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The drop pedal. Thoughts needed

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The band may play some songs a semitone down as singer is struggling with some. But it's not all. 

Is this pedal any good for this

I really don't want to have to retune every 5 minutes! 

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... or tune down a semi-tone and use a first-fret capo for the stuff in standard tuning..? Lazy, yes, but it's an option. B|

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Depends how often you need to use that low Eb. If it's rare, then you might be able to get away with modifying the basslines so that you end up on that note an octave higher. Another alternative is to get a 5-string.

S.P.

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FWIW myself and one of my band’s guitarists use The Drop quite a bit as we use 3/4 different tunings in our set. Works perfectly well for both of us and saves time fiddling about between songs.

I will however say that if you’re precious about your tone, then retuning your instrument is the way to go. The drop pedal doesn’t sound bad per se, but it does alter your sound somewhat, as you’d probably expect. That said, if you’re in a two guitar rock band, for example, it’s unlikely that either yourself or the audience will notice the difference. YMMV, of course.

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It would be far easier to tune the whole band a semi-tone down all the time. It will save a lot of faffing for your guitarist(s) too. We play dropped all the time and no-one has ever complained

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I have exactly this issue and use one of these.  It's actually a guitar pedal but works perfectly well for bass:

preview_1.jpg

 

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4 minutes ago, ead said:

I have exactly this issue and use one of these.  It's actually a guitar pedal but works perfectly well for bass:

preview_1.jpg

 

This is what I mean

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I agree with some of the comments above in that you'll probably get better results tuning down a semi-tone for the whole set and playing the songs in standard tuning up a semitone. Unless you use a lot of open strings (no one does that right??) I can't see that being too much of a problem.

I've not use one of those specific pedals with a Bass guitar but I had a whammy DT pedal which included the same functionality / circuit when I used to play six string .  Although the pitch adjustments worked great the tone of the note was very synthetic sounding and I hated it.  If you use OD post pitch adjustment it might hide that enough in the mix so that you won't notice.

There's also a slight delay in the note being produced - not a problem normally but if your playing fast runs can be a bit of an issue - perhaps more so on the guitar.

If you have a second bass maybe you could keep them in separate tunings and use something like the Radial Big Shot I/O to switch between them?

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I genuinely think I am missing the point of this pedal. If you need to play something a semitone lower, just play it a semitone lower or if your using open strings, tune to Eb and then adjust for the other songs.

Failing that, tune one bass down and keep one standard? I wouldn’t want to rely on a pedal to tune down for me.

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I have one bass. And I am too lazy to relearn songs in a different key. 

It is not for all the songs. Just some.

Pedal it is!  Lol 

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5 hours ago, NJE said:

I genuinely think I am missing the point of this pedal. If you need to play something a semitone lower, just play it a semitone lower or if your using open strings, tune to Eb and then adjust for the other songs.

Failing that, tune one bass down and keep one standard? I wouldn’t want to rely on a pedal to tune down for me.

That’s my thought. Personally I wouldn’t trust technology to do what I can do by playing a fret lower.

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We use Drop pedals in our band - both guitarists and myself. We have a few originals that just sound right played lower (three half-steps down from already-half-step-down with our last singer and from standard tuning with our current singer) and whilst we used to change guitars to achieve it, it put a break in the flow of the performance while we changed over and checked tuning, which we didn’t like; it was even worse if we then had to change back, especially given the average set length for an original power metal band playing local support slots etc.

For the guitars it was a bit of a no-brainier - the Drop pedal works great as intended. For me on bass it was a judgement call; do I still change bass and work on the speed of changeover, play the line further up, play the whole set on a 5, or try the Drop pedal. I tried it and initially wasn’t sure as it sounded a little modulated, but with the Thumpinator in front of it to give it the cleanest possible signal to process, I decided it wasn’t out of tune or unpleasant and it was plenty close enough alongside the other elements in our live performance. Tuning up half a step to standard when we changed singer helped very slightly again in terms of accuracy, though I still wouldn’t want to go any further than 3 half-steps down with the pedal no matter what the starting point.

I wouldn’t use it always-on and certainly wouldn’t record with it, but for an instant change in feel for a couple of songs to vary a set, it does more good than harm. We’ve been using them for a good while now and nobody’s ever come up and said “that sounded dodgy”! 🙂

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On 16/10/2018 at 09:54, NJE said:

I genuinely think I am missing the point of this pedal. If you need to play something a semitone lower, just play it a semitone lower or if your using open strings, tune to Eb and then adjust for the other songs.

Failing that, tune one bass down and keep one standard? I wouldn’t want to rely on a pedal to tune down for me.

I use a pedal to detune for one song in a set. The set flows quickly from song to song. My second bass is for emergencies only and therefore in standard tune as the main bass.

So when the singer asked us to drop this song by a semitone I looked at playing it in a different place but it's impossible. The bass features parts which use the open D alternating with notes on the G string fretted up around 17 and 15. Playing a D flat would require my hands simultaneously at both ends of the fretboard, wasn't going to happen.

So to keep the set flowing and the folks dancing and to be able to play the song properly the pedal was an obvious choice. 

 

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I've read elsewhere that the EH Pitchfork is a more accurate pedal than the Drop.  I wouldn't know myself,  just what i read.

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18 minutes ago, fleabag said:

I've read elsewhere that the EH Pitchfork is a more accurate pedal than the Drop.  I wouldn't know myself,  just what i read.

I only tried one briefly on my lunch hour, but tonally I really didn’t like it as much as the Drop - it sounded much more ‘artificial’ to me. The biggest problem, though, was that I couldn’t seem to actually get the three half-steps down that I needed out of it. That may be because I’m hard of music theory and/or was using it wrong (very real possibility as I didn’t read the manual and I only play by ear!) but I’m told that what I needed was a minor 3rd, and it didn’t appear to have that option on the dial.

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The purist in me wants to say customise the set to allow your bass changes, but if a pedal works for ya, I doubt anyone would complain in a live setting.

I don’t have to change much in the Bowie band, but the 80’s band necessitates a few instrument swaps and I’ve got it down to a very reasonable amount of seconds.

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3 hours ago, stewblack said:

I use a pedal to detune for one song in a set. The set flows quickly from song to song. My second bass is for emergencies only and therefore in standard tune as the main bass.

So when the singer asked us to drop this song by a semitone I looked at playing it in a different place but it's impossible. The bass features parts which use the open D alternating with notes on the G string fretted up around 17 and 15. Playing a D flat would require my hands simultaneously at both ends of the fretboard, wasn't going to happen.

So to keep the set flowing and the folks dancing and to be able to play the song properly the pedal was an obvious choice. 

 

That's where a 5 or 6 string comes in useful. I'd have played the Db on the 14th fret on the B string.

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On 15/10/2018 at 13:28, ead said:

I have exactly this issue and use one of these.  It's actually a guitar pedal but works perfectly well for bass:

preview_1.jpg

 

I use one if these too, I do find it gives a slight distortion to the tone and a hint of delay but generally don't notice that in the mix.

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59 minutes ago, ambient said:

That's where a 5 or 6 string comes in useful. I'd have played the Db on the 14th fret on the B string.

I have used 5ers for this but I wouldn't want to use one all night so I'd need to bring a 5er and a spare for just one song. I'm just too lazy to carry 4 basses!

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I go the other way  ( matron )

If a track is in Eb,  i wouldn't buy a 5 string (  lump hammer to crack a nut )  and don't want to lug a 2nd bass tuned down.  We change the track to E

Job done.

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