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Metal Bassist Looking For Pedal Advice

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by kleinenenten, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. Compressor

    31 vote(s)
  2. Smooth Fuzz

    26 vote(s)
  3. Chorus

    10 vote(s)
  4. Noise Gate

    8 vote(s)
  5. Synth (Just for fun, mostly)

    5 vote(s)
  6. Other (Please specify in comments)

    16 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. I'm looking for some advice as to which pedals I should get for a heavy metal setup, namely, which type of pedals, as I know personal preference will lead to crazy amounts of suggestions as to which effects pedal specifically I should buy.

    I have many Digitech pedals that have served me well. I really can't complain for the price I paid. But as I've recently upgraded my rig, I'm definitely starting to notice them lacking. I have a distortion pedal, a GK Diesel Dawg. I love it. It WILL be on my pedal board. I also have a modded Digitech Bad Monkey that will be staying. Other than that, there are no guarantees, though it is likely my EHX Deluxe Bass Big Muff will also stay. However, I'm also looking for a smoother fuzz.

    Cut to the chase: I'm looking at getting rid of Digitech Bass Squeeze, Bass Multi Chorus, Bass Driver, Turbo Flange, and Digidelay, as well as possibly the Bass Synth Wah. Should I get any "better" types of these effects? I like how chorus sounds, but I don't find it gets much use. Should I keep it, just for the few times I may need it, and deal with it being just OK, and not spectacular? I'm really looking at replacing the compressor with an MXR M87, and adding an MXR Bass Fuzz Deluxe in there for that smoother fuzz I mentioned earlier. Would a noise gate be useful for high gain stuff? I don't plan on ridiculous amounts of gain or distortion, as I want to keep my tone relatively intact under the effects. What do you guys think? Get rid of all these and trade up? Should I worry about chorus? Which kinds of effects are essential for a standard metal setup?

    Thanks guys! Let the discussion begin!
  2. It really depends on what kind of metal you're playing. The only pedal I use is a VT bass (which I highly recommend) and I leave it sitting on my amp permanently on. Have you thought about an eq pedal? Could be useful to use to change up your fuzz.
  3. Haven't thought about an EQ pedal at all, but I typically play mid-paced metal. So far, the band has been pretty mellow, but I'm wanting to speed things up. Ideally, I want a thrash rig. Think modern Exodus, Testament, or Overkill for that stuff. I'm also looking for a cleaner "doom" setup. I don't want the all out fuzz doom stuff, but more like Grand Magus or maybe The Sword. Thick and heavy, but not pure fuzz like Electric Wizard or anything. Basically, I'm going to mess with these pedals like crazy to learn all I can about them and so that they each have a sound I want so that at the press of a few footswitches, I can go from clean, to distorted, to fuzz, and wherever else I may need to go. Hence, numerous effects. That help at all?
  4. MSUsousaphone


    Dec 4, 2009
    Lake Charles, La
    Endorsed Artist: Myco Pedals
    It's a little bit pricey, but the Strymon Mobius is where it's at. Chorus, Flanger....you even get a phaser and the Destroyer thing on there is AMAZING!!!! In one pedal you would totally lose most of that digitech stuff.

    But the first thing I would do, the MAIN pedal I would have if I were in a metal band, would be a B3K. Awesome little dude.
  5. I've never really used a distortion before, but as for fuzz, I really love the Swollen Pickle. You can go from a huge wall of fuzz to dying battery tones to a light fuzz. Another thought I had was an A/B/Y splitter, they're great if you want to mix a clean and distorted tone together especially for pedals that don't have a blend control.
  6. When I played metal I used a Tech 21 XXL and my clean sound and that was it. Mostly cleans though as I was competing with 2 guitarists who played through bass amps and scooped their mids. I did have a looper and flanger in my setup but I only used the looper as a ghetto sampler and the flanger to make noise. Not sure what you'd use a synth pedal for in a metal band but they are fun to mess with.
  7. Venom of God

    Venom of God

    Oct 8, 2007
    For thrash I use a compressor pedal and then a cutting distortion pedal, I don't think you want to go overly complicated for that sort of music!
  8. crapusername


    Sep 26, 2005
    North Kent.UK
    endorsing artist: Dean guitars, Marshall , Rotosound strings
    With those pedals you already have, an eq would probably serve you very well.
    For stuff like testament, an eq would sculpt your sound into the mid and top heavy sounds found there
  9. MCS4


    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Based on your needs, I'd say invest in a quality fuzz or other heavy distortion (Grey Stache, Bluebeard, El Oso, TAFM, or tons of others regularly discussed here) and maybe a compressor (M87 would be my choice, but again there are several favorites around these parts). I don't see that you have much need for the other stuff, so it might be better to devote your funds to getting the best options for what you'll actually use, and keep your existing gear for any of the other stuff.

