Jump to content
roscoe5

Helix For Bass

Recommended Posts

Wow Line 6, Helix is AMAZING for bass!  It's such a bonus since I did NOT buy Helix for bass at all.  I was loving it for guitar though.

 

I had given up on processors and multi-effects for bass a long time ago as I would loose low end and punch just running through a processor with no effects.  I was a true-bypass, analog snob when it came to bass tone.   I've had various Digitech, Boss, Eleven Rack, Pods XT, X3, and HD500x, and never liked any of them for bass, even for effects only.

 

Yesterday, for the first time I plugged the Helix 1/4" out into the effects return of my Mesa M9 2x12 and a Helix XLR out my JBL Eon 515XT and played some bass through it just to try and help another forum member out.  I set it to the Cali 400 Ch1 model (Amp only) and was floored.  I went and grabbed my real Mesa Bass 400+ (which needs to be retubed so I cant take it out live) and A+B'd them.  They are VERY close.  Funny thing is, I'm actually preferring the Helix Cali 400 into the effects return of the M9 over the real 400+ into the same powerhouse 2x12 cab.  It's a little less muddy while still keeping the all-tube vibe.  Now I don't have to retube the 400+ and drag around 80+ pounds for a good tube bass tone.  I could 4CM the M9 to get its preamp back in play, but I'm not sure that it's worth the cabling.  There is an M9 model in Helix that sounds pretty good, but I'm still loving the Cali 400.

 

I went ahead a committed myself to using the Helix for this Friday's gig.  I spent 2 hours today setting up a single preset for stomp mode with Vetta wah, LA Comp, 2 distortions, 2 filters/synths, flanger, chorus, 10 band EQ, and volume.  My basic tone is just the Cali 400 and LA Comp.  I love how most effects have a mix control.  The Vetta wah is super tweakable for bass.  The tuner is great for bass too, and has no issue picking up the low B.

 

FYI, I was running the Mesa M9 with Boss tuner, chorus, flanger; Markbass Compressore,Super Synth, and Mini Distortion; ProCo Rat; Keeley Mod Ibanez TS-9; Morley Bass Wah.

 

Everything sounds good at home, we'll see what it's like on stage.

 

Thanks again Line 6 for simplifying my setup.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Always been a guitar player here since forever. Never knew I liked playing bass until I actually got a bass a couple of years ago. Never used one with a real amp either so my first foray into this was with an HD500. Got decent results with it but there seemed to be always something missing that I could not identify. And it was a real pain to even get to that point. Nightmarish inducing. Things improved dramatically with the addition of the bass model pack for the HD, which is actually using Helix's modeling method and then ported to the HD.

 

Then Helix shows up, and I can say I'm not disappointed in the least when using it for bass. It's pretty easy to get a nice growly, piano-like tone that easily fills the lower frequencies and behaves nicely with the effects. My one and only bass uses Nordstrand Big Singles. I'm partial to the SVT Bright.

 

The tuner tracks really well with a bass, but the low B does move around quite a bit. Still accurate though.

 

Haven't tried any wahs for bass yet and you're mention of it says I should try it one of these days.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The tuner tracks really well with a bass, but the low B does move around quite a bit. Still accurate though.

 

Haven't tried any wahs for bass yet and you're mention of it says I should try it one of these days.

 

FYI, I have an active 5 string jazz bass and had to turn on the Guitar Pad in the Global Settings for bass. May not be an issue for passive basses.  This may affect the tuner as well.

 

Most of the wah models have a mix control.  The wah models with additional low and high frequency adjustments can really be tailored to bass.

 

That's a fun fact about the HD bass model pack.  I must say I was having a bit of remorse about selling my HD500x when the HD packs came out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FYI, I have an active 5 string jazz bass and had to turn on the Guitar Pad in the Global Settings for bass. May not be an issue for passive basses.  This may affect the tuner as well.

 

Most of the wah models have a mix control.  The wah models with additional low and high frequency adjustments can really be tailored to bass.

 

That's a fun fact about the HD bass model pack.  I must say I was having a bit of remorse about selling my HD500x when the HD packs came out.

 

It's a little bit of an issue but nothing major. Lowering the pickup a little helps, at least with passives, rather than padding the input.

 

I really like that all but one wah has frequency adjustments. Makes them much more usable, but ultimately because of that, it doesn't seem to make much difference which one you choose. They can all be made to sound very similar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im really glad to read Helix is great for Bass.

 

Although I do bass more in the sample realm I may upgrade to a physical one at some point.  Its not on my immediate to do list.

