Show us your bass rig!
Hot on the heels of Sam’s kick-off to the Show Us Your Rig series, I’ll add my rig breakdown to the mix, which will be relatively brief, since I’ve always been a pretty straight-forward, “plug-in and go” kinda bass player.
I’ve always opted for simplicity, since, frankly, I’m just not a very technical guy. And I don’t really have the patience to spend a lot of time twiddling knobs in search of the perfect tone.
My approach to getting a good sound is pretty simple and can be covered in three steps:
- Start with a decent bass, preferably with a reasonably fresh set of strings.
- Plug into a decent amp and cab (or combo unit) that is loud enough for the type of music you play and the rooms in which you perform. The objective isn’t necessarily to be LOUD. It’s to ensure you have enough power to get a nice clean tone. Head-room is the objective here. There’s nothing worse for your tone, and playing technique, than trying to push an under-powered rig.
- Get really good at using your hands to get the tone you want. They are the best piece of gear you’ll ever own, and you can’t buy them in a store!
Having said all that, here’s what I use:
Bass Effects Pedals
The first thing in my signal chain is my trusty Boss TU-2 tuner pedal. Like all Boss pedals, this little guy is built like a tank and has never let me down. I would be lost without it.
Next up is the Boss OC-3 Super Octave. I bought it to cover a couple of Muse tunes that are no longer part of the set (Tip: Pair one of these with a fuzz or distortion pedal for a pretty good replication of Chris Wolstenholme’s sound on songs like Uprising and Starlight). So now it’s just there mainly to keep my humble little pedal board from looking all empty and sad. It’s a pretty cool pedal though, and I’m sure I’ll find a reason to use it again in the future.
The Boss ODB-3 Bass Overdrive rounds out the effects pedals, and does see a bit of action from time to time. It’s a great little pedal that provides a wide-range of overdrive possibilities, from adding a little bit of grit and edge, to completely wacking out your sound with loads of fuzzy distortion. The other great thing about this pedal is the Balance control, which lets you mix in as much, or as little, dry signal as you want. This helps to maintain the bottom end, which tends to drop out when using other drive or distortion pedals designed for guitar.
The heart of my rig is the Gallien-Krueger 1001RB. I really dig this amp, mostly because of it’s beastly power. But the 4-band active EQ, voicing filters and bi-amp output (700 watts to the woofer and 50 allocated to the tweeter) certainly don’t hurt either. This puppy is loud and let’s me dial in exactly what I need to cut through the loud-ass guitar players and drummers I usually find myself sharing a stage with.
Finally, the Carvin BRX 10.4 is the cabinet that brings the boom to all my gigs. I bought this cab from my brother (also a bass player) in a hurry about a year ago, since I needed to replace my Eden cab because of some blown speakers (by some, I mean all). So far, the Carvin has done a fine job, giving me lots of bottom end and some good punch when needed.
Not sure when I’ll be changing things up. But when it’s time for a new rig, I’ll definitely be investing in one of those feather-light cabs, like the ones made by Markbass, because this Carvin is a back-breaker.
Of course, none of this gear will ever compare to the mid-70’s Ampeg SVT head and 8×10 cab I owned in my youth. Yes, I used to own the Holy Grail of bass amps, which I sold a long time ago because, yes, I am an idiot.
Here we are together, back in the day. I really miss the old girl . . .
So, what are you using these days to crank out your low end? Shoot us a message to let us know and we just may feature your rig in this very space!
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