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Synth Bass...what to do?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by 4stringreligion, May 15, 2011.

  1. Hello to all! As a brand new member on this marvellous forum I excuse myself if the argument of this thread is not so original....but I would be happy to approach to the synth world and this is my dilemma...what to buy? As a beginner in this world and recognizing to be a dummy with sound engineering, please I would like something easy to use and not expensive.
    A friend of mine proposed to try his GR 20 with a GK3 B pick up, what do you think?

    Thanks a lot for your attention.

  2. Hector_G


    Apr 6, 2009
    El Paso, Texas
    Cheap, readliy available, easy to use and sounds pretty good... the Digitech Bass Synth Wah. You can usually always find it in the classified for a really good price.
    It's not quite a synth by definition. More like a distortion and filter. But it gets some really good sounds and wlll introduce you to the world of synth effects. A gateway pedal if you will. Can't really go wrong and you I can guarantee that you'll find a sound on there that you'll like and find useful. Check it out. If for some reason you really don't like it, you can always turn around and probably sell it for what you bought it for.
  3. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    I thought long and hard before buying a Electro Harmonix Bass Micro Synth.
    This unit is expensive, large and it only works on its own power supply.
    In the last couple of years, I have cycled through 25+ pedals and currently own 25 or so. Out of what I own that's one of my very favorite pedals.

    It's kind of limitless as far as what it can do and it's tone is just incredible. It can do distortion, sub octave and many more things. Put an enveloppe filter behind it and it's a trip, put a distortion pedal in front of it and it's turbo charged! I cannot always understand how I get to a certain tone but that pedal is just fantastic. Highly recommended.
  4. Blackened Soul

    Blackened Soul

    May 13, 2011
    I have a roland bass pickup and the tracking sucked ass. Right now I'm planning to get a Sonuus B2M To try out. Really though for basic synth sounds a octaver and fuzz [not a muff!] and a envelope filter will let you cover a lot of ground.
  5. PJSim


    Jan 16, 2011
    I got both the sonuus and the gk-3b pickup , both suck @ss imho.
    Better of starting with the behringer bsy600 if you dont want to spend alot of money....
  6. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    I just got a GK-3B and GR-20 in a trade this weekend, haven't had chance to set it up properly but initially I was quite impressed with it.

    I would imagine the low notes suffer from horrendous latency but I'm happy to play everything an octave up to fix things, like I do when I use analogue octavers.
  7. gastric

    gastric Professional product tester for hire

    Jun 8, 2009
    Raleigh, NC
    Source Audio BETA tester
    I think the GK / GR would be difficult and challenging to use for a beginner as you have to really play cleanly and carefully. In contrast the more simplistic analog tracking pedals are much, much easier to get usable sounds out of. But on the flip side they're much (MUCH) more limited in the sounds they can produce.
  8. To begin with I'd ask, "What do you want to achieve?" If your friend has a GR20, does he also have the GK3B to try it out with? Nothing to lose by trying it out if so!

    Pitch-to-midi doesn't work for most, obviously. But that's the route I've taken & I'm happy to pursue it for now. My long-time dream has been to 'play cello' on my bass, & to that end I'm happy with the choice of patches available in the Roland XV-2020 synth I have. So as yet I haven't really begun to explore the full potential that a synth offers. For really synthetic sounds, pedals may well be the way to go. But, ultimately if you know up front what you're after, that will make your choices a whole lot easier.

  9. Hello and first of all thanks to all!

    I feel that I missed some infos in order to tell you what I am looking for....

    I still have some pedal synth like the digitech, a real honest one, the bass ball, and another pedal board with some sounds always by digitech. I am looking for a real synth system that allows me to create an infinities of sounds also of other instruments like piano or something else! I take the advantage that I would use it with a piccolo bass so with a so light gauge string set I hope to avoid any delay specially encountered when bass frequencies strings are used.

    The main dilemma is that, obviously, looking for sounds like those I well imagine that I can't take a cheap system but considering too that I at first want to try the synth world due I am not sure that I will continue with those kind of sounds because, IMHO, I think that they fed up us soon, I would be glad to have a system with a good balance between performance and price.

    That's why I thought about the GR20 of my friend that comesa with the GK3B included.....

    Thanks again to all for the help that you will gently provide!

