The premier tool for doublers!
Often, we upright bassists find ourselves doubling on upright and electric basses on a single gig, and it's almost always a hassle. We have two completely different axes that require different EQ as well as different volume levels, so what do you do?? There are not a lot of bass amps with two channels, so we end up dragging A/B switches and other gear like equalizers to compensate. And I'll bet I'm not the only one who has played "musical cables" plugging and unplugging cords in the middle of a set! The Radial Engineering folks have created this amazing all-in-one box to provide the flexibility to use more than one bass without the headaches.
So many features are packed into this small, footswitchable box that it seems almost impossible. It's a hefty little box, weighing in at a little less than 2½ lbs., and is a compact 4½ x 7 inches. Radial Engineering builds solid gear; you can't wiggle the controls, it's built to last.
Let's talk about each feature so I can explain how I use it with my basses, and tell you all it is capable of doing. You'll also see a diagram below that we put together to display how you can hook it up to your gear.
First, it's an A/B switch for 1 or 2 basses, each with its own volume control, but it offers much more than that.
Note: the Bassbone was not designed to act as a preamp. With the EQ flat, each channel volume control at full, and the boost off, the unit pretty much offers unity gain-- the signal level at the input and the output is the same. The EQ section and boost can increase or decrease the signal to the degrees represented in the specifications shown below.
You may want to use Channel 1 for your bass guitar (I do) since mine has some onboard EQ, and Channel 1 has a neat slide switch with preset EQ settings. There are two "contour" settings as well as a "flat" setting. Shape 1 is sort of traditional, with some highs cut, while Shape 2 is the "modern" smiley curve midrange-cut sound.
Channel 2 has a 3-band Equalizer with controls to cut or boost the Lows, Mids, and Highs. I plug my upright or electric upright bass into this channel. (As an aside, the Bassbone does not have ultra-high (1 meg+) impedance inputs, so if you are using a specialized preamp with your pickup system it will probably still be necessary.)
Secondly, the Bassbone can be used with just one bass, electric or upright bass – if you plug just one bass in, it automatically senses it, and you now have switchable channels. With different tonal and volume setting for each channel, you can have two different tonal presets simply by switching channels. This can also be an ideal tool for the different sounds of pizzicato and arco - you can preset levels and EQ and switch between them for the ideal amplified plucked and bowed sound!
Ok, we've established that the A/B switch feature makes for quick, seamless changes between electric and upright, active and passive electric basses, EUB and URB, or whatever other instruments you're doubling on, but there are even more features:
The image below illustrates how instruments and devices can interface and be controlled by the Bassbone. Of course, only the Bassbone and its AC adaptor are included.
- Dedicated tuner output gives you the opportunity to tune without unplugging - and it's optimized to accentuate the fundamental frequency, which reduces 'needle wobble’ (making tuning faster and easier).
- Professional-quality direct out (DI) provides an XLR output for direct connection to a mixing board - perfect for those larger gigs where you need to drive a stage amp AND send a feed to the house.
- Effects loop for connecting to outboard EQ's, compressors, and effects units; it shares a switch with the boost control.
- Boost control with its own level knob that you can use to get a bit more volume for solos, or to "punch through" a dense mix. The Boost footswitch is controlled by a slide switch that assigns it to boost only, effects only, or both.
impedance: 470k ohm at the input jack
heavy duty mechanical switches
LED indicators: Large 3 mm OD ultra-bright light
Boost level: 0dB to +12dB
3 band EQ on input 2:
+/- 12dB @ 75 Hz
+/- 10dB @ 470 Hz
+/- 16dB @ 5.6 KHz
Shape 1 on input 1:
+4.5 dB @ 110 Hz
-5.1 dB @ 650 Hz
+2.7 dB @ 4.3 Khz
Shape 2 on the input 1:
+3.7 dB @ 75 Hz
-6.3 dB @ 350 Hz
+11 dB @ 5.6Khz
Output impedence: 10K Ohm
Balanced Output impedence: 600 Ohms
Ground lift: Lifts ground at output 2
Construction: 14 gauge steel, baked enamel finish
Power supply: 15VDC 400mA, center pole positive - 110v for use in USA/Canada only, we cannot supply an adapter for use in other countries
Gollihur Music Bassbone FAQ
Q: Can I use any two basses with the Bassbone?
A: Yes, the Bassbone is designed for use with basses of all kinds.
Q: Do I still need a preamp for my upright bass pickup (system) with the Bassbone?
A: If you use a preamp with your pickup when you plug into a regular bass amp now, you will probably still need it with the Bassbone. If you are using a two pickup or pickup/mic system, that two channel mixer/preamp is still needed. The input impedance of the Bassbone is 470k ohms, less than the optimal 1 megohm input impedance most upright bass pickups require, though the Bass Max is usually ok with that impedance. For further details on the preamp requirement concept, see my page, "Do I need a Preamp?"
The Bassbone is not a preamp. It is a unity gain device, which means that the level in is roughly the same as the level out when the Bassbone's volume controls are at full-on. Engaging tone controls can increase or decrease the relative volumes depending on their settings.
Q: Do I still need a direct box with the Bassbone?
A: No… The Bassbone has a balanced out that sends your post-Bassbone sound to the mixer.
Q: Can I use the Tuner out to drive another amp or effect?
A: You can, but the sound may not be what you want. Radial Engineering has optimized the tuner out to provide a typical tuner circuit with a fundamental tone to aid in the most accurate and quickest tuning. This sound output will not sound the same as the output from the Bassbone.
Q: I have an active and a passive bass. Which should be used where?
A: Both can work in either channel. If you are a purist, you may want o have your passive bass in channel-1 and set it flat. This would allow you amp to control your EQ for this bass. If you want to beef up your passive, then channel 2 will give you more control.
Q: Can I use alternate power supplies with the Bassbone?
A: No. The Bassbone requires a more powerful 15V supply than a typical 9-volt pedal in order to provide maximum power handling and headroom. This is why it is included with the unit.
Q: Can you provide non-U.S. power supply for use with the Bassbone?
A: Sorry, we are not permitted to do so. We can only sell the 110v input, 15VDC 400mA output (center pole positive) unit suited for use in the US and compatible countries. If you travel you may wish to source alternative units.
Q: Can I use the effect send to drive another amplifier?
A: Technically, yes, but one should consider grounding issues to avoid hum and/or shock hazards.
Q: Why is there only one Effects Loop jack?
A: The jack is a TRS (tip-ring-sleeve, aka stereo) such as are used with professional mixers. The tip is the send, the ring is the return. A "y cable" with a stereo plug on one end and two mono jacks or plugs on the other end enables you to insert effects. Some effects boxes also have a TRS insert jack so you could use just one cable; check your documentation.
Q: Will the Bassbone alter the tone of my bass?
A: When using channel-1 with the contour switch set to off or bypass, the original tone of the instrument will pass through the bass bone without adding EQ. Keep in mind however that changing the output level on channel-1 will cause the perception to shift due to the volume change.