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(Pedals) where to start?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by spanndrew, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. spanndrew


    Oct 14, 2013
    Atlanta, Ga
    Title says it all. Making a few extra bucks these days and thinking of starting a board. Aside from a tuner, where is a good starting place?
  2. MothBox


    Oct 25, 2010
    Overdrive and distribution tend to be a pretty standard sound for rock and indie.

    Id probably recommend a multi effects unit though as youre new to the game. Something from Zoom prehaps. It will allow you to test out a lot at a low price and then you could begin to buy individual pedals.
    jimmybc91 likes this.
  3. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    Buy an overdrive/fuzz pedal and then prepare yourself to have hours and hours of fun.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
    jumblemind and jwr like this.
  4. Driven Crane

    Driven Crane

    May 30, 2014
    B7K. It is GOD of all pedals. I have twenty of them. But B7K - is a king.
    gregmon79 likes this.
  5. Remyd


    Apr 2, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    Have heard many good things about the (inexpensive) Zoom B1on.
  6. Twocan

    Twocan Living the Dream

    Oct 5, 2009
  7. jimmybc91


    Oct 8, 2013
    Los Angeles
    I used to own a Line 6 Bass POD, first effects unit I owned, also tampered with a multi-effects vocal unit and ran it with my bass. I think that's the best way to start. I give a +1 on the Zoom, go ahead and buy a used one, hell any multi-effects unit would be great. Once you realize what effects you like hearing on the bass you cn go ahead and define the sound by getting specific pedals.

    It's a good investment I believe. Give it a shot! Either way welcome to the effects world!
    spanndrew likes this.
  8. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Chamonix Mont-Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    I am personally not a huge fan of MULTI-effects units but many people here use them to great effect.

    To start off, if I were you I would aim to buy a:

    - overdrive / fuzz
    - an octave pedal
    - a compressor

    That should give you a good variety of new sounds to play with and help you see if this is a road you want to go down. The compressor will make your existing sound better and the other two can help you find some new ones.

    Plus if you go with a Boss OC-2 used from the classifieds or ebay, a Big Muff and an orange Squeezer clone for the compressor or an MXR it won't cost you too much, you will have some classics that if you ever want to sell you won't lose too much.
  9. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    I go back and forth on this. I definitely get the "start with a multi effects unit" to get a sampling of what all is out there, especially with the quality and value of the new Zoom B1on. But I think for myself starting out I may have been too overwhelmed by that many effects and parameters. So I also like the idea of starting with an overdrive or fuzz pedal, something that is straightforward, easy and fun right out of the box. There's a lot to learn from that angle, too.

    So yeah, what everyone else said. :)
    AaronVonRock likes this.
  10. Remyd


    Apr 2, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    Sold out. I'd have bought 2. :(
  11. Dale D Dilly

    Dale D Dilly Monster

    Jul 1, 2008

    My first pedal (for guitar) was a 90s digitech multi-unit where the only way to edit perimeters and make your own patches was to wade through 6 levels of digital menus. It was a pretty big turn off and discouraged me from using effects until I picked the bass back up a few years later. I think some of the modern units with a "one knob one function" and a nice graphic display--Zoom B3 for example would offer the variety in a much more accessible and tinker-friendly way. The other zoom offerings fit the bill pretty well too, though of course you have to do a tiny bit of menu jumping to switch between the different effects in a lineup. I love the ms-60b to death and will also be checking out the B1on as soon as I get the chance.

