V-Bass owners- a little help please

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by FCM3, Nov 17, 2002.

  1. Hi:
    I stumbled upon a Roland V-bass which was a demo unit at a GC and picked it up for cheap. So I spent abou 2 hrs this evening installing that stupid GK-2b pickup. What makes this interesting is i have a Dingwall 5string bass and all the hardware is steeply angled, there was no way to place this pickup straight up and down, so after I change this, tweek this, widend that, angle this, i get the GK-2b to kinda sorta work. Its a big compromise(my loB is 50-ish mm away and my G string is under 18mm), but I get a signal.
    So my problem is this, I get a very weak bass signal thru the unit and when the GK is switched to "bass" only its almost dead quiet, i can hear something but its very low. Now when i switch to full GK or Mix i get a bass signal. So is there someway i can get more of my bass sound in my V-bass mix.
    Lastly do you guys notice that the COSM tones (like v-pbass, motown,liverpool, and rickenbacher) sound just like your own bass and not the COSM sound. Am I doing something wrong
    Thanks in advance
  2. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    A GK-2B on a Dingwall.

    That opens up so many freaky possibilities as far as operation, I couldn't even begin to imagine how that affects the pickup interaction with the string.

    I've had mine for close to a week now, and I'm still tweaking the position to get a better signal, it's always worked, but I'm amazed at the difference any little change makes.

    As for the sounds sounding like my bass, and not the COSM, I noticed it a little at first, but the more I tweaked the pickup setting, the more I can tell the true sound of this thing set up optimally.

    You might want to contact Roland, and ask what impact the unique nature of the Dingwall/Novax system might have on performance, too.
  3. Thanks for the reply.
    When you say tweak the pickup, you mean physically on the bass-as in move it closer to the bridge, higher to the strings, string spacing, this kind of things, or do you mean you tweak the settings on the V-bass.
    I think what you said is part of the problem, the pickup is not optimal. The steep angling of the bridge forced me to do a little fandangling of the Gk (as i have the spacing on th lo-B side at 18.5mm and the 17.0mm of the high strings) but i do the height correctly set, there is 1 feeler guage depth below the strings.
    I hear what your saying about playing around w/ it, the machine has a ton of cool sounds, but thats the key there cool sounds but not real useful- unless your scoring a starwars movie.
    Lets put it this way, my Vbass doesn't sound anything like the device in the alan caron video
    I'll call roland today
  4. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I think your problems are coming from the different scale lengths of the strings of the Dingwall. I know you need to let the V-Bass know the scale of the bass, so it might be getting confused.

    And, yeah, when I said tweak, I meant both the physical location, and also the settings in the VBass. When I first hooked it up, I noticed I was getting some strange, inappropriate sounds out of it, and checked the settings--I was off by 10mm on all of my bridge/pickup measurements because of the tool that I used to read them. So, I fixed that, and to little surprise, it worked better.

    Maybe trying a different pickup option (RMC, Axion--I think those are right) could do it. If you use a bridge mounted setup, that might eliminate the problem with having the pickup angled.
  5. Hey bassmonkeee
    As a follow up, I had a lengthy discussion w/ one of the tech services people at Roland. I explained my problem, and they suggested a number of solutions.
    The tech guy filled me in a little on what he felt was the important parameters for getting optimal output from the GK p'up. He said that string length or varible string length was not a determinant and what was critical was adjusting the pickup height to be no more than 1.5mm below a vibrating string. The pickup can be 50+mm away from the bridge but it must be able to sense vibration-apparently they like the bridge position because the variations in string vibration are more normalized in this proximity. Second is the GK pickup contains 6- 1/4" wide magentic sensors and your bass string must be w/in 5-6 mm (either side) of this mag sensor to work optimally-directly over the sensor works best.

    So this discrepancy is prolly my first problem, as I have angled the GK p'up to better fit into the space between my angled bridge and angled p'up. I need to make the GK p'up more perpendicular to the strings. Next for me is to try a new connector. The tech guy though that the little 6" connector where you plug into your bass and into the GK might be defective. Third, the tech guy said that most of the patches have intentially dialled out the original bass signal, so I need to go into a bass patch and tweek the amount of original bass signal.

    The good news is a get some nice COSM derived upright tones, some interesting synth patches, but no discernable COSM derived electric bass patches, and no original bass signal thru the unit.
    Gotta keep trying
  6. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    i've had a V-Bass for a while now.

    i have it attached to my Lightwave Zon without the Roland Pickup.

    so, the infrareds are driving the VB.

    i recently bought another GK2B for a different bass and noticed that i wasn't getting a good NORMAL bass level.

    have you solved THAT prob yet?

    if it still exists, i find it odd that 2 units have similar probs.

    i'm taking this pickup back.

    my LW ZON works great, on the otherhand!!!!

