Tech Tips: Octaves and Origin

Febuary 17th, 2023 |  John Dines


This month’s Tech Tips is inspired by a couple of things. Firstly, in the year since the launch of the BASSRIG pedals, we’ve seen a few players who play guitar and bass and own both the BASSRIG and RevivalDRIVE pedals from Origin’s Amp Recreation range. Secondly, we have had a couple of inquiries from players wanting to use a BASSRIG on an octave-down guitar signal. 

So, as we have a couple of different octave pedals kicking around at the office, we thought it would be appropriate to set up an octave-down guitar rig and an octave-up bass rig – both with dual parallel signal paths and gratuitous use of Origin pedals. If your band has one more member than it does seats in the van, then watch out! These tones could ruin someone’s rock ‘n’ roll dream! 

Getting high on bass:

Like any good musician, we’re going to start at the bottom and check out the bass setup first. The idea is to shift our bass guitar signal an octave up and blend that with our original tone, resulting in a sound something like a guitar and bass playing a riff together. To get the biggest sound possible, we’re going to run separate “bass” and “guitar” signal paths using a BASSRIG Super Vintage and a RevivalDRIVE Compact, then add a couple of pedals to get things sounding really huge and cohesive. 

The first thing in the chain is a Humdinger splitter from TheGigRig, splitting our Fender Jazz Bass signal into two separate paths. Our normal bass guitar path consists of a Cali76 Stacked Edition compressor and a BASSRIG Super Vintage. The BASSRIG is set to a moderately overdriven rock tone, with a touch of clean signal blended in. No bass tone is complete without a compressor, but our Stacked Edition serves a couple of extra purposes. As discussed in ‘Tech Tips – Modern Bass Tones’, blended clean/dirty bass tones can benefit from compression as it helps the dynamics of the clean signal match those of the dirty signal, stopping unwanted clean peaks from poking through the overdriven tone. In this rig, the extra compression and sustain available from the Stacked Edition will aid the clean and dirty parts of the bass tone in keeping up with our octave-up signal. 

The other output from the Humdinger feeds our octave pedal, in this case a Boss OC-5 with its handy +1 Octave mode. If we were being sensible, this would run straight into our RevivalDRIVE Compact and off to a Two Notes C.A.B M cabinet simulator, but we are most definitely not being sensible. Between the OC-5 and the RevivalDRIVE, we have enlisted the services of a Zvex Fuzz Factory, ensuring that our faux guitar tone stays adequately disguised and appropriately silly. 

Below, you can find a diagram of the whole signal path for this setup as well as an audio clip demonstrating the following: Bass tone, octave-up tone without fuzz, octave-up tone with fuzz and finally, the whole rig together. 


Getting low on guitar:

Now onto guitar. For this example, we are going a little less heavy and a little more funky. Mildly overdriven guitar, doubled with a cleaner octave-down tone can give a really good “tutti riff” sound, so that’s what we’ll aim for. 

Again, we’ve got the Humdinger first in the chain, splitting the signal from a Telecaster. The normal “guitar” signal path is pretty straightforward – just the RevivalDRIVE Compact running a classic “cranked vintage amp” tone straight into the C.A.B M with a bit of spring reverb. 

For the “bass” side, we’ve switched to a Boss OC-2 with its infamous tracking and generally vintage and funky feel. Running this straight into the BASSRIG sounds okay, but we’ve got the same issue as before: the driven guitar signal has more sustain than the clean octave-down signal, so we need some compression to unify the two. 

Something that is known to help when using octave pedals is to run a compressor before the octave (see diagram below). Placing the Cali76 Stacked Edition in front of the OC-2 not only solves our dynamics problem, but it also gives the OC-2 a stronger, more consistent signal to work with, improving tracking slightly and making the octave-down tone more prominent. The huge sustain from the Stacked Edition gives this signal an almost synth-like quality, rather than a bass guitar sound, which suits the not-very-convincing nature of the OC-2’s lower octaves and makes things generally funkier. 

Check out the diagram below and listen to the audio clip to hear: guitar signal, octave-down with no compression, octave-down with compression, then both sounds together. 



Granted, this hasn’t been the most scientific instalment in the Tech Tips series. But, like most of us, you probably own enough pedals to give this a go. We should warn you, both these tones are highly addictive, but they might be just what you need if the guitarist or bassist in your band won’t do as they’re told!