Ghost in the Machine

Ghost in the Machine

Hey Willis,
Good morning, sir. I really like the website and am very impressed both by the attention to detail you give in explaining your playing style, and by your obvious willingness to help out the bass community in general. Excellent job and thanks. My question regards the Graph Tech Ghost MIDI system for bass. Like yourself, I use the Roland VB99, and recently had a GHOST bridge (and accompanying peripherals) installed on my custom bass. The installation went very smoothly and the system is up and running fine (I also had the Acoustaphonic Board installed, and the combination of the Piezo and Magnetic Pickup sounds is really quite remarkable). Obviously the VB99 needs to be tweaked a bit to properly interface with the GHOST system and I certainly understand that, but after all the obvious noodling was completed (choosing the Piezo setting over the GK3, adjusting the appropriate string sensitivity, getting an overall good, even sound from the bridge), I’m still noticing some quirks from the VB99 models in general. Some sound just fine while many others have a distinct overdriven, bordering-on-distorted sound to them. My first thought was that I hadn’t set the string sensitivity correctly (or something similar) but it’s only for certain VB99 presets that this occurs. I turn the amp modeling off when I hear this distortion and of course make sure not to have any type of drive effects activated when previewing the models (just to make sure THAT’S not the issue). Again, some sound clear and sweet while others have an intrinsic slight distortion to them (and many acoustic and upright models experience a double triggering when I hit a single note – I play the G string once, for example, and hear two, rapid successions of the note (I make sure there is no delay selected in the patch of course)). If every patch experienced the same issues or problems then I’d know with certainty that something was wrong with the bridge or my initial setup within the VB99, but as it only seems to be affecting about 1/3 of the presets I have to wonder if there’s something else I’m missing. I guess what I’m really asking is: is there some aspect that I’m not seeing here, or are there any overall, general tips you can point me toward regarding YOUR setup in getting these two units to flawlessly communicate? Sorry for this long-winded question and I hope you’re not too tired after reading it to help me out. Thanks again and keep up the great work, it is appreciated.
Yours, ~Art…

Hey Art,
Good to hear from ya and thanks for the kind words.
I think I understand most everything about your question but I’ve only experienced the double-tracking part of the equation. It seems you’ve taken all the steps I would recommend to troubleshoot so I’m not sure exactly how to pinpoint the problem. I haven’t had any distortion issues but since we’re talking presets – let me know their names and maybe I can see what’s going on. For my fundamental bass and amp tones I rely on my bass and Aguilar so I end up not using the modeling section for sound modification so that might have something to do with your distortion issue.  The double tracking happens on a particular patch if I dampen the string to hard. It just so happens that the last time I used that patch was in a jam on the new TT CD and the double-tracking was in tempo so I got lucky.
Send me a few patch names in the comments and I’ll see what I can find out.
GW

2 Responsesto “Ghost in the Machine”

  1. Akshat says:

    Hey Willis,
    First of Id like to say im a huge fan and wanted to thank you for all the inspiration you have provided me and others over the years.
    Since you touched on the subject and it has been bugging me ever since i found out about the new TT album.I just wanted to ask when can we expect it to come out?Also there is this rumor floating around here(in India) that you might be coming to teach in an institute for a few months and I was wondering if that was true,because i surely dont want to miss that opportunity.
    Thanks alot again.
    Akshat

  2. GW says:

    Hey Akshat,
    Henderson is finishing up a tour this month and since we kind of distribute the responsibility for tunes amongst ourselves we kind of all need to be working individually but at the same time. I expect the end of this month and June to be pretty productive for me Kinsey and Henderson so a fall release looks like the best estimate.
    The India thing isn’t working out but I’ve suggested the possibility of a webcam masterclass. I just did one with McNally Smith College of Music in Minneapolis that worked really well so I’m hoping to do more of that kind of thing.

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