12 Best Bass Pedals – Spice Up Your Low-End Game
Let’s face it – it’s an amazing feeling to stomp on a metal box and hear the effect kick in. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, bass pedals are an essential part of any bass player’s toolkit. They can create a wide range of sounds, from subtle to extreme.
But that’s not all.
They allow you to add the next level of expression to your playing, and carve your tone to perfection. In this article, we’ll explain all the different types available and take a look at some of the best bass pedals on the market.
We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in!
At A Glance: Best Pedals For Bass Guitar
- Best Volume Pedal: Ernie Ball VP JR
- Best Preamp Pedal: Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI Effects Pedal
- Best Overdrive Pedal: Boss ODB-3
- Best Distortion Pedal: MXR Bass Distortion
- Best Fuzz Pedal: Way Huge Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz MKII
- Best Envelope Filter Pedal: MXR M82
- Best Wah Pedal: Dunlop 105Q Cry Baby Bass
- Best Chorus Pedal: MXR Bass Chorus Deluxe
- Best Delay Pedal: TC Electronic Flashback 2
- Best Reverb Pedal: TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2
- Best Compression Pedal: Dunlop M87 MXR Bass Compressor
- Best Tuner Pedal: TC Electronic POLYTUNE 3
Bass Pedals Mini-Reviews
Ernie Ball VP JR – Best Volume Pedal
Ernie Ball’s VP JR is a great option for those looking for a quality volume pedal on a budget. The pedal is well-built and features smooth, consistent volume adjustments.
The VP JR is a small, rugged passive volume pedal designed to work with passive instruments. I really like the smaller size, which makes it a perfect fit in any pedalboard.
The stainless steel construction can take a beating and survive the hard-touring life. It’s fair to say it’s a perfect addition for gigging bassists.
Furthermore, the VP JR offers a great response to your foot’s pressure, making it easy to dial in the perfect amount of volume.
Also, the micro taper switch allows bass players to fine-tune the pedal’s volume reduction curve.
The first setting provides an even reduction curve which is ideal for basic volume adjustments. Furthermore, the second setting is perfect for sweeps and swells as the volume reduction accelerates slowly.
So what about the downsides?
The pedal doesn’t offer many controls. All you have at your disposal is the potentiometer. Honestly, even if the VP JR lacks some bells and whistles found on more expensive models, the core performance is best-in-class.
Overall, the Ernie Ball VP JR offers great value and is an excellent choice for those looking for a quality volume pedal without breaking the bank.
- Reacts to even the slightest input changes
- Takes up less real estate on your pedalboard
- Doesn’t alter the tonal qualities
- Lacks additional features
- Rather fundamental for experienced bassists
Tech 21 SansAmp Para Driver DI Preamp Pedal V2 – Best Preamp Pedal
If you’re a bass player, the chances are high that you’ve heard of the Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI. This direct box has been around for years and is one of the most popular bass pedals on the market.
The main job of a DI box is to convert the unbalanced bass output signal into a balanced signal, and then send it to a mixing desk or other recording equipment through the XLR output.
But that’s not all it has to offer.
Unlike the first version of the SansAmp, the V2 features a much-anticipated knob for controlling mid frequencies. What you get is a 3-band equalizer, and the extra knob makes it suited for 5-string basses as well.
Additionally, the SansAmp Bass Driver DI gives you a wide range of tones to choose from. The tube emulation circuit gives your bass a boost and adds clarity and depth to your sound.
You will also be able to dial in both vintage tube tones and bright modern slap sounds, as well as gnarly distortions. Pretty neat, right?
For those performing live, the tube-emulated overdrive section gives you the ability to apply harmonic distortions to your tone and really stand out on stage.
Overall, the SansAmp Bass Driver DI is a great preamp pedal for bassists who are looking for a wide range of tonal options and a quality direct box.
Read our reviews of the best bass preamp pedals here!
