Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pedals and the Quest for Ultimate Tone

I've played bass for many years. 22? Something crazy like that. And, I'm sad to say, I've never been a master of my own tone. I've seen plenty of players that have killer tone and would love to be one of those dudes. Trouble is, I haven't found my sound yet.

Guys with great tone? Tim C from Rage/Audioslave/Rage is always near the top of the list. His J and his modded pedals, cabs and pickups make for tasty sounds. Chris Wolstenholme also has a really modern sound, though it's his overdrive and distortion that I really like. It can sound rough live at times (too thin), but on the CDs, when Matt goes off and it's just bass and drums underneath, that distortion is killer. A growly P always sounds good, too, though, when I had one, I couldn't figure out how to make it sound good. *shrug*

For years, I've dinked around with different pedals and basses. I've revamped my bass cabinets by downsizing, but I've never changed my amp. In fact, I've had my good ol' Trace-Elliot amp for 10+ years now? Bought it at a pawn shop with a 4x10 cab (which I've since traded away).

Anyway, my current setup until tonight was as follows:
  • Ibanez ATK300/Fender Geddy Lee Jazz/Ernie Ball Musicman Sterling into...
  • a Boss TU-2 tuner into...
  • a DOD Bass Compressor FX82 into...
  • a Fulltone Bass-Drive into...
  • a SansAmp Bass Driver DI into...
  • a Trace-Elliot GP-12 amp into...
  • an Avatar 2x10 and Ashdown 1x15
Until last year, my main bass was the Musicman. I traded my T-E cab and a Spector bass I had, plus cash, for the GL Jazz, which became my main bass. Then, last fall, I got a wild hair to track down an ATK300, which is now my #1. Both the GL and the ATK are tuned down a half step to Eb, which makes the singing a bit easier on my bandmates. The Musicman is standard tuned, which makes it my #1 bass for Jesus!

So, tonight, I decided to revamp my pedal board as I was experiencing some distortion in my tuner. I reread the instructions for the SansAmp and realized that one knob on it should always be maxed. Interesting. Also, the docs mentioned having the SABDDI first in the chain, before any other effects. I moved things around and now my board goes like this:
  • SABBDI into...
  • TU-2 tuner into...
  • Bass Compressor into...
  • Bass-Drive
I played with that with all 3 basses and had some pretty tasty results. Now, keep in mind, I was playing through my good ol' Peavey Basic 40 amp that I've had since high school. But, it sounded pretty good. Hopefully I'll feel the same when I dial it up next Monday at Chris' house.

As far as gigs go, we have a bunch coming up at the end of April, beginning of May. First up will be Hell's Kitchen on 4/22. After that is (tentatively) a show at the Rendezvous on 4/29. We're gonna get our Latin on at a Cinco de Mayo show at the Skylark. Next up will be a return to Olympia at the good ol' 4th Ave Tavern. And, to round it out, we're back at the Sunset on 5/20 for another Sunday show. Actually, 3 of the 5 are Sunday shows. Dare I say that Sunday is the new Friday?

I'm having a good time setting shows up, but is it too much to ask for a Friday at the Croc? Something like that? Please???

Birthday in 2 days! Get your gifts now!