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Please help my Distortion quest, something similar to these tones?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Basstovsky, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. Basstovsky

    Basstovsky The guy with the dumb username...

    Feb 29, 2008
    I've been questing for a distortion that isn't more than I need (Darkglass is amazing but not $400 amazing) to get an aggressive, almost biting tone. I've got a fuzz I like, and an OD I like (plus driving my Ampeg) but I haven't found "that" distortion for me. The tone is almost like a buzzsaw, but not a square wave like my fuzz, sounds almost like a chainsaw or dirtbike engine in some places, just a gritty angry tone without being too fuzzed out.

    A lot of bass distortions these days are all about 'preserving the low end' but that generally means there's no grit on the low end, and so as soon as you're in the mix, the distortion is drowned out. I want a distortion I can use and still roll off my tone knob without losing it all because its only high frequency affected.

    I also have a pedal that allows me to blend my effects and dry signal, so I'm not worried about muddied low end.

    I've got some songs here that showcase the kind of tone I'm looking for, not necessarily any one in particular of these, but more like a medium between them

    ASIWYFA - Set Guitars To Kill (approx. 1:40 and 2:25 are the best points to hear the growly distortion he's using)

    Red Fang - Wires (2:42 best shows the tone)

    Blockhead - Triptych Pt 3 (skip to about 0:58 for the bass if the link doesn't do it automatically)

    Help is greatly appreciated, obviously I'd prefer something more affordable, but I'm willing to spend up to $200 to get "that" pedal I've been searching for.

    Thanks everyone for listening to my rant (and possibly for listening to songs you think suck) :D
  2. Jamerman


    Apr 8, 2013
    Don't get a behringer. I don't have too much experience in bass distortion pedals, but I have a behringer bass distortion and it just.... Destroys your sound. Not remotely useful and I don't have any practical use for it other than to cannibalise the case.
  3. WaldoNova

    WaldoNova Having fun yet? Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2009
    Yonkers, NY
    Check out the OFD by Source Audio. You should be able to dial in a distortion sound you like. Who knows you may be able to sell off your fuzz while your at it. It has 2 presets and it's very versatile. It'll also fit in your budget.
  4. Corey Y

    Corey Y Guest

    Jun 3, 2010
    What fuzz do you already have? All those tones come across as mixtures of clean and dirty to me. Some sound more like fuzz, some more like distortion. I know the bassist from Red Fang has used a Sunn Beta Bass for a long time, which has a pretty thick built in distortion to it and can blend the second channel clean. For studio recording it's a good bet there's some clean signal mixed in with almost anything dirty (not universal, but likely). So if you have something to blend with I would start playing with the pedal, blend and amp settings first, with an ear on what it is you're missing and if you can approach your current setup with that goal in mind. The issue of getting swallowed in the mix is usually due to mid scoop and/or too much gain saturation. So sometimes dialing the gain back is a good start as well. If you're switching back and forth between dirty and clean, not as helpful. If it's an always on sound, you may be able to adjust what you have between the blend and your amp (and/or bass preamp, if applicable) settings.

    From the point of view of picking one pedal and blending in clean, you might try a RAT based pedal design as they tend to have a nice growly quality. Though the stock ProCo RAT models tend to have some low cut to them, if you're blending it should be fine. There are also boutique modded designs with added low end, different tone stacks and such. I think ProCo themselves are coming out with a new model that is supposed to have better low end and some different clipping options, though I haven't heard it yet myself.

    After a quick search online I think the bassist in the first band you listed uses an EHX Bass Big Muff, with a blend and some graphic EQ to boost mids. Having a fuzz (Big Muffs are more like something between distortion and fuzz really) with a mid control or tone stack bypass is a pretty nice solution, but I've certainly gone the route of running EQ and blend with a pedal to get where I wanted in the past and liked the results. One pedal is more convenient and elegant, but not the only way.

    I think it's important to realize there's no magic pedal that will suddenly make you sound just how you want. Knowing what you want to get out of your tone will give you the best tools to experiment with, there could be a lot of different ways to get there. If it's one $200 pedal or 3 cheap pedals, whatever gets the job done. It might require some experimenting, with critical listening and thinking to get you there. Pick a direction and jump in.
  5. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right?

