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What am I looking for?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Whammytap, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. Whammytap


    Oct 17, 2004
    Kansas City
    Hi, all. I play five-string bass in a rock band that had a keyboard player until recently. The band has decided to go it as a three-piece, and it's been quite a while since I've had to fill that much space. Aside from playing busier, more melodic bass lines, I've been thinking of investing in an effect that will help me to this end, making my bass sound fuller and ideally more like a bass/rhythm guitar together.

    Problem is, I don't know what I'm looking for. I've never used effects before. Well, there was that one cheap chorus pedal, but it didn't seem to do ANYthing, so I got rid of it. According to the list in the effects FAQ here, I might be looking for automatic double-tracking, chorus, harmonizer, or an octave divider. Does anyone else here have a similar situation and can offer a nickel's worth of free advice?

    Or should I just switch to 12-string bass (gulp)?
  2. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    A subtle change goes a long way. Perhaps you should listen to a variety of players and find a sound that you'd like as your alternate, then find the best way to make that other sound happen. Were I in this position, that's what I'd do.
  3. tbear1776


    Apr 8, 2013
    I would have a few practice sessions with new format. Record songs and discuss with other players. Go from there,
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you listen to bass players in 3-pc bands in the old days, they didn't do much different live than they did in the studio where they could overdub. However, a nice overdrive pedal and an octaver can help some, especially if you don't want to pick up a 12-string. I'll sometimes use a Micro Pog for situations like that because you can make it sound sort of like a 12-string.
  5. jimmybc91


    Oct 8, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Maybe a POG2? I am not sure what you have in mind though. Seeing that you are considering a 12 string I'd say 2 octaves up in the POG2 will help with that. You could get organ-like sounds with that. I personally do not own it but it's on my GAS list.
    A bit of overdrive tends to fill in a lot when used properly, maybe that's an option for you depending on the style you play?
  6. jimmybc91


    Oct 8, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Damn you're fast! (I'm at work, sue me). :bag:
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
  8. BFunk

    BFunk Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    This is an excellent suggestion. I would also listen to a bunch of recordings in the style of music you are trying to create with the band and brainstorm on how to get sounds that you like. I think you will end up with some type of distortion. (You mention 80's hair metal in your profile and the gear you list certainly goes with that style.) I think you should check out the Fuzzrocious Rat Tail or Rat King. This is basically a Rat pedal modified for bass with some additional features added. The builder is on this list often. Great guy, very helpful and informative.

  9. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    when I play in 3 piece band (guitar bass drums) I don't do anything drastic. i just add a slight overdrive to thicken, add some harmonics and fill out my tone & sustain a little more.
  10. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    This is me, as well. I looooove playing in 3-piece groups. It actually becomes more about tone and breathing notes instead of fighting the EQ battle.
  11. Whammytap


    Oct 17, 2004
    Kansas City
    Thanks, guys! Yeah, there will definitely be a few practice sessions before I go try out any new equipment.

    As for the style of music, our version of classic rock encompasses everything from the '60s to the '90s that you're sick of hearing on the radio. The Beatles, AC/DC, Clapton, the Black Crowes, Bad Company, Badfinger, Steppenwolf, Journey, Thin Lizzy, Head East, Joan Jett, Pink Floyd...that sort of stuff. Some of the songs I think will sound quite well with just one guitar, clean bass and drums, but I worry about some of the harder-hitting stuff needing more oomph.

    The POG2 looks like a droolworthy tool with lots of useful features, but a tad on the expensive side, as it has every right to be...maybe if I could find one on the secondhand market. Of course, it's still cheaper than a 12-string bass, and quicker to stomp on a button than change instruments. Still, a straight-up distortion/overdrive pedal such as the Rat Tail might be more in my price range.

    "Breathing--" Hey, I remember that! From a long time ago, when I only had one guitar to compete with, LOL! Fighting two electrified 88-key pianos is a losing battle, even with a 700-watt bass amp. On the other hand, it does tend to cover a bassist's mistakes and omissions (like the ones I've probably gotten too complacent about)! :meh:
  12. I'm going to go the opposite extreme here with my advice....lol

    I play in a Three Piece Stoner/Doom/Sludge/Psychedelic style band

    I actually run two amps on stage....During gui**** solos i run an octave up mixed with fuzz or distortion, or overdrive (whatever the song calls for) into one amp while the other amps gets my fundamental...

    so in essence I'm Playing bass and rhythm guitar at the same time...

    Works great for me, but most don't want to lug the extra equipment....

    If not i suggest a blend pedal...or pedals that contain a blend feature so you can have your clean tone on bottom and your fuzz, distortion, or overdrive on top...

    Good Luck
  13. I play in 3 piece musician bands and do tend to use a lot of effects, but more for fun than to thicken the sound up. The way I thicken the sound is my playing. I tend to play fewer fills during the solos and slightly extend the length of my notes. It's subtle but makes a huge difference. I will also sometimes play 5th chords on the 1, holding the 5th and letting it ring while still pumping the root. These things do soooo much to thicken your sound.

    I have used a MicroPOG in the past and did enjoy it :). Have you looked at the Fishman Fission? It does the chord thing with a pedal instead of technique.