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Octave pedal - Whammy vs Donner

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Jisch, Oct 9, 2017.


  1. Jisch

    Jisch Supporting Member

    I have this "wing" bass that I made (see avatar), it's tuned up an octave, I call it my stumpy bass. I bought a whammy pedal to drop it an octave (and do many other things). I use the whammy a lot more than I thought I would even with my regular sized basses. When my band goes into jam mode, I'll often record the bass line into the looper, then use the whammy to add some crazy dynamics to the mix. I use it with the wing bass as well, but my complaint is that I can't see what mode the whammy pedal is in without leaning way over and I often accidentally hit the selector knob with my foot while manipulating the pedal. Getting the whammy back to the correct mode requires putting fingers on the knob which really kills the mood.

    All this to say I somehow had to justify a new pedal.

    The real wing basses have an option to embed a Nano Pog, I looked into those pedals and they are over $200, while I'm sure it's a nice pedal (I never played through one) I couldn't see spending that much on dedicated octave pedal. I found this Donner pedal that was smaller and seemed to have pretty good reviews.

    I've only got a few minutes with the Donner, but it definitely produces a more natural sounding bass note than the whammy does. Next is to see if I can make room inside the stumpy so I can embed it inside. I'd hard wire it so it has a single switch on the bass to turn it on - essentially octave drop only. For $45 I guess that's worth the effort, I'd feel bad doing that to a $200 pedal.

    I'll update this thread if I go forward with the embed.
     
  2. bassmusic17

    bassmusic17

    Jan 15, 2011
    Best option I’d say is use midi with the Whammy. It would eliminate your problem. But it would add midi. Which might be a problem. Haha
     
  3. bassmusic17

    bassmusic17

    Jan 15, 2011
    I also don’t believe that the Donner octave pedal sounds better.
     
  4. Jisch

    Jisch Supporting Member

    I looked at midi pedals, cha-ching. I also considered building an audrino to control the Whammy, but that looked like a lot of work. I'll have to work more with the Donner, I only played with it for a few minutes.
     
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    First time seeing that Donner pedal. Don't blame you for snagging it. I almost bought it on impulse after seeing a couple demos just to have something versatile and small for fly gigs. Not being able to do both up and down at the same time is a slight bummer, but I could probably live without it. What I can't live without, though, is polyphonic ability, and I haven't heard any demos with chords. If you play a chord into it, will it track all the notes in the chord?
     
  6. Jisch

    Jisch Supporting Member

    yes it will track chords. I was playing my eight string (dual course) through it yesterday and it tracked both strings.

    In playing around with this pedal a bit more I can see it's a different animal than the Whammy. The pedal on the Whammy makes it an expressive effect, I think having a dedicated detune on top of the Whammy still makes sense (though I don't think I'd ever have both of these on at the same time).

    Doing a pure octave drop, I still think the Donner does a better job of creating the lower note than the Whammy does, it has more nuance, but I should record both to see if I can hear a difference. The volume knobs for dry and wet are also nice so you can mix in as much of the detuned sound as you want. The Whammy either mixes both evenly or only produces the detuned sound. Of course there are only eight settings (I think there are eight) of detune on the Donner, so there's nowhere near the flexibility of the Whammy in that regard.

    I'm still considering embedding it in the stumpy, I have to take the pedal apart and see how difficult it would be to remove the parts I don't need (jacks and foot switch) and also figure out a way to get power to the bass. I suspect it has a pretty significant current draw and I would hate going through batteries like that.

    I still have limited time with the pedal, so my opinions may change and I'll update as I get more experience, but for $45, it's a decent pedal.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  7. Which Whammy are you talking about here, the newer Whammy V / Bass Whammy re-issue that have two modes?
     
  8. Jisch

    Jisch Supporting Member

    yeah, there are a lot of models of the Whammy - I have the Whammy 5 as shown in the below video.

    I was messing around a bit this morning and one of the reasons the Donner has a better octave tone is because you can mix in some of the dry signal. I hadn't really picked this out yesterday, but adding a little bit of the higher tone adds color to the overall sound, whereas the Whammy is just the detune which loses some of the feel.