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Bass and modular, anything to consider?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Guitars, Basses, Amps & FX  
Author Bass and modular, anything to consider?
I'm planning to buy myself a cheap bass in the $300-$400 range (considering an Ibanez SR300E) mostly for having a stringed instrument back in my rig. I'm going to be running it through my shitty old Bass POD until my budget allows for another option, but I also want to experiment with running it through my Eurorack. I'm wondering if there would be any special advantage to exploring instruments with certain pickup combinations - the Ibanez is dual humbucker and suits my urge toward doomy shit, but if other pup combos offer a wider range of sonic potential I'm game to exploring other choices.

(Hopefully this question makes some sense. I'm specifically interested in experiences interfacing bass guitars with modulars, not general advice on choosing a bass.)
Admittedly I've never done anything more "modular" with my basses than run them through the filter/envelope follower on my SH-09, but I'd imagine the main thing is having a wide enough spectrum in the output for filters to have something to sink their teeth into. To that end, you definitely want a pickup fairly close to the bridge; looks like the SR300E conforms to about the standard Jazz Bass positions, and I haven't seen too many basses with a pickup much closer to the bridge than that, aside from EB-3 clones and Hofners (which is curious, considering that my Ignition has absolutely nothing going on in the high-end at all...)
Yeah that's what I've been thinking. I was eyeing the Ignition for a while despite its weird flaws. Going down the bass rabbit hole again, I figure I'll end up getting one eventually...

I'm curious to know how a bass sounds running through things like the drive channel of the Metasonix R-56 or the Geiger Counter, mixed with the dry signal for a little flavor. I'll experiment with the filters, too, of course. I'm not a fan of zany lead guitar-style effects chains on bass guitars.
I've had a friend who's more knowledgeable about guitaroids claim that the main problem with the Hofners is that the stock wiring is designed to bleed off all the high-end activity...I really oughta try modding my Ignition as he was suggesting and see if that does anything notable to it...
I don't think the pickup position will matter all that much, at least pertaining to modular use. It helps if you have two. I do it a lot and I've learnt that:

1. Wavefolders are amazing for Bass. For extra fun go Bass -> resonant LPF -> Wavefolder, then modulate the cutoff with the envelope/LFO/audio rate/whatever

2. Build your own Sub-Osc with a Comparator and a Clock Divider. Then process that with Filters, Ring Mods, etc., for a much broader range of bass synth sounds than any pedal could deliver.

3. Do you have PLL? Lot's of crazy fun on a stringed instrument, I use the Synchrodyne as a crazy harmonizer sometimes.
I'd forgotten about my trusty old PLL...
I've never plugged a bass into a modular, but have done so with many different guitars, so just my 0.02... Regarding the question of pickups, humbuckers may work better because

a.) they have a higher output which makes it a little easier to boost to modular levels (which also means a better S/N ratio generally).


b.) they are not quite as subject to electrical interference and feedback as single coils.

Point B could be both a positive and a negative depending on where you want to go sonically. With a guitar into modular setup, the buzz, feedback, and hum of single coils can get really interesting. But that's only because I personally love buzz, feedback, and hum! If you don't have one, I'd suggest getting a decent DI box for the bass, something like a SansAmp Bass Driver or similar. It makes it a lot easier to be able to get a stable signal going into the modular. I use a SansAmp for guitar and it works great. It's also an amazing sounding pedal for synths, which I'm not sure a lot of people know. You might also try using a looper pedal to loop a section of bass, and then use the trigger out of an envelope follower on the synth to generate a steady clock signal. The possibilities are pretty wide open and amazing...

Have fun with it!
I can hear the sucking sound of another GAShole opening.

I'm a fan of the noise, too. Way back in the day my first guitar was a Yamaha Pacifica with a nasty single coil that I loved. I upgraded to a fancy strat after the Yamaha literally fell apart, but never liked how tame and dull it was. I'm a terrible player and will never have the time to get good, so I rely on the instrument to be its own beast ...

I plan to pick up a SansAmp or something at some point, once my budget gets a little daylight. A looper pedal is high on my list as well. My old EH Bass Synth pedal will be getting a steady workout.
The thing about basses is that they are looking to go into a high input impedance. Which pedals and pre-amps not specifically designed for bass, or at least without basses in mind, won't have. It's not that it won't work all, but you are not going to get the same "tone" as looking into a bass amp. Luckily, if you want to keep the sound clean, there are bass booster pedals that will provide the impedance buffer.
I ended up ordering a SansAmp. Can't really work without it.
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