    Apr 9, 2012
    Occasional Beta Tester for Confusion Studios, Singular Sound, and Source Audio
    You can get Darkglass for a lot less than $400, just saying.
  6. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    Sounds like you want a MXR Blowtorch to me.
  7. I love that tone on the As I watch you... song. The fuzzrocious rattail would be a great choice, but the way he has the lows, I feel like its blended or just two tracks. I have been after a similar tone and just found it in the Super Bassman 300. But if I was to use my GK MB800, I'd use a Rattail and blend it about 40/60 (clean/RT) with a Boss LS-2. That will come pretty close.
    Or, you could ask Fuzzrocious to add a clean blend on the rattail, which would prob sound better.
  8. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    SS/BS recently had a sale on their TAFM. I think it's a great pedal and very versatile.

    If you can find a QF2 Gold that will allow more control over the fuzz than most pedals.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  9. Basstovsky

    Basstovsky The guy with the dumb username...

    Feb 29, 2008
    That thing is crazy looking! I'll look up some demos of that pedal for sure, thanks!

    I've got a blender that mixes my full pedalboard with my clean signal so I'm going to check out this pedal for sure, thanks

    A bit fuzzier than I am looking for for this pedal, but definitely I will keep these in mind if I ever ditch my current fuzz, because they do have a LOT of range on those fuzzes!

    I've got an old Sovtek Big Muff (the black, not the green one), and I'm happy with it for fuzz, but when I try to dial it in for distortion it gets shrill and unpleasant sounding. It's possible the new models are much better, and it's possible I should switch out the old one for a new one.

    I have an FX Blender pedal (works like a volume pedal, but instead of volume it blends between fully dry and fully wet signals) So I generally do roll in some of my clean sound to fill up the low end. I also have 2 channels on my Ampeg V-4B, so I can also run a dry out to the second channel on the amp from the dry out on my Micro POG, which is first pedal after the FX Blender, so I've got a good amount of blending options

    I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for the new RAT, that might be a good place to start if it ends up with all those features.

    Thanks for all the input!
  10. Corey Y

    Corey Y Guest

    Jun 3, 2010

    No problem, it sounds like you've got some good tools to experiment with. I made quick comparison for you, just to get an idea. The first clip is a Wren & Cuff Pickle Pie B, based off a Civil War Muff, with built in clean blend and a modified tone stack. The second is a stock big box reissue LM308 RAT, running in a Boss LS-2 for clean blend. I went for a similar tone, something kind of close to what you were asking about (I think? hopefully). I used an active jazz type bass (Carvin SB4000), with both pickups up full and just rolled the passive tone control down most of the way, until it sounded right to my ear. So one is fuzz, the other distortion. I don't think they sound radically different in the right context, both would probably work well in a mix.

    Both of these pedals are available for less than $200 used. The Pickle Pie B goes for right about that new. One is bass specific, one is a guitar pedal and a cheap blend.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014
  11. Basstovsky

    Basstovsky The guy with the dumb username...

    Feb 29, 2008
    Well not sure if anyone was interested in what finally cured the itch, but I happened to pick up a Black Arts Toneworks made Quantum Mystic pedal this week.


    My main interest in this pedal was for guitar because I love Yob, whose vocalist/guitarist Mike Scheidt helped them develop this pedal, but I figured when ordering it "I wonder if it will also sound awesome on bass, since its got a 3-band preamp in it" and boy does it. Even with the EQ I would recommend blending a dry signal just to maintain your bass tone, but it does sound great blended.

    It's an opamp-based germanium distortion (you can definitely tell, it gets that classic germanium voltage-starved distortion sound when you roll the gain all the way off) and it gets more of that buzzsaw-sounding distortion but still similar to a fuzz tone. I can cop some vintage Big Muff tones out of it, but it is definitely less smooth than you get from some fuzzes, it definitely sits between distortion and fuzz and its in a spot I really like, I think my distortion search is over!

    Debating hanging onto my Sovtek Big Muff and set it to a radically different tone than the Quantum Mystic (as I said, they definitely sound different in a number of settings, but there is some crossover in tone if you twiddle the knobs a bit) rather than ditch it altogether. I don't want my honeymoon period with this Quantum Mystic to cause me to ditch a perfectly good pedal I might still love later :D

    Thanks to everyone who made suggestions, especially those who encouraged a guitar distortion blended with a dry bass signal!
  12. That looks awesome. Not seen anyone post about that around here, we need more people like you to take risks on 'guitar' pedals that turn out to be sleeper hits for bass players. BTW, you should check out the IdiotBox Blower Box, sounds like it could be up your street and is pretty cheap too.
  13. bassmusic17


    Jan 15, 2011
    A rat type distortion sounds like it would be up your alley. I personally love my Rat King but there has been a lot of love on the Blower Box lately. At that price point, you really can't go wrong.
  14. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey