What Effects?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by argoed, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. Hi all,

    This is my first post so please be gentle with me.

    I am 50 years old and have been playing bass guitar in a new classic rock covers band for the past four months. I have been playing guitar and bass since I was twelve years old but have never been in a band before. We haven't played any gigs yet as we are still rehearsing and getting sufficient material together for a two hour show.

    The band consists of me, one guitarist, a vocalist and a drummer, but I am concerned that we sound a bit 'thin', especially when the guitarist breaks off to do a solo.

    My question is whether there are any effects that will give my bass more background 'presence' than it actually has. I was thinking about a chorus or octaver pedal, but any other suggestions would be appreciated.

    I play a cheap Crafter four string passive bass guitar (which looks, feels and sounds absolutely great) and have fitted this with Fender flatwound strings. I use an Aphex Bass XCiter and a DI box/splitter. The bass goes straight into the mixer and a lead goes from the splitter into a Behringer 120W bass combo which acts as my stage monitor.

    Any advice gratefully appreciated.

  2. excane

    excane Inactive

    Aug 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Welcome to TB.

    I usually step on overdrive or fuzz when my guitarist breaks into a solo. It helps to fatten up the sound and add texture as if another guitarist was playing along with you.

    Chorus or an octave pedal can help fatten things up to, just depends on what type of sound you're going for.
  3. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    Probably an overdrive or a Tech21 Bass Driver DI. But, my band has no problem sounding full w/ just bass and drums. Hrmm... Are you high enough in the mix? What kind of amp are you using? Are you talking about sounding thin in the house or thin on the stage?
  4. thunderthief_29


    Nov 20, 2004
    Lancs, Uk
    Have a look for an Akai Unibass. They come up on ebay quite often. They have been discontinued so cant buy new. But the Unibass has been described as a rythmn guitar in a box!!!

  5. Dash Rantic

    Dash Rantic

    Nov 12, 2005
    Palo Alto, CA
    Distortion of some sort would probably be your best bet. You might want to check out the Boss ODB-3, its a bit of a harsher distortion but if covers for a second guitar in a band situation *very* well.

  6. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    It depends on what kind of sound you're looking for. If you just want to add some extra depth (or "thickness") to the sound, but keep a clean and thumpy tone, an octave pedal might be your answer. An overdrive/distortion/fuzz pedal can add some thickness to the sound also, but be aware that you'll probably need to set it with a boost in volume to keep your presence in the mix.

    Welcome to the world of bass effects, argoed. Once you join us, you might never want to leave. ;)
  7. acleex38


    Jul 28, 2006
    I'm also a relative newcomer to the land of bass effects. I'm slowly working out what pedals to use and when to use them. I second the octave pedal and bass-overdrive suggestions. On the one song we do where I switch pedals on and off a lot, for the opening solo guitar melody , I hit an octave pedal, while for the actual "solo", I hit the Boss ODB-3 sit to a low level crunch. The rest of the song, I play clean.

    I tried chorus for a while - I may go back to it, but one of the guitarists had far more use for the pedal in his sound, so I sold it to him. If you use the right settings (to avoid excessive muddiness), it can thicken things up nicely.
  8. Thanks for your suggestions everyone.

    I like a nice clean bass sound but am willing to go down the effects route if I can find something that genuinely enhances and 'thickens' the sound.

    It sounds like chorus/octave/distortion pedals would be useful so I will probably give these a try.

    Thanks again.
  9. The BurgerMeister

    The BurgerMeister musician.

    Apr 13, 2006
    Big Bear, CA
    i'm in a rock trio, and have the same issue as you. rather, i had the same issue.

    my basic signal chain is
    fender jazz -
    electro-harmonix POG (octaver) -
    tech 21 bass driver DI (preamp/overdrive) -
    maxon CS9-pro (chorus) -
    locobox AD01 (delay) -
    ashdown amp/ampeg cab.

    there's some other effects thrown into the mix occasionally, but that's my "always on" signal chain. i find it gives me a nice, full, HUGE sound- perfect for filling in that empty space in the mix.

