Make a Bass Sound Like a Guitar and a Bass – Bass Practice Diary – 1st June 2021
For a long time I’ve been playing with the idea of making electric guitar sounds on bass. As technology has improved over the years it’s getting easier and easier and the idea is becoming more and more popular. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the popular duo called Royal Blood. Bassist Mike Kerr makes his bass sound like a guitar and he takes care of all the guitar and bass parts at once. It used to be the case that there were a lot of octave pedals on the market that created an octave or even two octaves down. But there weren’t many good affordable pedals that could create an octave above.
Using Line 6 Helix with Bass
The Line 6 Helix range of products, which includes the Helix LT that I’m using, have caused quite a sensation amongst guitar players. But they’re not as heavily used by bass players. However, the Helix products are designed to be used with both guitar and bass, and although I wouldn’t use them for everything bass related, there are a few situations where they are really useful. For example, if you want to create a vintage bass tone without investing in heavy and expensive vintage gear, the Helix has some good vintage bass amps modelled, like the Ampeg B-15.
Another situation where the Helix comes into its own is when you want to use lots of effects. You can set the Helix up to be like an all in one pedal board with all your effects controllable by foot switches. You can also import patches into your Helix from other artists. That’s exactly what I’ve done here with this lead guitar patch from the guitarist Johnathan Cordy. It’s worth knowing that he sells his entire patch collection for Helix for £5 including the patch I’m using in the video. However, be aware that he is a guitarist, not a bass player and the patches are all designed to be used with guitar.
My setup in the video is actually pretty simple. I’ve split my signal coming out of the bass using a Morley ABC pedal (although I’m only using A and B). From the Morley pedal, one signal goes straight to my Warwick Hellborg bass amp and the other goes to the Helix. I recorded the lead guitar sound straight from the Helix and I took a line from my Warwick Hellborg Preamp for my bass sound.
The patch from Johnathan Cordy is doing all the work. The patch contains an octave pitch shift, distortion, reverb and delay as well as guitar amp simulation. You could probably reproduce all of that with individual pedals and a guitar amp. But it might end up being more expensive than buying a Helix and maybe not sound as good. For live use I would use both a guitar amp and a bass amp and I would plug the Helix into the guitar amp.
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