  7. Hi fred:
    thanks for the email, you answered my other question Vbass earlier.
    I'm am still not having anyluck getting the appropiate volume w/ the vbass pickup. When in GK or MIX mode the bass tone is good and loud, when i switch to bass mode alone i get 1/10th the volume.
    I've talked w/ the Roland tech services dude 3 times now and we have tried a bunch of stuff, w/ no luck.
    i posted this question to the yahoo Vbass forum and someone responded by saying make a Vbass patch w/ 100% bass in GK or Mix mode. Sounds like i might try this next.
    I'm starting to think its either the GK pickup or the placement of the GK pickup on my Dingwall.

    Do you find the COSM bass patches sound like the real bass?

    Have you actually loaded the alain caron patches onto your vbass? can i ask how

    lastly, too bad there isnt a way to start swapping patches.
    Sorry for so many questions, I like the vbass, but I'm not sold on any of it yet. It seems like a really expensive effects pedal right now.
  8. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    On the patch loading question:

    I followed the instructions supplied in the download for how to set the V-Bass in recieve mode, and then played the included MIDI file with the standard Windows Media Player (first check that the MIDI output is the external port you have connected the MIDI cable to). Worked fine the first time.

    If you need help on the German instructions maybe we can all chip in with some translations...
  9. Anders:
    Thanks for the help.
    I would love for this(ese)2 pages to be translated.Looked greek to me :)
    As an aside, are these patches new additions to the current 100 or do they take up spaces in the users patch section instead. Are they worth the download?

    Lastly do you have any idea why my bass tone thru the GK pickup is lacking or why I think the COSM basses sounds like my bass instead of a COSM bass?

  10. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    the COSM bass patches sound incredible here.

    both with my Lightwave Zon and my GK2B equipped SPALT.

    my faves:

    1. rickenbacker

    2. P

    3. J

    4. Fretless

    5. Upright

    love it!!!!

    just had my Roland/Lightwave board updated a bit last week. will install tonight and report.

  11. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    OK, a quick translation of the installation instructions:



    28 new bass sounds for the Roland Virtual Bass System "V-Bass", programmed by ACHIM RAFAIN (Orange Blue,Otto-Waalkes-Band,Achim Reichel,Joachim Witt,etc.) and ALAIN CARON (UZEB,Mike Stern,Leni Stern,etc.)

    (also see page 42 of the User's Guide)

    1) On the V-BASS: Press [System], then [F6] (=MIDI), then [PAGE>], until the display shows "WAITING..."

    2) Connect "MIDI IN" on the V-BASS with "MIDI OUT" on a hardware sequencer or a PC/Mac Computer (with a MIDI-Interface and software sequencer) using a MIDI cable.

    3) Play the V-BASS MIDI file containing the new sounds in the hardware sequenzer or computer.
    It can take a few moments until the V-Bass display shows "RECEIVING...". After a few minutes the display will change to "IDLING...", and the loading is complete.

    4) Press [EXIT], the display changes to "NOW CHECKING SYSTEM &PATCH DATA".
    After the check the new sounds will occupy user patches 11.1 to 17.4

    *Not translated: a warning that there can be problems with certain types of computers cards and cables...*

    The V-Bass can be connected to the input of a bass amplifier - this is ideal if only the bass simulations and not the amplifier simulations are to be used. The unit can also - if the amplifier has an effects loop - be connected to the return input. For V-BASS patches with amplifier simulations this is ideal as the bass amplifier then will amplify the signal in a neutral way without coloring it with its own sound (V-Bass amplifier simulation + real bass amplifier = double sound !!!). When you use the V-BASS direkt with a PA these considerations don't apply.

    On the next page you will find a table with the 28 sounds as well as explanations from the programmer. Have fun when you rock and roll!


    I think they are worth testing, you can always restore the patches if you don't like them.

    Translating the descriptions of the sounds feels like too much work right now (its half past midnight and I should be in bed :)), but perhaps someone else feels up to it.
  12. Andres and Fred:
    thanks for the comments and I appreciate the translations. I'll look into loading that caron Vbass file, might be interesting.

    Fred - I am familar w/ those COSM basses and honestly the rick tone is the only patch which makes my bass sound very different. The virtual P and J, and J rear p'kp sound identical to my Dingwall. Funkyman sounds like my bass only treble knob up full. So I'm getting better at picking out these individual tones, but there real subtle.

    Does motown really sound like jamersons P bass on your bass?

    The fretless sounds nice, makes a real nice mwah on everything, notes, slides, harmonics, everything. Must make your fretless sound extra fretless-ie.

    The upright sounds great-pretty realisitic.

    Right now i think this unit holds a ton of promise especially if Roland provide frequent updates (unlike what it has not done for the Vguitar) like provide additional COSM basses, and bass sounds from other instruments.
    I find that all the patches require tweeking, but i have used 2 of them straight up and they've worked well.
    I'm just stumped as to why my bass volume is so low Thanks
  13. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    i just got my new roland/lightwave mod back into my zon tonight.

    took some tweaking, and some instruction on which pin went where...

    i've heard from "SOURCES" that the patches roland shipped are in dire need of work.

    supposedly, they will release new patches and start a users group on the roland site.

    back to the COSMS, each patch sounds remarkedly different.

    not sure if its our settings or what.

    and i STILL think you normal bass output being so low could be a defective pod.

    i need to spend this weekend adjusting all the user patches so that the levels are equal.

    sux to have to adjust the volume everytime you change patches.

    but, this is a minor beef about a piece of gear i am blown away by.

