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  • Baritone/Bass VI or Octave Pedal?

    So I've been gassing for a baritone or bass vi type guitar for quite a long time. I finally decided that I think I want to get a Schecter Hellcat VI (the newer version w/ single coil pups). However... they sell for about $750-800 which is quite a lot, especially considering that my days of regular gigging are likely over and I'd mostly be using it for just home recording. Although my wife is actually encouraging me to buy it, I'm still not sure if I can justify dropping that kind of cash. This got me thinking...



    Since a bass vi is essentially one octave below a regular guitar, what's the difference between it vs running my guitar through an octave pedal? Anyone have any experience with octave pedals?



    I looked at a few online demos of the EHX POG2 and it looks like a pretty cool device capable of doing a lot -- and it costs less than half the price of a Hellcat. Since I already have a bass and envisioned myself mostly using the Hellcat for textures and melodic lines, I'm thinking this is the way to go.



    Is there any reason to reconsider getting a bari/bass vi guitar instead of a pedal? Does anyone have any suggestions for other pedals I should look at besides the POG2?
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  • #2
    Kinda of depends on what you want to do, but no octave pedal will track fast enough to cover a Bass VI or similar. Single note runs...yes...slow chords...maybe....but not everything. Plus, most octave down pedals are envelope foller driven, given them a more unique tone.

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    • #3
      You can get a baritone neck from Warmoth, and I think USACG, that will fit a standard strat neck pocket. Maybe get one of those and slap it on a guitar you already have. If you like it, then acquire the rest of the parts for the guitar.

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      • #4
        A baritone is generally a fourth or fifth lower, rather than an octave lower.



        As Wyatt says, octave pedals really only work as intended for single notes. They can make some really interesting noises otherwise, but don't really substitute for a bass or baritone guitar. A midi based device would do a much better job.

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        • #5
          As Wyatt notes, a pedal will give you a synthesized sound and may not track fast enough for your tastes.



          A baritone gets you down low, but it's tuned B to B, so you have to transpose everything on the fly. That's not a bad thing, and it leads to some neat voicings, but may not be for everyone.



          Bass VI will give you an octave lower than regular guitar. It's neat, but you can end up tripping over your bass player if you're playing in a band. I like tuning E to E so it plays like a regular guitar but is bass voiced.



          If you want to try baritone/bass VI on a budget, pick up a Danelectro baritone guitar. They've done those in many of their models. They are a longer, 30", scale and are cheaper than Schecters [which I also like].



          Danelectro was the first company to introduce a bass VI - the logic being bass players would jump on them because they were getting 2 strings for free. They didn't catch on and languished until somebody strung them up B to B, giving birth to what we call the baritone.



          I have a Dano and switch it up between baritone and bass vi with a simple string swap. D'addario makes Jerry Jones baritone strings as well as a nice set of bass vi strings that work great.
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          • #6
            Peavey at-200? when/if they ever ship.

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            • #7
              http://www.rondomusic.com/argustoastsg.html
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              • #8
                For recording, I use my Schecter Hellcat VI or Dano Baritone.

                The Schecter Hellcat VI is tuned E to E and is better at single note runs. It's also 30" scale like a short scale bass.

                My Dano is tuned B to B and is much better for chording. It's 27? Scale.



                I've tried to put B to B strings on the Schecter before, but was never able to find a set that would fit on it.



                My other secret weapons in this realm are a good bass, and the Akai Unibass, or Fishman PowerChord Fx pedal.



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                • #9
                  Yeah I tried the whole octave pedal route but it really is just no replacement for a real bass- even a cheap one. Squier makes some very usable stuff at low prices these days so Id suggest one of those.
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                  • #10
                    Octave pedals pretty much suck. I have used quite a few. I have one patch in a boss multi effect that has a harmonizer patch that should be really awesome, but it just sounds bad with guitar. It's weird because it tracks really well with vocals. Like I can plug a mic in and it will totally make your voice sound like a big black guy or a little old lady. But when I plug the guitar in, it sounds synthesized in this unappealing way. I also bought one of those brown boss pedals and while back and it sounds surprisingly sh itty. The one in my podxt isn't really usable either.



                    I was trying to get something that would imply bass for using with my looper. i just never was able to find anything that I could use.
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                    • #11






                      Quote Originally Posted by ugameus
                      View Post

                      You can get a baritone neck from Warmoth, and I think USACG, that will fit a standard strat neck pocket. Maybe get one of those and slap it on a guitar you already have. If you like it, then acquire the rest of the parts for the guitar.




                      This is what I did. Found a Strat copy, slapped some new pickups in it and added a baritone neck. It works great.



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                      • #12
                        For pedals, Pigtronix Mothership has a sub-octave out that is so low it'll moves mountains. Tracks really well too.
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                        • #13
                          I am partial to baritone guitars, but it depends on what you want to do:

                          • If you want to play guitar, but play lower, go with the baritone or seven string.

                          • If you want to play bass, but go higher, play a bass VI.

                          • If you want to play bass and go lower, get a five string bass.

                          • If you want to play bass and go both lower and higher then get a six string bass.



                          I have owned a Schecter Hellcat bass VI and I also own baritones. I sold the Bass VI and got a six string bass tuned low B to B. The neck on the bass VI was too narrow for me for using the full range of right hand bass techniques (ie. slapping) Now I wish my six string bass had a slightly narrower neck. (sigh)



                          Another option is a seven string guitar.



                          "Seven string guitars can be considered baritone guitars with an additional high E string and the overall sound is essentially the same. Although seven-string guitars seem to be a bit more popular than baritone guitars, my experience is that it is much easier for most players of standard guitars to adapt to the baritone, because the seven-string's wider neck is difficult to handle. In addition, the baritone allows standard guitar players the ability to use familiar chord shapes. With the seven-string, the player needs to determine how to work with the additional string. The bottom line is that if you feel that six strings are not enough for you, then a seven-string may be for you. If you only want to play a guitar with a lower pitch, then the baritone is probably your best choice.



                          Guitar maker Jim Soloway put it this way: "The advantage of a baritone is that there is no learning curve. You just pick it up and play just like you always have but you're automatically transposed down. The disadvantages are that 1) everything is now in a different key and 2) you lose the high end range of the instrument. The advantages of a 7-string is that 1) everything remains in the same key; 2) you increase the low end range of the instrument; and 3) You maintain the high end range of the instrument. The disadvantage is that there is a very real learning curve to really take advantage of the added range of the instrument. So which is a better option probably depends on your purpose and your level of commitment. If you want an instant payoff without a big investment in learning, then buy a baritone. If you want to make a greater commitment and you're willing to do some serious work, then get a 7-string."



                          In my experience, transposing keys is easy if you have a basic understanding of music theory. Although I agree that seven string guitar is more difficult, I think the two instruments are equally rewarding with some serious work. It should be your goals, not your level of commitment, that should determine which type of guitar is right for you."

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                          • #14
                            I woud really like a Bass VI. Or a Squier Jaguar bass. I have a Squire P-Bass ( pig).

                            What I try to do, is use the Boss PS5 for looping some bass or just a shadow octave down.

                            Or I can plug the bass into it and do an octave up for an 8 string bass sound.
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                            • #15
                              Thanks so much for all of your responses. I guess this wasn't the no-brainer my epiphany led me to think it was, but you guys gave me a lot to consider. I think I'm going to give up on the Hellcat and start looking at baritones instead. I still want to try out a POG2, though, just because the demo videos I saw were so enticing.
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