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prowla

What's a good bass distortion pedal?

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I was looking for something similar just after Christmas and ended up getting my paws on a solidgoldfx beta and a catalinbread SFT. Really digging both of them and would recommend checking them out if you get a chance

 

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Posted (edited)

As you've specifically mentioned distortion, I personally think that a bass-tuned Rat clone is the one for the job. Most obvious example is the MXR Bass Distortion, which is well worth a try for not too much £££. 

Other examples below:
- Fuzzrocious Cat Tail

- COG TK-421

- VFE Alpha Dog

- Idiotbox Blower Box

- JAM Bass Rattler (mentioned earlier in the thread)

- Dunwich Volt Thrower 

There's also the OCD-style topology with things like the COG Knightfall, Fuzzrocious Demon, Dunwich ODB, etc. though these don't tend to be as aggressive / gnarly as the Rat-type.

I think you would at least need to try a Rat or an OCD to know which style's going to work for you though, they're quite different sounding.

Edited by bakerster135

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wish you lot would stop suggesting Distortion pedals I've managed quite well with a Zoom B1on up to now, so which on would give me an early Stranglers sound?

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1 hour ago, PaulWarning said:

wish you lot would stop suggesting Distortion pedals I've managed quite well with a Zoom B1on up to now, so which on would give me an early Stranglers sound?

 

20210315_114821.jpg

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don't think that's available any more and it's a guitar pedal I think

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2 hours ago, PaulWarning said:

don't think that's available any more and it's a guitar pedal I think

It's not made anymore but they pop up on Ebay from time to time.

It's a preamp, designed to emulate an old Hiwatt. It's not a specific guitar or bass pedal - it's designed to work with both. I've used it as a bass preamp for years and it's much more to my taste than the VT Bass.

A Precision into the Leeds with the drive boosted - instant JJ.

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On 20/03/2021 at 21:24, PaulWarning said:

wish you lot would stop suggesting Distortion pedals I've managed quite well with a Zoom B1on up to now, so which on would give me an early Stranglers sound?

The title of the thread is a bit of a giveaway.

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What I find lacking in most distortion pedals is mid control - which is where I want most of the distortion control...perhaps it's just me but generally I just want to pretty much keep the clean Bass and treble frequencies (I don' like distortion that loses low end frequencies/articulation or adds Treble 'clank'), the main part of distortion I want control over is the mids.

That's the big thing I like about the DHA VT1 EQ - it has sweepable mids (as well as treble and bass EQ) and you can set the gain to just about the point where it starts to go into mid frequency overdrive/distortion when you dig in. Then for Fuzz I really like the MXR Brown Acid, which also retains the Bass frequencies and doesn't add Treble clank.  I am looking for a something that sits between those two.....have tried a lot (Sansamp, EBS, Darkglass, Bearfoot, COG, EHX, TC electronic, Catalinbread) but haven't quite found the one yet and I think it might either take spending a lot to get something with good mid control- like the two notes Le Bass or Darkglass Vintage microtubes deluxe, or perhaps to team a cheaper distortion pedal up with something like the MXR thump or EWS Bass Mid Control.

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I think it depends on what kind of sound you like. I like to have access to both a softer, organic overdrive sound, and really hard edged abrasive distortion as well.

For the latter, I know you said you don't like darkglass stuff, but have you tried the alpha-omicron? All the way over to the omega side of the dial it is beautifully brutal.

At the other end of the budget spectrum,  but similarly rough, I get a great sound out of my Proco RAT 2, which I modified by taking the back off and cutting one of the wires with a pair of toenail clippers. Lol. Before I did that it sucked out way too much low end.

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I run the DarkGlass B3K into my Tech21 VT Bass. It tends to work, but I'm not that happy with the B3K. I tried the Boss ODB-3, but it can be a little hard to tame. MXR BassOverdrive was nice, but a little dark for me.

 

Boss BD-2 BluesDriver is a surprisingly good pedal for bass. No loss of low-end, and plenty of clarity.

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12 hours ago, Vin Venal said:

I think it depends on what kind of sound you like. I like to have access to both a softer, organic overdrive sound, and really hard edged abrasive distortion as well.

For the latter, I know you said you don't like darkglass stuff, but have you tried the alpha-omicron? All the way over to the omega side of the dial it is beautifully brutal.

At the other end of the budget spectrum,  but similarly rough, I get a great sound out of my Proco RAT 2, which I modified by taking the back off and cutting one of the wires with a pair of toenail clippers. Lol. Before I did that it sucked out way too much low end.

+1 for Omega on the Alpha Omega

+1 for RAT sucking out low end like a vampire dirt  pedal! Clean blend with an LS2 can help. But otherwise, it's great. 

I do also like the B7K sim on my Zoom B1-4. But I've bass boosted it to counter the low end suck and the end result is pretty tasty. 

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If you're looking for "Tube-like grit" you're probably looking for an overdrive, not a distortion pedal. This sounds like I'm just being pedantic, but it will give you a more specific thing to search for. 

As has already been suggested, I say split your signal, then you have the option of using anything without it colouring your sound when not in use. 

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I’ve rejigged my pedalboard and it’s got my VT Bass, Agro, and Soul Food on it. 
Plus the Microbass 3’s distortion channel. 

