This page last modified: Saturday March 28, 2009

The Electronics

An introduction to the GK world

See photos of the pedal board in its hardcase.

Roland V-Bass

The V-Bass system is pretty cool. Using the GK pickup signal, it can model a vast array of instruments, and also effects and amplifiers, in any combination. Very versatile and good sounding.

I am trying to put together a small selection of sound samples, to show something of what this system can do. Please note that these sound samples are made with the most basic settings, that is, I have not tried to change the basic sound of each model at all. For example, when I engage the BASS 360 amp model, it is a 360 with flat EQ and the standard speaker cabinet choice, and with only the microphone signal (no direct signal blended in). And when I use for example the MusicMan bass model, it is with the MM EQ flat. Why? Because these are things that one would change to suit the music. These sound samples are solo. Furthermore, I couldn't decide on one specific thing to play, so I'm just noodling around... thus each sound clip is different not only in the timbre of sound, but also in the notes played. Ergo I don't know how much these are of use, if you're trying to seriously judge the sound quality. But that's not what they are for. I just want to give an impression of what this thing can do. If you want more, you should buy one and install the GK on your best bass. That's what I did, but without the benefit of having heard much sound samples beforehand. So, I hope these might be of some help if you're wondering wether or not to purchase a V-Bass.

The sound samples are mono, encoded with the mp3 codec in 64 kbps bitrate. These first ones are recorded using a Tapco Link.USB interface which is rather crap - it sometimes makes noise. It started making noise before I was done with this first batch of sound clips, and that's why there's only one fretless Vintage JB clip. These clips are first clean bass signal, then about half-way through I engage the amplifier modeling system. You will hear when it's on - it colors the sound quite a bit.

Vintage Jazz Bass into the Acoustic 360 model amplifier and its original speaker cabinet (I think it's a 2x15" monster...): Fretted: Both pickups on full - Only the neck pickup - Only the bridge pickup. Fretless: Both pickups on full.

Jazz Bass into the Ampeg B-15 flip top amp: Fretted: Both pickups on full - Only the neck pickup - Only the bridge pickup.

The "Active" bass model into the "Session" (SWR SM-400) amp model: Fretted: Both pickups on full - Only the neck pickup - Only the bridge pickup. Fretless: Both pickups on full - only the neck pickup - only the bridge pickup.

March 18th., 2008:

More sound clips, this time using patches that I've made myself. First some that I actually use most of all.

Here's a patch modeled after the Ken Smith style: two humbuckers close to the bridge. I use this patch a lot with the gospel choir. Fretted bass, emphasis on rear pickup - Fretted again, both pickups on full - Fretless bass, both pickups on full.

This patch is modeled after the Warwick Thumb bass, with two single coil pickups very close to the bridge, and a bit of extra bass on the EQ. Fretted bass.

Here's a patch with some more stuff going on. The bass model is the MusicMan Stingray, and it is run through a rather heavy compressor and then into the Trace Elliot amplifier model. As you can imagine, it's rather inspired by what I call "the Tony Levin sound". There's also an overdrive effect that I kick in about half-way through the sound clip.

And here is a synth bass patch that I also actually use with the gospel choir. It gives a bit of extra kick to the unison lines.

I have also included this clip where I don't use a V-Bass model but rather the piezo pickups in my Surine fretted bass, and (after a while) add some chorus from the V-Bass.

This patch is the fretless emulator, and I play it with my real fretless bass. It gives some ridiculous mwah type sound. Also I have panned the strings alternately left and right a little bit, and there is also a bit of reverb on there, I think. Listen.

And this patch has the V-Bass emulate a piezo pickup on my fretless bass. I made this for use in a Jan Garbarek tune, so I could sound a bit more like Eberhard Weber who plays a unique electric upright bass. This one also has some pickup pan and some reverb. Listen.

And here is a collection of four preset upright patches (7-4 to 7-1) just to give an idea of how the upright emulator can sound with a fretless bass. The upright model has a bunch of adjustments, and I haven't seriously tried to figure it all out. So I just used these presets.

And finally, this is a patch I made for a solo bass piece some time ago. It uses a funny model called "pipe" and after a while I kick in the intelligent pitch shifter. Sounds rather crazy don't you think?

More later, I hope.

Roland GR-20 guitar synthesizer