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Newfoundfreedom

Guitar effects on bass?

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Does anyone use guitar effects on bass, or does it just always sound cr#p?

I've got a Line 6 M13, which I absolutely love from a usability perspective. I've tried using it on the bass for several things but I'm always underwhelmed with the result. A couple of the reverbs are OK, and the tuner works, but other than that it doesn't get much use. 

I'm more than happy to admit it may just be me not setting things up properly as I don't have a lot of experience when it comes to effects. Has anyone else had any decent results with one of these or similar? Or would I be better off just chopping it in for a dedicated bass multi effects? 

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I've had  mixed results.

Bass through most of the effects on the Zoom G1 didn't sound great to me, certainly no advantages over the Bass dedicated B1on.

On the other hand I have a Helix Stomp which has become an integral part of my set up for both bass and guitar. Most effects such as compression, chorus and reverb work great on the bass even though they're all modelled on guitar pedals.

The distortion and drive effects are less effective to my ears apart from the bass specific sansamp clone,  but if I want an overdriven bass sound I can get some pretty good ones through the bass amp sims.

Edited by Cato
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I don't have a physical amp, I'm hooking up to my PC atm so throwing in all the effects is free and trivial with my Guitarix software plug-ins.

As a new player I'm trying to avoid them for the most part to get my basics down but I have played around a fair bit.
Overall I don't find effects on bass to be as useful as with regular guitars but that's maybe just the noob talking.

I've enjoyed playing around with the various phase and octave effects more than the others and it sounds interesting if not 'good'.
I find the issue for me is that any effects take away from the bass filling it's common bottom end role so far.

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1 hour ago, Saul Panzer said:

...I find the issue for me is that any effects take away from the bass filling it's common bottom end role so far.

I think the 'trick' here is to have the Fx in parallel to a 'dry' bass, and blend in what's required, so that the original bass is still there.

Disclaimer: that ^^ is only theory, as I use no Fx for bass, usually. (... and I'm a drummer, so :$...)

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I sometimes chain my Zoom G3 with my Zoom B3n, if I’m feeling ambient-ish.

The G3 supplies the delays, because they are the FX with a mix control on that particular device. The other guitar oriented stuff, like distortions, don’t really cut it.

The B3n does the rest: envelope filters, octaves, choruses.

i only use them together because it’s easier to toggle individual FX than swapping whole patches on the B3n.

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Agree with all of the above. Also, my guitar sounds carp through my bass effects, probably the built in EQ emphasis (he says as if he knows anything about the technical bits). 

Individual pedal wise I know some guitar pedals are used to good effect by bassists but it's horses for courses. It depends what other gear you use and how you play. For example, some bass pedals that sounded awesome with my passive p bass were terrible with my active jazz bass, amps can have a big influence on sound too. Unfortunately it's just one more thing to research and experiment with, the endless trial and error! 

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IE Divaricator can mix nearly any effect on top of the bass frequencies. I use 400 Hz as the x-over f. It does not work for envelope filters and few others, but most of the basic effects work just fine.

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I'm using an HD500x, and although the effects on it are pretty much all guitar oriented, you can still get some good results, thanks to being able to split the signal path.

Saying that, use a careful ear when setting them up, and it'll sound great in a band mix.

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Thanks. I think maybe the component I'm missing is being able to run a dry signal to the amp. Might be time to invest in a blender pedal. 

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I used a Line 6 M5 for a couple of years when I couldn't use my regular pedals, and it was cool. It's the same effects as the M13 but you can only use 1 at a time. I'm not a huge fan of the distortions in it, but I managed to get a couple of decent sounds after a bit of fiddling. 

I've got a load of pedals that aren't specifically for bass and some of them sound better than others. Most of my favourite pedals aren't bass specific, but they sound great. Others can sound a bit thin and weak. Some pedals don't work well with active basses but do with a Precision. Sometimes a pedal might not sound too good on it's own, but in combination with other pedals they come alive. I've got an envelope filter that is a bit lame on it's own, but when stacked after an OC2 sounds awesome. I've never use a blend pedal either-the players that I like who use lots of effects never seem to use one and I think they always sound great. I think the trick with effects is to experiment and combine pedals, and learn how they react to your sound and playing.