  14. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I've been having great luck with my Curbow Int'l Petite 5 string set up with the GK2B pickup (perhaps the TI Powerbass strings help send a stronger signal to the pickup). I have to wonder if something isn't wrong with your pickup, FCM3. The only issue I'm still having is an occassional problem with poor tracking on open strings on the modulation effects. Other than that, I'm floored every time I turn this thing on. I can't wait to try the upright bass sounds with my fretless lightwave 6 next year when it's finished! The fretted 5 will have to do until then. :D

    I've had the best results with tweaking the patches, but the presets are great launching pads.
    I've already come up with a couple of neat patches that will be fun to use with my Bil Frisell-esque trio.

    I guess I took a risk mounting the pickup with the screws before I knew the VBass was for me, but with the Curbow's carved top, the spacers, and tape route was too much of a pain in the bAss. It is so much easier to set the height with the screws. And, with the box on the back, it doesn't look too bad, IMHO.


    I think the COSM bass sounds are pretty good. The way I've been comparing them to my regular bass tone is by setting the expression pedal to control the mix between the GK2B and the bass output. The changes are much more apparent when compared to a constant.

    Here's a quick take of the Motown preset recorded straight to the computer:

    This has a little noise to it, but when I record to my Tascam 788, the VBass is pretty silent.

    I meant to record something where it goes from the bass output to the GK2B, but I put everything away for the night without doing it. I'll make a couple more little 300K mp3s tomorrow, or the next day.
  15. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    What were you changing with the pins? I'm glad you'll have had time to figure out the whole lightwave with VBass thing before I get my Curbow next Spring. :) I'm hoping that when we order the stuff from Lightwave that they'll be able to ship it with the mods done to Curbow so I don't have to ship it out to California--one of the nice things about having Greg so close is that I don't have to ship anything to/from him.

    It would be nice if Roland would put that file with the Alain Caron patches on the American site, too. Hopefully, they'll get something up online that has new patches soon. Even if they need to be tweaked, it's certainly easier to find a preset to mess with than to start from scratch.
  16. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA

    its part of the modification Lightwave Systems performed for me.

    they cut off the GK2B pickup and wired the POD directly to the infrared ouputs.




    as you can see from the pics, the control pod is wired directly to the Lightwave electronics, bypassing the GK2B pickup.

    the intial mod had the gains set a bit high, so i sent it back to have it adjusted.


    its still in a beta phase. just a "breadboard" PCB at the moment.

    you wouldn't need to send your bass to LW to have the mod done.

    i'll be working with the LW team to make this a production unit.

    not a "shipping mod" yet.

    stay tuned.

  17. bassmonkee:
    thanks for the photos and sound clip. I take it your curbow doesn't normally sound like the tone you posted?
    In jaco mode does your bass sounds similar to an epoxy coated fretless?

    As to your string comments, I have no idea if TI are the key, I use Dingwall specific strings, their metal and pretty thick. So i assume they trigger the GK. Again I do get a decent Vbass tone. It makes all the appropiate sounds and its triggers well, but that GK switch seems to be the problem source. When i switch to "bass" alone, i get almost nothing. Also in Bass alone mode I get no control on my pickups, tone, or volume. This tells me that "Bass" alone output is going more thru the GK p'up + a little of my normal Dingwall pickups.

    I plan on called Roland tech services tomorrow...I'll also inquire about additional "patches" then
    have you tried to load the A Caron patches on your unit? what do they sound like
  18. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I'll post some more mp3s over the holiday. It'll be more apparent the difference if I post an mp3 of the dry bass sound of the Int'l Petite.

    As for the Jaco patch (I assume you mean Portrait), it doesn't make my bass sound like an epoxy coated fretless, but it does sound almost exactly like the studio tone of "Portrait of Tracy" when I play harmonics.

    The JBass settings (especially the bridge pickup) sound pretty much exactly like they are supposed to. The difference between the JBass through an SVT is pretty drastic to the PBass through a B15. If the both sound like your bass, then something is definitely not right. I'm still convinced that the pickup can't work very well with the Novak system--regardless of what Roland said.

    The reason I mentioned the TIs was their big ad campaign about how Powerbass strings work great for effects since they send a stronger signal (I have found this to be true even before using the VBass). These Powerbass strings are currently about 7 months old (finally starting to sound a little dead), so I'll be replacing them in the next week, or so. I'll see how that affects the COSM sounds--I'm thinking it won't be very much since the JBass Growl still has the corect 'clonkiness' to it.
  19. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    um, not sure if this was mentioned or not.

    but, did you connect the little adapter cable that came with the GK2B?

    1/8" mini into the control pod and the 1/4" into the output of your bass.

    pardon if this was already mentioned.

  20. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    ahhh, i read back and see you already checked this.

    you may want to try a radio shack 1/8" to 1/4" to troubleshoot that cable connection.