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Volume Pedal

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Jeff Schwartz, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. I have been trying unsuccessfully to work a volume pedal into my setup and would appreciate any advice.

    My goal is to have a wider dynamic range, to be able to have little to no amp sound in order to blend with a small unamplified string section or soft instruments like bamboo flute, especially when I'm playing arco, or to bring in the amp when the drummer gets going.

    I have a Realist on my Martin shop bass and an AI Coda. I've tried a couple of Boss volume pedals (the big all-metal one and the small blue & grey one: sorry, no model numbers handy). I don't know if it's the pedal, the extra cable, or what, but putting the pedal between the bass & amp seriously weakens my sound. Putting it in the effects loop is a bit better, but not great. Do I need a preamp or a powered pedal?

    Is anyone getting good results with a volume pedal? Thanks for your help!
  2. teleharmonium


    Dec 2, 2003
    The best off the shelf solution for that I know of is to get a relatively expensive active volume pedal designed for pedal steel guitar, by Goodrich or Hilton.

    My preference, on the other hand, would be to have something like a pedal that controls, say, a 5 position stepped balanced linear attenuator, with the stops chosen for effective degrees of volume reduction, from the first one being a modest drop designed to allow for bowed solos to be about as loud as pizz, to a mute in the last position.

    The repeatable stops would be more practical in live performance IMO. I find it hard to use sweeping pedals with upright since balance of the instrument is an issue and because the signal reduction tends to come very quickly in part of the travel of the pedal.
  3. threetone


    Sep 27, 2011
    I use a Fishman platinum Pro Preamp before my volume pedal.
    This keeps my signal from my Full Circle pickup strong and the volume pedal acts like an attenuator and all the amp has to do is amplify the sound without being responsible for loading the pickup ..
  4. cultrvultr

    cultrvultr Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2008
    Oakland, California
    Yeah, you need a buffer. I use an fdeck
  5. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Or, use a preamp with a "boost" component, like one of the Radial PZ models. They have an adjustable boost footswitch, which allows for a alternate, definable level of boost, quite useful for solos or arco/pizz differences. Then you have a preamp and a boost in one unit. And fixed volume differences, so you don't have to concentrate on making a change on a variable pedal consistently.
  6. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    I used to use a volume pedal all of the time. What worked best for me was a volume pedal that had an additional pot on board to control the minimum volume. So I could set it as (crude example) let's say a minimum volume of 50%. (or whatever)

    My point is that using the entire sweep of the pedal from 0 to 100% was unusable for me. Small movements would yield too much of a change.

    I think I have an Ernie Ball with that adjustment on hand---haven't used it in a long time.

    I would never go between the bass and the amp. Always in the effects loop. I think that on some pedals I changed the pot--I forgot the values---to one that functioned better in the effects loop. The one in the pedals is optimized for the instrument level. I do remember that I had a Boss pedal with the adjustment pot that was more for keyboard. I could be wrong. The impedance was better for the effects loop.

    When I have some time I'll do some research. As you can tell---I'm a geek about gear!
  7. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I would say that it depends on what you are doing. Certainly run the pedal post-pre, to avoid impedance issues and such. On jazz gigs I usually don't bring a pedal, but on theater jobs I want a full 0-100% volume range. Also there are orchestra pops gigs where amplification has not been specifically called for, but is sure appreciated when I offer it. Again, you want full zero to on hundred in this case!
  8. The guys at Truetone Music sold me a Ernie Ball MVP, which is a volume pedal with a boost. Seems good, and it didn't cost much more than the passive Ernie Ball. The boost seems geared to guitar players and whoever else wants to overdrive an amp, but a tiny bit adds some zing without dirt.
  9. kdrabbit


    Mar 18, 2014
    Seattle, WA
    I recently used one of the new ElectroHarmonix Next Step volume pedals, it's an active pedal with now moving parts. I believe it has an accelerometer built-in to it (like a smart phone) that senses the pedal position. This is by far the quietest, cleanest and accurate pedals I've ever used, and I've used them all, and yes you do want to have a preamp in the signal chain, I use an old Fishman BII or a Sansamp GT2 both work great, I'll use the Sansamp if I need some amp emulation because of the room acoustics, but generally the Fishman is enough. Good luck.
  10. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Visual Volume pedal. Comes both passive and active
    The LEDs show what your volume level is. Simple and useful.
  11. Argghh!

    I had the opportunity to buy one of these at a HUGE discount, but because I'd already shelled out a lot on other sale purchases I didn't get it. "What would I use it for, really?" At the time I hadn't every played a live gig... Still kicking myself...

    So, I use my Radial PZed-Pre's Boost feature, as mentioned by Monsieur Gollihur, and the mute switch.