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Tips on increasing octave pedal tracking?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Reverend179, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. So I just picked up an Octavbre mk.2 and I'm finding the tracking to be very shaky on anything lower than the fifth fret on the A string. I've tried all my basses. Putting it after my compressor helped a bit, but it's still shaky. I tend to play with a heavy hand with medium low action with stainless strings. Would raising action, increasing neck relief, or changing strings help?
  2. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Aside from playing in the middle and higher registers of the neck, I've found compression and how I set it is key. If you set your compression to where it's barely noticeable and acting more as a limiter, then your octave pedal is probably responding accordingly. Perhaps try setting the comp for a little more sustain and boost. I've always found my OC-2 and MXR to work best with a signal that's pretty heavily compressed by most normal playing standards, but then again I play with a lot of compression anyway.

    Compression aside, octavers are almost like separate instruments and will respond depending on where you're playing the notes. Most analog octaves simply aren't capable of doubling every note on the neck. That's why those that use them stick to certain registers.
  3. Nunovsky


    Sep 4, 2004
    From my experience, it's difficult for an analogue octave to track lower than that. But I've also always felt that that wasn't necessary since the lower octave gets quite muddy at that register.
    Nevertheless, you could try getting a digital one if you need to get that low, like a POG, a Digitech The Drop, a TC Sub n' Up, or a Mooer Tender Octave.
  4. Alien8


    Jan 29, 2014
    Analog Octave pedals LOVE fundamentals. Everything you do at the point where an Octave starts to glitch out will have a compounding result. Here is the extensive list (in order of effectiveness) that when combined leads to a locked in Octave:

    1) Signal Path - Passive bass to octave is ideal. Some active basses have a high pass filter that cuts the fundamental from the signal at lower notes. Some pedals also do this, so try your best to have the Octave first.

    2) MAgic Tone Fingers - position your picking hand close to the neck, and slide your finger across the string, rather than pluck it. The general rule is that you play 7th fret and above, but with some practice you can go down to the 5th reliably, and in a few cases down to a Low B (doesn't generate an octave lowers note, but makes a cool TOAN)

    3) Darker is better - I use flat wound strings, but round wound with the tone knob rolled back half way works well too, use #1 & 2 to help. If you have an active bass, try to crank the lows, tame the highs and mids a bit.

    4) Compression - it does help a bit, volume spikes sometimes throw off the tracking circuit if you have a strong attack.

    5) Action - this is more technique than actual action, but if you have a Klanky, Rattling tone going in, you get farts out. Adjust the action only if you can't compensate with your picking hand.

    All of this assumes that you have a pedal capable in the first place - some Octavers are just better at tracking, some NEED these tricks, and some just don't go there.
  5. That's a great amount of information, thank you!
    Alien8 likes this.
  6. I'm definitely no expert on effects, but I would add to this: maybe try soloing the neck pickup to mute some overtones?
    JCooper and Alien8 like this.
  7. Alien8


    Jan 29, 2014
    Yup, pickup selection can have some small changes, but honestly, I've been able to get a Jazz bridge pickup to track the same as a P-bass / Jazz neck / EBMM neck etc. using the above techniques.

    Again, this can be managed with technique if you only have one option for example. Use it if you have it and it works!!
  8. Definitely helps when I use my Grabber and slide the pickup into the "neck" position. Stingray tracks better than my SB-2, strangely enough.
  9. waveman


    Sep 25, 2008
    Play lightly with a sticatto technique
  10. This ^
    I don't tend to play so low down the neck when using my OC2, plus I don't mind a dirty bit of glitch here and there.
    Like nunovsky said tho, if you need glitch free and notes that low : go digital
    Coughdrops, Jonny_Orange and Nunovsky like this.
  11. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Came in to post ^^^this. All those lovely upper harmonics coming off the bridge pickup that give your bass its rich, clear, articulate, incisive tone just confuse the crap out of most octave pedals. Use the neck pu only, pluck lightly near the end of the fingerboard, use compression preceding the octave pedal, and, if you really wanna go whole-hog, put a low-pass filter in front of the octave pedal (although that generally works best if you have a separate clean blend path around both the filter and the 8vb effect).
    Atshen likes this.
  12. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    every oct pedal i've tried has been ' needed to be played to IT'S strengths ' ...

    as they all have their various quirks ... and like most have said , they usually don't play nice lower than you're trying ...

    seems they like a strong steady even signal ...

    i've given up on any ultra low notes ..! i go to keyboards for that ..!
    ukedealer likes this.
  13. if you are tracking, see if you can get a dry signal separate from the octave pedal on a separate track, then blend those together as needed, and edit the octave track to take out the spots where it sounds weird to you.
  14. MCS4


    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Playing lightly should help.

