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Overdriven bass

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by mjnichols, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. mjnichols


    Jun 23, 2007
    Hey guys - I'm new here and this is my first post so don't be too brutal. :bag:

    A friend of mine are starting a two-piece band with only drum and bass. We're going to be covering songs by a band named Death From Above 1979, which is also a two-piece band which is now broken up. In order to play their songs I need to replicate they're very overdriven and very blasted bass sound. If you've never heard their songs you can check out their myspace:


    I guess my main question is how can I replicate that sound. This might sound like a vast question but I was hoping someone here would know what to do. In case you guys need it here's my current equipment:

    Kramer bass (I believe it's the Striker 700 STB but I'm not sure)
    Squier 15 amp
    Kustom bass amp

    Not much, but it's a start.
  2. masprague


    May 6, 2007
    I would take your gear down to the local music shop and try out pedals.

    I would start with a Big Muff (try every version) and go from there
  3. mjnichols


    Jun 23, 2007
    You know it's kinda funny, I am a drummer (have been for about 10 years) and when I go to music shops I dont even pay attention to any of the amp or pedal sections, I just go straight to the drums section. For some reason going to a music store and trying out pedals never popped into my mind. Thanks, and I'll definitely see if they have any Big Muffs.:bassist:
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Believe it or not, we've had some detailed discussion of DFA 1979's gear. You'll find those threads by searching on the relevant words: DFA, death, 1979, the name of the bassist, etc.

    The essential thing IIRC is that he used two or more solid-state amplifiers and cranked them at maximum gain for the "dreaded" ss amp distortion.

    For cheaper/easier methods, you can read the many many threads we've had about distortion. Good hunting!
  5. mjnichols


    Jun 23, 2007
    Thanks a lot!
  6. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    Yep.. that's the heart of it.

    I'm a DFA1979 fan, so I've done some research and posted about it before.

    This should answer everything about what he uses:


    Now, to get that sound without all that gear... You'll need two basic things - a chorus pedal and a harsher distortion pedal (read: not fuzz). Using a solid state amp instead of a tube amp is very helpful as well, as the tube amp will take you away from that tone.

    I've been able to get some tones that are pretty close to Keeler's using a chorus pedal and my GK 2001RB's distortion channel. So, I could definitely recommend the GK Diesel Dawg as an overdrive pedal that could pull it off at very high gain settings.

    Overall, this is one of the few times where using anything with tubes, or that's "tube-like" in sound, will actually fight you on getting that tone. Interestingly enough, while my amp can get tube-like tones, it changes its character when the distortion channel is cranked, allowing me to get something that's somewhat un-tubelike.

    Since I haven't explored distortion pedals to use specifically for Keeler's tone, I can't help you too much more than this... but hopefully, it'll give you a start!
  7. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    Hmm... maybe I was getting a little ahead of myself when I said "no fuzz".

    No "bass-specific fuzz" is probably more appropriate, as those are voiced much differently. I was just experimenting with my Little Big Muff (traditionally a guitar fuzz, but it works great on bass, as do most Big Muff pedals), and if you dial the tone and sustain pretty high (and crank up the volume to compensate), you can get a tone that actually works really well for that DFA1979 sound.

    The most important thing to note is that you have to play with a pick - it's the other critical ingredient to that tone. Ideally, it'd be something under 1.00mm (Jesse Keeler uses Tortex .73mm), but feel free to experiment.
  8. DbNBassist


    Aug 12, 2006
    +1 on the GK idea, i could get the perfect DBA1979 tone from the distortion channel on my Backline 115.

    Another idea is to maybe as ur amp isnt the best to save up for one of the GK Backline combos. It will really help.
  9. I would purchase some type of blender. Whatever he uses... he still has a lot of bottom.
  10. Swift713


    Dec 4, 2006
    Florence, Ma
    You will definitely want a better amp. GK might be a good bet.
  11. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    He recorded with two rigs. One was pushed to its limits, the other, not so much - it's how he kept the bottom end.

    It's hard to hear on the MySpace songs, but if you listen to the actual tracks on Heads Up or You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, you can hear more than one amp in action.
  12. The Lurker

    The Lurker

    Aug 16, 2002
    so what part does the chorus --> distortion thing play in it?
  13. Well saw my leg of and call me stumpy... I've Never heard of them before! Just checked out their myspace about 5 mins ago. Just bought a couple of their CDs off Ebay about 2 mins ago :)

    Cheers for introducing me to some new music! :cool:
  14. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    You can't hear the effect? :eyebrow:


    His Ibanez SC10 Stereo Chorus is one of the keys to his tone:


    He runs it in front of both amps (each stereo output to one amp). It creates two unique results in his distortion:

    - You get an ambience that's much different than running a chorus after distortion.

    - You get a slightly "offset" response from each amp, which IMO sounds pretty cool in this setting. It's hard to hear on MySpace, but it's much more evident on the CD recordings.
  15. The Lurker

    The Lurker

    Aug 16, 2002

    Aha, that's what I was wondering. DOes it have parallel outputs?
  16. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    Not exactly: it has one normal, and one that's phase-inverted. The EHX Clone Theory is the same way. I don't know if the Boss CEB-3 is that way, but I believe the Boss CE-5 is also the same.
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