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Is there a pedal that will make my bass sound punchier?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Flatwoundround, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. Flatwoundround


    May 18, 2014
    Please help as I am not a pedal guy.

    I heard maybe compression or EQ. Is that true and if so what is the general strategy with the settings to achieve a punchy tone?
    Bassmike62 likes this.
  2. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I usually think "punchy" means "mids." You could use an EQ pedal, or a preamp like a Sansamp, MXR M80, or VT Bass, but you could also see what results you get from the EQ on your amp.
  3. Sufenta

    Sufenta Trudging The Happy Road of Destiny

    Mar 14, 2002
    The Signpost Up Ahead.
    The right combo of the pedals listed above will certainly help. Maybe most important is locking in tight with a properly EQed kick and snare.
  4. Compressor will make a tight bass line kick more. I use an EBS Multicomp and I like it. Others get great use out their Empress, Markbass or MXR Compressors.
    Unemploid and Driven Crane like this.
  5. friendlybass


    Jul 19, 2012
    Booster, I love the ehx lpb1. Adds a lot to the sound
  6. And after you've checked out Bass Pedal Geek's great resource, check out another mainstay of solid comp info: BongoMania's Ovnilab reviews of compressors – read the FAQs first!

    Either the EQ or the Comp may work for you, but together you'll have some powerful tone-sculpting at your beck and call. :thumbsup:
  7. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    Lets get some more info

    Any other pedals?

    There are different ways punch can be accomplished. I would think a preamp would be the first thing to go to. A rusty box, maybe a sansamp like the VT or BDDI. Aguilar Tone Hammer, there are a ton of them out there nowadays. Darkglass makes a bad a** one but its a little more higher end, the B7K. Love it! Or it could be as simple as adding EQ to your signal.
  8. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    As others have intimated, "punch" means different things to different folks. But fwiw, there are two effects that I gravitate towards if I need more "punch" than I'm able to muster through playing technique and equalization, and both of them require a parallel signal path:

    - compression: ime the trick to getting more punch from a compressor is to actually not use the compressor for the punch but to actually use the compressor for a solid thick foundation, and then bleed some uncompressed signal around that which then becomes your punch. I.e., it's the fast transient of the uncompressed signal that actually "punches" through, but then having the compressed signal in parallel tends to fill in the holes that an otherwise uncompressed signal can suffer from.

    - envelope-controlled filters (aka auto-wahs or Mutrons): rather than use these effects to generate overt Bootsy-esque quacking, set them up with a bandpass filter and low sensetivity so that you just have a slight enhancement of the midrange that's level-dependent...and then blend a tiny bit of that in with your dry, unfiltered signal.
    JollySpudd, Need Gigs and Bo0tsy like this.
  9. I keep reading about this subtle use of envelope filters and I'm intrigued. Maybe I'll finally remember to try it with my M5's filter sometime soon.
  10. It works very well with my Emma Discumbobulator, which can be a very subtle filter.
  11. Bassmike62

    Bassmike62 Punch'n Ooomph Supporting Member

    For me, that's the LMB-3. Simple settings, knobs 12, 9 , 12, 9 o'clock. The other pedals only add color to that punch.
    Mr_Martin likes this.
  12. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    You can get a punchy sound by using stainless steel strings and an even balances between lows and highs. if it's a pedal you're looking for that can enhance the punchy sounds of your bass, an exciter can do that for you. check out the bbe sonic maximizer. I've heard a lot of good things about this pedal.
  13. JollySpudd

    JollySpudd Guest

    Jul 17, 2013
    Lots of great info and answers to get a consensus from in favor of compression/limiting, enhancers and EQ. (and I like the subtle envelope follower idea; I'll have to try that.)

    I kind of approach punch as a 'trickle down stream' thing. For the type of alt rock band I play with, I mostly use a pick, (a broken commandment to some), but it helps me get definition and attack, since my fingers aren't strong little sausages like many. And I usually play with the back corner instead of the tip for more beef. (sorry to our vegan readers).

    After that, I use my bass vol. and tone for the 'cut' and punch there, then into a compressor/sustainer. What I like about compression is that you can set the attack a little later, to allow the natural pick (or sausage finger) strike to cut through, before the comp levels the notes. For myself, I feel a lot of punch is lost from individual note volume and timbre being inconsistent as notes tend to bob up and down in the mix from louder to softer. This is a result of hand technique, string-to-pick-up variations, and how each note frequency varies as translated through the amp set up. The compressing/sustaining keeps the notes in the same place in the live or recorded mix, off setting the pretty much natural variables in each note we play. Speaking for myself, I haven't quite got that perfection thing down yet :)

    Once the compression is doing its job to squash for consistency, then the compressors output gain can be set to the general level you like, so long as you're not sending too much to over drive your amp input.

    -- Compression can rob some high frequency a little, which can be made up at your amp EQ to personal taste. -- With the high freq loss from compression, this might be one of the nice advantages of the BOSS LMB-3 that Bassmike62 mentioned - a limiter, enhancer, as well as Crystalman85's mention of the BBE Sonic Maximizer, also a type of enhancer, as they add that presence back. - I use a inexpensive comp/sustainer that does the trick for me. Yes, I'm both poor and stingy ^_^

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