I use Shreddage Bass, and Ample Sound Bass plugins/sample packs. (AmpleSound is really high quality but more expensive. Shreddage Bass is cheaper, but not quite as good imo)

 

I too have never got a great tone for bass out of a physical guitar modeler such as Pod, Eleven Rack.  This is great news about the Helix being good for it, thanks for the posts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a similar setup to OP, a 400+ that I run into a Markbass 1x15 (Randy Jackson cab). On it's own, that setup is great, but that head is so freaking heavy and christ is it expensive to retube (fortunately I got Guitar Center to pay for that when I bought it used). The last (also first) gig I played with the Helix live I used my real rig for stage monitoring and ran the 400+ model out of the Helix for FOH. I got some really nice compliments on my tone from people in the crowd, one guy in the other band couldn't believe I was feeding FOH with an all modeled tone. I will say that I noticed that when messing with it through headphones I thought the Muff model would have enough bass but it seriously cuts that through a proper rig, so I had to EQ on the fly. I'll probably try to set up a split path when I get a chance... I'm also really liking sticking an SVT preamp in the chain to use as a dirt pedal. I would love to be able to bring just the Helix to a gig, but I feel like it will sou d dumb on stage through monitors...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a similar setup to OP, a 400+ that I run into a Markbass 1x15 (Randy Jackson cab). On it's own, that setup is great, but that head is so freaking heavy and christ is it expensive to retube (fortunately I got Guitar Center to pay for that when I bought it used). The last (also first) gig I played with the Helix live I used my real rig for stage monitoring and ran the 400+ model out of the Helix for FOH. I got some really nice compliments on my tone from people in the crowd, one guy in the other band couldn't believe I was feeding FOH with an all modeled tone. I will say that I noticed that when messing with it through headphones I thought the Muff model would have enough bass but it seriously cuts that through a proper rig, so I had to EQ on the fly. I'll probably try to set up a split path when I get a chance... I'm also really liking sticking an SVT preamp in the chain to use as a dirt pedal. I would love to be able to bring just the Helix to a gig, but I feel like it will sou d dumb on stage through monitors...

 

Thinking of splitting the signal after everything, adding a cab model, and routing to Helix XLR to FOH as well.  And I love the idea of running an SVT preamp as dirt!  Cant wait to try it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thinking of splitting the signal after everything, adding a cab model, and routing to Helix XLR to FOH as well. And I love the idea of running an SVT preamp as dirt! Cant wait to try it.

That is essentially my routing. Splits right before the 400+ model so I have no modeling going to my rig on stage and then a full model of my rig going out the XLRs to FOH. I actually set it so that both outputs are outputting at fixed levels, too, which works quite nicely. I'm considering if it might not be better to just have a clean power amp to plug into the cab instead for when I need to bring an amp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm considering if it might not be better to just have a clean power amp to plug into the cab instead for when I need to bring an amp.

I used to have a Markbass Little Mark III, kind of wish i would have kept it. The light weight and analog power section would probably be a good match for Helix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree 100% I bought this for guitar and have used it almost exclusively for bass in band situations. The fact you can literally blend EVERY effect with the dry signal makes this thing absolutely incredible for bass. I have been running an A/B path with A going thorough a simple EQ bass boost and the B path running through the Muff, bit crusher, and rat(only 1 is on at any time). But the best part is I set the A/B path levels to the expression pedal so I can easily blend the distortion in without having the dreaded anemic sounds of most dirt boxes.

 

Also I highly suggest throwing one of the leslie speakers into the mix and dialing the actual sweeping effect down. It creates a super fat tone when dialed in correctly.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the dual path and Leslie tip. It's amazing how mentally programmed I am when it comes to bass signal chain. Im an open minded free spirit when setting up guitar patches.

 

I did get a couple of good bass patches set up for a couple of Muse tunes we do, Hysteria and Time Is Running Out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Voted up quite a few.  Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made a couple of those!

Glad there are other bass players rocking the helix too!

 

It would definitely be cool to see what interesting things everyone else is doing for bass

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My physical bass rig is massive with multiple splits to allow blends of cleans, synths, drives etc.

 

Helix can't do the amount of splits I want, but I can get very close if I use my second amp and an always on super clean & deep underneath.

 

The existing drive pedals aren't very good for bass, but some of the guitar amps are excellent when mixed with bass amps. I think I've nailed the Nolly bass sound.

 

I would love to see models of the Darkglass bass pedals coming.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I would love to see models of the Darkglass bass pedals coming.

Post the request up on Idealscale. 

I would vote for it, as I am sure others would too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow Line 6, Helix is AMAZING for bass!  It's such a bonus since I did NOT buy Helix for bass at all.  I was loving it for guitar though.

