Getting that tight low end fundamental note under distortion

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by DeadbeatLine, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. DeadbeatLine


    Nov 13, 2013
    Hello all,

    I'm looking to somehow really tighten up the low end on my bass when using distortion, so that they're thick and strong, but still controlled and defined.

    For any who haven't seen this video, this is a perfect example:

    Now, Nolly's tone is a little bit treblier than I would have myself (and apologies if its not your thing), but he retains that super strong defined low end fundamental note which sounds absolutely massive but still very controlled.

    I realise with mixing this is quite easy to do as you simply split the channel into a distorted one and a clean one, remove the lows from the distorted, remove the highs from the clean, then blend the two together, and because Nolly is (most likely) running an Axe-FX in the video its all doable in there also.

    Is there a way to do this in a non-modelling set up? I've got a Darkglass B7k Ultra, but I actually quite strongly dislike the bass knob on it and find it doesn't bring out a low like in the video, I've tried experimenting with a POG2 to add a very subtle octave lower note, to some success, but its not perfect, what about something like hard compressing just the low end? Would that work? Any ideas for any approach would be welcome!

    I'm also perhaps wondering if its to do with the multi scale fanned frets (I know its supposed to be extremely good at retaining a tight low string) or just that it could be the 'Dingwall sound'

    Any insights appreciated! Thanks guys
    Zbysek likes this.
  2. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    i see the B7K ultra has a clean blend - have you tried using more clean signal?

    or place an additional EQ in the chain, either in the form of an EQ pedal or another preamp.

    or get a Boss LS-2 and split your signal manually - you can then control the content of the low and high frequencies.
  3. I have an MXR Bass Distortion on one of my Boss LS-2 loops (other effects in the other loop), so when it's on, the distorted signal is always mixed with a clean signal. The MXR has dry and wet knobs, so the LS2 might seem a bit redundant, but I started using this setup with a pedal that didn't have those knobs and kept it. Even if I have the MXR full-on bordering on fuzz, I'll still have the fundamentals. Sorta of bi-amping without lugging 2 amps, I guess.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
    zapped777 likes this.
  4. DeadbeatLine


    Nov 13, 2013
    I guess I could get the LS-2, then an EQ pedal filtering out high end, and blend the two back together? the only problems I see with this is I also use my overdrive/distortion as a boost (e.g. turn it on during a chorus or a main riff or whatever) and in doing so the clean low end would be lost a bit more as the volume jumps up because it'd change the blend ratio. Finally, it would also end up being a blend of distorted low end with clean low end rather than completely clean low end that a lot of people go for in mixes that sound so good!

    Not attempting to be a nolly fanboy here (he's just a fantastic example) but in this mixing video
    at just after the time I have set in the video he adds the Renaissance Bass plugin which generates subharmonic content on the low end, massively filling it out, are there any pedals that do this sort of effect? I've heard of the BBE and the Aphex units but heard they're a bit questionable.
    ObsessiveArcher likes this.
  5. Beheroth


    Aug 26, 2016
    try cutting the bass pre distortion and boost it post distortion by playing with the grunt switch and the bass knob
    DeathDancer and Fuzzbass like this.
  6. DeadbeatLine


    Nov 13, 2013
    That applies if using the B7k, any advice regarding other pedals?
  7. Hoyt


    Jun 29, 2006
    Saint Charles, IL.
    I always wonder why more distortion boxes don’t have a built in crossover specifically for this reason. I prefer fuzz myself, and the Swollen Pickle adds low end plus you can sort of mix your dry/effected signal.
    zapped777 and Michael Schreiber like this.
  8. DeadbeatLine


    Nov 13, 2013
    My thoughts exactly! I'd absolutely love a distortion unit for only the Mid-High end. Really surprised no one has does this yet considering how often its done in a mixing scenario.
    Hoyt likes this.
  9. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Brimstone audio crossover distortion
    Iron Ether Divaricator
    EBS Multidrive

    There may be others, but there are at least these 3 that fit your description. I agree there should be more.
    jimfist and Hoyt like this.
  10. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    By the way, another way of doing this is splitting things at the bass. That's been possible and done in various ways since the 1960's - Rickenbackers had Rick-o -sound connections, which allow this - neck pickup clean, bridge through a guitar amp. The Yamaha Bill Sheehan sig bass is also set up for this specifically.
  11. DeadbeatLine


    Nov 13, 2013
    This must be my amateur knowledge then! I wonder how easy it would be to mod something like that into a pedal?

