Getting good tone with distortion on my bass amp.

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by lividmike, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. lividmike


    Feb 19, 2020
    I just want to know the best way to add distortion to my bass amp sound. I have tried the built in distortion on my Ampeg BA210 and also tried various pedals but my tone seems to lose low end when I engage any distortion to it. I know there is a way to keep my low end just as it is and just add some distortion to it. So that the clean tone remains the same through it all and all that happens is distortion is added to the sound. Who knows how to do this?
  2. Pedals with a blend in them or running a blend will get you back your low end? By nature of distortion you will lose some low end due to compression of the signal, how much is acceptable is up to you... most overdrives are ok, the further you distort the more you will lose low end though.
    Try a search as there is plenty of pedals that may fit what you want
    Fuzzbass likes this.
  3. Lowend65

    Lowend65 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    You need a dual band distortion pedal like Darkglass or the Tech21 DP-3x
    dUg DP-3X Signature – Tech 21 NYC

    These split the signal through a crossover and distort and top and bottom differently
    Nick Danger likes this.
  4. Peaveylover

    Peaveylover Inactive Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2019
    Or buy a Peavey Centurion and ditch the pedals. I don't use dirt live anymore because nothing sounds as good as the overdriven tone I get when I crank the preamp on my Centurion. I just use filter and flanger now and keep all my low end intact.
  5. HailSatan4ever


    Mar 21, 2018
    One way, that most “famous” bands typically use, is the much discussed/debated method of bi-amping. Send all your lows to one amp and send the distorted mids/highs to an additional amp (typically a guitar amp), creating a huge sound. Brands like Radial and Lehle provide “splitter” boxes to separate the signal between amps. Lately, however, companies like Orange have worked on a solution without having to buy a ton of gear and I happen to like it. I mean, plugging into a bunch of amps like a matamp 120 or a Sunn is a lot of fun and it’s loud, but it’s also expensive. I use an Orange AD-200B but I also have an Orange OB1 that does a fantastic job of recreating the tone achieved from using 2 amps. The OB1 sounds great and it growls while still retaining bass. Orange also released the “bass butler” pedal that claims to do the same thing in pedal form, but I haven’t tried it. Yes, I love Orange gear.
  6. HailSatan4ever


    Mar 21, 2018
    Coincidentally there is a long thread going on the Bass Butler on the first page and I feel like it would solve your issue quite easily. Check the thread or just watch this promo
    Zbysek likes this.
  7. I have no words for this video
  8. Tech 21 SansAmp DP-3X is what you need.
    Fuzzbass likes this.
  9. RoketRdr


    Nov 7, 2019
    What he said!!
  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I'm a huge fan of dual-band/multi-band distortion pedals like the Tech 21 DP3X and Darkglass X7. They are designed to deliver clean low end and distorted mids and highs. I definitely recommend either of those.

    That said: dual-band isn't necessary if all you want a traditional distortion sound that doesn't lose low end. As noted above, a distortion pedal with a clean blend might be all you need. One great example would be the Damnation Audio MBD2: it delivers a wide range of distortion levels from gentle to heavy, but has a low-passed clean blend that maintains solid low end regardless. There are plenty of other examples.

    It would be helpful if you told us what kind of distortion you are looking for: warm, punchy, sizzly, etc. Specific examples would be great.
  11. lividmike


    Feb 19, 2020
    I want to thank everyone for their responses. I tried out the Tech 21, the Darkglass and the Bass Butler. All 3 of these pedals are phenomenal. Any one of them will work for this situation I chose the Tech 21. On another note, my personal opinion, is that pedals with a blend knob is not what you need to create proper distortion on bass guitar. Blending distortion to the bass signal always takes away your low end. You will notice significant lack of tone or low end when playing with a band when you engage these types of pedals. As far as I am concerned they are useless. Bass players simply need a pedal that layers distortion on top of their clean signal. Like Bi-amping does. Which the 3 pedals I mentioned above do. You don’t want to blend a distortion signal with your clean bass signal because it just becomes muddy and compresses the low signal too much. Save yourself the useless headache and money and just buy one of these 3 pedals, instead of any pedal with a blend knob, and you’ll have what you need to create proper distortion on your bass guitar.
    SteveFromBerlin likes this.
  12. I think it's the other way around. Blend knobs don't blend distortion into your clean signal, they blend clean (or dry) signal into the distorted signal.

    So when you think you're blending distortion into your clean signal, making it sound more distorted, I think you're actually removing the dry signal. No wonder you feel you're losing the lows!

    I love my lows just like you do, and I think a blend knob is a very useful thing for a bass pedal.
  13. lividmike


    Feb 19, 2020
    Well either way. I’ve tried a lot of pedals with the blend knob and all they did was over compress the low end on my bass making it less punchy. When I engaged any of these pedals during band practice my bass would basically become non existent in the mix. The low end, no matter how high I had it set, would disappear. The Tech 21 pedal does not change my bass tone at all. It has my same tone as clean with distortion layered on top, like it should be. It’s like having one Speaker playing just your clean bass tone like you like and another speaker with distortion. So that the two exist as one. Not that one blends in with the other. 1/2 distortion and 1/2 clean, or any variation of that, is not what I am after. I wanted 100% clean along with 100% distortion. Not one taking away from the other in the signal to make room for itself. The Tech 21 Dug Pinnick or bi-amping is the way to go for true bass distortion.
  14. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Allentown, PA!


    PS: I've got the DP-3X and a Darkglass Vintage Ultra as well. They sound great, too, and are MUCH simpler!
  15. Grahams Groove

    Grahams Groove If it feels heavy, it's heavy. Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    Not a cop.
    Glad you found the dUg and it works for you! FWIW, there are other pedals besides the three of these that will do what you're looking for quite well. I suspect it isn't the concept of a clean blend that was generally failing you - it was how the specific pedals you tried happen to work. I'm curious what other drive pedals you tried that were a no-go?
  16. lividmike


    Feb 19, 2020
    All the Boss pedals they make for Bass failed and the Big Muff stuff too, Ampegs stuff didn’t work well either.
    FaithNoMan likes this.
  17. Didn't the Big Muff you tried have a Dry Out? Mine does, so it can be biamped.
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