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Make Your Own Guitar Effects Pedal

Discussion in 'Random Nonsense' started by booman, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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  2. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting, thank you booman!
  3. Gizmo

    Gizmo Chief Site Administrator Staff Member

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    This is actually pretty cool. It's like the Arduino of the guitar effects world. I may have to play around with this for my bass guitar.
    booman likes this.
  4. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    It is an interesting project and very cool.

    You play bass, Gizmo? I did too--for ten serious years. School, lessons and lots of practice. Fought off carpal tunnel and arthritis--that's why lessons are important. I set it aside when I realized that it would take ten more years to become professionally competent. Not good, far from great, just competent. It bites when you have less talent than is really required. Unsmiley face.

    In my humble opinion, effects are mostly useless for bass. The frequency is too low and you wind up with unusable mud with most effects most of the time. Studio applied reverb can make a song. Your mileage will vary, of course.
  5. Gizmo

    Gizmo Chief Site Administrator Staff Member

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    I think it would be more appropriate to say that I play AT bass. I've only been playing it for about a year. Of course, I have 40 years of other musical experience behind me (I play Saxophone, I have played Clarinet, Bassoon, and French Horn in the past, and I also sing Bass/Baritone). That means that I'm basically learning the technical aspect, since I already understand the theory, and so I'm learning things quickly.

    You're right that, in general, bass effects are pretty useless. Still, there are times when you can do some interesting things with the higher registers. As with all things musical, the trick is figuring out what best serves the music.
  6. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    I was handed a clarinet in Catholic boarding school, then sent to a room alone to "learn to play" it. Such a high caliber of instruction!
    I'm amazed by your music history, sax is totally cool. Bassoon is a very interesting, and unusual. French horn is the king of the brass section, and no spit valve. Duhn, duhn, duuuhn!

    I had voice training for years and took part in two college operas. Another light baritone, how unusual.
    Have you checked out Class 4 amplifiers for bass guitar? They are tiny and extremely light and pack a lot of power into an amp the size of a carton of cigarettes. I found them to have too clean a sound for my taste, it's possible that they've improved over the years since I tried a couple of them out. All tube amps are too freakin' heavy at about 96 pounds and up, but they sound the best. I settled on an Ampeg SVT-3 Pro head, which is a hybrid amp with a solid state power amp and tube pre-amp. It sounds great and only weighs 22 pounds.

    I don't know how far you want to go in bass. I wanted the moon but settled for far less. I haven't picked up a bass in three years. Somehow the oomph took a vacation. Having fun with it is the most important thing. By far.
  7. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    Glad to hear there are some musicians here.

    You guys probably remember, I cut two albums back in 2000 & 2002. I played all the instruments, recorded them one at a time and wrote all the music. Some great memories for me. Even today I still pick up my guitar and practice songs, then weekends I whip out my drumset and practice to some guitar click-tracks. Some day I hope to build a small studio and record some more albums. I really miss it.

    Anyways, this pedal looks really cool because you can experiment with the sounds you want. I don't fully understand how to do that with resistors and the breadbox, but it looks like a lot of fun.

    P.S. - Tell Less Claypool that sound effects for bass are useless

  8. Gizmo

    Gizmo Chief Site Administrator Staff Member

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    Indeed, I didn't realize you were in the baritone range. I am actually what's classified as a bass-baritone. My absolute vocal range is from B1 (B below the bass cleff) to F#4 (F# above the bass cleff), with my usable range at C#2 to E4. This puts me pretty squarely in the bass range, but at the high end I get more of the rich baritone tessitura or 'sound', while at the low end I get that deep resonance normally associated with the bass.

    Early class 4 (or class D) amps tended to have a problem with producing good highs. While they were definitely very efficient, I found that the filtering that was necessary to remove the switching harmonics also tended to remove too much of the high-frequency audio component, making them sound a little 'muddy' to my ear. With modern amps, those issues have been pretty well addressed by modifications to the input stage, I think.

    I started out with an Ampeg BA-110, which is a little 40W job that weighs something like 30 pounds. I'm currently using a Fender Rumble 350, which is 350W, with dual 10" plus a horn. It's just about right for the playing that I'm doing, being sufficient to fill the room and mix well with the drums, without me having to dial it back to ridiculous levels. That plus the EQ options as well as the Overdrive and Scoop give me the ability to tailor the sound depending on what I'm trying to achieve. The horn lets the slap-bass come through nicely, as well.

