound clip at the bottom of your post? It might be helpful if you could hear what I mean.

    PlungerModerno: That's for the quick-start guide. I'm going to go over all of the documentation again and see if I missed something.
  14. There are a handful of music distribution websites that allow you to store the song online. The one in my sig is through soundcloud.com. I also have an account with soundclick.com.

    Record your tones, set up an account with one of those sites, upload mp3, post link here.
  15. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I don't have the ME-20b, so can't help much, but for what it's worth, I would guess that part of it may be your bass's output and part of it may be your amp's limitations. On the bass-output side, I have an envelope filter and it seems like it gives me nothing but mud unless I keep the tone knob on the bass with full treble. If I want to cut treble I have to do it in EQ AFTER the signal goes through the filter. Likewise, if your amp doesn't give you a tone you like on its own, it just may not be what you want in an amp. Effects can help but they're not a cure-all.

    As far as the compression goes, all that compression does is damp down the spikes in your volume. Depending on how you play, that can mean that you can crank up your overall volume with less worry about headroom and that can mean a richer, fatter sound - but compression is not a tone miracle-worker either. It's just a tool, and, depending on your style of play, is often a pretty subtle tool.
  16. I'm a bit of a Gear Whore, and I'm always trading and trying new stuff. I've just gotten rid of a few things I've "outgrown" and I have some room (and cash) for new/better toys.

    Should I start looking at a new amp, or bass?

    I like the Genz Benz Shuttle 6.2 with the 12", but I really liked the Genz Benz Streamliner !

    I also liked the Ampeg BA300/115 with an Ibanez SR5000E Bass.
  17. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    IMO if your bass is fairly comfortable, sounds ok, and keeps in tune... Upgrade the amp first. Even if you can only play at 10% volume the headroom should give you a better bass playing experience.
    Right now I'd say try a few combos or smaller rigs (If you can afford it, by all means consider an 810... but be prepared to move it!)

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