Saturday, May 28, 2011

BBF's Saturday Morning Music Video: Iwrestledabearonce

I have an irrational love for Iwrestledabearonce.  It might be because they were the first band I really watched rise kicking and screaming from the internet for basically their entirety of their existence.  They just seem like a group of weirdos that would have gravitated to each other in high school or something.  And Krysta has some serious lungs.  Her voice is incredible, making this third installment in the series of female fronted band videos extra awesome.  Enjoy your long weekend if you've got one.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Danelectro FAB Overdrive Pedal

All of the generic criticisms I had about the FAB Chorus apply to this pedal, so go read the first paragraph of that review and then come back here.

The FAB Overdrive is pretty straight forward.  The Level control jacks up the output level.  The Tone control adds high end punch, or takes it away depending on how you set it.  The O.D. controls the amount of overdrive (duh).  This pedal isn't made for bass, but its not not-made-for-bass either.  It is kind of an all over effect, more akin to a outright distortion.  It could also work as an (almost clean) volume boost pedal if you keep the Tone and O.D. under control and just crank up the level.

This pedal got bumped from my board by the TS9B, though I don't really think its fair to compare the two.  At one-eighth the cost of the Tube Screamer, I'd say its about half as good.  Maybe even better than half.  Definitely not as flexible, but is has some sweet spot settings that will get the job done.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

BBF's Saturday Morning Music Video - Armageddon Edition: Arch Enemy

When I agreed to fill in for someone at work today, I didn't realize it was Judgment Day.  Talk about a raw deal!  Since this will probably be my last post before the armies of Satan march across the earth in the wake of the Rapture, I thought this little ditty would be appropriate.  In keeping with my female-fronted band theme I started last week for no good reason, please enjoy "My Apocalypse" by Arch Enemy.  See you all in hell.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Danelectro FAB Chorus Pedal

The FAB line of pedals are cheap.  Like $15 cheap brand new.  These pedals are plastic, which shouldn't be a surprise.  The actual pedal part is the black pad that says "Danelectro" on it.  They have a kind of cool 50's retro look to them, but functionally they sort of suck.  As you can see in the picture, the knobs are mounted into the back of the pedal, instead on the face. The indicator marks are red lines on black knobs, which means they are basically invisible, even in good light.  White lines would have helped, and I guess you could paint them on yourself.  There is a reason why every other pedal in the world mounts its control knobs on the top surface of the pedal and uses high contrast markings.  It makes them easier to use, especially in the less than stellar lighting situations you might find yourself in at a gig.  The cable inputs also don't have a real solid "this-cable-is-definitely-plugged-in" feel to them, though they seem to work just fine.

Now the good stuff.  I like the super bright omni-directional led that indicates the pedal is on, and most importantly it actually sounds pretty decent.  The FAB line aren't specifically made for bass, but they don't seem to cut out any of the low frequency signal.  The three controls are Mix, Speed and Depth.  The Mix knob controls the how much of the chorus signal is added to the dry signal.  The Speed control is like a vibrato control almost, and really depends on how you set the Depth.  If you max out the Speed and Depth it sounds like a horror movie organ.

My band is currently a one guitar outfit, so I use the chorus during guitar solos and parts where you might normally have a second guitar helping you fill out the sound.  The setting I use is full Mix, Depth set midway and Speed between midway and max.  Like I said, since the knobs are mounted weird, its hard to describe.   I actually considered tearing the pedal apart and mounting all of the components in a new housing and in a more conventional way.  It sounds good enough to be worth the experiment, and if I screw it up, I'm only out fifteen bucks.  I recently won a BOSS CEB-3 Bass Chorus off of eBay.  Once that shows up, it might be chop up the FAB Chorus time.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Prelude to the Danelectro FAB Pedal Review

When I started my pedalboard project, I had the two multi-effect pedals I reviewed previously (Zoom 506 Bass and the DigiTech BP80) and two guitar pedals from when I was messing around with guitar (Boss BF-2 Flanger and Boss MT-2 Metal Zone).  Two dedicated pedals I wanted were a Chorus and an Overdrive.  Since this was an experiment originally on the cheap, I popped over to Musician's Friend and found that Danelectro made some inexpensive pedals that got pretty decent reviews.  So I picked them up.

