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Heavy Bass Distortion

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Vlad5, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    I would super appreciate (as I hope others would too) first hand experience with any and all Heavy Bass Distortion (not fuzz or overdrive).

    I'm looking for a 'boulders rolling around a giant's iron cauldron' kinda distortion. Ever felt/heard a 7.0+ earthquake in the middle of a large city? Yep, that's pretty close to the sound I'm looking to recreate.

    Possible candidates are:
    EBS Metal Drive - samples seem promising, but I'm not convinced yet.

    I don't know; something with a low-mid center, uncompressed, no fizz, generates concern over speaker damage, tectonic shifts, rifts in spacetime, etc..


    I'm using a Warwick Thumb 5 string into a Mesa M9, if that helps. I'm also using the heaviest strings I could find, DR Drop Down Tuning set to BEADG.

    Also, please see my profile for a ridiculously long list of effects I've already tried and traded. If you've copped this tone before with any combination of anything I've used before though, do let me know. It's entirely possible I've missed something...

    Thanks everyone! :bassist:

    Here's my current board setup too:
  2. how about a combination of distortion, EQ, and hall reverb? Tried that once, I know how "boulders rolling around a giant's iron cauldron" sounds like now :D

    I was using Boss ODB-3 into Boss GEB-7 into Biyang Reverb
  3. Darkglass

    Darkglass Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 10, 2008
    Helsinki, Finland
    Douglas Castro, Founder: darkglass.com
    How about a combination of Overdrive and octaver?
  4. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    You have some promising ingredients on your board to make that kind of sound already! Parallel routings, good medium-gain drives stacked, time-based effects....
  5. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    hmmm... Hall reverb, no I haven't tried that. I have been messing with my eq's a lot though, just not in the combination you suggested. I'll swipe the Reverberator off my GF's guitar board and try it out. Thanks!

    I have experimented a bit with the B3K and octave. I still need to modify the Divided Octave for more volume before I give that a fair assessment. Thanks Doug.

    I know, the effects I already have are no joke. I have parallel blended the B3K and TFR, but I couldn't get the sound I've described above. Yours is the second vote for time-based effects, reverb/delay and such. I'll try thumbing through the Timeline to see if anything else mixes well with the stuff I have, along with the reverb suggested above.

    I should be getting another muff-type fuzz soon, one with less midrange scoop than the TFR. Maybe it'll parallel/serial blend better with the B3K. Better for the 'boulders in a cauldron' that is; the TFR > B3K combo is pretty damn good in it's own right
  6. ttasselm

    ttasselm Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2009
    Philadelphia, PA
    I'm interested in this sound as well. I just bought a Diamond Fireburst for my own board to serve as a thick, sludgey, "almost fuzz but not quite" kind of distortion sound for both my guitar and bass. It looks promising. It has interesting Baxandal bass/treble controls, as well as a dedicated low-mid boost switch.

    I should have it in a few days and will report back with thoughts and clips.

    Also, to echo others (no pun intended), I would mess around with some reverb or delay as well. One of my favorite things to do is pound out bass chords into a deep hall reverb or an analog delay for grungey, booming feedback behind the distorted wall of sound. I've got a Timeline and a Space that I love because each has some form of high/low cut control for added focus.
  7. father of fires

    father of fires Commercial User

    Nov 29, 2006
    Chief of Medicine at Damnation Audio
    I think the heaviest non-fuzz pedal I've heard is the El Oso. I'm sure the Rat Tail or OSD would fit the fill as well.
  8. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Hmm, difficult one.
    I like the idea of overdrive and octaver.

    Beyond that EH Micro Bass Synth the square wave combined with octave up and octave down might help. It's also a great pedal to own regardless.

    Also the EH Germanium OD. This pedal is nothing like plug and play, it requires a lot of tweaking but it's worth trying. It' s really inexpensive too and worth owning.

    I sound like I'm on EH payroll today but I'm not! You're unusual request just promped these two pedals. Let us know what works for you.
  9. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    how about 3 parallel lines:

    1) two low-mid gain drives stacked for a fat sound

    2) B3K with delay (not too much volume on the delay, but with some regeneration for ambience)

    3) clean octave down
  10. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    The Swollen Pickle or the Woolly Mammoth might also get there on low settings.
    Mess with the internal settings on the Swollen Pickle for more options.
  11. DeltaPhoenix

    DeltaPhoenix Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2011
    Iron Ether QF2 it goes from Distortion to fuzz, you have 4 bands to apply the right amount gain to each band, a 3x and 10x footswitchable gain boost that doesn't change the volume.

    Dr Scientist The Elements, maybe run your TFR into it.
  12. gricko


    Mar 29, 2004
    boss HM2

    ibanez MS10

    i'va found that good EQ is important. these two have a lot of both boost and cut.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014
  13. jwr

    jwr Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2010
    Overland Park, KS
    Said this on ILF but Okko Basstard and B7K. Most expensive option out there probably (LOL!) but sounds amazing!
  14. blastjv


    Jan 8, 2010
    Philly Area
    I know you said no fuzz, and it was already mentioned, but your description is almost exactly how I'd describe the Way Huge Swollen Pickle with the right settings.

  15. DannDubblewe

    DannDubblewe Knob Wrangler

    Apr 3, 2009
    Wampler Triple Wreck, DOD Death Metal distortion (that schism you have there would greatly help out with that), a proco Rat...

    Parallel blend, like, all of these together. BAM.
  16. Tech 21 XXL Bass, anyone? Boss HM-2?
  17. MXR M181 Bass Blowtorch? might do the trick for you...
  18. Plstrns


    Feb 4, 2010
    Tech21 XXL and MXR blowtorch are the heaviest I know of. You can pick up a used Bass XXL for $50, I didn't like the Blowtorch but it's boulders rolling somewhere.

    A good example of the XXL is Karnivool's Simple Boy.
  19. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    Thanks everyone!

    All good advice. I've tried a few of those options: HM-2, Rat Tail, Elements. I always found too much fizz with those. Maybe it's my active electronics, maybe I just need to back off the volume a bit, I don't know. I blended the crap out of them too.

    I'll look into the other effects as well. I certainly agree with you all that parallel blending two separate distortions is the way to go. I may also play some more with the Faye Sing's Rate knob, when set to manual. It can adjust the frequency of the distortion going out. Maybe a blend of the B3K/BMC/FayeSing and the TFR for some wall of sound added in.

    More experiments...
  20. You've built a few of the BYOC effects, right? So I assume you can solder?

    Try an LM386 based OD. It's normally a power amp chip, but I've seen it in a few ODs too. I have a small amp based on one, and it distorts nicely, rather heavy. Look up the Grace or Big Daddy designs on runoffgroove. I haven't tried them specifically, but I would assume they're just as heavy as the amp.

    I've also personally found the Rat to be heavy under some settings, usually with the tone knob down. The Mastotron is pretty good in some settings, though I'd describe it as 'fat' more than 'heavy'.

    A lot of distortions with added clean blend get heavy too. If there's a lowpass or bass boost on the clean, even better. I think I got something decent with an ODB3 with bass dimed and treble all off. It was still a bit too crunchy though, I'd say.

    Hope this helps.