Creating a hard-hitting bass tone is a breeze with the Tech 21 YYZ Geddy Lee Shape Shifter SansAmp. The YYZ packs the essence of Geddy Lee's tone — and his gargantuan rack rig — into a compact preamplifier/DI pedal. And best of all, this fly-by-night setup does it without sacrificing an ounce of tone. To top it off, you can even pipe this massive tone straight into a PA. Nick Jennison Tells us more.
Let's get something out of the way before we get over in our heads here. I am not a bassist — certainly not a bassist of Geddy Lee's epic stature (although we do look a little alike when viewed in profile; that's where the similarity ends). So why, oh why, I hear you ask, am I reviewing a Geddy Lee signature SansAmp pedal? Well, I *am* a producer, and it's my job to get great-sounding bass tones that work well in a mix. And one of the tools I'll reach for nine times out of ten to achieve this is a SansAmp. So, the YYZ Geddy Lee Shape Shifter is right up my alley...And probably yours too. Let me explain.
Rush fans and tech-savvy bassists alike may already be familiar with the GED-2112 — a 19" rack unit boasting massive scope for tonal shaping ranging from deep, dubby cleans to snarling distortion that would make a JCM800 blush. The new YYZ Shape Shifter bundles all of this tonal power into the same petite pedal format of the YYZ pedal but with the addition of a new "Shape Shifter" mode to make the distortion even more aggressive.
In essence, this pedal has two parallel signal paths - one fat and clean labelled "Deep", the other aggressive and distorted labelled "Drive". You have a blend control to set the balance between the two, meaning it's easy to dial in just a hint of growl to make a clean tone cut through a mix, evoke a classic SVT-esque bark, or conjure a wall of distortion underpinned by a thick and clean low end.
While the "Deep" side is essentially a nice clean DI signal with no controls to speak of, the "Drive" side has a ton of options. The Drive control has a massive range of gain on tap, with even more courtesy of the foot-switchable 12db boost and a further 6db from the Shape Shifter switch. You can easily dial in everything from B15 to B7K here, and the three-band active EQ gives you massive sculpting options without impacting the dry tone. The "tight" switch pulls a lot of sub out of the distorted tone, leaving plenty of room for the clean "Deep" side to carry the lows for a modern, bi-amped metal tone.
The Geddy Lee YYZ Shape Shifter is an absolute Swiss army knife of rock bass tones in a compact package. The boost footswitch can take you from vintage to vicious in one tap, while the clean blend keeps your lows defined and present. It's compact, runs on either a 9v battery or a standard centre-negative PSU and because it's all analogue, there's zero latency. It sounds killer both DI and into an amp. And, of course, it's good enough for Geddy, so it's definitely good enough for me!
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