    I want to be the next Vic Wooten, of course! LOL
    Having said that, I know that I have neither the time, nor at my current age likely even the coordination to ever achieve that level of skill. But I'm having fun and learning new stuff, so what the heck.

    I thought Less got his effects through the WAY he played more than by using pedals?
  9. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    Ah yeah! Vic Wooten is amazing. Have you hear the album he did with another bassist? Two bass guitars and drums and totally amazing.
    I love slapping on my bass. I even have a intermediate Brice 6-string fretless bass and it sounds a bit different with flat-wound strings. I play left-handed so it was hard to find a 6-string bass, but Brice makes a bunch of them for around $300.00

    Les has done a bit of both clean and effects on his albums.
  10. Gizmo

    Gizmo Chief Site Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm just learning to slap. I'm also discovering that, even though I'm a metal-head when it comes to listening, I really REALLY like PLAYING funk.
  11. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    Listen to Suicidal Tendencies... lots of metal and funk. Their bassist slaps all the time. He's amazing.
  12. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    Primus was considered to be God in the Bay Area once upon a time. Guess I'm too much of an old fogy, they never captured my imagination. My taste became "petrified" I guess, I love Huey Lewis and the News. Newer? Why bother?
    I wish I'd taken some lessons on slapping, all I can manage is a pop now and then. Can't slap worth a hoot so I console myself with trying to hold the bottom line well. Or did, tbh.

    I wish that bass gear wasn't so heavy. Carvin made a reasonably priced highly regarded 4x10" plus horn cabinet but it weighed just short of one hundred pounds. I have two Eden Nemesis 2x10" plus horn cabs, which make a "4x10"" cab. But they sound best with only one cab plugged in to my amp. The Nemesis cabinet line is made from all recycled components,
    except for the speakers of course, so they are very light. Not quite as good a sound as straight Eden branded cabs, but the weight difference is quite a bit to the better.

    I know, I know. Where is my Ampeg SVT Classic amp plus an Ampeg 8x10" refrigerator sized cabinet? I guess I'm just not serious, my bad! I couldn't move that stuff by myself fifteen years ago. All tube amps require delicate handling and regular visits to the amp tech. I won't turn on my Ampeg SVT-3 Pro with it's 3 12 AX7 tone tubes (solid state power amp) before it visits the tech, it's sat there for too long.

    booman, holy frijoles, you play a six-string fretless? My hat's off to you! I just had to unzip the soft case of the fretless 4-String I have to see the brand. Yep, it's a Brice, by golly. Very inexpensive yet well made. It is a beautiful red bass guitar, I dunno how the Koreans make them so well and so cheaply.
    To my ears it's a little thin on sound, but for ~$250 where's my real complaint? Back when I still played every day I thought it was time to learn fretless. I have two American made fretted 4-Strings as well.
    Tried a six string once, the aircraft carrier size fret board just didn't compute. I had enough wrist trouble already.

    As far as I know there was no funk before James Brown. If you can find it I recommend buying a copy of the book named "Standing in the Shadows of Motown." It comes with examples of classic bass lines, in standard notation. Plus it has CD-ROM's or DVD's with the examples played so you can hear them. I believe that Larry Graham of Sly and the Family Stone was the first bass player to slap. I'm just trying to say that there is much more to funk playing than only slapping and popping.

    I saw a Victor Wooten clinic DVD a while back. He is one heck of a nice guy and beyond a genius player. The DVD showed how he uses his right hand, who knew such playing was possible? His younger brother actually slaps a 6-String regular guitar. It sounds ridiculous but he does it very, very well. I saw Victor play with Bela Fleck in Seattle years ago, wonderful show! Anyone else remember "Sinister Minister?"

    It's said that bass players are often the nicest "guys" in the band. And that the drummer is the smartest person in the band. They sub-divide the beat better than anyone else. Well... you'd hope so! Isn't that our job too? As always, only if it serves the song.

    Bass rules!
  13. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    I don't play my 6-string much because I mostly purchased it for recording. I didn't need a 6-string, but for the price I figured "what the heck, why not?"
    It is really heavy... the neck is so wide that it is hard to keep it upright while playing due to the weight.
    I don't have a good bass amp either, so I'm not so inspired to play it because you can't hear the B string notes.
    I have played it a church a few times in a band and it was really fun.