 

I had given up on processors and multi-effects for bass a long time ago as I would loose low end and punch just running through a processor with no effects.  I was a true-bypass, analog snob when it came to bass tone.   I've had various Digitech, Boss, Eleven Rack, Pods XT, X3, and HD500x, and never liked any of them for bass, even for effects only.

 

Yesterday, for the first time I plugged the Helix 1/4" out into the effects return of my Mesa M9 2x12 and a Helix XLR out my JBL Eon 515XT and played some bass through it just to try and help another forum member out.  I set it to the Cali 400 Ch1 model (Amp only) and was floored.  I went and grabbed my real Mesa Bass 400+ (which needs to be retubed so I cant take it out live) and A+B'd them.  They are VERY close.  Funny thing is, I'm actually preferring the Helix Cali 400 into the effects return of the M9 over the real 400+ into the same powerhouse 2x12 cab.  It's a little less muddy while still keeping the all-tube vibe.  Now I don't have to retube the 400+ and drag around 80+ pounds for a good tube bass tone.  I could 4CM the M9 to get its preamp back in play, but I'm not sure that it's worth the cabling.  There is an M9 model in Helix that sounds pretty good, but I'm still loving the Cali 400.

 

I went ahead a committed myself to using the Helix for this Friday's gig.  I spent 2 hours today setting up a single preset for stomp mode with Vetta wah, LA Comp, 2 distortions, 2 filters/synths, flanger, chorus, 10 band EQ, and volume.  My basic tone is just the Cali 400 and LA Comp.  I love how most effects have a mix control.  The Vetta wah is super tweakable for bass.  The tuner is great for bass too, and has no issue picking up the low B.

 

FYI, I was running the Mesa M9 with Boss tuner, chorus, flanger; Markbass Compressore,Super Synth, and Mini Distortion; ProCo Rat; Keeley Mod Ibanez TS-9; Morley Bass Wah.

 

Everything sounds good at home, we'll see what it's like on stage.

 

Thanks again Line 6 for simplifying my setup.

 

Nice review, thanks! I am looking to sort out something like this for Helix + bass.. I jam with my buddies on Friday nights, and I trade off playing guitar and bass with the other bassist. Using his Hartke bass stack; been messing with a variety of ways to connect it all up, haven't got it dialed in quite yet.

 

Any chance you can upload that patch to Customtone?

 

I tried doing 4CM; I didn't realize his FX loop was switchable between serial and parallel.. Total mess. Had really good results running 1/4" from Helix to the FX return, thus far, that's been the best. Still not 100% dialed in with the bass to Helix, in terms of using aux vs guitar in, pad on seems to be required (active 5 string bass). Was also running to an L2t, and was overloading something, either in the signal chain or the L2t, sounded good, then sounded really bad. Went back to just using the Harke rig.

 

Definitely sounds better in the recording when the Helix is processing the bass; bass direct off an amp with no mic on the cab sounds fine in the room, but sterile in the mix. Loving the Helix bass amp models!!

 

I might want to also experiment with sending preamp signal to the Hartke and full bass model + cab for a direct signal to the recording; haven't got there with it yet. Been running full amp+cab to the Hartke fx return, and sending same thing via XLR to the recording, definitely need to work more on what I am sending to the bass rig vs to the mixer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Post the request up on Idealscale. 

I would vote for it, as I am sure others would too.

 

I've put it up.

 

Spread the word! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is essentially my routing. Splits right before the 400+ model so I have no modeling going to my rig on stage and then a full model of my rig going out the XLRs to FOH. I actually set it so that both outputs are outputting at fixed levels, too, which works quite nicely. I'm considering if it might not be better to just have a clean power amp to plug into the cab instead for when I need to bring an amp.

Question?, How do you set the Helix for: " I actually set it so that both outputs are outputting at fixed levels" So they don't change upon reboot from power off?

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Question?, How do you set the Helix for: " I actually set it so that both outputs are outputting at fixed levels" So they don't change upon reboot form power off?

In the global settings you can change which outputs the volume controls. You can set it to multi, XLR, 1/4", or digital. If you set it to digital than all your regular hardware outs output at fixed levels (which can be specified as line/instrument/mic level depending on the output).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you know if "setting it to digital", will mantain, say (main volume knob-large one) when set at 50%. Will the gain level on the XLR output stay on the same "Db" output, as long as the main knob is not moved. In between power ups? Thank you for responding :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you know if "setting it to digital", will mantain, say (main volume knob-large one) when set at 50%. Will the gain level on the XLR output stay on the same "Db" output, as long as the main knob is not moved. In between power ups? Thank you for responding :-)

 

No, it has nothing to do with where the knob is set. It simply outputs a more or less standard line-level or mic-level signal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello fellow Helix and bass users.

