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indiegrungesound

Boss Katana... For Bass

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Hello everyone! I'm just popping this on here for anyone might be interested.

Some of you might be familiar with recent posts I've placed on the "Effects" thread. I play bass in a 3 piece indie rock. In a move that partly is an attempt to give the band a fuller sound, but also due my liking for bands like Slaves, Drenge and to a lesser extent Royal Blood and Honeyblood; I've been working on setting up a bass amp and guitar amp rig.
I've done my research via feedback from fellow Basschaters and watching various YouTube videos. I've got the necessary Octave pedals. I've experimented with the band and the available guitar amps at our rehearsal space. And now, I have the amp.

I purchased the Boss Katana 50 amp yesterday. I'm going to give you a run down of it's Pros and Cons, based on my initial impressions and usage so far:

Pros:

It's less than £190 brand new!
It's reasonably light and sturdily built.
It's a handsome little cab.
It's EQ is very straightforward.
The onboard effects all sound great, as do the amp emulation settings.
So far, it handles bass and guitar nicely!
It's LOUD! Having it set on it's lowest wattage output setting of "0.5w" can still conjure up a delightfully cacophonous noise for home practice or recording use!
It handles external stomp boxes - in this case a reverb pedal and an octave up pedal - well!

Cons:

The onboard effects do have certain limitations. The Drive effects (O/D, Distortion, Blues Driver.) are on the same dial as the Modulation one (Chorus, Phaser, Flanger.), so you can't use both at the same time unless you have the separate stomp boxes in the first place.
To use the recommended footswitches, you have to buy them separately. Also, the specific 4 way switch pedal made for the Katana amp, the Boss GA-FC, isn't compatible with the 50 watt version of the Katana amp anyway!
I've still not tried it out in anger/at higher output settings in a full band setting yet. I hope that it doesn't let me down! :-S
The amp tilt feature is a bit flawed. The actual strut/leg is well made. However,it's very fiddly get unscrew. Then, conversely, it is surprisingly easy for it to dislodge itself.
The clean amp emulation setting maybe totally impractical live, though I've not had it used on full power yet.

Overall, it could still be a good purchase for what I'm aiming for sound wise! I've set up the amp emulation and drive effects in a way that should match the tone of my guitar player's amp and effects.

I'll keep you posted on the ongoing developments.

Edited by indiegrungesound

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Just posting a quick update on the amp, as I've just had an hour's hit out with it.

I plugged in my Ibanez SR300 via the EHX Nano POG & Rowin Ocean Verb pedals. Didn't use my line selector pedal this time. Cut the Katana's Bass EQ completely, backed off the Mids a bit and left the Treble at 12 o'clock. Used the onboard Blues Drive effect at just under halfway.
To my ears, it sounds very "Royal Blood/Black Keys"esque, which is great fun! It can be a little synthy, but don't think that should be a problem in a full band setting! Also, when the reverb pedal was on, this set up has feedback sustain for days! B-) It should be good for coming up with some Shoegaze/Sonic Youth style noise too!
The only tweaking in might consider is made putting a Tube Screamer type drive pedal in the effects chain for more guitary sounding dirt (Emily Kokal from Warpaint uses a Tube Screamer on all the time because her amp is a Roland Jazz Chorus.). I haven't seen an actual Tube Screamer in the local music shops, but I can get hold of a Mooer Green Mile or EHX East River Drive if required.
The next update will come after the next band practice, so stay tuned!

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Just had a go with a practice amp level run through. This time, both the Dry and Effect Out outputs were used on the Nano POG. The Dry output went into my Peavey Microbass via my Boss ME-50B effects pedal. The Effect Out chain had my Behringer Line Selector pedal in this time as a killswitch for the Katana. The Katana's output was set @ 0.5 watts. The Microbass, which is actually a very loud practice amp, was kept at a low volume.
The only other change I made was to use the "Distortion" setting instead of "Blues Drive" on the Boost dial. The amp mode was Crunch.
This set up can make a hell of a lovely cacophony! I'm not sure if I'll need to use the Rowin Ocean Verb pedal all the time, but the "Room" setting works pretty well. I also need to decide what Overdrive or Distortion pedal would work best in conjunction with the amp. It could be a Tube Screamer type, a Fuzz. I had a go on an Electro Harmonix OD Glove last week, which sounded SO good on a Six string(I've no idea if it'll work on an octave up pedal bass signal though!). I'm also likely to borrow my guitarist's Boss Mega Distortion pedal at the next rehearsal.
I'll be back with the results in due course!