    (the POG is nice because it gives you one octave above, two octaves above, and one octave below your original note. very filling! :) i add a little drive and a nice, hot signal from the tech 21, some light chorusing [just to thicken], and a short delay [to thicken some more], and voila! the deed is done.)

    oh, and :bassist: .

    good luck!
  10. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member

    Sounds like you are wondering where the beef went. That is not effects as much as it is tone, thump, growl, etc. A big sound starts with your fingers of course. Since you have been playing for 38 years, I will assume you already figured that out. To answer your question we need to find out what you are playing. More than likely what you really want is a good tube amp, and maybe a compressor. But I can't say until you tell us more.
  11. The BurgerMeister

    The BurgerMeister musician.

    Apr 13, 2006
    Big Bear, CA

    this, of course, is also true.. there's a ton to be said for solid technique and a good, powerful amp. once you've got the good amp, the next step is an overdrive pedal, i'd say.

    edit: as a matter of fact, your first post does mention your setup. i'd say your next step is either an amp upgrade or a tech 21 bass driver DI. if one or both of those still leaves your feeling kinda thin, look into the other effects. one step at a time! :)
  12. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    He says he's using a 120W Behringer combo. IMO, that's the problem right there.
  13. The BurgerMeister

    The BurgerMeister musician.

    Apr 13, 2006
    Big Bear, CA
    oh yeah....

    and Welcome to Talkbass!
  14. For just about all of my band's heavier songs, I use some sort of distortion (in addition to my amp's overdrive) and a variety of other effects. Some of my favs are distorted flange/phase and distorted auto-wahs. I don't so much use the octave; with a 5 string it can be deadly live and fart out my cabs. Other than that, to thicken my sound I usually boost the mids.
  15. Thanks again for your replies.

    My signal chain is bass guitar - Aphex XCiter - Behringer DI box/splitter - mixing desk. I am therefore using our PA system as my amplification.

    We use Wharfedale EVP X15 tops and EVP X15B bass bins, powered by two separate Behringer EP2500 power amps. This gives a PA system delivering 1400W in total. The Behringer 120W combo is run from the DI box/splitter and is used as my stage monitor only - the main bass sound is delivered through the PA speakers.

    As we are still rehearsing and the room we use is very 'boomy' we haven't cranked the system up to full volume yet - perhaps my bass will sound better when we do. However, I will definitely investigate some of the effects pedals you have all suggested.

    Thanks again.
  16. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry I missed the comments on your gear up front.

    Based on that I would look at a good tube DI/pre-amp and a compressor. Check out basstasters for samples of different products. (Yes there is a huge difference in quality and sound amoung DI's)

    This forum has loads of discussions on compressors.
  17. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    Your thick sound is dependant on what your PA and monitors can produce. It is my experience that most monitors that you would commonly find are terrible at reproducing bass. Your best bet is to get a backline if you do not like what you are hearing. What you hear on stage is probably NOTHING like you are hearing in the audience. So, your entire quest for thickening might be overpowering to the FOH (front of house). Just a thought..

    If you want to hear thick, get yourself a quality amp and a larger cabinet like a 4x10. I'm a bit partial to Aguilar.
  18. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    Welcome aboard. I'm 42 years old...so we're in the same 'vintage'. In the early 80's I'd bought an E-H Micro Bass Syth, which I didn't liek too 'raw'. I did like that it could double my bass signal an octave higher with distortion. I found this useful in a 'gtr bs drums out fit' to give some 'depth' during guitar solos.

    Your procrastination in getting into effects has paid off as there are now many multi effect units specifically for bass guitarists which I think is the best way to go. I use a Boss Me-50b but would encourage you to decide for yourself what's best for you.

    As a word of caution, less is really nore when it comes to effects. In my day, I bought effects one at a time sand really got to know how to use them.

    As an 'effect' try round wound strings. They are much better suited to rock, IMHO. (To those who disagree and make reference to Steve Harris, ect., note that I said TRY.)
  19. you said that your signal goes straight to the PA, that could be the problem, replace your DI Box with Sansamp BDDI or MXR Bass DI+, just hear it yourself... simple straight clean and punchy bass
  20. turcmic

    turcmic Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Montreal, QC
    this is probably not the answer you are looking for but I went through the same problem a couple years ago when I started palying in a trio. I solved the problem by playing... longer notes! It fills the gaps with a natural bass sound which is IMHO the best sound. I don't like to put the pedals on for the whole set, but only to color my bass tone once in a while.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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