    A personal opinion I'll share: modeling is great these days for most effects, but most fuzz/od/amp sims on multieffects pedals still always seem to lack the dynamics and texture of the real deal to me. I recommend getting a multi-effects pedal to cover the other effects and then experiment with some dedicated analog dirt units.
  12. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Washington, DC Area
    My first and favorite pedal is the Tech21 VT Bass. It doesn't have as wide a range of modeling that some of the digital pedals have, but it can go from sweet and tubey to "King Crimson" ragey, and it doesn't sound "synthesized". Pony up a little more for the VT Bass DI and you get DI out for PA systems as well.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  13. DrVenkman


    Jan 22, 2010
    Pacific NW
    Nothing wrong with the iStomp, but I'd still go with the Zoom B1on over the iStomp. It's $50 (compared to $40 for the iStomp at the sale price) but has a lot more features (pre-loaded with 100 effects/amp models, can do up to 5 of them at once, has a built-in tuner, has an aux in and can drive headphones so it's great for practice, has some drum patterns and looper functionality). On the con side the iStomp looks sturdier and I expect the number of effects offered for iStomp to continue to grow; Zoom doesn't have a great track record of providing new features for their products. Can't speak to how the quality of the digital models compare between the two.
  14. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    This^^^^ Amongst many others that will send you down a rabbit hole of lust and sin!! ;)

    If I wsa starting all over, I would most def start with a preamp. Like the B7K, Rusty Box or a Tech 21 VT Bass. Then Id move to dirt, maybe an OCD type drive pedal. Also a really dirty box, like the Blower Box by Idiot Box Effects, bad a** Rat based dist with a really versatile and simple EQ. Or a Source Audio OFD.Then I would get an octaver, probably a new BWhammy or a POG. Then onto modulation. I would go with a Tech 21 Boost Chorus or an IE poytope. Maybe even a Souce Audio Orbital Modulator. Then onto delay. Maybe a Line 6 DL4 or a Boss Giga Delay/DD20. Then from there you could fill in the gaps after youve REALLy figued out what you want more of. Check out the newer offerings by Zoom, the ms60b, B3, 70cdr and the B1Xon. Awesome multi pedals. Theres your starting point. Heck, I just named most MY board. hehehe
    spanndrew likes this.
  15. yelees


    Jul 15, 2008
    British Invasion
    Prepare yourself—pedals are an entire world. An awesome, wonderful, HUGE world.

    First thing you wanna do is do a bit of Googling/reading up on the different types of effects available and listen to some samples so you know how they sound. YouTube is great for listening to how effects sound. Some videos are better than others, so you may want to watch a few for each type/pedal.

    Then, let's say you decide you want an OD pedal, you'll find there are a million OD pedals and they all sound different. There are dozens of super popular and amazing sounding ones that get referenced on this forum a lot, so to narrow down your choice, think about what kind of OD tones you aspire to. Do you want to sound vintage or do you want to sound contemporary—1960's rock and roll or present day metal, for example. You'll find that certain pedals excel at an old-school vibe and suck at a modern vibe, and vice-versa.

    You can find the popular models and what they're best suited to by doing further reading on this forum, Googling, etc. Then you'll have a list of maybe 10-20 OD pedals that seem like they might work out for you. Listen to as many samples/videos of these as you can, and you'll start finding you prefer some over the others. If you can whittle your list down to about 5, then check out the classifieds sub-forum and eBay to see if any of your shortlist are available for a decent price. The great thing about buying used is that you can usually re-sell at around the same price you paid—maybe 10% less, so you'll get to have real hands-on experience and decide if a pedal is right for you.

    Key points:

    1) everybody's rig will have variances e.g. Length of guitar lead, amps, cabs, the room they're recording in, the strings they're using (and age of strings), and—a biggie—everybody's playing technique will be producing very different sounds. So, keep that in mind when listening to advice and listening to samples/videos. This is why it's helpful to buy used—it's very common practice to have tried out 2, 3 or even 20 pedals (for one effect) before finding one that works perfectly for your style/rig/band/whatever—so don't sweat that :)

    2) There are no rules! Once you start experimenting, if something sounds good to you, keep on doing it :) Just because a pedal costs $300, doesn't mean you're gonna like it or that it will get you the exact tone you want. There might be one for 1/3 that price that nails it. You'll see that certain types of effects are very popular with bassists, e.g. compressors and overdrives. A lot of these are used as "always-on" pedals which shape your tone/dynamics for the entire time you're playing. Some effects (like delay) might just be used for a single riff or a single song. But, no rules, remember? You may find that pedals made for guitar will suck out the bass from your tone, but that's only a bad thing if it doesn't sound good to you, maybe you're in a band where the synth player takes up a lot of the super-low bass notes and you want your tone to sit a bit above that with solid, grinding mid-frequencies.