Edited by indiegrungesound

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Just got back from rehearsals with the band. I had the Katana up against half of my TC Electronic/Warwick stack for my bass. The Katana was set to Crunch with the "Blues Drive" boost and 25 watt output. I also plugged in the Mega Distortion pedal that the guitarist is no fan of.
I only used the Mega Distortion a couple of times. It only had one good sound near the end of one of our songs. It didn't sound that good otherwise!
However, the rest of the set up sounded great! It really does wonders for the band's sound! It can add the right amount of subtle texture to all out, "Wall of Sound" thickness!
The next step will be getting the Channel switch pedal that Boss do for the Katana 50, with either a Distortion/OD pedal & maybe the EHX Pitch Fork. So far though, I'm very pleased indeed!

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Just put the Katana through it's paces with the addition of the Electro Harmonix OD Glove today. The pedal was placed after my Rowin Ocean Verb pedal and just before the amp. The Crunch channel was switched on, whilst the onboard Drive effect was switched to the "Blues Drive" setting.
The OD Glove performed exactly as-if not better than-I expected! It's a wonderfully dirty sounding drive pedal, with a nice break up in the clipping and sustain-if you want it-for days. It really lends itself the shoegaze style indie rock! I also got some nice surprizes when I switched the Drive dial over to Modulation, then selected the "Chorus" setting; whilst setting my reverb pedal to Shimmer mode!
And all this was carried out with the Katana set to 0.5 watts output! I can only imagine how delightfully noisy it'll at higher volume and output! B-)

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[quote name='rOB' timestamp='1501369835' post='3344349']
Sounds like a lot of fun. Good luck with finding the perfect sounds.
[/quote]

Trust me. It is! :-)

I think the acid test will be when my band plays it's next gig @ The Academy 3 in Manchester in September! Watch this space!

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Just got back from rehearsals with the band. It was a bit of a Red Letter day for my rig tonight! Not only did I use my recently purchased EHX OD Glove in a band setting for the first time; but I also had The Katana set on maximum 50 watt output. The last part was necessitated by the guitarist having the use of the same type of amp as his biggest amp, so I had the perfect opportunity to test it as live as possible amp wise!
I also placed my Reverb pedal set to Shimmer, placed after the OD Glove.I also abandoned my Boss ME-50B entirely for the run-through!
Everything worked very well! A good clean bass tone coupled with a crunchy/overdriven "rhythm guitar" signal sounds great!
Watch this space for more!

Edited by indiegrungesound

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Well, the moment of truth has come and passed!...

... the Boss Katana 50 passed the test with flying colours! I only had it on 25 watt output, and it sounded great onstage! I also got glowing feedback from the audience after the gig about the sound too.

So, if anyone fancies trying to go for a Royal Blood/Slaves/Drenge style sound, then the Katana amps are great option in both price AND performance!

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I could be misinterpreting what you mean by full range, so I don't know what the answer to that should be. I will tell how it was set up the gig I played.
The bass is first plugged into The Nano POG. The signal is they split into 2 channels via the Nano POG. The Dry output went into the headlining band's Behringer amp, which was D.I.ed preamp. I didn't change any of the bass amp's EQ.
The Effect Out output had the Dry and Octave Down to turned off and The Octave Up on full! This was then put through my overdrive/distortion pedal, then a reverb pedal, then my Katana 50. The bass is fully off/cut on the amp EQ.
Like I said earlier, this might not be the precise answer you were looking for, but it's the most accurate one I can give. I hope it illustrates how my amps and signal are set up!

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[quote name='Musicman20' timestamp='1505812683' post='3374427']
Oh that makes sense, so the higher range without any low end is going to the Katana? Can't see why that won't work! :)
[/quote]

That is correct good sir! I'm basically using the amp for it's purpose as a guitar amp. It means that my bass sounds like both a bass and a crunchy/distorted rhythm guitar.
And it works BEAUTIFULLY! B-)

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