Pedal-in-a-Bass


#1

When is a pedal not a pedal? - when it’s in a bass of course!

Building in a headphone amp for some silent and neighbour-friendly practice was my first modest step down the active bass route but why stop there?

So here’s what I intend to do:

Using the latest embedded processing technology to develop a proof of concept/demonstration package which can provide pitch shifting, compression and delay/reverb effects (as e.g. the EHX PitchFork) which could be incorporated directly in to the body.

Clearly an ambitious project which would be greatly facilitated by the involvement of some of you guys acting as advisers/testers/evaluaters etc. Maybe if there’s enough of you it could develop into a PATREON project!

I shall be formulating some ideas and putting together a development station over the next few weeks so watch this space and give us your input!

bottomfeeder


#2

Very cool ideas! Especially having some high-quality onboard compression on the bass, with maybe an indicator LED for when you hit threshold, knobs for threshold+ratio… that’d be cool. Like an onboard Keeley Bassist. :slight_smile:

One thing I’m curious about is how effect parameters would be adjusted, i.e. it’s kinda useful to be able to kick stuff with your feet sometimes since your hands are busy playing bass. Wireless MIDI foot controller or something?

Well I’m definitely interested, and I’m sure @Gio would be interested in trying stuff out too (you could actually send us the same evaluation gear, we live close to each other).

And if you get a promising start, I bet you could catch some interest on Patreon, especially if you started sharing your progress via Youtube or something.


#3

Great thoughts guys - thanks. Lots of operational details to sort out obviously. I think the foot is not entitirely redundant yet! Possibly some manual performance presets on the bass (like perhaps organ registrations) which could be kicked in during play? Dunno yet - lots to think about. Keep the ideas coming.


#4

Donations required!

Musical ones of course. Part of a future testing regime will be dry/wet effects comparisons for which I will need a variety of sound samples. They need only be 10-20 seconds long but to be valid they MUST be directly recorded to be completely free of clipping, compression or any other artifacts. Ideally, WAV format would be preferred but 192Kbs (or better) MP3 would suffice.

Thanks in anticipation.


#5

I can definitely help with this, I’ve got a good pile of pedals kicking around, not comprehensive but maybe enough to work with.

One thing to keep in mind, if you aren’t already, is that different make/models of the “same” effect will sound totally different. Think about all the hundreds of different “distortion” sounds, or an analog delay versus a digital delay, etc… I think you’re gonna have to pick specific sounds you want to model after, rather than just thinking “reverb.” Unless your DSP is going to include multiple models that are user selectable through a software interface or something crazy like that. :slight_smile:

Anyway let us know when you’re ready for those samples, and give as many details as you can (i.e. what should one be playing in those 10-20 seconds, simple long tones, more active lines, etc.).


#6

Hi Josh and its great that you can help.

At this time all I need are clean un-messed-about-with recordings straight from your bass. I might well do some A/B effects comparisons later (when I’ve actually got something on the bench) but my purpose is not to simply emulate or copy effects that are already in the marketplace (I gave the ‘Pichfork’ simply as an example) but to create something new - quite what it’s too early to tell!

As to the content of the samples, I would suggest you avoid just ‘notes’ and keep it ‘musical’. Some well known and recognisable riffs that you particularly like would be a good starting point so I’ll leave it to your best judgement. You’re the expert!.

Hope that all makes sense.

By the way, just so’s I get the timelag right, it’s 20:18 local time here (GMT + 1). Perhaps on your next response you could indicate your local time.


#7

I intend to publish a bloggy type thing on this project on my new website pedalinabass.org but don’t bother to look - there’s nothing there yet! I would make a short posting here each time the site gets updated. Would this work OK for you guys?


#8

Cool, I have plenty of those! Shoot me an email to josh@bassbuzz.com and I’ll reply back with some clips.

I’m in California, so GMT - 8.

Yeah please do!


#9

Very into where this idea goes! Holler with any questions.
I’d echo Josh’s comments on the scepticism of any on-board, hand-operated controls.
The feet are just such convenient ways to activate/deactivate things.

Full steam ahead, though! I love the possibilities!


#10

Hi and thanks for your interest. Totally with you on the foot thing. Of course, foot pedals still require hands to set them up - better the controls are where you can easily get to them! The foot control need only be a simple (and cheap) switch to enable/disable as is the convention.

I’m very open to your suggestions as to the kind of effects you would regularly want. Josh is going to supply some short unadulterated sound samples so if you have any which I might use for test purposes they wou.ld be welcome.


#11

Hi Bass folks.

Just a few words to let you know that I’m not sleeping on the job!

Happiness is a tidy workbench

I’ve been spending most of my time acquiring the necessary hardware and testgear (see pic) some of which has come from the San Fransisco Bay area!. Despite all my background experiences this represents the biggest technical challenge that I’ve ever taken on - this is what excites me about the project!

Josh has been good enough to supply me with some high quality sound samples but I’ll gladly accept more if you are so inclined.

In parallel with these technical activities I’ve been working on my Pedal-in-a-Bass bloggy type website which should go live within the next two weeks. Its purpose is to record elements of what I’m doing - a sort of reference work which will be useful for me as time goes on and I hope may be of interest to the mega-nurds amongst you all! There won’t be a lot olf explanatory stuff there (it would take up too much space) but I would be very happy to field any questions you may have.

Watch this space!


#12

Awesome! Can’t wait to hear more updates!


#13

Holy screens and wires, Batman!! Cool stuff!


#14

Hi folks and many apologies for the extended delay since my last contact. Life seems to have a habit of getting in the way of doing stuff!

Anyway, I haven’t been lazy and now have my new website up and running. You can see it at PedalInaBass.org.

I hope you enjoy it and I’d be very happy to respond to any of your queries/suggestions/criticisms etc.


#15

Holy cats.
The detail and care that go into the development and explanations are fantastic. Thanks for sharing.


#16

Hi Gio and thanks for your kind remarks. A little encouragement goes a long way!


#17

Ditto what @Gio said @bottomfeeder, somebody else linked to your site recently (I think it was @muff) and it was really cool to see all the progress you’ve made! Can’t wait to hear a prototype. :slight_smile:


#18

Hi Josh - your comment much appreciated!

Progress has been slow (this kind of embedded coding has a steep learning curve) but I’m getting there. Am still building my workstation (it would be useful if my boat had Tardis like qualities!) and hope to post some more samples soon.


#19

Well, inventing a Tardis can be your next project. :slight_smile:


#20

Hi!

Liking a lot your DIY bottomfeeder! Great idea!

Do you know about wondom/sure electronics? They have programmable DSP boards on purpose for this… there are 2 and 4 channel ones.

DSP’s can be programmed with Analog Device’s SigmaStudio.

Interesting Introductory Article to SigmaStudio

http://store3.sure-electronics.com/audio/dsp-and-analog-audio-processor/dsp

Really cool concept the pedal in a bass… UI will need some thinking, as Gio said pedals come to mind…

have you thought on using acelerometers in the same way they’re used for videogames? Could be one way of “interfacing” with the system, i.e. using bass orientation to kick the effects.