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Pedal to simulate a 5 string using a 4 string

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by OllieDox, Oct 20, 2017.

  1. OllieDox


    Jun 13, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    I wanted to get some input and recommendations for a pedal that can simulate the low B on a 5 string for occasional use with a 4 string. I'm assuming a pitch shifter of some sort like the Drop, Ricochet, or Pitchfork. I don't need a bunch of features - essentially just drop down the pitch from the low E to a low B.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.
  2. Digitech Bass Whammy?
    LSMFT6 likes this.
  3. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    The ones you list will help with making a specific drop like that. However, I accomplish making-a-4-string-into-a-5-string with a standard octaver pedal (EBS Octabass and Aguilar Octamizer work well for my particular setup and playing style). I find that essentially lowering all of the strings a full octave and learning/playing a song that way is much more straightforward for my brain.
  4. Maybe the Digitech Ricochet? I want to try one.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Either get an octaver and play up one octave from the bass line or string your 4 string BEAD and let her rip.

    Trying to pitch shift a 4th down will likely sound pretty bad. If it didn't sound pretty bad everyone would be doing it and never transpose on the fly again. :D
  6. OllieDox


    Jun 13, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    Interesting - thanks for your suggestion. I was considering this but thought that the pitch shifter might be better since it was dropping just a few tones instead of a whole octave. But if it works for you and others (there are a bunch of octave pedals out there), this sounds like it could be a good option. Thank you!
  7. Hipshot Bass "Xtender" does the trick for me on the rare occasions I need to dip below "E."

    I also have a MXR Bass Octave to give it a bit of bottom "omph."

    Maybe a simple solution to what you are looking for, maybe not, but it works for me.
  8. MCS4


    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I use an EBS Octabass for occasional extra-low notes because I can get it to sound closer to my normal bass tone than other octavers/pitch shifters I have tried. However, if I needed to do a lot of "low b" during a set I'd probably go with a digital octaver for better tracking.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I use a Pitch Fork for this purpose, though most of the time I use it to simulate an 8-string bass, which it does better at. Still, the Pitch Fork does a decent job of it. It's not exactly the same but it beats bringing a second bass, and it's not so far off that people freak out.
  10. LSMFT6

    LSMFT6 We brake for nobody Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    Another vote for the Bass Whammy.
    I use the down 4th setting in Classic mode and it sounds pretty damn good to me.
    TerribleLiar23 likes this.
  11. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    An easy solution? Get a 5 string ;) Or try BEAD tuning.
    sillyfabe and PillO like this.
  12. Easy for you, but maybe the OP can't afford or doesn't want to cart around a second bass for occasional use, or retune for occasional use.
    Perhaps the OP doesn't want to mod the main bass with a Hipshot, perhaps the OP has good reason to seek a solution in pedal form...

    Maybe, just maybe, the OP has different needs-wants-goals-objectives-and-ears than you.
    basslayer likes this.
  13. dannybuoy


    Aug 3, 2005
    The Drop is the preferred option of many a guitarist out there. Latency is an important factor here - analog octaves like the Octabass will respond instantly but they won't sound like your bass tuned down like a digital one will.

    I've not tried The Drop but have a Whammy V, Bass Whammy and Ricochet. All are great but I sense a very slight increase in latency with the Ricochet compared to its bigger siblings. Not enough to be problem, but if you are playing fast lines into headphones where you usually feel an instant direct connection with the instrument, the delay makes you feel slightly more disconnected from your instrument, like you are playing through an amp located on the other side of a big room.
    Nunovsky likes this.
  14. Best I’ve tried as far as tracking and simplicity is probably the newer bass whammy because it can do a 4th down shift so with the press of the footswitch you can go from eadg to bead so the notes stay on the same frets that they are on on a 5 (beadg) they just shift one string over.

    The mxr bass octave deluxe. Been a while since I had it but I want to say I had the growl knob off and dry and girth pretty evenly mixed. It’s not dead on like a 5 because it’s an octave and not a single note but I remember liking that sound because the girth octave was cleaner and less synthy and the dry mixed in kept the natural attack which if you play rounds and like a bright string attack in your tone might be A good option.

    If you’re just jamming at home or playing covers and need a low b here or there and the PA isn’t super professional it’ll do the trick. IMO the most professional way to do it is to have another bass with a low b string though wether it be a 5 string, 6 string, or a 4 setup bead. Another bonus of the mxr is you can get some cool synth like tones with the growl knob running it into a fuzz
  15. OllieDox


    Jun 13, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I appreciate it. Agreed that a 5 string would be the best solution but after a hand injury I’ve found standard scale, let alone 5 string width necks, too uncomfortable to play. I’m playing the Mustang PJ these days and that neck is about as wide as I can go. BEAD is a good idea but my want for a 5 is really for occasional use (home) - definitely not in my gigging rock band.
    Element Zero likes this.
  16. JohnPativens


    Sep 20, 2005
    Years ago I would have suggested the EBS Octabass, it has the cleanest low octave which sounds like a low B string in the mix, hardly someone can notice the difference; this is still my first choice if I want to stay analog.
    Nowadays I'd say technology improved so much and real time digital pitch shifting has become reliable and inexpensive. A Digitech Drop would be fine. Also, I remember the Line6 M5 had a great pitch shifter.
  17. the rackmount I'm currently using ( ART NightBass) has both a 5 and a 6 emulator, but as I've never used it in a band setting I'm not sure how acurate it is.
  18. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    More of a joke... hence the wink.
  19. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    If you don't play too high on your G string I strongly recommend you string BEAD. I'm a 5er player since 1993 and it changed me, made me a "lower" bass player, I could get away with a 4 stringer tuned BEAD for 99% of what I play. In fact, the few 4 string basses I've lately had all were strung so as soon as I got them (including my 30.5" scale Epiphone Viola).
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
    Element Zero likes this.
  20. Blu bro

    Blu bro

    Mar 1, 2012
    I do this with the Eventide Pitch algorithms. Seriously sounds impressive.

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