    You're probably going to be trying out different pedals for the rest of your life. Enjoy it :)

    EDIT: Oh, and as your pedal collection grows, you may want to start experimenting with power and boards.

    A ton of pedals are designed to run off of 9v batteries. You might find that some of these sound better with batteries and some sound better with a 9v power supply—this isn't pseudo-science, it's an absolute. Totally worth playing around with. Some pedals can sound better when run on even higher or lower power (like running a 9v pedal on 18v). Word of warning: I'm not an electrical engineer, so I'm not sure if you could damage certain pedals by changing the voltage too much, so do a little reading on that!

    Once you have a bunch of pedals, you may want to consider getting a single power supply that can power all of them. Due to the way voltages and currents work, different power supplies will react differently with your pedals and thus you may notice some pedals perform better and some perform worse when you use something like a OneSpot power supply. The Voodoo Lab Pedal Power is an expensive but fantastic option to power a bunch of pedals (without them being daisy-chained together), it also has some cool effects like "sag" where you can kinda imitate a battery (you may or may not find that affects that pedal's sound in a good/bad way).

    If you need to move your pedals around a bunch, it'll be much easier if you buy (or make) a board. You can then fix all your pedals on there, hooked up and ready to rock. But, you don't have to. If you've only got a couple of pedals, there's nothing wrong with just throwing them in a bag, if that's your thing :)
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
    spanndrew, gregvds and macmanlou like this.
  16. DagoMaino


    Feb 1, 2013
    I'd start with something that your going to use often... DI with some grit. What you get depends on budget.

    Top shelf: Vellarian Meatsmoke, B7k
    Mid-level: Radial Bassebone OD, Aguilar Tonehammer
    Good Economical: MXR M-80, Tech 21 VT...

    a Zoom MS 60B... is good, but don't let the dirt options turn you off to effects... some are good if you know how to tweak 'em just right but a designated DI/dirt box will be more likely to impress you...
    Driven Crane likes this.
  17. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    …don't need no steenking….
  18. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I would start with an overdrive, that can range from a subtle overdrive, to a mild distortion. My cheaper than dirt Digitech Bad Monkey does this very well. I also have a Way Huge Green Rhino that is a little less subtle.

    Then maybe a chorus pedal would be a good second pedal, and a Morley volume pedal is always nice to have as well.
  19. Red Four

    Red Four

    Apr 4, 2011
    yelees gave some good advice. The most important thing to remember is that there is no pedal that is objectively necessary to have. Plenty of people play direct and get the sounds they need with their hands and amps. Anything beyond that should only be what makes sounds that make you happy, not something you think you're supposed to have.

    I would suggest thinking about the sounds you like to hear and the sounds that fit in the types of music you like to play. Getting a pedal purely for fun is fun, but if you can't make use of it in things you're playing/rehearsing with others or recording on your own, it diminishes the fun. If you know people with pedals, borrow their pedals for a tryout at home. Nothing beats hearing how a sound works in the context of your own work.

    That said, if you're not just looking for some crazy sound effect for pure fun, you might consider getting a pedal with DI capability built in. That way you can tweak your sound but also have a DI pedal you can pack along for gigs or recording. Though it seems like distortion is the most common effect to have packed in with a DI, so that may not be what you're looking for.

    Common choices for bass pedals include distortion, octave, envelope filter, chorus, volume, even wah. Any of the name brands for those categories will sound good, but they may not sound like what you have in mind. Listen to sound samples online or on YouTube. You'll quickly get a sense of what you like.

    I like my EHX Black Finger compressor, SansAmp Bass Driver, and Ibanez CS-9 chorus. If I were to get additional pedals for my use, I would start with the Moog Minifooger distortion, and the envelope and octave pedals from MXR.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
    yelees likes this.

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