    Also, in my experience, some analog octavers simply track better with certain basses or certain players for no reason that is necessarily logical, which I believe explains in part why you'll see a lot of disagreement regarding which octavers track better or worse.
    JCooper and Swimming Bird like this.
  15. The Rage

    The Rage

    Nov 12, 2013
    In my - limited - experience with analog octaver, tputting in more lows and favouring the neck pickup can help tracking.
  16. Swimming Bird

    Swimming Bird

    Apr 18, 2006
    Wheaton MD

    My OC-2 tracks down to at least an open E. That isn't a super useful note, but it's there. My approach is pretty much the opposite of everyone else here - I worked really hard to figure out how to get it to warble and arpeggiate and generally make noise. Either because octavers are just contradictory or because I backed into it, I can get very clean octave tones now.

    Now, it may help that the main bass I use with it is a short scale passive with single coils, but I get the same results with a boost-y comp in front in any pup configuration playing in a variety of positions. I'll see how low the OC-2 can go on my active, detuned 6-string. But I'll bet a donut that it goes lower than what I need.
    zoonose likes this.
  17. Alien8


    Jan 29, 2014
    Yup, short scale works well too!
  18. rmars


    Jan 2, 2004
    Bettendorf, Ia
    Not played the Octavbre mk.2 but have spent a few days with one of the early version and it tracked quite well with my passive basses and sounded awesome. I've owned the Aguilar, MXR, Markbass and an OC-2 and basically the all have their quirks.

    As an admitted compressor and octave pedal addict I've never found that putting a comp in front of an octave pedal made it track any better. In fact I would say that many times I've had a comp make it track worse. Comps are great for amplifying harmonics, finger noise and in general increasing the noise floor and those are the things that cause analog octave pedals to glitch. It's TB gospel so YMMV. Beyond that I think a comp after a octave sound better/punchier and the comp can help you control the beast on a loud stage. HPF's also seem to poorly affect octave tracking IME.

    With a passive bass the octave pedal is the first thing in my signal chain, even in front of the tuner. If you are running a buffer at the front of your signal chain or active pickups the placement is less important. Play around with your right hand placement and touch; my J Bass doesn't seem to care where I pluck and is very forgiving but my P tracks better plucking over the pickup or towards the neck. My P also tracks better with flats which is unfortunate because I like it better with rounds. Make sure to play cleanly and mute and unwanted ringing of other strings, open strings, overtones etc.

    All my instruments have had their own quirky places they wouldn't track but I've had a few basses that worked really bad with my octave pedal. I briefly owned a sweet playing Sadowsky Will Lee Metro that had a really quite, dead G string. I thought it was a dead string when I bought it but it turned out to be an issue with the bass and it wouldn't track anywhere on the G. The dead G was horrible for the disco I was playing at the time so returned it to GC and the next owners called me complaining about the same issue. Also had a G&L LB-100 that was nothing but dead spots and would not track well. On the other hand I have a $119.00 SX J copy that tracks like a dream.

    As they say, learn to play the pedal. Good luck on your journey!
    onosson likes this.
  19. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Chamonix Mont-Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    Technique is every thing

    The best tracking I get is when I play right above the bridge pickup in a jazz bass. And it's even better when I can manage to mute the sympathetic resonances.
  20. Interesting situation. I have never thought about technique because I use digitech bass whammy, tracks very well in any setting even at the end of my pedal chain. I also have a EHX Pitchfork that tracks accurately as well. I had an OC2 and sold it due to tracking issues. Not sure if this helps but other than the large footprint the Bass Whammy is the way to go.

    Best of luck in your quest.

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