The story of our first bass overdrive and the rockstars who already have it in their rig.
We are stoked to introduce the latest addition to the KHDK pedal lineup: this is the story of Abyss, our unique take on a bass overdrive.
"I've worked with some of the best bass players in the world and I know the obsession and dedication they have for their tone."
- Kirk Hammett
3 years ago, we set out to create an overdrive for bass players that would do away a big pain-point: how to get the perfect mix of clean and overdriven signal?
Killing the Blend Knob
"A lot of bass pedals have a simple blend knob which mixes a clean and dirty sound," says KHDK co-founder David Karon. "It ends up being a compromise and can drive bass players crazy, especially if they are control freaks like myself," adds David, who was a founding bass player of the metal supergroup The Damned Things.
Abyss replaces the blend knob with a Dirty and Clean channel, which lets you dial in a sound with just the right amount of power to make it punch through the mix.
Slipknot's Alessandro Venturella shooting Abyss demo
The Job of Two Amps Done by One Pedal
"There is a great old recipe for that signature bass rock tone," says KHDK's engineer Antonin Salva. "Bass players would use a clean bass amp for fat bottom end, plus another cranked guitar amp to add an overdrive midrange tone. It works great - but it needs two amps."
"I wanted to give bass players the same amazing tone without using two amps."
- Antonin Salva
Antonin's solution: utilize bi-amp technology with two circuits. One sends your signal down a clean path, storing its original dynamic and color. The other adds full and a powerful punch. As the two signals reconnect, the result is the original tone made more powerful and richer, perfect for punching through the mix.
Testing and Refining With a Young Bass Player
Milos Dolezal Jr.
Antonin reached out to his friend and a Berklee College of Music graduate Milos Dolezal Jr., to help with the testing phase. Milos ran the Abyss through a multitude of rigs and tweak the final pedal to perfection.
Frank Bello: "This is the best bass overdrive I've ever played"
Antonin Salva (KHDK), Frank Bello (Anthrax) and Adriano Sergio (Ergon Guitars)
One of the first players to test the Abyss was Frank Bello of Anthrax.
Frank fell in love with the Abyss and has been touring with his own modified version for the past year.
Alessandro Venturella: "I dialled in an amazing tone"
Antonin Salva (KHDK) with Alessandro Venturella (Slipknot)
When searching for a crushing player to show off the power of the Abyss, KHDK's Paul de Maio had just the right guy: "Through common friends, I met Slipknot's Alesandro Venturella at their show in Toronto and we just connected right off the bat after getting into some deep gear and tone discussions," remembers Paul.
"Alex is a badass bassist with a deadly tone and I knew he would be perfect to demo the Abyss for us. He was instantly up for it: he loves being able to find 'his' sound on the Abyss really fast without having to mess around," says Paul.
Custom Abyss for Gojira and Tool
Jean-Michel (Gojira) Labadie with his custom Abyss
The next bass players to fall in love with Abyss were Jean-Michel of Gojira, and Tool's Justin Chancellor; they each have an Abyss with a custom enclosure made by KHDK's designer and visual wizard, Dan Kurz.
Paul de Maio (KHDK) with Justin Chancellor (Tool)
A Dark Power Hidden Beneath
“The split of the two circuits is an absolutely unique feature of the Abyss which gave rise to its name,” says KHDK co-founder David Karon. “We imagined a subaquatic crevasse, an abyss with something dark and powerful waiting in the deep. Maybe we’ve been reading too much H.P.Lovecraft lately,” he laughs.
KHDK's designer Mato Misik captured the vision on the pedal’s enclosure, with underwater terrain in an ultramarine and ocean blue finish.
We can't wait to get the Abyss into the hands of more bass players and hear them create magic!
P.S. Stay tuned for exclusive peaks at the making off Jean-Michel's and Justin's custom Abyss enclosures...
Special thanks for Soundevice Studio for making the demo video happen!