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Baloney Balderdash

"all I nil" - work in progress bass/drums/vocals psychedelic progressive stoner rock/metal solo project, and something about my 5 string Ibanez Mikro Bass! (Now with some actual sound clips!!!)

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Posted (edited)

Here is the Ibanez GSRM25 5 string Mikro that I mentioned in the "Show off you short scales" thread, where I posted a picture of and talked about my main 4 string Ibanez Mikro Bass:


It got a poplar body and a maple neck with a jatoba fretboard, and I also did some visual mods on it, among other added a silver lotus flower decal with an OM sign in the middle and painted the pickup covers grey, the 2 stock J pickups I wired in series directly to the output jack socket, bypassing the pots, which means that the knobs and the switch are just there for the sake of being decorative. 

To be honest, in my opinion, as the pickups were wired from stock they sounded like crap, no matter how I adjusted them, they sounded like a caricature of the famous Jazz Bass burp, a really over emphasized burp there was no way of getting rid of, on top of them just sounding somewhat underwhelming and anemic, except, as I found out by wiring the pickups in series, which not only got rid of the ludicrous bad sounding burping sound entirely, but actually also made them capable of a genuine great full sounding tone overall. 

Otherwise this bass was perfect from factory, and I mean absolutely perfect, just to mention one example I would be able to get ridiculously low action if I wanted to without any fret buzz whatsoever, the frets are just dead on perfectly leveled.  

On the particular picture above it was actually strung with the 5 lightest strings of a 6 string D'Addario set, gauge .100 to .032, but I later put on the Ernie Ball set meant for Bass VI type instruments, using the 5 lowest strings, gauge .090 to .030, and tuned it F# to D, as in F# standard tuning, 2 half steps above regular 4 string bass E standard tuning, threading the strings through the cut off ball ends of some old bass strings I had, to be able to fit it on the bass's bridge, since those Ernie Ball strings have guitar sized ball ends.

I intend to use it as the main instrument for some songs in the making for a sort of progressive psychedelic stoner rock/metal solo project I am working on called "all I nil", which is supposed to have the fundamental, primary, instrumentation consist of just bass, programmed and physically recorded drums and various percussion, as well as vocals, though a much more sparingly use of additional instrumentation, like for instance programmed or physically recorded organ/synth, piano, electric or acoustic guitar, cello, flute, glockenspiel/bells, as well as eventual more ambience based effects, will be added for certain parts of the songs, restricted to fill out a, in no way dominating, fundamental or essential, more flavor oriented, secondary function.

I am still working on my setup/rig for this thing, but one thing that is certain is that an octave up effect will be added to my bass signal, sometimes with separate effects used respectively for the octave up signal and the regular bass signal, sort of giving an effect similar to a 10 string octave bass with pairs of bass and octave strings, just with the advantage I get from doing it this way of being able to process the bass and octave up signal separately.

For this I am using a TC Electronic Sub 'n' Up Mini, which seems to actually work really well for this, as good as flawless and super fast tracking, and in my opinion being capable of sounding more natural/realistic than for instance the EHX POG pedals, which tend to have a slight somewhat organ or synth like quality to the octave up signal.

Pitching your signal up a whole octave is always going to sound somewhat artificial though, no matter how well it is processed, but it has actually still worked surprisingly well and sounded reasonable naturally in my preliminary test runs of this idea, and adds a lot of extra sonic space and flavor, exactly as will be needed for this project, where my bass is going to be the main, and most of the time only, instrument that carries the melodic content of the tracks (well beside the vocals of course).

Other than that heavy thick distortion with fuzz like qualities mixed with a bit of clean signal, and secondarily chorus, flanger and phaser, will see a lot of use for this project. 

Just in the process of figuring out which kind of setup will give me the best results for what I have in mind currently, and so far only got fair deal of the basic bass parts down so far (I believe I more or less got the bass parts and final form for 4 to 5 tracks at the moment), then when I got my setup perfected the actual recordings can start, then the programming of the drum/percussion parts and eventual additional flavor instruments comes, and eventually writing the lyrics and getting the vocals laid down. 

All in all I think at least another 6 months, very likely even more, before I got an EP, or less likely a full length album, ready for release on Bandcamp and various online digital music streaming services and shops, perhaps even a self released physical version, but we'll see about that when it eventually that time comes.    


