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Bass Player pedal review...thoughts?


SteveC

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I just read through (briefly) the effects review in BP. While it is nice to have the tech specs (switches, knobs, etc.) I didn't find it that useful. We see it here all the time - how difficult it is to describe the sound of things. I appreciate the effort, but I think the only way to do someting like this is have a web site or CD/DVD with examples. Even that is still subjective.

 

What did you guys think?

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Most interesting thing was the waffle pattern on the underside of the Chuck Taylor sneaker on the cover.

 

But that's just me. I'm not a stomp box or a distortion guy.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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I read it for academic purposes -- I don't really use pedals.

 

But I thought the descriptions of the construction and usability valuable, and I think they did as good a job as they could describing sound with words.

"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
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I think it is a great issue!!

It is a great overview of a lot of the available pedals, I am almost tempted to buy a distortion pedal based on their reviews.

 

I also believe they are supposed to post sound samples of each pedal. (Although, the sound you will get out of your bass and amp might be vastly different in my experience.)

"Obi-Wan was the last and greatest of the Jedi Knights."
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I recently auditioned a guitar player for my band. He had a nice Stratocaster and a suitcase full of pedals. He played for me and I wanted to tell him how awful it sounded but did not want to hurt his feelings. I did say, do you ever play straight guitar without all that electronic stuff? He said, "no, it just doesn't sound good like that". I thanked him for his time and told him I would get back in touch with him. I'm still looking for a guitar player.

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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I agree with the point of diminshing returns, Too many pedals can ruin the natural sound of a good bass. Yet if used effectively they can add something, ala Simon Gallup from the Cure. The pedals are a big part of his playing and sound.

 

The key to any pedals is not to have them on all the time- except for my Boss TU-2.

"Obi-Wan was the last and greatest of the Jedi Knights."
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Originally posted by Rocky3840:

I did say, do you ever play straight guitar without all that electronic stuff? He said, "no, it just doesn't sound good like that".

I've found that a lot of musicians try to cover up their lack of ability with effects; guitarists more so than others. It ranks right up there with the louder == better discussion from that other thread.

 

If you can't play clean you can't play.

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Originally posted by Bumpcity:

If you can't play clean you can't play.

Horse dookie. A lot of people who use effects don't do so to cover up their inadequacies. I can think of a couple of guys who never play clean, but rather have forged a style that employs and depends on effects, and that's what works for them. The whole guitar/bass macho bit about "if you can't do it this way then you can't really do it" is elitist garbage. Use or don't use whatever you want to or don't, and ignore the luddites who insist everyone good does it their way. If everybody actually did it their way, everybody would sound alike and that would suck a lot worse than a few folks using fuzz boxes on their instruments.

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

 

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Originally posted by Picker:

Originally posted by Bumpcity:

If you can't play clean you can't play.

Horse dookie. A lot of people who use effects don't do so to cover up their inadequacies. I can think of a couple of guys who never play clean, but rather have forged a style that employs and depends on effects, and that's what works for them. The whole guitar/bass macho bit about "if you can't do it this way then you can't really do it" is elitist garbage. Use or don't use whatever you want to or don't, and ignore the luddites who insist everyone good does it their way. If everybody actually did it their way, everybody would sound alike and that would suck a lot worse than a few folks using fuzz boxes on their instruments.
Ah yes... But I bet they can play clean, but choose not to.
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I liked the article. I agree that more in-depth info on each pedal would be better, but I always want more on reviews (I'm such a gear-head). I liked that the same reviewer handled all of the pedals of the same type, so the frame of reference was consistent.

 

There were some keys that were helpful (and may provide good feedback to the manufacturers). For example, everyone likes the look and construction of the Ashdown pedals. Everyone disliked how close the knobs were, and none of them rated all that high for their sounds. Boss construction is always good.

 

I agree that samples would have been cool. I'd recommend for the future that each reviewer have 2 phrases that they used for each pedal. Each phrase would be played with a different pedal setting for a broad representation.

 

I was disappointed about the selection of pedals in the OD/Dist group. The SansAmp, MXR, and Hartke pedals that include the name "DI" also overdrive. And while I understand the need to limit the number of pedals, there are many "general purpose" OD/Dist pedals that I'd like to see due to their popularity (the Rat comes to mind).

 

I also liked the section that explained how the pedals work and what they do. BassGuitar put out a gear issue without any of this sort of "added value", and I missed it.

