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I noticed that '68 uses a single guitar to produce bass and electric guitar sounds. How is this possible? You can see in the video below that Josh is playing a guitar hooked up to a guitar and bass amp.

You can see most of his effects pedals at 2:22. One is an EQ and another is a Boss multi-effect pedal. I'm not sure about the others.

I attempted this myself using a Digitech Whammy by running the dry out into my guitar amp and the wet out into a bass amp with the down octave setting, but the wet signal was really muddy. It might be because my guitar is tuned down to B and the Whammy just can't handle that low of a signal.

Local H is another 2 piece, but their guitarist uses a custom guitar with a built in bass pickup and two outputs.

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That's not a multi effect pedal, its a RC20xl (with a broken knob). The pedal with the sliders is an EHX POG2, not an EQ. The black one is a radial bigshot EFX. I'm not sure what the left most one is. The POG is essential for this type of sound. I've voted to close this as it's not appropriate for this site. –  Fergus Apr 8 at 7:16
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@Fergus He is not asking to identify a song, genre, instrument, etc. He is asking how to achieve a bass tone with a guitar, providing the video as an example. The question is "How can you get guitar and bass tone out of a guitar?". The question is not "How can you get the guitar and bass tone from this song/group/video out of a guitar?" The question's scope is general, not particular. –  JCPedroza Apr 8 at 8:32
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The POG2 is in all likelyhood responsible for creating the bass-like sound. It's a Polyphonic Octave Generator. I have an EHX HOG, which does this and then some. The tracking is very good on that one (i.e. how quick it is transforming the tones), I would be surprised if the technology was very different from the two pedals. It might give a better result than the Whammy, which creates a quite artificial sound. Try one out, or an simpler octave pedal like @JCPedroza is talking about. (I also think this question is valid.) –  Meaningful Username Apr 8 at 11:32
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buy a 8 string guitar or a whammy pedal it can do pitch shifts down. –  Neil Meyer Apr 9 at 15:32
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See the information about Royal Blood in this answer; bass split into guitar and bass amps with various pitch shifts. –  jonrsharpe Sep 5 at 8:19

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The bass is normally tuned one octave lower than the guitar, therefore you can achieve the same frequency range by lowering the frequency by one octave. You can achieve this with any form of frequency shifting, like an octave pedal.

You can then adjust the timbre to carve the sound towards a bass sound, like he is doing by routing the signal to a bass amp. You can also do it before the amp with processes that shape the harmonic content, like EQing.

You need to be very careful about all these though. Some processes (including octave pedals) sound better than others. Test everything, make sure the item produces the desired effect before making any purchase.

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Thanks, looks like a POG and an EQ pedal will be all that I'd need to add to my current set up. And ya, the Whammy sounds terrible for this application, but it's the only pitch shifting effect I currently own. –  jrummell Apr 9 at 15:20

There is a multitude of effects that you can use to achieve this setting.

The whammy really works and is very good for pitch shifting, and i know where you're coming from when you say it sounds muddy, It can sound muddy and even glitchy, which is actually a feature that a lot of people like. I dont know what is your style of play when using the whammy, but for example, any chord that you play, tuned in B or E or whatever tuning you prefer, will sound muddy with the whammy IV. Now if you really need to play chords in that octave lower setting, you can go with the whammy V.

The real advantage of using the whammy is that you can go wild and change the setting to 2 up and do a crazy solo.

When not talking about the whammy, you have the POG, which is an amazing pedal, and has the advantage of being able to blend in multiple octaves, like you want a little bit of 1 up mixed with the dry sound and a lot of 1 down... you can do that with the POG, which is good, but versus the whammy, there is no real time pitch change, that might be bad or not for you, depending on your play and what you want to do with the pedal.

My recommendation, and provided that you want to have a mean gritty tone that sounds full in a 2 piece band, you can go with the EHX Micro synth, which is much like a POG but with some added effects, like the square wave, to get a fuzzy distorted almost-8bit-like tone which depending on your needs can be interesting.

Like these, there are millions of pitch shifters out there that can do what you are seeking. Most are better for this than the whammy because 1st you have a mix control and 2nd because of the improved tracking on polyphonic sounds (e.g. chords), but you will lose the ability to change the effect in real time and there is no dry output (as far as i know, correct me if i'm wrong)

In the end of the day, it's really about what you want to do with the pedal. Now that you know what the pedals can do, you need to have a good idea of what you can do with them, and for that, there's no better way to learn this than testing the gear, like has been said, hit the road and find a shop or a couple of shops if you can't find one with all the effects, and just try them out for a while to better understand your needs.

One last note, ask the guys on the shop. They will have biased opinions most of the times to sell you their stuff, but if you follow my golden rule you will not have any problems:

Never buy the first you try

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One approach to achieving a guitar-plus-bass effect would be to use two strings of the guitar for bass notes, and the other four for "guitar" notes. One may then adjust the balance of how each pickup detects each string by adding pieces of steel. This can be especially effective with a humbucker pickup: placing a piece of steel between the two humbucker magnets that handle a particular string will significantly mute the string. If one were to rewire a two-humbucker guitar so that each pickup went to a separate jack, it would be easy to have one jack output primarily the bottom two strings while the other one output all six. That would make it possible to apply the effects of an octave generator only to the bottom two strings, without making the sound of the upper strings "muddy".

Note that if you use this approach, it may be necessary to either use an alternate tuning or else alter the way certain chords are played; any chord which would normally use just the upper four strings would sound very wimpy because of the lack of a bass string. The D chord, for example, would be played not as XX0232 but as X54232 (preferred) or X57775. Additionally, six-string chords should when practical omit or mute the fifth string, so G would be 3X0003 (vs 320003), E would be 0X2100 (vs 022100), and F would be 1X3211 (vs either XX3211 or 133211).

Although I haven't wired my guitar to use separate bass and treble jacks, I use a tuning where every chord uses 5 or 6 strings, and slightly mute the treble strings to (relatively) boost the bass. Since the bass isn't separated out, I can't use an octave generator on it, but making the bass strings louder gives a brighter sound than turning up the bass knob on the amplifier.

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