    Fuzz is fun for doom-y stuff. For thrash you probably won't use much of anything. IMO the faster the metal, the less likely distortion/fuzz is to sound good and the more likely it is to obscure your tone and playing. If you are going to use the dirt all the time, investing in a quality pedal that will preserve clarity is key.

    EQ is helpful, but may not be necessary if you're happy with your amp's EQ. I like chorus but use it only for clean or ambient parts... so if that's not your thing, you might not find it useful to upgrade.

    For what it's worth, I play in a sludge/thrash band and run completely clean 90% of the time, except for the EQ and compression built into my preamp. Otherwise I kick on some dirt now and then, and like a bit of chorus and reverb on rare occasions for upper-register quiet/clean parts (clean intros, interludes, etc.).
  10. Keep in mind this was recorded direct, with no additional eq. I don't even think they used a cabsim on it. So it will sound even better through an amp:
  11. I've been thinking similarly. Basically, keep the Flange, Synth, and Chorus for fun, and ditch the Bass Driver Delay,and compressor. The MXR M87 is the top compressor on my list, and the fuzz I'm looking at is the MXR Bass Fuzz Deluxe. It's smoother than my EHX DeluxeBassMuff.

    I love my clean tone, so I'm not too worried about EQ. And I don't want pure fuzzedout craziness either, but somewhere in between. Fasterdoes usually mean less effects, but we've been writing slower stuff, so I'm using them often. I kinda want a utilitarian setup, so no matter what I need, I can get there. I feel these pedalscould help substantially.

    Anyway, thanks for the input guys! Keep it coming!
  12. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    I agree that what you already have is all you really need, for the basics.... Maybe an eq to adjust the flavor of your distortion... I use an EWS BMC for this. Anything that will enhance the mids or upper mids will accentuate your distortion and help keep things from muddying up too much. A boost around 1kHz cleans up fuzz really well, and makes the grindy super grindy.

    I also agree that the faster you play the less fuzzy you should be if you want your notes to be heard. Parallel blenders help somewhat (I use a Schism).
  13. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    If you still like digitech effects but want something more advanced, check out the digitech hardwire sc-2 valve distortion pedal. this pedal sounds phenomenal on bass. I've been thinking about buying that pedal for my bass sometime soon. here's a video demonstration on how it sounds on bass.

  14. MCS4


    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I'm picking up a theme about wanting "smoother" fuzz and not "pure fuzzedout craziness." Are you sure what you really want is fuzz, as opposed to overdrive or distortion? If you're just looking for some smooth dirt to stand out in the mix, you can look for either a tube-ish overdrive pedal (for extra-smooth, less gain-y sound) or a heavier distortion that has a blend knob so that you can round out the gain with a dollop of your clean tone (for example, an MXR M80, any of the SansAmps, El Oso distortion, etc.).
  15. HunterBurgan4Me


    Mar 6, 2010
    I'm in a metal band (System of a Down, Dead Kennedy's, Fall of Troy, Deftones, Periphery and Slipknot influenced) and I use a pedalboard.

    I've got:

    • Boss TU-2 - I'd recommend a tuning pedal to anyone and this one handles low tunings well so no complaints.
    • Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi - brilliant for fuzzy tones and the main advantage of it over other fuzzes is the blend knob that lets you combine your clean tone and distorted tone to help you get some more grindy sounds. It also has a seperate mode controlled by a separate pedal that can add some distinction to playing you want to stand out. Has a built in noise gate so I use it last in my chain letting me stack up as many OD/Distortions I want on top of it without any horrible background hisses (it's very rare I would do that though)
    • Boss SD-1 - It's a guitar pedal and it shows, it sucks a little bit of your bass out but not a horrendous amount. I got it secondhand for £15 and I wouldn't have played full price for it. I've managed to find a sweetspot on it with very very light crunch
    • MXR Micro Amp - Plain and simple booster, it can add some more gain if you put it before distortion effects or it can be a clean boost if you put it after them, great pedal, a bit pricey for what it is but you can tell it's quality.
    • Darkglass B3K - Very expensive pedal but it's worth every penny. The best OD/Distortion pedal for bass i've ever heard, words fail me.

    I'm getting a Noise Gate off a friend in a few days to cancel out any unwanted interference but it's not that important to have one (in my opinion) unless you have a big problem with it or are likely to be using high gain distortion.

    I don't really go in for Chorus or Envelope filters, fun but they don't really seem worth the money because I'd rarely if ever touch them live.

