Ashdown Dr Green Pedalboard

Mike Brooks puts the good doctor’s pedals under the knife…

1_580pxThis recent series of pedals from Ashdown comes under the Dr Green label, designed and engineered here in the UK and manufactured in China, and although the pedals are available as separate units, what we have here is the full bass range housed in a very convenient pedalboard. The unit is solidly cased and well put together: although some players may wish to play around with the order of the effects. The stomp buttons are solid and effective and the pedals themselves are robustly manufactured in their steel casings. Although the chunky controls protrude upwards, in a gigging situation they should be safe from being trampled on by punters who may have had one too many shandies.

We have a tuner (Tune Up), compressor (Aspirin), octaver (Octa Dose), fuzz/distortion (Bearded Lady), envelope filter (Doctor’s Note) and reverb (Bass Verb). The input and output are located on the rear of the board and an adapter to power the whole board is supplied. Each pedal has a green LED indicator to show when it’s in use, and all feature true bypass switching to maintain the quality of your signal. The tuner pedal does everything you could want it to do, with its large, easy-to-read display and mute facility; and for those who use a dropped tuning, this particular pedal will map down three semitones from concert pitch.

The quality of each individual effect is very impressive, with no tracking glitches at all: a particular relief with the Octa Dose and Doctor’s Note pedals, as octavers and filters can sometimes have tracking issues. The Octa Dose did start to get a little niggly around low F#, but that’s still an impressive range – unsurprising, considering Ashdown’s experience with the sub-harmonic feature on their amps. The Bearded Lady fuzz and distortion is also very useful, allowing the effect to be added separately in varying degrees to high and low frequencies. In practice, it sounds not too dissimilar from the James LoMenzo distortion released by Ashdown a few years ago.

As any effects junkie will tell you, finding combinations of sounds is half the fun, and with five effects on offer there’s plenty of options to play with, even before you place the pedals in a different order. The compressor has a simple but extremely effective control set: for some truly dynamic funk, use it with 4_580pxthe Doctor’s Note envelope filter, plus a smidgeon of fuzz and soon you’ll be creating sounds that Larry Graham would be proud of. The Bass Verb also has plenty to offer, giving your signal depth and a different edge. Although bass reverb isn’t something you will use in every song, when applied sparingly and in the right context, it can prove very effective.

An obvious omission here is a chorus/flanger pedal: so far there isn’t a bass variant under the Dr Green label – but maybe the
thinking here is that envelope filters and octave pedals have largely replaced them in the bass player’s arsenal. I would suggest that one or two of the pedals might benefit from an extra control to give them a little more flexibility; but, on the whole, the proof is in the listening – and as a collection of bass effects, these pedals are truly pleasing.

All of the pedals were very well behaved with a selection of passive and active basses. The benefit of this type of set-up compared to a multi-FX unit is that you can take individual pedals out as separate units if you only need one or two for a certain gig, or if space is limited. You can buy the pedals individually and they’re priced very competitively. All in all, this is an impressive set-up: players will get plenty of mileage out of these excellent pedals.

Technical Specification

TUNE UP

Price | £69

Features | Mute

Weight | 481g excluding battery

 

THE ASPIRIN

Price | £69

Features | Input, Ratio, Output

Weight | 522g excluding battery

 

OCTA DOSE

Price | £69

Features | Direct, Octave

Weight | 581g excluding battery

 

BEARDED LADY

Price | £59

Features | Hi Fuzz, Hi Out, Lo Fuzz, Lo Out

Weight | 540g excluding battery

 

DOCTORS NOTE

Price | £69

Features | Mix, Sens, Decay, Q

Weight | 522g excluding battery

 

BASS VERB

Price | £99

Features | Mix, Depth

Weight | 540g excluding battery

 

What We Think

Plus | Competitively priced, solidly built and usable sounds

Minus | Some players may only require one or two effects as opposed to the whole set-up

Overall | A well executed idea by Ashdown that should appeal to a large number of players: the sensible layout and quality of the effects should create a lot of interest

Contact: ashdownmusic.com

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