Originally published in the July 2012 issue of Bass Musician Magazine
Let’s face it; ever since many of us heard Jaco on the “Heavy Weather album from Weather Report, we’ve secretly lusted for a fretless bass and a chorus pedal that could pull off those shimmering, crystalline tones. And while I now have a fantastic collection of chorus pedals (as well as a list of formerly owned ones), that certain tone has eluded me. You know, the one that is super clean and clear and sounds more like you just layered three tracks of bass instead of stepped on a pedal.
Enter the Nectar Chorus, by ProTone Pedals. I’ve been a fan of theirs for years, given that the artwork that they get is beyond what anyone else is putting on their pedals; it’s an awesome mix of cartooning and tattoo artistry that you rarely find. However, since they usually were known for distortion and fuzz, I was never in a big need for one of their pedals until the Nectar came out in February of this year. The sounds that come out of this pedal are as striking and clear as the artwork that’s on top of the pedal (which I still think about mounting on the wall; it’s that good).
Pro Tone Pedals Nectar Chorus – Fretted
Pro Tone Pedals Nectar Chorus – Fretless
It’s also one of the more simple chorus pedals, sporting only two knobs; depth and rate. Having only two knobs makes the learning curve on this particular pedal very quick, but what impressed me was the range that these two knobs have; it’s very wide. You can go from a very slow, sweeping motion to a lightning-quick sputter as well as a shallow depth to one that makes this pedal emulate a ring modulator. Despite your personal settings, this chorus pedal keeps your tone, giving you that layered chorus sound.
Because I’m one that plans things well in advance and is very cautious about new things (read: I’m being sarcastic), the night I got the pedal I threw some velcro on the bottom of it and took it to a run of gigs. I was in the pit for “The Last Five Years” (probably the Super Bowl of shows on electric bass), playing the show on fretless for 8 performances. The orchestration is as follows: piano, bass, 2 cellos, violin and acoustic guitar. Needless to say, any effects that I was going to try to fit in the show needed to fit the tonality of the group. The Nectar slid right in off the bat; it was clear and clean, working with my fretless sound instead of putting its own signature spin on it. The commentary from the front of the house was excellent, and the director even commented on the sound (I should mention the director is a HUGE Jaco fan, so he “got it” right off the bat).
Simply put, the ProTone Nectar Chorus is a simple to use chorus that sounds as clean and clear as the artwork on top of it. While it may have a pricetag that some might find “prohibitive,” I would encourage you to give it a try. As with many of the boutique companies, these are built by hand on every level, ensuring that you will get a top-notch pedal that can stand up to years of abuse. Plus, Dennis is just a freakin’ cool guy to deal with, that loves what he does. And to be honest, I love what he’s doing too.