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Bassbone USING & APPLICATIONS

This page walks through the Bassbone OD's functionality and is a great starting point to familiarize yourself with the basics. For complete details, please click the icon at left to download the full manual.

Setting-up the Bassbone OD

The Bassbone OD is a 2 channel preamp that is able to handle all types of instruments, depending on how it is configured. It is worth noting that although the Bassbone OD is 'designated' for bass, as a world-class quality preamp, it is equally well suited for other instruments. Some examples include:

  • Selecting between two electric basses
  • Using one bass with two channels
  • Toggling between an upright bass and a passive bass
  • Using it with a violin and an acoustic guitar
  • Combining two pickups together
  • Using a mic and a piezo on an upright bass

To configure the Bassbone OD, there are several side-access functions switches and controls that you set once and then can be pretty much forgotten.

On the right hand side, there are three functions. These are set first, the others later. When all three are in the out position, the Bassbone OD is set to 'normal' where both inputs are set to a moderate impedance that works well with both active and passive basses. The PZB switch located near the front changes the input impedance to 10 meg ohms and increases the sensitivity to make channel-1 suitable for piezo transducers. If you are planning to use this input for a cello, violin, dobro or upright, you would push this switch in. By increasing the impedance and properly loading the piezo, you will immediately notice a much broader frequency response and a much more natural sounding tone.

The BLEND switch located in the center is used to mix the two input channels together. You could for instance connect a piezo pickup in channel-A and a condenser microphone in channel-B by adding a StageBug SB48 power supply for 48V phantom power and then combine the two for a more natural tone. The two channels are then mixed together and EQd to suit. The third upper top function is the Drag Control – a load correction circuit that lets you dial in the perfect impedance on a magnetic pickup to simulate the sound as if connecting your vintage Fender P-Bass directly to your old Ampeg B15 tube amplifier. Drag is normally set to 12 o'clock and adjusted to suit. Rotating clockwise increases the load to make it sound brighter.

Another cool feature is the switching input jack on channel-A. When only using channel-A (input-B not used) the channel select footswitch will still work, enabling you to toggle between the two Bassbone OD channels like two channels on a bass amp. The passive-interactive equalizer is so powerful; it can turn your Jazz Bass into a Rickenbacker, a Hofner Beatle Bass or an active Alembic. This lets you switch between radical sounding tones for greater on-stage flexibility.

Making Connections

Once you have decided on how you want to configure the Bassbone OD, you are ready to make connections. Before you do, always ensure amp levels are turned down and PA or recording systems set to zero. This will help avoid turn-on or plug-in transients that could damage more sensitive components such as tweeters.

There are eight (8) connectors on the Bassbone OD:

Start by connecting your bass to channel-A. Set the EQ controls to 12 o'clock with the volume level control fully counter-clockwise to the off position. Connect the instrument output to your bass amp. Bring up the level on your bass amp and slowly increase the level on the Bassbone OD until you are listening at a comfortable level. It is good practice to always test at a low volume as this reduces the risk of equipment damage should a connection not be properly made which could cause a severe transient. There is no power switch on the Bassbone OD. As soon as you connect the 15VDC supply, it will turn on.

Start by testing the bass, mid and treble controls so that you familiarize yourself with their range. Note that the passive interactive design of the EQ intentionally shifts a lot of power in the tone controls. This enables you to 'override' the tone controls on your amp and sculpt the tone as needed. The mid-range control is equipped with a 3-position switch that lets you set the center frequency to suit. To hear the effect, try boosting the mind range and then switch between the settings. Then, go back and cut the mids for fun. By depressing the toggle footswitch, you can activate channel-2 and create a completely different character.

Using the direct box output

The Bassbone OD is perfectly suited for both playing live and recording in the studio. The balanced XLR direct output is used to connect to the mic input of a mixing console. This low-Z active output is equipped with a ground lift switch to help eliminate hum and buzz caused by ground lops plus a polarity reverse switch which can be used to help offset phase issues between the stage amp and the PA or help eliminate resonant feedback when using the Bassbone OD with an acoustic instrument such as an upright or acoustic guitar. A pre-post switch lets you bypass the effects loop and overdrive to send the clean (post EQ) signal to the PA as some engineers prefer to work with a clean tone.

Using the overdrive

The Bassbone OD's distortion is designed to give you a wide range of effects from slight grit to over-the-top distortion. Although adding distortion to bass may sound a bit strange, there is good reason for this – particularly if you are using in-ear monitors. Distortion acts like a form of compression which elongates the fundamentals and harmonics while taming the peaks. This 'rounding' effect actually helps the bass by containing it and increasing the presence in a mix. On the other hand, too much distortion can pose a problem as the bass can become indistinct or get lost in the mix.

There are three controls for the overdrive: drive, tone and blend. The drive control works in conjunction with the input level to set the amount of distortion. The tone control is used to increase or decrease the amount of harmonic content and the blend control is used to mix-in as much distortion as you like with the original dry signal. Simply adjust to suit. The EFX footswitch may be set to turn on the overdrive, the effects loop or both. Stomp on the footswitch to activate the OD and pretend you are Eddie Van Halen!

Using the effects loop

At the top of Bassbone OD are two jacks labelled send and receive. These are designed to insert various pedals into the signal chain and remove them when not in use. The benefit of having an effects loop is that you can share the same effects with two instruments and route the signal to both the on-stage amp and PA system. Simply connect the send to your first pedal, create the loop and then bring it back into the Bassbone OD using standard ¼" hi-Z guitar cables.

You can activate the loop using the overdrive (OD) footswitch by moving the 3-position selector switch into the loop position. In this mode, the effects loop is routed via the wet-dry blend control to enable you to add as much of the effect to your dry signal as you like. Because it is fairly common to find guitar pedals that reverse the polarity of the signal, this can cause an unintended phase cancellation when combining wet effect with the dry signal. A dedicated 180° polarity reverse on the effects loop switch solves the problem.

You can also leave the loop on all the time by pushing in the side-access recessed loop switch on the left hand side. This bypasses the OD circuit and wet-dry blend control so that the effects can be 100% wet or arranged independently. When set this way, the OD footswitch only works on the overdrive effect, allowing you to use this without affecting the loop.

Adding a tuner and using the mute footswitch

The Bassbone OD is equipped with a separately buffered tuner output that will not interact with the bass or cause additional loading. This 'always on' output makes it easy to glance at your tuner if something sounds off. You can also use the mute footswitch to shut off all outputs (except the tuner out) for quiet on stage tuning.

Using the headphones for practicing

The Bassbone OD is equipped with a built-in headphone amp to enable you to use it for quiet practicing. Simply plug your ear-buds or headphones into the 3.5mm headphone output and adjust the level using a guitar pick as a screwdriver. The headphone output is fed from the stage amp output and will contain all of the effects and overdrive as set in the signal path.

Have fun!