  10. Kindly Killer

    Kindly Killer

    Dec 23, 2006
    agree that digitech is good for OP's needs

    roland GK stuff actually is easy and wonderful to use once you get the hang of it. i picked up (nyuk nyuk) a GK-3B because it was super cheap and I already had a GI-20 to use with GK-equipped guitars.

    i think it went easy for me because i already learned how to use it with guitars. some essential points:
    • it demands a particular level of accuracy with very clear, deliberate articulation and intonation. no slop or noises
    • the software in the converter is looking for two full cycles of the fundamental freq.: peak, trough, peak, trough, which is going to yield intolerable latency on very low pitches

    to play a key bass part using a GK it works best to play it in a high register and use the default function of the buttons on the pickup to pitch it down a couple octaves. it feels strange at first - you are up in the plink plink register and you are shaking the foundation

    i probably spent 4 hours with the manual to the GI-20 before i started to bond with it at all. it's not an amp or a 4-knob compressor that you can just get the hang of; you really have to learn how to use it.

    also there are faster, more high-endy converters if you want to spend the money. roland is just the easy, affordable one that is the obvious choice for us blue collar players

    if you are using a computer rig with a GK system and you mainly want synth bass, there are other ways to do it. e.g. there is the Guitar Controlled Bass Synth (a very old, free VST). plus others that convert monophonic lines to midi in real time. or you can roll your own with Max, Reaktor, or SynthEdit. same tracking issues apply - you still have to play clean in a high register

    i used to use an ableton live rig for everything from western swing to R&B, but nowadays i am too lazy to take an extra rack case and connect extra cables LOL. still use the roland stuff at home for all kinds of stuff tho - charts, shedding, songwriting, production...
  11. Here ya go:


  12. Blackened Soul

    Blackened Soul

    May 13, 2011
    So the suckingness is about the same:crying: How about on higher notes? is either a "little" faster?
  13. gastric

    gastric Professional product tester for hire

    Jun 8, 2009
    Raleigh, NC
    Source Audio BETA tester
    I'm finding the Roland GR-55 set in Guitar Mode and played with a piccolo bass works seemingly good enough. I'll try to upload some updated samples to my pages soon. Really, the latency and tracking is much better with the guitar mode/piccolo bass setup than regular strung bass in bass mode which was always frustrating for me to play with due to the comparatively slow tracking. It's not that trigger-to-audio delay was significant, it was that in bass mode it cannot track repeated notes as fast as in guitar mode for whatever reason.

    You'll see a lot of people say the GK/GR setup works great for them, but then they clarify they're playing pads and synths with really slow attack which totally masks any latency and speed issues since that's not what they're attempting to play. I'm shooting for speedy, pure bass synth and bass lead synth sounds. I'll have to put my music to where my mouth is shortly so you know I'm not blowing smoke.

    I'm certainly not saying it's the end-all-be-all. There's still glitches and playability issues, but they're pretty minor at this point. And the massive pros outweigh the cons IMO. I have a Korg G5, OC-2, GT-10B, VF-1, Source Audio BEF all strung together in a huge, messy, signal chain that can get some really great monosynth bass tones. But they're really limited in comparison to the GR-55, and of course much more work to program all that stuff to create the resulting synth sound. And you won't be banging out piano and brass sounds. But with the GK/GR setup you can be banging out pretty much whatever you want.
  14. OhulahanBass


    Nov 6, 2008
    Boulder CO
    I like the Octavius Squeezer ALLOT. Presets set it above most in my opinion. The factory presets suck and sensitivity control takes a minute to fine tone but once you have it your on your way to creating your own presets/patches. I've mostly just used it for Envelope Follower (VCF), octave or Fuzz + Envelope Follower+ LFO. It will take a while before I can learn to fully synthesize sounds. VCA & VCO are a bit tough to master. At any rate it is a synth pedal that can be had for <$400 used, has 41 parameters to edit, presets with mod (kind of an after touch) and has a VCO, VCA, VCF, Fuzz, BEat Generator, LFO and mixer to mix Fuzz-VCO and line in signals...pretty coooool.

    My other favorite pedals are the Source Audio Bass Envelope Filter and Mutron III, I've been able to replicate most sounds from the BEF and get close to those of the Mutron III with the Octavius.
  15. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    Yeah I like my O.S. a lot too. The interface is pretty sucky but it's not difficult to program if you read the manual.
  16. Great Guys! Now my synth world idea is more clear thanking you all!!! If you have any other suggestion I will gladly apprecite it!

  17. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    Slight derail --> is anyone else as excited about the OS's ability to put a programmable analog fuzz, as many sounds as you want, at your feet? That really is the icing on the cake for me...
    Back to the synths: the beat function on the OS I'm finding indispensable for creating sequencer-type lines. I love my Squeezer. :)
  18. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    I actually bought mine because I wanted to have a programmable filter with ADSR envelope, sample & hold and tap-tempo LFO. The fuzz and VCO sounding good, and the ADSR VCA were a happy bonus.
  19. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007


    That is truly flawless.
  20. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I just picked up a Source Audio Multiwave bass distortion that has a ton of *very* fun synthy distortion... push that into a decent envelope filter and and you're good to go.

    And it was cheap - $129 new...!

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