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Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by Bigfeet, Aug 29, 2001.
Whats your opinion on live and studio effects dist, delay, ect...
I've said some stuff about that here already but I'll repeat it again. I don't have a lot of experience w/effects besides compression and j mascis having me use fuzz boxes for solos on the last touring we did together. w/bass, I think a lot of those delays and things mush up your punch in a band. alone, sure - you can notice the nuances but think of the kick drum in a band's sound - you need the foundation and the thud. let the guitarists fiddle w/those things maybe since there sound is in a range where most effects can help and not diminish. we have long wave lengths in our lowness and the nodes caused by cancellations can sure make the bass small.
I have to admit, I need to learn more and get additional experience w/these devices. I still think w/the bass, a lot can get done w/just the hands. I'm open to advice and interesting thoughts though. what I don't think we want to head for though is sounding like a midi keyboard - there's already cats sounding like that playing midi keyboards!
I guess I just like the punch of a good thud w/out the murk. I like the grind of a good overdrive but you can sometimes just get that out of the amp and the attack on the strings.
on bass, watt
sorry and thanks.
don't worry, bro - no prob. let me also say I DO dig the way bootsy uses effects very much. he makes great **** sounds w/the bass. love it.
on bass, watt
I use an EH Bass Micro Synth to get a kickdrum/Tuba sound very cool with a keyboard and drum set but yo get some weazing if you play to fast. Synthed bass can be cool but hard to play in most music styles, putting it in progressive rock has been a very hard task and I try to stay a true bassist.
This is exactly how I feel and have said the same thing many times around here and occasionally got abuse for it!!
I think that the "space" that bass inhabits doesn't really suit effects and they just blur what you're trying to do. Whereas, I have played guitar and keyboards in bands as well and wouldn't dream of not using effects and even fairly cheap effects can make a sterile keyboard patch sound more interesting.
But for bass, I find that especially cheap pedals have the "effect" you mention of diminishing the bass rather than anything else when you're playing in a band. I imagine that a lot of those who go on about effects on bass around here are trying things out in their bedrooms and thinking "awesome" or whatever; but when you get out there with a band, 9 times out of 10 : effects on bass just don't work and I think a lot of our younger members are wasting a lot of time on this - still probably no more than with their gameboys or playstations!!
My experience is pretty minimal in comparison to a fulltime working musician with decades of experience, but I agree 100%. For studio work, I would imagine the engineer would use the effects they like best, but live I think they're a waste.
I rather doubt that 5% of the audience could really tell whether you play a fretless 6 or a fretted 4, much less the subtlety involved in a series of effects.
I've had a few effects and they are fun to play with, but I find when I use them that I spend my time fiddling with the toys instead of playing bass. It's enjoyable enough playing with the toys, I just don't believe that anyone else in the audience will know or care.
I find between fingers and pick, that's 2 different sounds, which is plenty of variety for bass. I worry about the low notes, and down there most of the effects are lost.
And yes, it's not politically correct.
good point - you won't get abuse from me for these insights. thank you!
on bass, watt
another good perspective on this subject. I'm glad folks aren't intimidated by "majority opinion" on something so subjective so as not to speak their mind. it loosens things up and lets them breathe. thanks.
on bass, watt
I know you used some sort of box on "Tell 'Em Boy" from the wrestling record, forgot what kind it exactly was - some sort of envelope filter?
Now some personal perspective:
The last band I was in was a troika instrumentally, with two singer/ultility persons fronting it. Needing to fill out the sound on certain songs, I used a Ibanez Tube Screamer on one song where I had to play a rhythm guitar part (double stops) when there wasn't a bass line, and a DigiTech Whammy II in order to fake an eight-string bass sound on a Cheap Trick cover (unfortunately there was no bass model at the time so I couldn't play lower than fifth-fret A on the E string, so I would set the pedal for octave up or octave down and manuipulate the pedal depending on where I was on the fretboard). I also used a Zoom combo prac amp/effect module in which I programmed a custom bass effect with some compression and I forget what else, that was on all the time... I think I was trying to emulate the up-front bass sound on mr. machinery operator and the wrestling record.
Your humble insights on this slightly younger old man's use of boxed color would be much apprecated.
p.s. thanks for the word earlier today about Dick Hell.