Download Example 1 Bass: 1987 Kramer Striker into a a Gallien-Kreuger 700 RB-II bass head to a 1970 Orange 8x10 cabinet. Download Example 2 Guitar: Cycle through 4 settings.
|Download Example 1|
Bass: 1987 Kramer Striker into a a Gallien-Kreuger 700 RB-II bass head to a 1970 Orange 8x10 cabinet.
|Download Example 2|
Guitar: Cycle through 4 settings. 2008 Fender American Standard Stratocaster into a Fender Twin Reverb reissue
Echoes of the Past
It’s no wonder that the Bass Octave Fuzz’s main inspiration is the Bass Brassmaster pedal, which originated in the late ’70s. The Brassmaster has been used by some of rock’s most famous bassists, including Chris Squire of Yes and the Who’s John Entwhistle. Since the Brassmaster’s debut in the heyday of aggressive and progressive rock, it has become a highly sought-after collector’s piece, likely commanding hundreds of dollars. Its sputtery, sometimes synth-like sound defined an era of rock ’n’ roll when bassists began to take a stronger role in a world dominated by huge guitar tones.
The Bass Octave Fuzz employs the same control scheme as its ancestor, using three knobs and two toggle switches to manage its wide range of tones. The Bass control is effectively a mixer control to balance the effected and dry signals, and I was happy to have this simple but useful feature available on the Bass Octave. It allowed me to alter the mix of clean bass tone with the distorted signal for plenty of nuanced tonal tweaking, and my desired mix really came through with only slight adjustments—depending on the amp and bass being used. It’s an indispensable control and thankfully being added to more and more bass effects manufactured today.
The other two knobs—Drive and Fuzz— work in tandem to produce the pedal’s fuzz effect. The Fuzz control doesn’t affect the amount of fuzz as it implies, but rather controls the volume of the fuzz tone itself. It’s the Drive knob that manages the additional signal gain needed for the desired distortion.
The Filter and Harmonic toggle switches are the unique features of the Bass Octave. They’re designed to react in the same fashion as the Brass and Harmonic switches on the original Brassmaster, altering the harmonic range and intensity of the octave-up effect. Using different combinations of range and intensity can produce tones that not only sound drastically different from one another, but also change the playing feel considerably.
Getting Down to Brass Tacks
Grabbing a 1987 Kramer Striker USA bass, I plugged the Bass Octave into a Gallien-Krueger 700RB-II bass head cabled to a 1970 Orange 8x10 cabinet. Both of the toggle switches were set to their left positions, and all of the controls were set directly at noon. A massive wall of fat fuzz hit me in the back after plucking the low E string, with the grit and snarl of unwieldy early ’70s fuzz tones. Interestingly, the pedal was dead silent as I turned the Drive knob up to higher settings. It also remained super tight on the low frequencies—even while doing chord work.
The Orange cabinet has strong midrange tendencies, and in some cases, the sheer amount of air that the cabinet was pushing with the pedal engaged was almost too much. This is where the simple mix control came into perfect play, allowing me to easily dial back the raunchy fuzz tone and have it sit nicely on top of the smooth and naturally clean tone of the rig.
Once I achieved the tone I was happy with, I moved into further sonic exploration by switching the toggle controls into various combinations. The left position of the Frequency toggle seemed to let the natural high end of the fuzz cut through a bit more than the right position, which slightly rolled off the sharpness of the effect. The tonal change resulting from switching the Harmonic toggle back and forth was much more evident. Some really trippy, lo-fi tones with scooped mids can be coaxed out of the pedal with the Harmonic switch in the left position. When toggled right, the switch coaxes the pedal into some utterly bizarre, space-age tones with increased volume and harmonics.
The key to getting a great sound out of the Bass Octave is to approach it with a conservative and “not-so-knob-happy” attitude. Just a touch of drive will go a long way with this pedal, so rely on your fingering or pick attack for producing subtle dynamics. All said, really pushing the Drive control will give you some extremely aggressive sounds, reminiscent of the opening dirge to King Crimson’s "Red," by bassist John Wetton. But if you’re in the mood for adding fuzz as more of a texture, start with lower settings and use different combinations of the Filter and Harmonic toggle switches to find what you’re looking for.
Though gear companies traditionally haven’t given bassists the amount of attention bestowed on guitarists, bassists have had a few gems to call their own in the past—such as the original Maestro Bass Brassmaster. Like its predecessor, the modern-day Black Cat Bass Octave Fuzz produces a powerful, detailed, and—most importantly—unique fuzz tone that harkens back to that famous bass grind of the ’70s. Though the pedal can be dialed back and tamed, it’s not meant to be a smooth-sounding device, meaning these tones are not for everybody. But that’s what made the original Brassmaster pedals so popular in the first place—tones that stand out from the crowd.
you’re in the market for a vintage Brassmaster, but are shy on the scratch it takes to get one.
you need a smooth, subtle overdrive.
Street $225 - Black Cat Pedals - blackcatpedals.com
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This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
Adding to the company’s line of premium-quality effects pedals, Missing Link Audio has unleashed the new AC/Overdrive pedal. This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal – the only Angus & Malcom all-in-one stompbox on the market – brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
The AC/OD layout has three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone. That user-friendly format is perfect for quickly getting your ideal tone, and it also offers a ton of versatility. MLA’s new AC/OD absolutely nails the Angus tone from the days of “High Voltage” to "Back in Black”. You can also easily dial inMalcom with the turn of a knob. The pedal covers a broad range of sonic terrain, from boost to hot overdrive to complete tube-like saturation. The pedal is designed to leave on all the time and is very touch responsive. You can get everything from fat rhythm tones to a perfect lead tone just by using your guitar’s volume knob and your right-hand attack.
- Three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone
- Die-cast aluminum cases for gig-worthy durability
- Limited lifetime warranty
- True bypass on/off switch
- 9-volt DC input
- Made in the USA
MLA Pedals AC/OD - Music & Demo by A. Barrero
Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials