Expanding for a working 80s cover band

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by GeneralElectric, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    Just got a gig for an 80s cover band to make some money. I've played with the some of the same people before doing professional cover stuff so I have some confidence that I'll make back my initial investment of time and money.

    Right now we have a 45 minute set of various tunes with a "next step" goal of 3 45 minute sets. We have a bunch of disparate things right now and since it's bass, horns, guitars, and drums, I'm expected to play a good chunk of those 80s synth parts on bass because we don't have a keys player right now.

    I usually play a 64 PBass with TI flats for most of the material through my signal chain. I plan on having an active jazz with rounds as my second bass since a lot of the proposed material has either a brighter bass sound or slap.

    Right now my signal chain is
    Bass>tc polytune 2>way huge green rhino>mxr m87 bass compressor>fx loop of amp. I play through a bunch of different amps at hourly rehearsals or through random backlines. I usually play through the Fx loop of the amp to be as consistent as possible. My regular amp is an Aguilar AG500 with matching DB210 cabs.

    I have a few pedals that could be of use. Digitech flanger. Brimstone dx1. Ehx bass microsynth (needs repair,) mxr m108.

    I need a good, warm, DI Box with some controls. I had a Countryman T85 for a long time. I don't know what happened to it in my hiatus of playing out. My budget is around $200 for something used. I'd prefer less.

    The other pedals I'm looking to add to my board are things to cover the synth bass lines that are on a lot of songs (MXR M288) and maybe a synthy sounding fuzz such as the Devi Ever Ruinator. Maybe a phaser.


    We have our first paid show coming up in Dec. and I'm walking away with $200 (hence my initial budget)
  2. b/o 402

    b/o 402

    Jul 14, 2015
    DC & MD
    Ok, I'll take a stab at a helpful answer.
    FWIW I played bass in bands in the '80's (as well as every other decade since 1972.)
    - take ONE bass with rounds on it. Forget having a second bass, you DON'T need it, it will just create problems and friction.
    - take the pedalboard you already have and know. Figure out how to make the rig you have sit correctly in the mix (the region from 120 - 400 hz is yours, rule it!)
    - What the band needs from you is nice, solid, consistent bass NOTES. If you do that right, no one will notice, much less miss, the synth bass.
  3. Well, you're still relatively new here, so I'll give you some slack; However, there are many effects forumites here that won't give you any leeway – even though you've said "take the pedalboard you already have and know" and make it sit in the mix. So I suggest you peruse these threads :woot::
    'no effects' trolling in the Effects forum
    EFFECTS Forum Rules and FAQ -- MUST READ

    Most importantly re-read the Original Post in the thread: the OP specifically has been asked to cover the synth parts, not just the bass parts, implied keyboard synth parts. So while I completely agree that the band needs "nice, solid, consistent bass NOTES" :), the band will notice and will miss the synth parts since the band specifically asked the bass player to cover the synth parts, really re-read that part of the OP, here 'tis:


    So, b/o 402, it's not just about synthy 80's key-bass, but also being required to cover other synth parts until the band gets a keys player ;) – that's what I believe was inferred. So your "stab at a helpful answer" might still be misconstrued as trolling to other effects users, though I'm certain that's not the case here :D or you wouldn't be in the effects forum like so many trolls that wind up wandering through here. As for one bass – the only people I know who don't need a backup bass are bedroom players who don't gig out – sure there are lots of TBers who claim to have gigged 40 years with the same singular bass & set of strings and never had a problem – goody for them, until they do encounter a problem.

    Oh, and [​IMG] b/o 402, fellow Scorpio! :thumbsup: Sorry I'm a day or so late.


    @GeneralElectric : Your existing gear ought to get you already close to what you need.

    Priority one, IMO - get the EHX MicroSynth repaired.
    Priority two, IMO - get the DI replaced.
    Okay, priorities one and two could be swapped, perhaps should be.
    Priority three, IMO - get an octaver.

    For your chain, you'll likely want the compressor up front so the Octaver/BMS can lock on to an even signal to track, [square brackets as placeholder for FX yet to get]; oh, and I put the EQ just after the compressor so you can tweak the tone to further enhance tracking of the octaver/BMS though you may want the EQ somewhere else...

    Bass> tc polytune 2 > mxr m87 bass compressor> MXR M108 EQ> [MXR 288 Octaver]> EHX Bass MicroSynth> Brimstone DX1> Digitech Flanger> DI split to amp/FOH

    As for the new additions you're considering for your board, as I mentioned I'd get the Octaver first, but consider a Micro POG with its octave up to cover the synth parts better (the 288 is only octave down? IDK). The ruinator and phaser would be nice additions down the road, but you've already got dirt and modulation covered with the Brimstone and Digi-Flanger (though I don't know how soiled a Brimstone can get, I imagine by its moniker it can shovel on the dirt!).