 

Thanks to Jon, Bill, and Brian for the reviews. Don't delay - step on it to get to the next set of pedals.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally posted by Bumpcity:

If you can't play clean you can't play.

Come on - that's a pretty silly thing to say, though, isn't it? I mean, it misses the point entirely. If you play an electric bass, you're playing "with effects."

 

What's "clean?" Fodera straight into an Aguilar amp? Wait. The preamp in the instrument is coloring the tone. Oh OK - passive bass Fender straight into SVT? Wait. The amp pre, the power stage, the speaker box, the room, the cable (if you believe the hype) ... all affect the sound.

 

I have to laugh at people who say things like "I don't use effects, I do it all with my hands." Would these people, with such omnipotent "hands," even consider using a Musician's Friend starter pack bass for a recording session?

 

It boils down to simply this: If you're a musician and your sound is crappy, you don't deserve the gig - and it doesn't matter whether the problem is your technique, instrument, effects chain, amp, etc.

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Hi Lowdowners,

 

We are going to post sound samples of EACH pedal tested in the December issue cover story. We'll probably be able to post them the week after Thanksgiving, so sit tight. We've recorded most of the pedals, but Brian, Bill, and Jonathan need to finish recording their tracks before we can post them. I'll try to post something here when I know that they're up.

 

And, we do plan on using bassplayer.tv much more. Soon, we're going to have a pile of videos from Bass Player LIVE! posted. I've seen much of the video (in addition to actually being there) and if you don't mind me saying so, it's extremely cool. We're all really excited to be able to share this with everyone.

Best Wishes,

Greg Olwell

Managing Editor

Bass Player magazine

1111 Bayhill Dr., Suite 125

San Bruno, CA 94066

650-238-0279

650-238-0261 Fax

golwell@musicplayer.com

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Well put, Picker! I used to believe effects were a kind of crutch, but I finally got over my relative technophobia (and let's face it -- laziness) and started lugging a pedal board to gigs. It really does open up new worlds of sound. Like anything else, in moderation....

 

And audio clips of the pedals are on their way, we promise.

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The key words to Bump's post are: "I've found that a lot..." Notice the post is first qualified on his own experience. No one can refute another's experience. Also, he used the phrase "a lot" which is not all inclusive and could even mean less than "most"; just "a lot". My guess would be that in his experience he has seen not two muscicans (a couple) or three (a few) who cover up their lack of skill with effects but some number greater than four. ;)

 

I too look forward to samples of the pedals. Thanks, though for what was provided.

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Originally posted by Bumpcity:

If you can't play clean you can't play.

I'm a bit baffled by the misunderstanding this has generated (ToL apart). On any natural reading of this claim in its context, it's pretty plausible, I think.

 

The claim is NOT that people should all play clean.

The claim is NOT that people should (per impossibile) play without any sound coloration.

The claim is NOT that it is even possible to play without any sound coloration. (To say that you don't understand the difference between clean & effected signal is just obtuse.)

The claim is NOT that we should all be doing the same thing.

The claim is NOT that everyone who uses lots of effects is using them as a crutch.

The claim is NOT that a clean sound is all that's ever needed.

 

In context, the claim is simply that if a person with decent gear (like a Stratocaster, in the original example) cannot make a good sound when playing clean, then that is a shortcoming in the player.

 

I would've thought the meaning was obvious. I also find it to be almost as obviously true.

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Originally posted by SteveC:

What did you guys think?

First pass: I jumped straight to comments about the Boss AW-3 on page 52, it's the only pedal I own. They left out the part about how the Humanizer effect adds an interesting fuzz to the tone. I personally dig it; reviews on HC indicate that many other users don't share my opinion. Also missing is the fact that it can be controlled with an (optional) expression pedal.

 

Now leave me alone for a bit... I have reading to do. I should also pick up the axe and work my way through the BP supplement playbass! that came with my new 'scription. (it was my special gift, right? did everyone get this?)

- Matt W.
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Originally posted by Trucks.Of.Love:

Originally posted by Picker:

Originally posted by Bumpcity:

If you can't play clean you can't play.

Horse dookie. A lot of people who use effects don't do so to cover up their inadequacies. I can think of a couple of guys who never play clean, but rather have forged a style that employs and depends on effects, and that's what works for them. The whole guitar/bass macho bit about "if you can't do it this way then you can't really do it" is elitist garbage. Use or don't use whatever you want to or don't, and ignore the luddites who insist everyone good does it their way. If everybody actually did it their way, everybody would sound alike and that would suck a lot worse than a few folks using fuzz boxes on their instruments.
Ah yes... But I bet they can play clean, but choose not to.
If you can't play without an instrument, then you can't really play.