Here's a short sound sample of a preliminary distortion tone, using some riffs I have been working on for this project (notice that if you are not logged into Dropbox a box might pop up when you click the link, encouraging you to sign up, blocking for the audio player, in that case you just click somewhere outside that box and it will disappear, making the audio player accessible):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/8m02vfjf7dv5ojx/all I nil - New Distortion Sample.mp3?dl=0


And here's a couple of older very rough takes of 2 songs in the making, respectively with the working titles "3rd Eye of Hypnos" and "In Orbit", playing both of them in a bit faster tempo than was is really intended ("3rd Eye of Hypnos" since this recording having had a much melodically expanded variation of the intro and outro riff added) :

https://www.dropbox.com/s/3u06k5cct75coi9/all I nil - 3rd Eye of Hypnos.mp3?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7f5wbstq5wh318w/all I nil - In Orbit (Take 2 F%23).mp3?dl=0 


Please note that the above linked to recordings are fairly old, recorded directly and not with a miked up amp or any form of amp emulator added or other post production done to them, as well as this was a preliminary temporary setup, and as a result the tone/sound of these recordings are admittedly pretty crappy, and pretty seriously far from how it is actually eventually going to sound after I have managed to find just the right pedals for the effects I intend to utilize, just the right setup for these, recorded with a properly miked up amp, and having been edited, mixed and mastered properly, it is not even remotely close to how it eventually is going to sound live either, as it, already at this point, where I haven't actually found just the right setup that I am 100% satisfied with, sounds way way better than these recordings, but thought those crappy sound snips might still be able to give you at least some idea of what I am heading at with this project.  

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

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Posted (edited)

A small update:

As most of what I have written for this project so far can actually be played on 4 strings, and the one riff that ventures beyond that can be adapted to work on 4 strings, and as further more the update of my beloved battered old 4 string Ibanez Mikro Bass, with the P/J set of EMG Geezer Butler pickups swapped out with a single DiMarzio Model P P pickup, wired directly to the output jack socket sounds no less than awesome through my current rig, much better than my 5 string Mikro with it's 2 stock J pickups wired in series directly to the output jack socket, and that I just overall feel much more at home and comfortable with playing my old 4 string Mikro, beyond it's physical form, but simply as an instrument I have come to love dearly, almost as an old friend (even came up with a little flattering name for it, something I normally otherwise don't do with my instruments, "Dud Bottomfeeder"), I have decided to do a serious attempt to adapt my current songs in the working and setup for the "all I nil" project to work with my dear 4 string pal "Dud", and for that purpose have ordered a gauge .095 NYXL D'Addario bass string that is going to be tuned F#1, like the lowest string on my 5 string Mikro, 2 steps above standard E tuning, and 3 D'Addario NYXL guitar strings that I will thread through the cut off ball ends of old bass strings to not fall through the bridge, gauge .076 - .058 and .043, to be tuned respectively B1, E2 and A2, as the gauge 1.00 to .045 set on it now, tuned in E standard tuning is just not going to work well for the material I wrote, but the new strings, checked through D'Addario's String Tension Pro online app online app, is pretty much on an average going to match the tension of it's current strings in their current tuning, just with much improved tension balance across the strings.

Probably have to do a proper shielding job on Dud Bottomfeeder at some point though, as the DiMarzio pickup's open housing and 4 minutious absolutely unshielded wires, unlike the absolutely and complete noiseless EMG pickup's totally sealed housings with the ground wires working as a braided shield all along around the hot wire on the pickups,  that I was used to, makes it a bit noisy when not touching any metal parts on the bass grounding the electronics.

Really in my opinion all pickup manufactures ought to do as EMG and shield their pickups internally, didn't even need a bridge ground connection, and even Ibanez decided to learn from them, my new 5 string Mikro from last years production being wired like that, despite being a cheap budget model, which after I wired it's 2 single coil J pickups in series made it utterly and completely noiseless as well.  

Really if it can be done on cheap budget instruments, surely one of the leading pickup manufactures of what is considered at pretty good quality pickups can do it too with their pickups. 

The noise is fairly tolerable though, and in every other aspect the DiMarzio Model P is an amazing sounding pickup, so full and punchy, but at the same time perfectly clear, well defined and articulated, just absolutely beautifully sounding on it's own, at least in my 4 string Mikro Bass wired directly to the output jack socket. 

And unlike the EMG Geezer P I didn't even have to make use of the Model P P pickups otherwise nice individual adjustable pole pieces feature to make the strings balance perfectly, something I had great dificulties with with the Geezer and only really could achieve when used in conjunction with the J pickup, adjusted carefully to even string balance working together.


Here's the chad bad boy Dud Bottomfeeder himself, who has taken his fair share of abuse from me (....:shok: ...Uhm.... :o... Well.... :S That definitely kind of came out sounding all wrong...:   :friends::whoopass:... :facepalm::$ .... You know... I am not really swinging that way  :crazy:):




And here's the rig I am going to do it with, pretty much with some minor updates planed:


For one the high gain distortion setup, mixed with some slightly dirty "cleans" from one of the Joyo Orange Juice pedals, my Joyo California Sound has taken over from the American Sound as the medium gain kind of overdrive and additional EQ that is being fed with my Mosky Black Rat, Rat clone, set on the Vintage setting (classic, not LED Turbo Rat type) feed it's raunchy fuzz-esque high gain distortion stacked in front of it:



My EHX Black Finger, tube driven optical compressor, as always delivering the secret tone gourmet sauce:



And the smug looking pretty boy Mikro 5 has been removed from the construction site (at least for now, and if all works out as planed):



Edited by Baloney Balderdash

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