CS JUAN ALDERETE Continued from page 31 lost without an owner’s manual. Analog gear is basically “what you see is what you get”: just plug in, turn the knobs, push a couple of buttons, and you’re ready to play. While we do use some digital technology in some of our products, they are designed with an analog mind. Lawson Being able to save the same five effects in totally different orders is what DSP does so well. DSP excels at fixed variation, and analog is great for continuous/random variation. I pretty much always have both—a pile of analog pedals, and these days, a MOD Duo with a ton of different digital “pedalboards.” I keep the analog pedals up at hand height so I can continually vary what they’re doing. My big interest with pedals is continuous control, whether that’s hooking up a MIDI controller to my processor or tweaking the time on a delay to get freaky sounds. How can a bass player incorporate effects into their live rig without compromising supportive low-frequency response? Anders By using a mixer or blender pedal to retain the amount of dry unaffected signal. MXR Bass Innovations pedals have a separate dry control built into each effect for this specific reason. Lawson Sometimes, I like using effects designed for a guitar precisely because they don’t preserve the bassy qualities, but if you get pedals designed by bass players for the job we do, more often than not, they can deal with the demands of every gig. I love having the option to choose; the MXR Bass Chorus Deluxe, for example, has a separate switch to leave the low frequencies unprocessed if I want to add chorus just to the upper harmonics, and the Darkglass VMT has a blend control to mix processed and clean signals. It’s lovely. Lefebvre You try to use effects tailor-made for bass, like bass fuzzes and overdrives. In the absence of these, try to find pedals with blend knobs so that the clean bass tone is still represented. Also, shoot for effects that are true bypass. Slingluff Effects like compression and EQ don’t compromise low frequencies, and others, like distortion, do. People who run a lot of distortion via pedal or distorted amps often send a DI signal to the house so they can take advantage of the subwoofers. In some instances, a second amp for bi-amping is also a great choice. Stillman Narrow your options and find the one that works best for your playing style. What works well for one bassist probably won’t be the same for everyone, so experiment. I love low end, so all our pedals do a pretty good job of passing a full-frequency response, even though they were all designed with guitar in mind. Barta Use bass-oriented products to keep the low end intact. Many distortion pedals are notorious for emphasizing midrange and cutting lows, which is fine for guitar. Likewise, many chorus pedals also cut the low end, or they get wobbly and make you seasick. The important thing to do is try different products and listen for yourself. Last, the cabinet you use greatly influences the resulting sound. Simple physics dictates you can’t pump 1,000 watts into a 1x10 cabinet and expect it to sound good. Bear in mind that your entire signal chain is only as good as the weakest link. Hischke I spend a lot of time researching which pedals don’t compromise these elements in the first place. Rather than looking for effects that might take me out of the bass realm, I am interested in things that take me further into it and add another level of versatility or creative spark. Many people think it is as easy as running a dry blend alongside the effected signal path, which can work in many circumstances, but I shoot for a more integrated approach. Boonshoft Don’t buy effects that roll off low end. For that matter, don’t buy effects that roll off high end, either! That said, these are effects, and they’re supposed to change things up in your sound. Know which effects make the music you are playing better, and use effects that unleash your creativity. BP Crybaby Mini Bass Wah … man, I could go on and on. Which players inspired your penchant for effects? I remember seeing Tim Bogert at Musicians Institute in the ’80s, and his Boss pedalboard had a bunch of effects on it. He was going crazy with them, and I didn’t get it. I wasn’t ready for it yet, but I look back on that as a big moment for me. A lot of guitar players, like Eddie Van Halen and the Edge, influenced me heavily, too. In my opinion, the Edge is the greatest pedal user of all time. He’s always gotten such insane sounds, and he changed the whole landscape of using pedals. Which current pedal users rock your world? Lately, I’ve been digging the pioneering stuff Tim Lefebvre did on David Bowie’s Blackstar album. There are a ton of players in the fusion world who are killing it with effects, though it can be hard for me to digest that music. I love Timmy’s pedal use with Rage Against The Machine. His bass work on “Bulls on Parade” with the distortion is huge, and I like what he does with a wah. Are there any pedals that you’ve always wanted but haven’t been able to get? I’d really love to get the rackmount version of the Micro Synth, but they only made ten of those, and they’re really hard to find. I just got my hands on this ’60s Vox Ampliphonic Stereo Multi-Voice synth that I had been seeking forever. Kid Koala, who’d been telling me about his for a while, found one in a music shop in Seattle, and I bought it over the phone. How do you get to know a new pedal? 32 bassplayer.com / may2017
PIERO F. GIUNTI I play multiple basses through it to see how it reacts. I might feed in some guitars, keyboards, and drum machines to see how it responds; that usually helps me figure out how to use it with bass. I test all its settings, explore its range, figure out how I could use it, and then see how it pairs with my other pedals so I can know whether I’ll want to run it exclusively with a fuzz, a compressor, or anything else. Really, it’s all about exploring it from top to bottom. If a bass player could only own three types of effects, what should they be? An octave or a sub, a synth pedal, and a fuzz pedal. The octave and synth are important because we live in the low end, and those really boost that. And the fuzz is just necessary. If I could pick a fourth type, I’d throw a modulation [chorus or flanger] in there, too. What’s a powerful fuzz or distortion pedal for players who aren’t into the Big Muff? I always suggest the Earthquaker Devices Hoof Reaper. It’s two fuzzes in one, and then some. You get the Hoof and the Tone Reaper distortion options, and you also get the octave up; you can use both fuzzes at the same time, or the distortions and the octave, all at once. I also like the Dwarfcraft Eau Claire Thunder, which was my main distortion in Mars Volta. The Amptweaker TightFuzz is really heavy without being overly noisy. There are so many options for distortion and fuzz pedals, but those are great places to start. You also have quite the bass collection. How did you get your fretless Warwick Jonas Hellborg Bass? When I met Jonas about five years ago, he handed me his bass and said, “Play this.” I didn’t want to play in front of a dude as ripping as him, but sure enough, I started shredding and playing phrases I had never played before. That bass lit me up. It was like when I met my wife—it changed my whole life and the way I think. I knew I had to get one of those, so I began bugging [Warwick founder] Hans-Peter Wilfer to build me one, and he finally did. The only differences are that instead of one pickup and one knob, mine has two pickups and four knobs, for volume, volume, tone, and pickup selector. I also had mine built to be 31"-scale, and the standard Hellborg is a 32", which is a big difference for a fretless bass. The only bummer was that I didn’t get it in time for the Halo Orbit album. How did Halo Orbit come together? I met suGar in the ’90s when her band Buffalo Daughter and my band Distortion Felix were opening for Girls Against Boys. Her playing immediately blew me away; she’s a complete anomaly on the guitar. We became close friends, and over the years, we talked about doing a project together. When I was in New York with Mars Volta in 2010, one of my drummer buddies told me I had to meet Mark Guiliana, so I put him on the guest list and we hung out. He was such a good dude. Without even hearing him play, I told him we should collaborate, and he was all for it. In 2012, they flew to L.A., jammed, and cut six ideas in the studio. We did it all in six hours, Mark flew home, and suGar and I wrote the rest of the material. Eventually, they both flew back out to L.A. again to cut the remaining tracks. How did you track your bass parts? Because I use so many effects, I just put a mic on my amp. Your sound is your bass through your pedals, through your amp, through bassplayer.com / may2017 33
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