- Offers tons of tonal customization
- The 3-band equalizer
- Incredible build quality
- The settings can be difficult to fine-tune
Boss ODB-3 – Best Overdrive Pedal
The Boss ODB-3 Overdrive Pedal is one of the most popular overdrive pedals on the market. It’s known for its thick, creamy overdrive sound that works well with both clean and distorted tones.
In addition, it also has a built-in EQ that allows you to sculpt your perfect overdriven tone.
As you would expect from Boss, the ODB-3 is solid and rugged. It’s built to last and can take a beating.
The pedal is also fairly inexpensive, making it a considerable option for beginner and intermediate bassists who are looking to add an overdrive pedal to their rig.
Furthermore, it can be powered by a single 9V battery. This makes it an ideal choice for bassists who don’t want to deal with the hassle of having to carry the power supply to the rehearsal room.
So how does it sound?
The distortion on the ODB-3 is absolutely amazing. It’s perfect for metal and hard rock, but it can also be tamed down for use with other genres.
In addition, the top-end clarity is incredible and it enables your bass to cut through the mix.
Again, this pedal is highly tweakable to get just the right sound.
As an example, the Balance knob enables you to mix your clean and distorted signal. Additionally, the level knob alters the volume of the affected signal and can take things to the extreme if cranked up.
If you’re looking for an overdrive pedal that will give you a thick, creamy overdrive sound, the Boss ODB-3 is an excellent option.
- Reasonably priced
- The ability to blend the clean and distorted signal
- The onboard equalizer sounds great
- Somewhat harsh and cold overdrive
- Limited tone customization
MXR Bass Distortion – Best Distortion Pedal
In the world of distortion pedals, the MXR Bass Distortion is a top contender. This pedal gives your electric bass guitar a distorted sound that can range from subtle to aggressive. This device is also beloved for its simple design and eases to use.
Furthermore, the pedal has two clipping modes, SIL and LED, which allow you to get the right amount of distortion for your playing style. Once toggled to SIL, the pedal delivers a bitey harshness that I found suitable for punk, rock, or metal.
On the other hand, when toggled to LED, the pedal produces a smooth distortion that accentuates the midrange.
The MXR Bass Distortion pedal is flawless for those who want to add some grit and distortion to their sound without losing the low end of their bass guitar. The Drive knob allows you to control the amount of distortion, while the Volume and Tone knobs let you adjust the overall sound.
So what about the downsides?
The MXR lacks a master control knob for the amount of distortion.
You automatically adjust the output level when changing the Dry and Wet controls.
Still, the MXR Bass Distortion is an exemplary option worth considering if you’re peeking at versatile distortion pedals.
- Dual clipping modes
- Incredible value
- Leaves the low-end unchanged
- No master control
Way Huge Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz MKII – Best Fuzz Pedal
Way Huge has been cranking out some of the best guitar pedals on the market for years. The Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz is one of their most popular pedals, and the MKII version is even more versatile than the original.
The Crunch and Scoop knobs are new additions that further extend the amount of tonal-shaping capabilities.
If cranked up, the Scoop-knob can take you into metal territory. Furthermore, the Crunch-knob adds warm overdrive sounds that are excellent for lead playing.
Moreover, this pedal is suitable for a wide range of genres. It can be used for all styles of rock, indie, alternative, and metal. It’s fair to say this pedal is a serious aspirant for players looking to explore fuzz tones without committing to one sound.
Let’s talk about the disadvantages!
First, it took me some time to dial in the desired effect. It’s almost like there are too many possibilities. I was also a bit dissatisfied that not all settings deliver in terms of sound quality. Your bass tones can easily get flat and artificial.
Still, the Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz offers the most value once you get passed the steep learning curve.
Overall, it’s an excellent pedal that any bassist would be happy to have on their pedalboard. It offers tons of versatility that would fit your every requirement of a fuzz pedal.
