Got Bass?

Posted: May 1, 2013 by phanson in Tips & Tricks

Got BassHi Paul, I’ve got a gig coming up and I’m having a very hard time finding a bass player so I started thinking… does Boss make a pedal that will add a bass note to everything I play?


 Hi Richard,

The quick answer is not quite. There are three Boss pedals that will generate an octave below your notes, the OC-3, PS-6, and the brand new MO-2 pedal with it’s Multi Dimensional Processing. I haven’t tried the MO-2 yet but I heard it will add a low effect, even with chords. The OC-3, adds the octave effect, but it’s really best for blending with your guitar tone for effects. The PS-6 does the best bass that sounds like a bass.

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PS-6, OC-3, MO-2

On the PS-6, I found if you select intelligent pitch shift, then set it to an octave down, it’s really good, better than the OC-3. Pick any major or minor key, doesn’t matter which, then set it to an Octave down. This works great when playing one note, but if you play a chord the PS-6 (also the OC-3) will try to put the whole chord down. You have to try these pedals in a store.

I do looping gigs and create the bass part with a Roland VG-99, then I let it loop and I play over it. Btw, the VG-99 has a built-in patch with octaves down on only the low E and A strings. That’s sounds like what you are thinking of. The VG can do perfect sounding octaves down on any string, because it essentially has a separate pickup for each string! But it’s very expensive and you need the GK pickup. Btw, the VG-99 has recently been discontinued but you can find ‘em on eBay. A guitar synth will do bass too, but I’ll save guitar synths for another post.

If you loop the bass, there is a learning curve, it’ll take some practice. If you want multiple loops, a verse, chorus and bridge, you need a Boss RC-300 looper or the discontinued RC-50. I’ll admit it takes a bit of practice to get the process down. I find it especially difficult if someone is in the bar buying me tequila shots!



An easy way to loop is to pre-load bass parts into the looper. The new Boss loopers have 3 hours of recording time. There are also multiple outputs on the RC-300 so, if you have a drummer, you can send a click out of outputs 3 and 4, and send that into the drummer’s monitor so he can stay “locked in time” with your bass loops.

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If you take a couple months to learn how to incorporate it, I think the looper might be your best solution, but you’ll still need something to create the bass, like the PS-6, VG-99 or a synth… or even a real bass…This is not a commercial for Boss or Roland, there are other products out there, I just know the Boss and Roland stuff since I demoed them for years.  

Bottom line: whatever route you end up going, a machine will not replace a real bass player. Those guys are important, especially if they play well, but you do have to pay them. If you decide against a bass player, one final tip: throw a mic in front of the kick drum and turn it up! I think that’s what White Strips and Black Keys have done. Rock on!!!


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