Bass Question


Mar 8, 2006
San Antonio, TX, USA
I just ordered a Brice 6-string bass ( ) as my first bass... and I'm asking anyone I can about bass stuff because I'm just not used to taking care of those details on my own.

First, for obvious reasons I'm not looking forward to buying new strings, so I'm trying to research as well as I can beforehand. How low can one reasonably expect to go with that 29-128 set? I'm going to be grabbing some giant fuckers from Conklin when I have some money, so I can tune it F#-B-E-A-D-G and match the 8-string guitar I hope to get soon, but I'd like to goof around with tunings before then.

Second, what's an efficient way to get a good distorted sound in a gig or when goofing around without studio equipment? I have the stuff to route things left and right for recording and playing at the computer, but I'm sure things are different when I'm just plugging in somewhere else. I've been thinking of making some room in the control cavity for a high-pass->basic distortion circuit that I can blend with the clean sound (or part of it, at least), but that does take a bit of work. I don't have a whole lot of money to work with, so I can't just go out and impulse-buy a Sansamp, is there a cheap way to do that and not suck?

That's a great question. MXR makes a pedal that's basically a Sans Amp Bass Driver DI clone for less money. Other than that, really not sure what to tell you.
The tone differences between the MXR and the Sansamp are similar to those between the Maxon and Ibanez tube screamers. They are both great pedals and if you look at the lists of endorsees, both rosters are incredible. You can't go wrong with either, and it would be better to get the pedal than mess with the guitar. I would love to hear some samples of the Brice when you get it, too.

With a 128 low string, I wouldn't go too much further below G. I've used a 128 in A and been pretty happy with its tension and response. I accidently had it in G# once and it didn't perform too badly, but I wouldn't do it regularly. I have also played a 130 in A and it was too tight. I would try that as my first guess for F# as they are readily available. Good luck.

Edit: The BDDI/MXR will be perfect for any application. It is now the only thing I bring to gigs. Bass -> BDDI -> House mains.
Any recommendations for an "I just worked out $1000 for GREs and about a dozen graduate applications, and spending money makes my insides cry" budget? I'll be looking into those, but I have no income source right now.

Any recommendations for an "I just worked out $1000 for GREs and about a dozen graduate applications, and spending money makes my insides cry" budget? I'll be looking into those, but I have no income source right now.


What kind of dist. boxes do you have around the house? Otherwise, the Digitech BP50 could be a good choice. I have the BP200 and its a great tool for just messing around. It has some really fun effects when I get really bored, too.
A TS or two, a couple of DS-1s (one of them I haven't gotten around to modding yet, this may determine its fate), a Rat, and some other oddball homemade things here and there. That Digitech box looks tempting, I must admit, but I'll probably wind up saving for the BDDI or that MXR box if I can't get one of my current toys working for it.

I know I've seen a few bassists using a Rat (The Haunted comes to mind first, at least in the studio on The Dead Eye - gotta love special edition extras) but I'll have to pull together a speaker sim (or just use a sim on the computer) to use it, I'm assuming.

Do you also have a practice amp around? At my house I've got some shitty 10W amp that I will put the BP200 in front of just to have sound. Despite the crappy quality, it helps to have some distortion when I'm playing gits or bass. Plugging into the computer for jamming is just too difficult compared to this option. If you don't have one, you could probably get one for $10-20 at a pawn shop or on Craigslist.
I'm looking, but seeing as how 90% of my non-school time is spent in my bedroom it's actually very convenient for me so I'm not in as much of a rush. I don't want to plug it into my current guitar amp just because even if I were sure it wouldn't damage anything I don't think it can sound as good. I am getting a lot out of playing with distortion through the computer, as there's a big difference between muting tiny guitar strings and muting gigantic monstrosities that fight back when I try to silence them.

Right now I'm just running it through Amplitube when I feel like booting into Windows and a bizarre chain of evil when I'm in Linux. I'm going to start testing pedals over the weekend (I found a couple of Danelectro boxes too, including the one that has tons of gain and an octave-down feature... for when I really don't want the foundation of the house to be stable) but right now I'm just tinkering through amp sims.

Does the BDDI have an output suitable for headphone use? That'll really help a lot when I can get around to it - I don't need to be playing in front of anyone for a while...

Anyway... a while without comments, I'll be posting clips as soon as I have some idea what the hell I'm doing but for now here's the picstory over at - - in case those are interesting in any way. I didn't know if that sort of thing was encouraged here - I could just copy-and-paste it all over but that gets annoying on occasion.

MY GOD!!! That is one of the most beautiful basses I've seen. Very nice purchase indeed! Definitely post some clips (even a clip of just a three note progression)!

By the way, a cleaner room makes for more encounters of a female kind.

By the time they see my room it's too late to turn back, usually other things get in the way of such encounters.

I'm tinkering a lot with the RAT (I'm really liking what I'm getting out of it) and a homemade box to try to get a good distortion, but first I'll probably put up a clean track straight through the preamp just for reamping/amp sim stuff.