We’ve come a long way in the microcosmic and possibly prehistoric realm of bass equipment. Gone are the days of carrying a double bass in a ludicrously heavy, plastic case from one jazz joint to the next beer-soaked hole in the wall on a Friday night. Now everything may simply be strapped to one’s back and you’re set.
Some time ago, when I began my journey into the world of bass gear, an ominous silence was heard whenever the words ‘multi effects pedal board’ were uttered. It was a taboo subject like donkey-porn or feminine ‘itching’.
Muffs (sic), Wah-wahs, fuzzes, octavors, looping stations, chorus, and reverb pedals were a no-go concept to many bassists.
Both players and onlookers alike have never really taken this concept seriously. Beyond the uneducated, un-creative dogma there were also the simple practicalities. Imagine tracking down and buying all these effects individually and then attaching them, en masse to a home-cut plank of wood with enough room for all the patch cables – that’d be about as much fun as watching a two hour movie at a paint drying seminar.
Let’s fast forward a few years then, to probably one of the most important gear discoveries I have yet made. It occurred during one particularly sweaty, gruelling and frustrating bass session at the Tone Factory in Las Vegas. I needed a certain sound and it was driving all of us mad. The band’s engineers and I were frantically tweaking and re-tweaking preamps, bass heads, Hardware EQ’s, console EQ’s, dynamics processors and anything else that came under our exhausted, perspiration-sheened fingers and hard won, thousand yard stares. I realized we’d hit a wall.
So what is it?
The BOSS GT-10B is nothing short of a Pandora’s Box of tone – and one that few bassists will admit to having opened up and even fewer will openly talk about.
Back in the day, the top producers and remixers (like Nelle Hooper) would wheel their rack gear into the studio covered in thick, black cloth so that no one could see what specialized tech they were using. They would lock themselves in the studio with no visitors and leave the same way they turned up. The reason being was that their cutting-edge value was defined by their tones and therefore their equipment.
I went online and really searched hard. Although I discovered that quite a few bassists have used the GT10-B to blend myriad different effects (this would also mean they’d never have to spend thousands on single effects pedals), none of them were saying anything about it. It were as if they’d stumbled onto something that was best kept secret.
Go to Google and try looking up ‘all-in-one effects pedal boards’. Nothing (save some tiny, toyish-looking boxes) will populate your search results. Why do the guitar kids get to play with cool long boards and we get the crappy hand-me-downs? Again, the ugly stepchild remark holds true. Anyway, after popping up at my local music store I quickly discovered that in the entire United States only two, brand new models remained for sale. One in New York City, and the other was right there in front of me. I bought it, furtively transported it home, opened it up like a Nintendo 64 in 1996 and plugged in.
Housed in a heavy, pressed steel chassis, the GT-10B will withstand an eye-twitching level of abuse. On the front you have a total of 8 foot switches that actually do something. The bottom row are all channel presets that can be manipulated then saved to the board itself. The two fancy ones on the right with the “CTL” letters are extra effects that can be added and, either enhanced or reserved on your settings. It comes with a massive expression pedal for volume control and, you click the front end of the pedal the Wah-Wah turns on (just like a Morley), thus giving you the opportunity to play the dopest bass jams from your Dad’s favourite porno flicks. I recommend the soundtrack to Boogie Nights. Now the top 2 foot switches are how you navigate the 50 preset and 50 malleable channels that this board offers. For each channel there are 4 options in which to save any presets you want to keep or experiment with. If you do the math, (I did it already, so calm down) you have over 200 channel variations to choose from, right under your feet.
Trixx of the Trade
If you were to click both top switches, activating the phrase looping station, you’d be entering into what they call ‘The Parallel Chain’. You can stack massive amounts of phrases, one on top of the other by clicking the record button for the desired effect each time. This feature requires you to be precise and accurate on dubbing phrases but once mastered it becomes worryingly addicting – like binge-watching on Netflix. The GT-10B can be adjusted to adapt to anything its output signal is being sent to. Amp with tweeter, amp with no tweeter, line with headphones, board out, etc. And, if the signal is too hot you have an output knob that can be adjusted just in case the sound guy is being a dick (believe me – it happens). The EZ tone feature allows you to save and overwrite any of the sounds in the massive preset bank library. All the effects one could possibly desire are designated in a row of clear buttons that can be activated/de-activated instantly. This may all seem complicated but as soon you make your first patch you’ll start to feel less intimidated. Now that’s the front. The back is even more impressive.
Containing two sub outputs for XLR, two Midi in/outs, 2 quarter inch outputs for either mono or stereo, 1 quarter inch input, headphone and digital output, an amp control, and if you are just trying to be that royal pain in the ass they included an extra pedal output for additional control foot switches. The USB input is critical when it comes to easy adjustment of this behemoth allowing you to edit patches with the point and click app on a laptop backstage or at the mixing console. You’ll need to download the client software and driver which you can find on the BOSS website.
The GT-10B is the Holy FX-Grail of all Bassdom, used in highly unlikely settings and at the loftiest of commercial music plateaus. Bassists such as Robert “Bubby” Lewis (Snoop Dogg/Lupe Fiasco) and the Gospel/R&B king Andrew Gouché both appear in videos waxing lyrical and demoing this board – though you’ll find suspiciously few others.
As far as ownership goes it has a somewhat steep learning curve, but nothing a dedicated sound-seeker and preset fiddler will be fazed by. It’s tough enough to handle butter-fingered roadies and the rest of the Crew Clutz Clan so, if you’re lucky enough to find one – my best advice is just BUY IT. A great many of us out there pray that one day Bassists will get the Second Coming of multi-effects pedals but, until that day the GT-10B will remain the bass player’s dirty little secret.
Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later
PowerPC G4, G5 1 GHz or higher / Intel processor
Microsoft® Windows® XP, Microsoft® Windows Vista™, Microsoft® Windows® 7
Pentium®/Celeron® or Pentium compatible processor 1 GHz or higher
- Build Quality
- Quality Presets
- One of a kind
- Steep learning curve
- No Updates
- One of a kind