    My amp has built in compression but if it didn't I'd probably buy one.
  16. HeebHammer70


    May 29, 2011
    I play NWOBHM/ thrash. My set up is compressor (always on)-> octave down (I play upper register during guitar solos to fill out the sound) -> distortion (for leads) -> chorus/ flanger (also to fill out my sound) -> wah (for Cliff Burton type leads).
    For me the compressor keeps my volume smooth for when I switch between digging in with my fingers and quicker 3-finger passages. I use the M87.
    I'm also thinking of adding a fuzz pedal for bluesier riffs, though that probably will just be to play around with on my own.

  17. I also have the Deluxe Bass Big Muff! It's great, but I feel I haven't quite found the "sweet spot". Maybe you could give me some hints or settings for for a smoother fuzz. I've had it only a few days, so I'm learning it.

    Anyway, I hear a lot of people giving me ideas for specific pedals, and while that's useful, I'm hoping to get more feedback on which kinds effects you guys seem to actually use. Not to knock anyone's preferences, but we all have our own tastes as to what we like soundwise, so I try not to put too much stock into other people's suggestions, unless I can/have already tried that pedal and have some experience. Videos can only go so far too!

    OK, something else that seems to be happening is that my post is being misread. Guess I wasn't as clear as I thought. Here's a run down of my rig, and what I like about/how these things are being used.

    GK 700RB and NEO410: I LOVE this amp. The clean sound I get is absolutely perfect as far as what I want. It's amazing, and I'm not changing. So there! Anyway, I've got it sounding like a modern Exodus/Overkill bass sound now, and I really dig it. No complaints here at all.

    Compressor: Digitech Bass Squeeze (Will be replaced soon, likely by the MXR M87) It's a compressor, I like that it keeps volume stable when I really dig in with a pick or switch to fingers etc. etc.

    Digitech Bad Monkey: Modded for bass, I like this as a quick and dirty tube amp sound. It takes a bit of clarity out of my sound, but I like what it does. This is my "low distortion" option, and will likely be on quite often as I like it. This also plays well with my other effects, giving them a bit more "oomph" in the low end.

    GK Diesel Dawg: This is my "heavy distortion" option. It sounds great, and doesn't lose any low end. Plus, it's very versatile. I could probably get fuzzy tones from it, but I much prefer its distortion sound. It's the best distortion out there that I've ever heard in person. It's not a tube sound, it's not a fuzz sound, it's straight up distortion, and a good one.

    "Smooth Fuzz": I guess this is where suggestions will be coming in. This will be a light fuzz. I want to retain some clarity, but still have some heavy. I'm thinking something for Stoner/Doom Metal. Basically, Grand Magus, Spiritual Beggars, Candlemass, The Sword, etc. Doom, but not straight out fuzz. I'm heavily leaning towards the MXR Bass Fuzz Deluxe.

    EHX Deluxe Bass Big Muff: This is my "heavy fuzz". I'm wanting this for slower bass lines, ala Black Sabbath, or more fuzzed out stuff like High On Fire, Witchfinder General, Saint Vitus, etc. This is last in the chain because of its noise gate function and also because I like to have my distortions rise in heaviness on my board.

    So that's my rig as is. I'm thinking I won't be using chorus, flange, or synth much, so I might sell them, or just keep them at home to mess with when I feel like it. The point of my rig, however, is to get a bunch of good tones with the push of a switch or two. Do you think this layout can achieve that? Do you feel that there's a kind of effect that I am leaving out for a heavy metal rig? Thanks again, and I hope I've made my goals clearer this time.
  18. HunterBurgan4Me


    Mar 6, 2010
    Well I can give you the knob positions of a setting I usually use, I would take a picture but I dropped my camera in a sink while intoxicated... won't be doing that again...


    Volume - adjust to taste and for your own amp
    Blend - dead centre 12 o clock, if I know a song is coming up where I need heavy fuzz i'll change it all the way round at the beginning
    Tone - 3 o clock
    Sustain - 3 o clock
    Gate - almost to 10 o clock, depends on what your using it for
    HPF - 1 o clock
    LPF - 11 o clock

    I find that HPF and LPF set up gives my bass just a tiny bit more bite to cut through the mix in a section I really want to stand out but I use it sparingly. If I were you i'd experiment with that!

    Although I use an active bass I don't turn on the -10db knob often, I find it dampens the effect too much.

    Hope this helps!
  19. MSUsousaphone


    Dec 4, 2009
    Lake Charles, La
    Endorsed Artist: Myco Pedals
    You have the main players, already.

    For something you could actually use while the guits are playing, maybe look into something with a good filter that is expression controlled and get an expression pedal with it. Then you can do stuff kinda like this creepy man:

    Just cool subtle things there....or aggressive things....that hopefully your guit buds will be impressed enough with to stop playing for a few seconds to let you mesmerize the crowd.
  20. Thanks! I'll try those out in the morning, when I can play without annoying the neighbors!

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