I'm a guitar player, but recently decided to make the switch to producing bottom-end frequencies. So I bought a Fender Jazz American Deluxe. Guitar players love pedals and anything that twists, mutilates, and perverts sound. What about bass players? When performing live, are pedals really needed? Do you use one? Two? More? If so, why and which ones?
I used to go crazy with pedals, flangers, delay ect., and now listening back on those recordings I really, really wished I hadn't. You need the punch out a Bass for backing a band, pedals seem to affect the clear attack of a Bass. I will use a compressor for evening out the attack some, especially slapping. When you solo you can do whatever you want, go nuts with effects, no one is listening to bass solos anyhow :) Welcome to The Dark Side, now you must perfect your..sneeeeeer.
Personally when I am playing live in a supportive role (not as the crazy assed hyper noted fusion clown) the most I ever use is a chorus pedal and then only on my fretless. I have dozens of pedals mind you that I have tried out live on occasion only to find that just the pure unaltered sound of the bass (great choice of axe there my friend) is best.
Now when I am being the crazy assed fusion clown...well there isn't a pedal or combination of amps or set of synths or other device (including playing electric bass with a violin bow) that I haven't tossed down an audiences throat...favorites there are the chorus, a limiter, envelope follower, and of course my ever faithful GR-20. You might dig an octive pedal!
Congrats on your bottomliner, Raf. Really nice bass. Clear is right, as stated before, but there are a couple of pedals you'd like to check out:
Pedal tuner. It doubles as a mute button, very handy.
Compressor. It can change the character of your bass or simply help sustain your notes for a looong time. Do not get a Boss sustainer pedal. It's hell noisy.
Boss 7-band eq. I use mine to compensate for sometimes inadequate venues where standing waves on the stage can mask clarity, or to help tame harmonics that cause feedback loops.
Preamp. Solid state or valves, different flavors there are: from pristine sound to funky gritty to wall-of-sound overdrive. Apart from sound shaping, you'll provide a trusted DI box to send your signal to the FOH. BTW, a Sansamp is a great pre, any model you can get. Rackmount or floor pedal -all of them rock for bass.
Maybe once you consider some or all of the above, you'd want to add some chorus or flanger pedal to flavor up your sound.
Once again, congratulations on a bass that is gonna outlive you possibly ;)
The only pedal I use at every gig is an Akai Deep Impact. Its a bass synth pedal with some immensely useable and fabulously rich tones. Other than that and my trusty dbx 160A compressor my signal is generally clean. I do sometimes get a bit dirty with a Bass Big Muff Pi when the occaision calls for it... if you think guitars sound good dirty, go try one of these and watch your guitarist buddies jaws drop... Dropped tuning? Pah, who needs it!
@Raf - Naw I'm not that much of a purest but I do like to keep less in the tonal chain than more. Live play has until recently always been through a bass head and four tens (Eden of course with tweeters) and with all Eden stuff less EQ is better if you do it sparingly but every room requires a different tweek or two so something has to be available.
I have no tone controls on my seven string and my controls on my fretless are wired flat with the volume full on (I leave the balance between the pickups working as that is a nuance that doesn't really affect the signal chain). I run through my computer and interface now even live so all tonal tweeking is done there with amps set as flat as possible (going to a straight stereo power amp as soon as I have the extra cash or sell one of my bass heads) so that I am only making tone adjustments in one specific part of the chain.
Guitar players experience room changes as well but even humidity can drive your bass frequencies to mud if you are not able to compensate accordingly.
So what are you going to play that new beauty through?
A behringer Bass V-Amp pro is a lot of fun. It has a compressor and about 15 effects along with amp modelling. It can be operated with a midi foot controller too. Behringer stuff can sound cheap but the rack mount bass V-Amp pro sounds great running through an effects loop on any high-end bass amp.
+1 on the tuner/mute pedal. Great tool. Also, the Fender Lime bass distortion pedal is very handy for dialing in subtle amounts of distortion.
My Line6 LD300 combo amp has comp, octave, chris, and a handful of distortion settings. I don't use anything but comp and sometimes chorus. A good combo amp can be loud and still sound good for us mortals. A bit heavy when the bar is upstairs.
I used to use a lot of effects. They were fun but after I while I just wanted bass. For Bass, It's different. You need lots power and a Speaker like a sledgehammer. You don't want any distortion you didn't intend to be there. It will kill the speaker for one thing. Also, It doesn't always sound good. You want the sound to "hold together" If it breaks up or "worbles" or only distorts at the bottom end of the bottom end. You probably won't like it. It drives me crazy. It means I usually end bringing at least a 200 watt bass amp to a jam and a 1000 watts or so to a small gig. I have to be satisfied with the sound and I have to have enough because a 30 watt guitar amp can bury 1k of bass amp. It's a cruel world.