    Lastly! I'd still get that second bass, 'cause you might need it if your main bass has a mishap and/or conks out on you – in my limited experience it's good to have a backup. :thumbsup:

    Have fun! :bassist:
  4. If it is an 80s cover band, you are definitely going to need a chorus. Grab an old DOD FX62 for $40 or so and add that in.
    NortyFiner and hintz like this.
  5. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    Why do you run your Green Rhino before your compressor? and FWIW I think a chorus would be more useful than a phaser, especially with '80s material.

    Everything here is great advice. Especially getting that EHX repaired! what's wrong with it?

    For an octaver, the OC-2 is a classic.
    hintz likes this.
  6. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    You definitely need an octave and a chorus. Boss OC-2 and Boss CE-5 would be my choices.

    If you continue to use the FX return you're really gonna by to want a preamp. With the signal chain you described above you're more than likely not sending it enough signal. The preamp will be able to send a line level signal.
    blindrabbit and hintz like this.
  7. Dagnabbit! How could I forget Chorus?
    Was it because I was distracted? ... maybe by something from under a bridge?
    Hmm, I also forgot to include the Rhino in the chain...

    Good call gang: Chorus. '80s. Mandatory.
    blindrabbit and hintz like this.
  8. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    I'm looking into DIs now. I used to own the tech 21 vr bass deluxe as my DI/amp replacement. I might get a replacement one but I'm looking for something with the Fender tone stack.

    The EHX needs all the plastic pot sliders replaced. It does octave up and down and had a really nice square wave distortion on it if I remember correctly.

    I was also looking into the MXR M288 bass octave deluxe. It has a great octave down, controls seem simple, and the wet/dry control makes it easier to dial out my signal for pure fat synthy stuff. I just haven't had a chance to try one but I've read, watched, and listened to a lot of reviews.

    No love for the green rhino? I usually keep it on my board as an 'always on' kinda thing. It adds a little grit and responds pretty well to picking dynamics and sounds great before the compressor which is also always on. By itself it, the pedal loses a lot of definition. Putting the compressor before it makes it sound like poo.

    Brimstone is a dual band distortion with separate boosts for each band. I mostly use it to filter out the highs and get this super deep/huge sound that hits you in the chest. I haven't used it with this band however.

    I like the micropog but they're very expensive, even used. Ideally I'd have most of these pedals hit around the 100-150$ mark in the used market.

    Green rhino stuff mentioned above.

    I'll check out the oc2. Recommendations for a bass chorus?
  9. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    If you're looking into the MXR BOD you might want to try that. I have both the MXR and an OC-2 and I prefer the MXR. I just assumed if you're in an '80s band you'd want an OC-2.

    From the chorus pedals I've used, I'd pick the Boss CE-3. Very '80s sounding. Can be had pretty cheap too. The MXR Bass Chorus Deluxe sounds great but doesn't sound quite as "80s"

    That's too bad about the EHX. It's truly an amazing pedal. Do you have the chrome one from the '70s or the newer XO version?
    blindrabbit likes this.
  10. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    The Brimstone is a killer pedal. I'd definitely give it a shot to see how it does in the context you want.

    Depends what you're looking for.
    Something inexpensive would be the Boss CE-5 that I mentioned. It was used heavily during the 80's and still sounds great today. It's one of my favorite chori out of quite a few that I've owned.
    Something newer would be the Tech 21 Bass Boost Chorus. It's able to do a little more than the CE-5, but it's also larger and more expensive. It's what I have on my board now.
  11. hintz


    Jun 5, 2014
    wahiawa, HI(Oahu)
    A few other good chorus pedals to consider: The Ibanez SC10 or BC10 (both great for bass!), DOD Ice box or deep freeze, all get that 80's sparkle going for cheap, I replaced my BC10 with the Source Audio orbital modulator for chorus and flange!

    The BOSS OC2 is the best octave pedal I've played through, others I've tried messed with my tone. Another cheaper option than the EH BMS is the SA Multiwave dist *or* the SA Manta, either will do that 80's synth sound for $150 new, plus you get 2 presets per pedal(if you get the hub its what, like 128 presets!?), of course I loved the BMS but I got pretty darn close with my Manta! In all the variety bands I played in, for Rockin songs I'd use light and clanky overdrive, for years my DOD bass overdrive was my go to, now its the Darkglass VMT but for $50 the DOD is awesome and has an exceptional clean blend compared to other pedals from the 90's
  12. I checked out the M288 before posting, I like it. I just thought you might want/need octave up to cover some keyboardy type synth parts, and from my brief exploration of the M288, it doesn't do octave up. I understand the MicroPog is expensive, however, I've just read some good things about the Mooer Tender Octave, small size and doesn't lose low end. Anyway, the M288 should serve you well for octave down, it seems like a good unit.