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23 hours ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

Does anyone use guitar effects on bass, or does it just always sound cr#p?

Yeah, I can be excited by the word 'bass' on a pedal but honestly I don't think it matters at all. 

Not because every guitar pedal can do all the same things, I don't mean that, an eq pedal which starts at 100hz isnt going to help if you want to boost 60hz, obviously. 

What I mean is I just use my ears. If I like the noise then it's good. Regardless of what it's called. 

When I was studying photography, the lecturer encouraged us to shoot similar scenarios but use all the different presets built into the camera then use our eyes to decide which we liked. 

Didn't matter if we took a landscape in 'pet' mode or a portrait in 'fireworks' mode - labels had no bearing on our creativity. I see this as the same thing. 

 

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I use them all the time.

But most of the time I also blend them with a clean tone to keep the lows. I often use compression on the lows as well as overdrive effects automatically have compression and the decay of the clean and dirty note will be very different. I try to balance that with the compression.

 

More modern FX units have the ability to blend clean in whenever you like. And the good old Boss LS-2 is an excellent tool for blending clean with stompboxes.

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Depends entirely on the pedals and what sort of of bass sound you want. There is no definite answer.

 

Edit: as other have said if you like the sound and it fits into the band sound and/or song arrangement/production then it really doesn't matter if the effect is specifically aimed at bass guitars or not.

Edited by BigRedX
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To turn it round, I've got a superb guitar distortion sound on my Zoom B3n. Sounds better than the Boss ME50.

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9 hours ago, Doddy said:

Some pedals don't work well with active basses but do with a Precision. Sometimes a pedal might not sound too good on it's own, but in combination with other pedals they come alive.

Very good points! Hi- (passive) and lo-Z (active) basses drive certain pedals very differently. My experience has been that compressors and OD/fuzz/dist are the ones that need test driving.

I discussed about this with one pedal maker, who was saying the same: different signals, different results. Try before you buy.

Many pedals have circuitry that change the signal level or impedance, and these fx combinations may become very different when working together.

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On 13/09/2020 at 19:12, Dad3353 said:

I think the 'trick' here is to have the Fx in parallel to a 'dry' bass, and blend in what's required, so that the original bass is still there.

Disclaimer: that ^^ is only theory, as I use no Fx for bass, usually. (... and I'm a drummer, so :$...)

Blend is nice and common on bass effects now and really works, so you don't even need to do anything fancy with how the effects are hooked up, just blend wet and dry on the pedal. That's one reason they can sound a lot better then guitar effects in "normal use", so if you blend a guitar effect you can get the same effect - or you can let the pedal manufacturers take care of it for you. There are also more multiband effects now, where the effect is applied by different amounts to different frequencies. Distortion is an obvious example with more bass distortion pedals coming with some kind of separate control on how much the highs and lows get distorted. 

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I don't believe I have ever owned a bass-specific pedai and I have been playing since 1973. My wah-wahs have always been Morleys because of the range. Twiddling with the knobs is always necessary. I'm currently using a Line6 PODX3 so that gives me the ability to "blend" because I can run two signal chains in parallel. But more than not I have an effect "full-on". It's always a matter of personal taste on how much I want an effect. Your cheapest option would be to keep the M13 and try a blend pedal or cheap mixer - whichever you can find. Keep experimenting with what you have though.

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9 hours ago, StickyDBRmf said:

I don't believe I have ever owned a bass-specific pedai and I have been playing since 1973. My wah-wahs have always been Morleys because of the range. Twiddling with the knobs is always necessary. I'm currently using a Line6 PODX3 so that gives me the ability to "blend" because I can run two signal chains in parallel. But more than not I have an effect "full-on". It's always a matter of personal taste on how much I want an effect. Your cheapest option would be to keep the M13 and try a blend pedal or cheap mixer - whichever you can find. Keep experimenting with what you have though.

Thanks. I was thinking along the same lines. I have indeed just ordered a blender pedal, so I'll experiment a bit more when it arrives. 😁

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9 hours ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

I have indeed just ordered a blender pedal

What have you gone for mate? 

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1 minute ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

Just a cheapy. £30 off eBay.

IMG_20200917_180646.jpg

Can't go wrong at 30quid

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