I came to find out later via the internets that Stephen Ridinger, president of Evets Corporation, which owns Danelectro, donated ten grand to Proposition 8.  Had I known that before I bought these pedals, I would have gone with something else.  I know you basically can't buy anything without the money eventually getting back to people who do things that you don't agree with.  But honestly, the guy owns a music company.  Can't donate $10,000 to music programs in public schools. Can't donate $10,000 worth of instruments to School of Rock.  Can donate $10,000 so gays can't get married.  Lame.

I know this guy can do whatever he wants with his money.  It's also my prerogative to do what I want with mine.  In this case, I choose to no longer buy pedals or anything else from Danelectro, no matter how cheap they are.  Does it make any difference?  Who knows?

I have replaced the Danelectro FAB Overdrive with the Ibanez TS9B, and I am currently shopping for a replacement for the FAB Chorus. I'll still review them because I've used them.  It's not the pedal's fault that the CEO of their company is a douchebag.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

BBF's Saturday Morning Music Video: Otep

A week of sunny days in the mid-seventies is definitely not conducive to sitting in front of a computer.  Hopefully it will rain soon and inspire me to do some more bass related posts.  In the meantime, here is a great video from one of Otep's older albums, The Ascension.  It's visually great and the bass is pretty bad ass.  I am definitely down with female-fronted metal bands, especially when they bring something to the act besides their tits. Otep, Arch Enemy, Iwrestledabearonce are ones that quickly come to mind. Perhaps that will be a theme for the next few Saturdays. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Amon Amarth Live From The TLA - Philadelphia, PA

So its no secret that I love Amon Amarth.  Here are a few stills from the concert last night at the Theater of the Living Arts.  My ears are still ringing...

Amon Amarth Video Redux

I never had much occasion to mess with iMovie before, but the blog has given me a good excuse.  This is the same video, but I made a hybrid of the album version of the song over top of the live performance.  It's a testament to the consistency of the band, because the audio is off by barely a fraction of a second by the end of the song.  Like I said before, Rock!

BBF's Saturday Morning Music Video: Amon Amarth

Went to see Amon Amarth in Philly last night, and the show was just great.  I normally don't like screwing around taking pictures and such, but I thought I would make this week's Saturday Morning Video myself.  Their first set was Surtur Rising in its entirety, which was awesome.  I decided I would shoot whatever song they opened their second set with, and it just happened to be Twilight of the Thunder God.  Sorry for the poor sound quality, but I think the energy of the show makes up for it.  Rock!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How to set up the Whammy effect on the Digitech BP80

I use the internet a lot, but until recently I never really added anything back into the digital hive mind.  I had internet guilt. Always taking and never giving anything back in return.  The main reason I started this blog was to try and return the balance to my internet karma.

Or some crap.

Anyway, Blogger shows you the google searches that end up as hits on your blog, and one of them was "how to set up whammy on digitech bp80?"  I thought that was something I could do, so here it is:

My very own YouTube channel and everything.  If you own one of theses pedals and don't have the manual, get it here.  They pack so many things into each channel, you won't have any idea what the abbreviations mean without it.  And just to elaborate on the the Whammy setting, it has 9 different options, and is found under the "Chorus/Mod" section.  Here they are, straight from the manual:

Y1 = Whammy Octave Up (I use this in the second part of the video)
Y2 = Whammy 2 Octaves Up
Y3 = Whammy Octave Down (I use this in the first part of the video)
Y4 = Whammy 2 Octaves Down
Y5 = Harmony Bend minor 3rd / major 3rd Up
Y6 = Harmony Bend 2nd / major 3rd Up
Y7 = Harmony Bend 3rd / 4th Up
Y8 = Harmony Bend Octave Up
Y9 = Harmony Bend Octave Down

In the video I had my Tube Screamer running and probably shouldn't have.  The straight whammy functions (Y1-Y4) are pretty decent. You can hear how the octave down really bottoms out, and 2 octaves down just disappears, especially if you are starting with a low note to begin with.  No 808-grade sub-audible boom unfortunately. I wish it did a better job maintaining the level of the post whammied sound on the octave down.  Octave up doesn't have the same issue.  The harmony bend (Y5-Y9) keeps the original note, and then overlaps it with the whammied note.  In general I thought these sounded bad/muddy, though the harmonic bend octave up or octave down could have potential.  Hope that helps.