It's been seven years since Boss introduced bassists to the GT-6B, a low-frequency version of its popular guitar multieffect extravaganza. Since that time, we’ve met its less expensive kissing cousins, the ME-20B and ME-50B (Soundroom, June ’04), and its more robust relative, the GT- 6B (Soundroom, June ’02). All three processors provide players with a host of effects to tweak and manipulate, so what does the latest iteration add to our arsenal? In short, improved sounds and a more intuitive interface. Since the GT-10B shares many features with its predecessors, I’ll limit my comments to a couple of the newest and most notable features of the unit.
The GT-6B could be technically daunting to less intrepid tone tweakers. With the GT-10B, Boss engineers decided to throw a lifeline to those who never got their doctorates in pedal electronics. While retaining (and improving upon) the depth and complexity of its predecessor, the GT-10B includes the EZ TONE feature, ensuring that even the most technically challenged among us can quickly dial up killer, style-specific tones.
EASY DOES IT
The GT-10B retains the same rugged build and sleek look of its predecessor, with a few notable exceptions, such as a larger, delightfully clear LCD screen, an improved expression pedal design, a handy row of EFFECTS SELECT buttons, a more versatile control dial, and dedicated PHRASE LOOP footswitches. To test Boss’s claim that the GT-10B is “the most advanced-yet-friendly bass station on the market,” I chose to spend my first two days exploring it without glancing at the owner’s manual (which is 150-plus pages). The EFFECTS SELECT buttons enabled me to punch right into any particular effect and begin shaping it to my own needs. The large display showed a substantial amount of information, and the multipurpose dial, which combines a jog wheel and cursor arrows, proved an effective way to navigate that information. The EZ TONE feature, when selected, provides simple icons for pop, rock, metal, punk, R&B, funk, jazz tones, with easily selectable sonic subsets offered under each. Want that Motown sound? Choose DETROIT SOUL, under R&B. More of a Beatles fan? Choose LIVERPOOL, under ROCK. It’s as simple as that. Don’t let the ease of use fool you, though: This rabbit hole goes a lot deeper for those of us with a penchant for adventure. There’s plenty in this unit to keep gear heads happy for a long time.
PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM
Boss celebrates the GT-10B's inclusion of a PHRASE LOOP, and, as a proud owner of their sweet RC-20XL looper, I was delighted to see this addition. I first recorded a groove and then dubbed a few lines over it. Everything was fine until I went to stop and then restart the loop. You can’t. You can only mute or clear it. For veteran loopers, this will come as a shock. Stopping and starting a loop on the fly is often necessary in performance. Additionally, the placement of the PHRASE LOOP proved cumbersome, although the looper functions are easily assigned to external pedals.
I suspect that many will be pleased with the incredible sounds that can be produced with the GT-10B, and its intuitive interface will likely make it attractive to players previously scared off by the learning curve associated with the GT-6B.
Pros Excellent interface and top-quality sounds
Cons Can't stop and start loops on the fly
Number of preset patches 200
Number of user patches 200
Amps/speakers modeled Acoustic 360, Ampeg B-15, Ampeg SVT, SWR SM-400, Fender Bassman100, Trace Eliot AH600SMX
Number of effects 35
Options FS-5L/U footswitch, $39; EV-5 expression pedal, $89; carrying case, $75
Weight 10.8 lbs.
Made in Taiwan
Warranty One year limited www.bossus.com