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Baloney Balderdash

Your always on secret magic tone sauce pedal?

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So curious about what people's always on secret magic tone sauce pedal is, be it a preamp, a compressor, and equalizer or perhaps a subtle chorus effect or whatever it might be.

Mine is my EHX Black Finger, tube driven optical compressor, that run it's 2 preamp tube at proper high 300V voltage, and which beside adding a quite subtle compression to my signal actually more so functions as my tube preamp stage, beefing up the signal slightly, making the low end slightly more pronounced and tight and adding a bit of tube flavor and warmth, having the input gain turned up to just bellow the breakup point when I dig in the hardest. 

 

Here it is in all it's glory :

SDC18042-copy.jpg

 

And here's a bass player that uses it very much like I do, though with other settings (he mentions it briefly around the 4:37 time mark :

 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

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I have a semi which never achieves its full potential. 

Unless I put it into a Joyo Sweet Baby. Then it comes to life. I tried it with my solid bodies and it was too thin. 

Another good one is the American Sound or its little brother the Orange Juice. 

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2 minutes ago, stewblack said:

I have a semi which never achieves its full potential. 

Alas, ‘twas always thus 😢

  • Haha 2

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1 minute ago, paul_5 said:

Alas, ‘twas always thus 😢

Settle down at the back 

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8 hours ago, stewblack said:

I have a semi which never achieves its full potential. 

Unless I put it into a Joyo Sweet Baby. Then it comes to life. I tried it with my solid bodies and it was too thin. 

Another good one is the American Sound or its little brother the Orange Juice. 

Sometimes when the full signal through a pedal is too much and becomes a deterioration rather than an improvement, an improvement can sometimes still be achieved by using the same pedal but mixing the signal from it with the raw bass signal, like for instance via a Boss LS-2, I experienced this in more than one case with the Joyo Orange Juice.

Edited by Baloney Balderdash
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I'll usually have a Sadowsky preamp on when I'm playing a passive bass. That's as close as I get to having an always on pedal.

And, while not always on, I normally use a 3 Leaf Octabvre and an Emma Electronic DiscumBOBulator for my solo sound in a non jazz context.

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Was a Vt bass for years as my always on pedal. Nowerdays I use a B7k with the slightest bit of drive on it( I don't use it for dirty like most demos show) , it really livens up any amp cab combo.

Edited by danbowskill
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TC Mojomojo with my P Bass for a vintage Motown kind of sound.

Tech21 YYZ or DuG for more modern rock sounds with my BB1025X.

I don't really need any other pedals!

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SFX Micro EQ .

Adds some lovely warmth , and just 'something' . I've never had it switched off in absolute years .

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I actually got one more, which might seem like odd to most people, a faulty Behringer UV300 Ultra Vibrato.

Yup, it's true, something's wrong with the buffer in it, but it doesn't actually suck tone in a traditional sense, not as much really deteriorating the signal going through it as it just kind of alters it to something somewhat different.

On bass that gives a more mids focused, tight and snappy kind of tone that I really like.

So not even an always on pedal, in fact it is rather rarely engaged, just the fact of me actually liking what the faulty buffer of this pedal when disengaged does to my tone.

 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

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Tech21 Para Driver, preamp/DI with regular eq & gain but has sweepable adjustable mids making it very versatile. 

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BDDI. Just a hint of drive and a bit of thickening up. More noticeable when its turned off. Back in the days when i used to use MarkBass amps i really couldnt play without a BDDI or BDI-21. Tried swapping it for a Paradrive, VMTD, Q/strip, VTBass DI etc, but always came back to the BDDI.

When i got  a B3 (and its variants), and then Helix, i still used the BDDI sims as always on. 

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I’m pretty much the same but with the Para Driver, Dave, no matter what I try I just keep coming back to it.

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2 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

I’m pretty much the same but with the Para Driver, Dave, no matter what I try I just keep coming back to it.

I loved the MK2 PD i had a couple of years ago, more than the original one, but the BDDI was still with me and i couldn't use both.

What i didnt like about the PD is purely the amount of EQ choice. Unlike with the BDDI i was forever tweaking the PD. Not a negative of the pedal, but it was distracting . I’d say the same about my Q/strip as well. Too much choice is not good for me. 