    Victor Wooten played with Bela Fleck? That is great! Somehow I think I knew that and forgot. I love Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. I have a few of their albums as well.
  14. Gizmo

    Gizmo Chief Site Administrator Staff Member

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    Fretless? HOLY CRAP! I have a hard enough time hitting the right notes when I have frets!
  15. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    There are dots on the side of the fretboard so you know where you are at. But its really cool sliding up and down smoothly.
    Totally different feeling than typical wound strings and fretboard.
  16. Gizmo

    Gizmo Chief Site Administrator Staff Member

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    I would imagine it also changes how you would 'bend' a tone, since you can just slide up the string a bit instead of having to actually bend the string.
  17. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    yes, exactly... I'm used to bending the string for vibrato, but now I can do both. Bend or slide.
  18. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    I too decided to get an unlined fingerboard with my only fretless. The lines just wreck the aesthetics of the neck, imho. But to be honest, I watch those side dots like a hawk. My ears are just not accurate enough. Spent a summer doing perfect pitch note training exercises on a keyboard with a pal who is a far better musician than I was. You only play four different notes--but they are all tritones. That way relative pitch can't help you cheat. He became pretty darn good at it. Me? Fugettaboudit.

    Bending strings is totally unnecessary with a fretless instrument. You ss-slide everywhere.

    The only 6-String I ever tried was homemade. The fretboard was sooooo wide. Plus I lost my geographic sense of where I was on the neck, the two extra strings left me in a "blinding blizzard." It's all personal taste, but to me the high "C" string is kind of silly. All the same, I never bought a five-string. You're right, booman, hearing the "B" string is a problem. 'Fraid that more expensive gear is required. I don't know if an 18" speaker is a necessity--but most 15 inchers are certified down to 40 Hz only. That's the freq of the open "E" string in standard tuning. That was the amp and speaker situation as of three years ago, that was.

    My unfortunately expensive Ampeg SVT-3 Pro's lowest slider in the graphic equalizer is 33 Hz. Tbh, I can't recall the frequency of an open "B" string. It might be as low as 32 Hz.
    However, I'm not up to snuff on what brand and model of speakers can handle that low rumble with aplomb. I may well be wrong, but I doubt that a 4x10" cabinet can do the trick.
    I stopped researching gear when I stopped playing, so it's undoubtedly improved. It used to be that everyone was happy to sell you a 5 or 6-String bass guitar. You want to hear that "B" string? Talk to a different department. Maybe the low "B" isn't a real pain to accommodate any longer.

    Analog is fun, it's not really an all digital world. Music just doesn't sound right with no low end. I still find it amusing that a less than an eight inch speaker can be called a "sub-woofer" in PC land.
  19. Gizmo

    Gizmo Chief Site Administrator Staff Member

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    The main reason I started playing bass was because I really wanted to play guitar, but my fingers are just too thick for a standard neck on a 6-string. No matter how hard I try, when I get my finger on a string good enough to get a sound, the pad just touches the next adjacent string. If I go to a wider neck so that I can get my fingers on the strings, then the neck is too wide for me to be able to get my fingers everywhere.

    Bass is just perfect.

    "B" is 30.87 Hz, according to the chart on this page: http://artificialtunes.tumblr.com/post/8249542526/waves-in-space-part-1

    As mentioned, my Rumble 350 is 2x10" and according to a poster here: http://forums.fender.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=71301 it will go all the way down to 19 Hz. I can't vouch for that, but I play a lot of drop-D, and it has a very nice grind to it.
  20. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    Amazing, your Rumble 350 2x10" rig can move those drivers at 19Hz? I'm very glad to learn that today's bass amplification has improved so much! Sorry, I was off by ~1.13 Hz--my so bad. I have a 300W Made in USA Fender 300C BXR from years ago, I seriously doubt that its single 15" can handle anything below 40Hz. It's not a bad amp, but it's not cool enough for school nowadays. Makes a great tv stand, I know, another my bad.

    So a classical guitar neck is also too narrow for your fingers? The problems with a classical six string are legion compared to a solid body electric, of course. You have to learn to play very well, for one thing. And no plethora of available electronic gadgets--the horror!
    My problem with regular guitar is that I can't make chords properly. I can (or could--it's been three years) do chords on bass just fine but as you know they are of limited utility.

    There's the Hipshot Drop D tuning machine that makes dropping the "E" to "D" easy, but I recall another de- tuning gadget that was much easier to use and much, much faster. Sorry, can't remember the name of it. I saw a Drop D tuning gadget on a dog house (orchestral or stand-up) bass once, too.

    Have you seen a fanned fret bass guitar? Their intonation is much more accurate than a standard fretted bass. They look like a difficult transition would be required. Naturally the player in the ad said it was easy as pie for him!

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