    Lots of love for WayHuge!
    As mentioned in the post above yours, #7... I forgot to include your Green Rhino, sorry. :oops:

    For Chorus, I'd shop around for a Cool Cat Chorus 18v, I picked one up for ... CAN$50, IIRC, and it's in excellent condition. If I'm not mistaken the CCC is based on or similar to the original Boss CE-2.

    I've also read some favorable reviews of the Mooer copy of the EHX Clone Theory – cheap and compact with decent (*albeit not spectacular) sound, what's not to like?
  13. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    My 2 cents.....
    Did you ever consider chucking the entire multi-pedal thing with its power supplies, cords, lack of switching options, etc. and getting a multiFX ?
    Asking because Line 6(BassPODXTLive going to 500HDX) has served me well for 600+ shows and lets you change everything with the touch of a button. The 500HDX, although not aimed at bass, does have a "bass pack" and there are a few presets that are being preserved here for use with bass INCLUDING one called 80's synth or something similar that sounds very good. It has DI's and a looper if needed.

    You may want to borrow an HDX or try one out in headphones in a store.

    Carry on and have fun.
  14. Zoom B3 with your current pedals would get u much of what will be needed: octaver, chorus and synth maybe even a di depending on placement. Plus once you create a sound it will be saved for instant recall. Zoom MS60b might also fit the bill for a great price.
  15. b/o 402

    b/o 402

    Jul 14, 2015
    DC & MD
    Ummm..Thanks for the welcome???

    You're right - I stumbled onto this post from "New Posts," which is where I always browse TB from.
    Now that I've read the links, I sort of understand, and from here on out I'll be more aware of what subforum I am on before posting, ok?

    However, just let me say, in my own defense, that
    1. I (mistakenly) interpreted his post to be one more about pre-gig jitters than necessarily buying another pedal, and
    2. I never condemned the use of effects pedals. Just pointing out that a paying gig is not the best place for experimentation with unfamiliar new pedals, you know?

    NortyFiner likes this.
  16. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Sussex WI
    I understand wanting to as close to the cover as possible, but we all know 99.44% of the crowd your are playing to will not understand, know or hear the difference. Now if your are in a tribute cover band that is a different animal all together.
    If it is,a straight up cover gig and the band is tight,notes and hooks are correct and vocals are top notch very few will miss the synth.
    & 50 years of being a semi pro cover band bassplayer.
  17. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    Trial by fire!

    It's the only way for me. I like messing around with them at home but I rarely have that opportunity. They can also sound very different in a solo setting vs a full band mix. If it doesn't work at the gig it's typically not the pedal for me.

  18. PILATE: Hoo hoo hoo ho. The little wascal has spiwit.

    CENTURION: Has what, sir?

    PILATE: Spiwit.

    CENTURION: Yes. He did, sir.

    PILATE: No, no. Spiwit, siw. Um, bwavado. A touch of dehwing-do.

    CENTURION: Oh. Ahh, about eleven, sir.

    PILATE: So, you dare to waid us.

    B/O 402: To what, sir?

    PILATE: Stwike him, Centuwion, vewy woughly!


    B/O 402: Aaah!


    CROWD OF EFFECTED TBers: [yelling]

    OFFICIAL: b/o 402, forumite of Disputatio of Bass.

    B/O 402: Do I say 'yes'?

    STONE HELPER #1: Yes.

    B/O 402: Yes.

    OFFICIAL: You have been found guilty by the elders of the Effects Forum of uttering the "no pedals" phrase, and so, as a troller...


    OFFICIAL: ...you are to be stoned to death.

    CROWD: Ahh!

    B/O 402: Look. I'd had a lovely read of the OP, and all I said in my post was "What the band needs from you is nice, solid, consistent bass NOTES."

    EFFECTS CROWD: Oooooh!

    OFFICIAL: Blasphemy! He's said it again!

    EFFECTS CROWD: Yes! Yes, he did! He did!

    OFFICIAL: Did you hear him?!

    EFFECTS CROWD: Yes! Yes, we did! We did!

    EF TBer #1: Really!


    OFFICIAL: Are there any BCA-MTF TBers here today?

    EFFECTS CROWD: No. No. No. No...

    OFFICIAL: Very well. By virtue of the authority vested in me--

    [CULPRIT TBer stones B/O 402 :woot:]

    B/O 402: Oww! Lay off! We haven't started yet!

    OFFICIAL: Come on! Who threw that? Who threw that stone? Come on.

    EFFECTS CROWD: The cat did! Cat did! He did! He! He. He. Him. Him. Him. Him. He did.

    FERAL FELINE: Sorry. I thought we'd started. :whistle:

    OFFICIAL: Go to the back.

    FERAL FELINE: Oh, dear. :oops:

    OFFICIAL: Always one, isn't there? Now, where were we?​



    You're alright b/0 402... :angel:

    So, how was your birthday? :cool:
  19. b/o 402

    b/o 402

    Jul 14, 2015
    DC & MD
  20. You got hair on your chest for your B-day. Nice!

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