    That's an interesting idea, though I imagine two cables must be a bit annoying. I'm very much toying with the idea of messing around with a boss LS-2, but ironically I've realised part of why I love my ODB-3 is because of the massive bass it can produce, i just need to tighten it, so blending in clean bass may actually take away from that somehow. Would compressing only lower frequencies possibly work here?
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  12. Hoyt


    Jun 29, 2006
    Saint Charles, IL.
    Part of the problem with that Boss is that the EQ sounds synthetic (unless you’re into that).

    IMHO it sounds more like you need to find a better distortion box for the sound you want more than it being a signal routing issue.

    I’d definitely love to try that Iron Ether Divaricator. The Xerograph I have is amazebawlz.
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    You know your Nolly so you've probably seen this... and it's a few years old... but it's a fantastic rundown of his live rig, and how he uses different fx and compression to sculpt his tone:

    I love to use the Thin setting on the B7K/B7KU, then boost bass afterward... that was mentioned above. For distorted tone with big, phat low end, my go-to pedal is the Damnation Audio MBD-1. It might currently be out of production, though.

    Another option is a multi-band OD pedal such as the Brimstone Audio XD-2 or Basilisk pedals. These have variable crossovers, and allow you to adjust the mix of lows versus highs in a broader way than can be done with conventional EQ. You can also set different distortion levels on each band... I prefer cleaner lows and dirtier highs, but it's user choice of course.
    theunknowndude and Zbysek like this.
  14. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    Indeed it's the Dingwall sound. Super tight low end that simply sounds fantastic.
    jimfist likes this.
  15. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Don't worry about your "amateur knowledge" - It took me quite a bit of digging to find 2 of those 3; admittedly the EBS is relatively easy to find.

    If two cables are the only stumbling block to a bi-wiring scheme, a stereo cable with stereo 1/4 inch plugs ire pretty much the same amount of hassle as a standard mono one. Best bring a spare cable to a gig, though....
  16. jking138


    Oct 6, 2013
    There's a great video on Youtube of Nolly producing some Periphery tracks and specifically the bass track where he shows you what he does.
    He usually uses a HPF then boosts the low end frequency he wants, compresses and makes some specific mid cuts to get rid of and 'loose' or boxy sounding low mids.
    I'm sure there is some of that production on this clip but gear and very tight, well muted playing will help a lot.
  17. DeadbeatLine


    Nov 13, 2013
    The ODB-3 Does sound rather bad by itself admittedly, but when partnered with my Sansamp BDDI it's just MONSTROUS (to me, anyway). The B7K when used with BDDI has a clearer top end, but the ODB-3 has sooo much more girth and the mid clank is right at the frequency I like it to be at, the Darkglass can get icepicky quickly I find.

    Nollys Cali76 TX is a huge part of the sound and I'd absolutely love to get one, but they're so hard to get hold of!! I'm going to get a smoothie compressor next time they're available which'll help somewhat, maybe I'll experiment with placing it after the Overdrive. Nolly's Axe-FX being used for a clean bass with a very distorted top end and all manner of other routing is obviously a huge part of it too, I'd love to have a go on one just to mess around with everything on it.
    gregmon79 likes this.
  18. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
  19. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Birmingham AL
    I'd say pick up an MBD-1 and call it a day.
    theunknowndude, gregmon79 and robd like this.
  20. DeadbeatLine


    Nov 13, 2013
    The tempation to make a complex pedalboard set up with two different loops recombining is awful tempting.. but expensive, though I may JUST have the space.
    Zbysek likes this.