The next generation of the popular low-end pitch-shifter serves up the tones of the original—and then some.
Just about every bassist and guitarist on the planet has regretted letting go of a particular piece of gear at one time or another, be it a vintage amp or instrument, or perhaps more commonly, a stompbox. But it’s doubly painful when you let go of something rare that becomes much more costly to replace by the time you see the error of your ways.
Such has been the case for many owners of the original DigiTech Bass Whammy. Introduced to the low-end community in the ’90s, the pitch-stretching pedal was a hit with a small but avid niche of players, but eventually it was discontinued and fell into pawnshop purgatory. But lately, there’s been a resurgence of interest in the original, and as usually happens with popular rare gear, the resurgence brought a marked inflation in price, too. Luckily, DigiTech recently rolled out the next-generation Bass Whammy, which builds on the beloved quirks of the original while also offering more modern options for those who like the concept but prefer sleeker execution—and this one won’t set you back a small fortune, either.
Big Box, Big Upgrades
There’s no way around the fact that the Bass Whammy is larger than most pedals—especially in light of the recent trend toward ultra-miniaturization—but there’s also a lot going on inside. The layout is quite easy to navigate. Like other Whammys, there’s a knob for dialing in the desired whammy or harmony selection, but there’s also a MIDI input option.
A mini toggle above the selection dial lets you choose between classic and chords settings. Classic mode is monophonic and yields the lovably glitchy tones of the original Bass Whammy, whereas chords mode has a new polyphonic algorithm that tracks better, even when you’re playing more than one note.
The latest Bass Whammy’s range of harmony and whammy effects has been expanded, too. There are nine bending possibilities, from two octaves up to an octave down. The original’s large, rectangular plastic footswitch has been replaced with a heavy-duty metal footswitch, and the separate wet and dry outputs from the early version have been replaced with a single output. Unfortunately, the only way to switch between effects is the settings dial, so using the pedal to its fullest potential requires bending down a lot. Being able to scroll through the settings with a footswitch would be a welcome addition.
Lo-Fi or Sophisticated
I tested the new Bass Whammy with a Fender Precision 4-string driving an Eden Metro with ported 2x10s. If you haven’t plugged into a Whammy before, playing one for the first time can be a little like your first trip to an amusement park: You’re overwhelmed by sensory overload, so you run from ride to ride and try as many as possible as fast as possible. Once that initial rush of power is over, though, you find that the unique possibilities—whether employed subtly or in an over-the-top way—can easily inspire new riffs and song ideas, or open up new ways to transform stale tunes or bass lines.
Both the harmony and whammy sides of the pedal possess great modulations ranging from subtle to full-speed adventurous. But I started out on the whammy side, going through all the available pitch-bending options. The two-octave-up setting is the extreme end of the spectrum and doesn’t track especially well, so I personally would use this setting sparingly. Being able to pitch-bend down in variable increments such as 4ths and 5ths is a useful feature. And I dug the dive-bomb effect, which can make your bass sounds like it’s a record slowing down to a halt.
For bassist with a thing for warping harmonies, the Whammy’s harmony side can yield a lot of intervallic fun. For example, with the pedal toe-down on the 5th-up/6th-up setting, a 5th is added on top of the root note. Move the expression pedal up, and a 6th is added to the root—and you can gliss up or down within the chord, keeping the root intact. And because the root stays in place on every one of the harmony settings, there are almost infinite possibilities. And you could have a ton of fun pairing the Bass Whammy with a looper to emulate keyboard- and guitar-like parts.
Indie-rockers and more experimentally minded players will appreciate that DigiTech included the monophonic classic mode. For these guys, the digital artifacts and somewhat glitchy sound of the original Bass Whammy weren’t a problem—they were part of its charm. Meanwhile, those with more traditional tastes will probably leave the pedal in chords mode, because its algorithm is much more accurate, and the modulated tones sound more robust and natural in this mode.The Verdict
The Bass Whammy has always been a fun pedal that also happens to offer a lot of possibilities for bassists to push their creativity into uncharted territory. And thanks to the latest version’s classic and chords modes, the potential is even greater now. It’s got the weirdness factor that cult collectors crave, but it’s also compelling for those with more particular hi-fi sensibilities. The dive-bomb and chorus-type effects are nice bonuses, too. Best of all, the new incarnation won’t break the bank and it has more features than the original version.
Watch the Review Demo:
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Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
The Gibson App uses “audio augmented reality” to provide dynamic feedback to students as they learn and play. As you pluck a note or strum a chord, the Gibson App listens to your guitar and gives you real-time feedback on your playing. It also gives students a more contextual learning experience: Instead of learning chords and scales in a vacuum, you’re able to practice on a scrolling tablature that lets you hear how you sound with the backing of a virtual band. That means you can load up “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “American Girl" by Tom Petty, “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, “Where is My Mind" by Pixies, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, “Heaven” by Kane Brown, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Killer Queen” by Queen,“ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Don't Look Back In Anger” by Oasis and hundreds more songs in a wide range of genres, to see how your play matches up with such seminal tracks.
As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
Players can also challenge themselves by speeding up or slowing the tabs. Like having a full-time guitar teacher, the Gibson App keeps track of all your progress and adjusts lesson plans accordingly. The Gibson App released a “backing track mode” which supports both lesson and song playback without headphones, so users can self-select what works best for their current environment. And that’s not all: the Gibson App also packs in a fully-featured digital tuner for guitar first-timers, there’s even a detailed lesson on how to tune your instrument, a multi-function metronome, players can connect to free one-on-one consultations with Gibson’s Virtual Guitar Tech team, and to direct links to the Gibson, Epiphone, and Kramer online stores for easy shopping for guitars, gear, apparel, and accessories.
Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
Belltone Guitars, as part of their Custom-Select System curated offering of pickups, has partnered McNelly pickups to create a one-of-a-kind retro-vibe P-90 pickup in the standard Filtertron size format. This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl, and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
The McNelly P-90 Foil-Coil comes housed in a ‘raw’ nickel outer casing with a dull nickel foil face with metal mount screw gromets to complete the ‘new-vintage’ aesthetic, making it a perfect choice for your signature Belltone custom build. Available exclusively through Belltone Guitars.
Check out the Custom-Select System belltoneguitars.com to preview the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons and all our standard and selectable components available to create your own signature Belltone. Then visit the Dream Lab on our website and select either model B-Classic ONE with its top binding or B-Classic TWO with its arm and body contours select your body color from our wide range of offerings, select your neck profile of either standard ‘C’ or thicker ’59 Round Back and either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard followed by your tuners, pickguard, and strings. Finally, review our curated custom-designed, and unique pickup selection to locate the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons to complete your signature build.
Builds start at just over $2,300.00 with a custom case and shipping included.
For more information, please visit belltoneguitars.com.
McNelly P 90 Foil Tron video Sep27
Belltone P-90 Foil-Tron Pickup
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.