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OD pedal + SS amp = disaster ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by LiveToWin, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. LiveToWin


    Oct 18, 2017
    Hello ;)
    Pardon me, if this topic is not in the correct section.

    I own GK MB115 II, Rick 4003 and I want to buy ovedrive pedal for some Motorhead tones(I found ideal OD pedal - OKKO Motorbass - I will post a short review as soon as I can).
    As you know GK is SS amp, and I'm afraid that any OD pedal can sound like a$$ because it's solid state amp, not tube amp. And I know (I don't know if this is correct or not) that SS distortion can be real crappy sounding. I rather run amp pretty clean (gain abot bit less than 1/4) and volume about half, but even with this setup, due to high gain pickups - it's not ultra clean setting.

    I'm total newbie in SS amp territory (previously tube amp guitar player) and I just simply want to know if OD pedal will work good with SS amp and help me achieve desired sound, without crappy sounding SS distortion.
    I know that the easiest solution will be Marshall Superbass 4x15 cab but I'dont have that much space and I don't need that much volume ...
  2. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Some SS distortion sounds terrible, and some sounds awesome. You have to go on a case by case basis, but don't assume all SS distortion is crappy.

    This is not surprising. I think you'll find that while there are similarly a ton of all tube devotees here in bass-land (justifiably), many of us are open minded towards, or even fans of solid state offerings for bass, many of which can be excellent.

    Yes. GK in particular has a good reputation for taking effects, including distortion well. Experiment and let your ears be the judge.
    P-oddz, Cracker7 and LiveToWin like this.
  3. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    One last thought, depending on technique it's entirely possible for a bass, certain basses in particular (like yours), to produce enough extra harmonic content that it doesn't sound clean even if played through a clean power amp with a ton of headroom.

    This is often desirable. Just food for thought.
    LiveToWin likes this.
  4. LiveToWin


    Oct 18, 2017
    Thank you ! ;)

    Another question popped in my head - If there will be difference in sound runing OD pedal in SS amp or tube amp ? Which type of amp will be more beneficial for cleanest and most defined sound ?
    GK MB115 have headphones output and If I plug my OD pedal to the input of amp it will work fine ? I like to play with headphones because I can hear my playing much better and and if OD pedal will not work with headphones - huge bummer for me...
  5. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Cleanest and most defined? Not that tubes can't do it, but that sure sounds like SS in my book.

    Depending on the tube amp, it could potentially insert another layer of complexity, dirt, or even add a smoothness to added distortion before it, all depending on what you're using. There's no one best scenario though, it'll all come down to your preference.

    Yup! That's what it's there for, and I can tell you a ton of people, like me, use some form of distortion with GK amps.

    Also, be mindful of boost, which I think the MB115-ii has - this adds one form of GK's signature (and relatively subtle) distortion to your signal.
    LiveToWin likes this.
  6. LiveToWin


    Oct 18, 2017
    Thanks again ! :)
    Boost knob is realy nice, I like that growl but with OD pedal it can be too much gain ... Too much gain in guitar amps is not good - sound will be much less defined, harsh and muddy and I suppose with bass amp this also apply.
  7. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    It's all a balancing act. Sometimes layering a few light distortions is desirable, other times it may be preferred to use one primary source of OD with everything else relatively clean. All depends on your goals and preferences.

    No right or wrong when it comes to personal tone, especially when it comes to things between your strings and speakers. Just experiment with what you have access to and find the best mix that works for you.
    jonlimo and LiveToWin like this.
  8. LiveToWin


    Oct 18, 2017
    Thanks ! ;) TB is such nice place, have a nice day !
    Kro likes this.
  9. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    You can not compare SS Overdrive vs. Tube Overdrive when you want a pedal for that.

    Unless you use a booster (or very high output setting) to overdrive the preamp of the amplifier, the Overdrive / Distortion happens in the pedal. The amp just makes it louder.

    In the bass world, opposed to the guitar world, you need watts, lots of them. A powerful tube amp usually runs a sixpack of 6550s or KT88s and has big transformers. So we're talking about 90lbs for a 300W head.
    Solid State class D amps weigh next to nothing and have more than enough power on tap.
    So the majority of bassists left tube amps behind long ago. For a working bassist, the amp is not as important as for a guitarist - a minimalistic guitar live setup is a guitar, an amp and a mic. A minimalistic bass live setup is a bass and a DI box. On recordings it is common practice to record the bass directly or with a preamp instead of mic'ing the cab.
    LiveToWin likes this.
  10. See if you can find the JimmyM poll thread where he spent a good amount of time recording a VTbass pedal getting it to sound close to a real tube DI.

    25% got it wrong. 75% got it right. Statistically that is very poor discernment from a bunch of tone head TB bassists. 50% get it right by guessing!
    LiveToWin and son_of_mogh like this.
  11. dindinbre


    Aug 2, 2017
    Overdrive happens in pedal. If you use pedal for overdrive, solid state amp just amplifies already overdriven sound. But if you use a booster pedal to overdrive preamp you will get that crappy SS drive.
    Grumry and LiveToWin like this.
  12. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Jule-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    You're confusing solid state power amp distortion (which generally sounds bad) with running a dirt pedal into a solid state amp.

    There is no downside to using a distortion pedal with a solid state amp provided you like the tone of each.
  13. SunnBass

    SunnBass All these blankets saved my life.

    Aug 31, 2010
    Columbia, Mo
    I run plenty of distortion through both of my GK amps.
    Never sounded bad to me.
    Just gotta buy good pedals.
  14. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Overdrive can happen in a pedal, but also in a preamp or a power amp.

    Boosting into a SS amp does not mean you'll get "crappy" SS drive. Legions of GK users will vehemently disagree with you.
    LiveToWin, brett adams and SunnBass like this.
  15. dindinbre


    Aug 2, 2017
    I thought that GK users use it for clank-clank treble bass tone, not for overdrive. At least in Serbia they do. Anyway I forgot to put "" on crappy.
  16. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Well, while I don't think a before amp boost would do anything with a GK aside from overdriving the input stage (not great sounding IMO), distortion from either the boost stage or from straight up overdriving the power section (in RBs) can be very desirable in the right contexts.

    GKs are are complex amps and are used for MUCH more than just "clank-clank treble bass tone" as you suggested. ;)
  17. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    The overdrive pedal is a solid-state amp driven into overdrive
    SS overdrive is classic rock tone.
    LiveToWin likes this.
  18. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    One of the sweetest OD tone ever recorded, Felder’s lead tone on Hotel California, was achieved by SS OD.
    LiveToWin likes this.
  19. gidbass

    gidbass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    OD pedal + SS amp = disaster ?

    I use a VT Bass DI and a GK MB 212. No disaster here. Just beautiful tone bliss!

    Good Luck!
    LiveToWin likes this.
  20. Two-Spirit

    Two-Spirit Gold Supporting Member

    Just try all of your overdrives through Gallien Krueger, Ampeg also sells a fake tube sound pedal, the preamp classic. Flea uses a Boss Bass Overdrive into GK.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018

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