- The tonal variation capabilities range from Hendrix-style to metal territory
- It keeps your low-end intact
- Built like a tank
- Not for those looking for a simple plug-and-play pedal
- Steep learning curve
MXR M82– Best Envelope Filter Pedal
The MXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter is a pedal that allows you to add funkadelic analog filtering to your bass playing.
This is a top contender due to the rich and thick sound. Also, the pedal itself is built like a tank, ensuring long life and durability.
Furthermore, the M82 features true bypass switching. This provides a clean signal when the pedal is not in use.
I really appreciate how the pedal reacts to the dynamics of my playing. It allows me to add subtle accents and growls to my bass tone, giving it a much more expressive quality.
However, the MXR M82 isn’t the best option in terms of versatility. You don’t have tweakable options that other envelope pedals include.
Additionally, I was unimpressed by the sample settings. I got a pretty useless bass sound with my Fender Vintera ’60s Jazz. It gave me a rather hollow tone without depth and character.
Still, this is usually the case with envelope filters as every bass has different output levels.
What makes the MXR M82 competitive is the separate knobs for both Dry and FX sounds. This allows you to blend in the dry signal with the wet filter with ease.
Overall, the MXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter pedal is a great choice for bassists who want to add extra funky flavor to their sound without overcomplicating things. It offers an exceptional sound suitable for funky slap tones to cutting funk riffs in a simple plug-n-play package.
- Separate knobs for the dry and wet signal
- Compact design
- Pleasant funky tone without much tweaking
- Lacks versatility
- The sample settings
Dunlop 105Q Cry Baby Bass – Best Wah Pedal
The Dunlop 105Q Cry Baby Bass is a small, but mighty pedal that offers piles of features for bassists. Unlike the original Cry Baby, this pedal is optimized for bass guitar.
It only induces the midrange and high frequencies, while leaving the low end to pass perfectly untouched. You see, bass frequencies often get lost when using standard wah pedals. With the 105Q, you can dial in your favorite wah-flavor and still deliver punchy bass lines.
Moreover, with the 105Q you can control the amount of wah you want with the Q-knob. This is the same as “resonance” that you might locate on other filter pedals.
Also, the “AUTO-OFF”-function enables true bypass when you lift your foot off the pedal. This is awesome because it leaves the tone of your bass guitar preserved when no effect is applied.
One thing to consider is the relatively low gain output. When jamming, I had to crank up my amp’s gain to get decent levels.
Across the board, the Dunlop 105Q Cry Baby Bass is a great option for bassists who want the classic wah tone of the ’60s and ’70s.
- Superb tone
- Keeps the low-end intact
- True bypass pedal
- Power supply not included
- Somewhat low gain output
MXR Bass Chorus Deluxe – Best Chorus Pedal
The MXR Bass Chorus Deluxe is a feature-packed chorus pedal, ideal for bassists who want to add a little bit of depth and dimension to their sound.
The pedal has the standard three chorus knobs: intensity, rate, and width.
The intensity knob controls how much of the effect is applied to the signal. The rate knob controls the speed of the effect, and the width knob controls how wide the effect is.
What makes this pedal shine is the cool extras. First, the stereo mode splits the signal and allows users to shift the modulation effect between the left and right amplifiers.
On top of my mind, I can’t think of any other chorus pedal with this feature.
In addition, the onboard Flanger and EQ add even more tonal-shaping options. The flanger can be set to create a more intense modulation, while the separate bass- and treble-boost/cut knobs can shape the sound to fit better in the mix.
As an example, try cutting out all the low-end for a super bright chorus effect.
One issue I had is that the chorus can sound thin and tinny, especially when compared to other chorus pedals on the market. You’ll get a much “fuller” sound on the Hartke HC33 or Boss CEB-3 Bass Chorus.
However, I can’t argue with its wide range of features and options.