 

 

 

 

 

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Originally posted by dcr:

Originally posted by Bumpcity:

If you can't play clean you can't play.

I'm a bit baffled by the misunderstanding this has generated (ToL apart). On any natural reading of this claim in its context, it's pretty plausible, I think.

 

The claim is NOT that people should all play clean.

The claim is NOT that people should (per impossibile) play without any sound coloration.

The claim is NOT that it is even possible to play without any sound coloration. (To say that you don't understand the difference between clean & effected signal is just obtuse.)

The claim is NOT that we should all be doing the same thing.

The claim is NOT that everyone who uses lots of effects is using them as a crutch.

The claim is NOT that a clean sound is all that's ever needed.

 

In context, the claim is simply that if a person with decent gear (like a Stratocaster, in the original example) cannot make a good sound when playing clean, then that is a shortcoming in the player.

 

I would've thought the meaning was obvious. I also find it to be almost as obviously true.

+1!

Bump said it, dcr cleared it up, and I agree with it. 100% :thu:

My whole trick is to keep the tune well out in front. If I play Tchaikovsky, I play his melodies and skip his spiritual struggle. ~Liberace
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Originally posted by Rocky3840:

I recently auditioned a guitar player for my band. He had a nice Stratocaster and a suitcase full of pedals. He played for me and I wanted to tell him how awful it sounded but did not want to hurt his feelings. I did say, do you ever play straight guitar without all that electronic stuff? He said, "no, it just doesn't sound good like that". I thanked him for his time and told him I would get back in touch with him. I'm still looking for a guitar player.

Rocky

My original post is above.Bumpcity said, "If you can't play clean, you can't play" what I meant was, "You can't play in my band"

Rocky :D

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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in terms of hiding behind effects...when I played that 6-string instrument, guilty as charged.

 

But on bass...it's gotta be a very special song for me to break out the pedalboard. The last time was July, when I had to learn NIN's Closer.

 

I like a little chorus on my bass, but I'm too lazy to set all that stuff up.

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My experience, and this is just me personally, and I doubt that many will agree with me, is that I actually needed MORE extreme effects at gigs than at practice. If I made a nice subtle chorus, or an unassuming overdrive, I felt like it got lost once the full band was playing.

 

But I was young and stupid. Maybe we were just too loud.

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Originally posted by SteveC:

Since we've kind of gotten off topic a little, do any of you find that effects just don't seem to cut it at a gig like they do at home or in a rehearsal?

I would agree. At home you are probably in a very quiet environment with little volume needed to hear what you are doing. Your senses pick up on the very minor changes in your tone. In a live perforance you are competing just to be heard. In most cases, I think you are the only one hearig your effects on stage.

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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Oooops ! double post. My computer takes so long to post the message that I forget if I clicked the post button. But you all know that already.

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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Originally posted by dcr:

Originally posted by Bumpcity:

If you can't play clean you can't play.

I'm a bit baffled by the misunderstanding this has generated (ToL apart). On any natural reading of this claim in its context, it's pretty plausible, I think.

 

The claim is NOT that people should all play clean.

The claim is NOT that people should (per impossibile) play without any sound coloration.

The claim is NOT that it is even possible to play without any sound coloration. (To say that you don't understand the difference between clean & effected signal is just obtuse.)

The claim is NOT that we should all be doing the same thing.

The claim is NOT that everyone who uses lots of effects is using them as a crutch.

The claim is NOT that a clean sound is all that's ever needed.

 

In context, the claim is simply that if a person with decent gear (like a Stratocaster, in the original example) cannot make a good sound when playing clean, then that is a shortcoming in the player.

 

I would've thought the meaning was obvious. I also find it to be almost as obviously true.

This is indeed what I meant when I stated "if you can't play clean you can't play". I'm not sure why that wasn't so obvious but it's my fault for not being clearer.

 

Back to the orginal topic:

 

It would be much more interesting to have sound samples to accompany any pedal review(s). Preferably several sound samples since 99% of the pedals out there are capable of generating more than one specific tone.

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Originally posted by SteveC:

Since we've kind of gotten off topic a little, do any of you find that effects just don't seem to cut it at a gig like they do at home or in a rehearsal?

I've had that problem (to a degree) live. 99% of the time its because I didn't play around with something enough at home before trying it out at a gig. A few adjustments later and things are good.
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