I sold my BDDI recently, but still have a BDI-21 which I’d use if and when i go back to bass. 

Edited by dave_bass5
Typo.
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Newer thought I'd say this but I have almost just dropped the EHX Black Finger as part of my setup, along with the Behringer UV300 Ultra Vibrato with a faulty buffer that somehow made my bass sound more mids focused and snappy.

The reason why I even considered it was because the preamp tubes in my Black Finger gave up, so I had to find an alternative, and in the same instance I thought I would find away around not having to have the Behringer Ultar Vibrato take space up in my setup, and with a slight adjustment of the EQ, using a patch of six 2 band fully parametric equalizers in my Zoom MS-70 CDR and a Behringer BRQ700 Bass Graphic Equalizer, which I guess would be 2 of my other always on tone pedals, and with one of my Joyo Orange Juice pedals blended with clean signal via my  Boss LS-2, I found the perfect replacement for those two pedals.

The Orange Juice being a sized and pared -down clone of the now discontinued Tech 21 Oxford preamp/overdrive pedal, meant to be an analog emulation of an Orange amp, that in the effort to size it down to about as small as a pedal practically can get had most of the EQ section of the original sacrificed to now only feature a standard Tone control and a Voice control, which is basically the same as the original's Character control, which is a pre gain stage EQ control, only with the difference that while it boost a quite wide curve around a center frequency of 800Hz turned above noon, like the original, instead of cutting the same area bellow noon, like the original, it instead cuts a wide curve around a center frequency of 400Hz.

I have it set with the Tone control at dead on noon and the Voice control (aka 800Hz) boosted a bit, I think about 3-4dB, and then the Gain turned up to a light overdrive, blended with the clean signal of my bass via my Boss LS-2, giving me some of the same slight tube breakup I used to get from the Black Finger, as well as some of the same punch and snap I got from the Behringer vibrato's faulty buffer, in addition resulting in an overall much clearer and more articulate kind of tone than before.

And after much parameter tweaking in the Toneprint editor I also replaced my always on compressor last in my effect pedals chain, right before my EQ setup, previously delivered by the DBX 160A model in my Zoom G1Xon, with my TC Electronic SpectraComp fully programable 3 band compressor, placed at the very front of my effect pedals chain, right after my bass. 

The EHX Black Finger might very well come back into use once I've got some new preamp tubes to replace the faulty ones, but this far I actually don't really miss it and am more satisfied with the tone that I got now than I was before. 

 

Here is the Joyo Orange Juice with the setting that I use, blended with just about 40-45% clean signal or so, via my Boss LS-2 (and, as you might be able to tell from the foort switch and the plugs of the patch cables, the pedal is much bigger on this picture than it is in reality. Also note that the black part is actually a lid that can be closed over the control area to protect the settings of the pedal, and that the drive setting might seem higher than it in reality is, due to the fact that some of it's initial travel, up till just about 9 o'clock or so, is actually clean, not really adding any overdrive, though of course depending on how hot the input signal is, as well as how the Voice, pre gain stage EQ, knob is set) :

Orange-Juice-Tone.jpg

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

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Hmm, I usually have at least one drive pedal on with a very low gain setting to give a bit of slight drive to any 'rock' set. From the age of 13 my 'magic' pedal has evolved from a Boss ODB-3, then a Sansamp Bass Driver, then the Sansamp plus an EHX English Muff'n (which I used very much in a similar way to how the OP used the Black Finger). After that was a EBS Valve Drive, then it was an Aguilar Agro for 7-8 years through my early to late twenties, for the last 4 years or so it has been a Darkglass B3K. Ones that I tried and went 'not for me' include a EBS Metal Drive and EBS Billy Sheehan (the original permanently 'out of phase unless you use a buffer pedal' one). 

The Keeley Bassist though has been a constant presence over the last 3-5 years. Though it is a very transparent compressor so it doesn't really affect the tone very much, so I don't think it is magic so much as I think it is effective.

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Sadowsky SBP-2 and MXR M87. As I currently use passive basses, the SBP-2 just sprinkles 'fairy dust' on my tone, whilst the M87 (new to me this year and only used once live) just adds that pop to make my bass sit nicely in the mix, it's at the end of my chain, rather like you would for a recording.

Edited by ezbass

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