 

I have a question. The tuner in the Helix is pretty good, but I've noticed it does not work when I tune the bass lower than A#. Is there any way to adjust the tuner to work with A and below?

 

inb4 'don't play lower than B', but nonetheless.

 

I have 5-string Musicman Bongo HH, if that matters.

 

Looking foward to hearing from someone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've noticed slightly less sensitivity some difficulty even with the E string of my 4-string Stingray when tuning. Response is improved if I adjust my volume and tone controls (more treble less bass), but often just use a separate bass tuner. Does B tuning work as good as, say, your hi G string? There has to be a point of diminishing returns with nearly any digital tuner on really low frequencies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've noticed slightly less sensitivity some difficulty even with the E string of my 4-string Stingray when tuning. Response is improved if I adjust my volume and tone controls (more treble less bass), but often just use a separate bass tuner. Does B tuning work as good as, say, your hi G string? There has to be a point of diminishing returns with nearly any digital tuner on really low frequencies.

 

I have seen this issue on tuners for basses before. It is less than an ideal solution (particularly if your intonation is not correct) but tuning by hitting the octave or the harmonic can help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So whats a nice feeling easy to play bass for Helix these days, for a guy that plays guitar?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So whats a nice feeling easy to play bass for Helix these days, for a guy that plays guitar?

I guess it kinda depends on your budget and style of music Spikey. Myself I have an Epi TBird and a Warwick Rockbass Streamer and I definitely like the subtle difference in tone and feel between them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the money, hard to beat a Peavey. Like a Milestone model, or similar. Or, find someone who plays bass and have them look at some used models with you.

 

Get a full scale 4-string. Set up is important if you want it "nice feeling and easy to play."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So whats a nice feeling easy to play bass for Helix these days, for a guy that plays guitar?

 

Just bought my wife a Sire Marcus Miller M3.  $329 delivered, plays and sounds great and has selectable active/passive electronics.  The active electronics run at 18V and the bass weighs 7.5 lbs.

 

My Epiphone Thunderbird IV and Yamaha 5-string are feeling left out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just bought my wife a Sire Marcus Miller M3. 

 

Where did u find one? Several places are out...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just bought my wife a Sire Marcus Miller M3. $329 delivered, plays and sounds great and has selectable active/passive electronics. The active electronics run at 18V and the bass weighs 7.5 lbs.

Got a Sire Bass, the Jazz bass version, more than a year ago. It's a beast! I simply don't understand how it can be so cheap and so good. I think mine is better than most Mexican fenders and even as good as some American made ones. Maybe I lucked out, but they are great, and cool to be able to switch between passive and active controls.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding bass and the Helix, I've been experimenting with them to record bass tracks in a home studio. I usually record bass by mixing DI input (through a nice DI box), and a mic'ed cabinet (AKG D12 with an Ampeg B15). 

 

I thought I'd see what kind of results I could get from the Helix. First I did a split recording of my usual DI, and the Helix dry signal (USB 7). They were close enough that they nulled out if I reversed the phase on 1 track, and I couldn't hear any difference between the two through good headphones or monitors. So, the Helix passed test 1 (for the DI track).

 

For the mic'ed cabinet track, I set up a simple preset using the Tuck n Go amp block with an RedWirez B15 IR, and the IR at 100%. That recording was very convincing when compared to recordings of the real thing, with a lot less hassle.

 

This experiment has been promising enough for me to change my normal workflow for recording bass, and just use the Helix. Plus, I can reamp the dry track if needed, to try different amps, cabinets, or IRs when mixing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice to read that Helix is able to make it easier to change the way your recordings with a bass were made....

 

 

Hey- on another off topic- Ive also been looking at the Fender "standard" series Precision and Jazz bass models. I had no idea their differences (until reading a bit) or which one would be easier to play? Ive played electric guitar (lead mostly) for over 45 years but I am no real bass player (yet). So to all Fender Bass players which one of these might be the better choice with Helix?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the Jazz bass is easier for guitarist to adjust to, because of the neck being thinner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True ... if you are a guitarist and want to pick up bass as a "second" instrument, I would get something with a narrower, thinner neck. So, the J over the P for sure. Tonally, they would both work great with the Helix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where did u find one? Several places are out...

 

Bought it direct from their website.  I see they're out of stock at the moment though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A thing of beauty! If you're coming from guitar, you may want to try a bit lighter strings (100's instead of 110s). I like DR MLR-45 Hi Beams. And make sure the action is set low enough for you, sometimes they're set high at the factory, but I'm not sure about the newer J-basses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×