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I've been a growing Source Audio fan boy for some years now. I've been rocking a SA Aftershock for about three years now and it's my most used and versatile dirt box. Recently, I've bought a SA Ultrawave and between the two...I really have no need for any other dirt boxes. My Barbershop, Wampler Tripplewreck, Dam Ezekiel, Titan II, Mastotron / Mammoth, Wampler Ecstasy, Timmy, Son of Clay Jones...all gone and replaced with these two pedals...who'd have thought that Digital Dirt could be THIS good and THIS versatile! 

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Annoyingly, I noticed that the SansAmp VT Bass pedal seems to affect the sound even when it's off.

Whilst I could put in a bypass switcher to take it out of circuit, that's then using up more space, so it looks like it's "no" for that one.

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What do you think of the Agro? I really liked mine, and found the ‘EQ’ enabled the mids to really shine (I agree with @SumOne’s post above)

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4 hours ago, ped said:

What do you think of the Agro? I really liked mine, and found the ‘EQ’ enabled the mids to really shine (I agree with @SumOne’s post above)

I do quite like it; have to give it a bit more of a workout.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, prowla said:

Annoyingly, I noticed that the SansAmp VT Bass pedal seems to affect the sound even when it's off.

Whilst I could put in a bypass switcher to take it out of circuit, that's then using up more space, so it looks like it's "no" for that one.

In what way? All Tech21 pedals have a pretty good clean buffer in my experience, but any buffered non-true-bypass pedal will have the effect of brightening your tone slightly with a passive bass as it counters the signal loss you would otherwise get.

One issue I remember having though is that the bypass signal distorted a bit when the gain was cranked, which was. a bit weird but didn’t affect ‘normal’ settings.

Edited by dannybuoy
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9 hours ago, prowla said:

Annoyingly, I noticed that the SansAmp VT Bass pedal seems to affect the sound even when it's off.

Whilst I could put in a bypass switcher to take it out of circuit, that's then using up more space, so it looks like it's "no" for that one.

You'd really be up in arms if it didn't affect the sound when you turned it on!

I think you must have compromised your signal before the VT gets it. Maybe as simply as running very little level into it and making it good with the VT.

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9 hours ago, Downunderwonder said:

You'd really be up in arms if it didn't affect the sound when you turned it on!

I think you must have compromised your signal before the VT gets it. Maybe as simply as running very little level into it and making it good with the VT.

Haha - most amusing! 🙂

It's in a chain of pedals which come out of the Fx loop of an EBS Microbass 3.

My test will be to put something else in its place and see if that has a similar (ahem) effect.

9 hours ago, dannybuoy said:

In what way? All Tech21 pedals have a pretty good clean buffer in my experience, but any buffered non-true-bypass pedal will have the effect of brightening your tone slightly with a passive bass as it counters the signal loss you would otherwise get.

One issue I remember having though is that the bypass signal distorted a bit when the gain was cranked, which was. a bit weird but didn’t affect ‘normal’ settings.

Yes, I'm thinking along those lines.

I'm also going to try putting an MXR Noise Clamp around the Fx loop (though it too is buffered), to see if that cancels it out. It does use up a pedal space, though.

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1 hour ago, prowla said:

Haha - most amusing! 🙂

It's in a chain of pedals which come out of the Fx loop of an EBS Microbass 3.

My test will be to put something else in its place and see if that has a similar (ahem) effect.

Yes, I'm thinking along those lines.

I'm also going to try putting an MXR Noise Clamp around the Fx loop (though it too is buffered), to see if that cancels it out. It does use up a pedal space, though.

You should find all well if you put the effects after the instrument and then into the front of the amp.

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29 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

You should find all well if you put the effects after the instrument and then into the front of the amp.

I'm using the Fx loop of the preamp.

jktOfxP.jpg

Current config is:

  • Instrument goes into Microbass 3.
  • Effects are daisy-chained out of the Microbass 3's FX Send and back into its FX Return.
  • Microbass 3 output goes to amp.

The FX loop sequence is:

  • Microbass Fx Send ->
  • Sound generators: Octabass -> Mosaic -> Octamizer ->
  • Distortion: VT Bass -> Agro -> Soul Food ->
  • Sound shapers: Phase 90 -> Chorus ->
  • Microbass Fx Return

I'm comparing the 3x Octave pedals and similarly the 3x distortion ones (I'd never have the same types on at the same time).

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Posted (edited)

I’d suggest trying a Southampton Fifth Gear V2.

Their description of its sound accurately describes what I was hearing with mine:

The Fifth Gear is our take on a transistor OD which goes from barely-there overdrive to a distortion that toes the line of fuzz. The Fifth Gear can stand out on it's own, but also excels when pushing other pedals, or your amp, that extra bit further.”

11EE7365-2A3E-4A70-B537-2D6A6E81584C.jpeg.ea960b28a333df7f13fbf6c15df82541.jpeg

This pedal won’t give you a buzzsaw or zipper effect. But it will provide a nice degree of sonic complexity along with a touch of grit and edge.  Works equally well with guitar or bass, which is a nice feature if you double on both instruments  

 

Edited by Eko
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