- A clean chorus keeps the clean tone intact
- Every feature is practical and usable
- Stereo mode
- Might be a too-subtle chorus for some bassists
- Too quiet for live settings
TC Electronic Flashback 2 – Best Delay Pedal
The TC Electronic Flashback 2 is a versatile pedal that can create a variety of different delay sounds.
It holds 11 different delay settings, ranging from short, single repeats to long, multi-echo effects. Additionally, the feedback and level controls allow you to further customize the delay sound.
Let’s start with the build. The pedal’s housing is made of heavy-duty die-cast aluminum. It’s a very sturdy and durable design.
The Flashback 2 is powered with MASH technology.
Simply put, it turns the pedal into a pressure-sensitive expression controller. This gives players the ability to control expression, using their foot’s pressure.
As an example, you can swell the delay mix, bring modulation to the repeats, and even increase the feedback amount without any toggling.
Furthermore, the Toneprint software expands the functionality as it allows users to create custom presets. You can also download an infinite number of delay presets from other musicians and save them on one of the three slots.
The only downside is that the Loop function is limited to 40 seconds, and you can’t add additional delays over your pre-recorded loops.
In addition, the Toneprint app was a bit unstable on my iPhone 12 device (using iOS 12 16.0.3). It did crash frequently and I had to restart the app.
Still, with its easy-to-use controls and wide range of sounds, the Flashback 2 is a great choice for both beginners and experienced players alike.
- Solid build
- An infinite number of presets can be downloaded
- Pressure-sensitive pedal
- The Toneprint app is unstable
- The loop function can only record 40 seconds
TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 – Best Reverb Pedal
The TC Electronic Hall of Fame is one of the most popular and well-loved reverb pedals on the market. But what makes it so special?
Let’s take a closer look at this pedal and see what sets it apart from the competition.
There are 8 different reverbs to choose from, including Room, Hall, Spring, Plate, Church, Shimmer, Mod, and Lofi.
The pedal’s four knobs provide you with a wide range of options to choose from, and you can adjust the level, decay, and tone of each reverb.
I particularly like the Spring and Church settings. The Spring setting gives my bass a nice bouncy sound, while the Church setting gives it a more ethereal quality. I also enjoyed playing with the Shimmer setting, which gave my tone a nice pitch-shifted reverb tail.
Just like the Flashback 2, Hall of Fame 2 is built with MASH technology.
Consequently, the pedal is pressure sensitive and can be used as an expression pedal. I find this very convenient when performing live, as you can add even more expressive flair to your playing.
Overall, I think the TC Electronic Hall of Fame is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a useful reverb pedal. It’s not overly expensive and should be within reach of most bass players. Highly recommended!
- Sounds fantastic
- Extremely versatile
- Not the cheapest pedal
Dunlop M87 MXR Bass Compressor – Best Compression Pedal
Dunlop’s M87 is a great option if you’re looking for a compressor pedal to shape your tone and fatten up your bass sound. It can be used to add sustain, tighten up your sound, or even as a limiter.
I appreciate the 5 standard compression controls provided. This allows you to really fine-tune the perfect amount of compression. Some 2-knob compressors only squeeze the sound while raising the noise floor.
In addition, the LED light indicates when the compressor is engaged. It helps keep track of your sound, as you can easily see how much signal is attenuated by the compression.
Also, the true-bypass footswitch is especially great when dealing with compressors, as it allows you to A/B test the dry and wet signals.
Audio compressors can be a mysterious piece of gear that’s a bit tricky to get the hang of, but once you do you’ll be able to get some truly amazing sounds out of it.
If you’ve never worked with compressors before, the M87 MXR requires some testing and experimenting. Still, once you get the hang of it, it will be a versatile workhorse.
Read our reviews of the best bass compressor pedals here!
- Smooth compression
- No negative impact on tone
- Includes all the standard compressor knobs
- Takes a bit more effort to set up the M87
- You’ll need a screwdriver to change the 9-volt battery
TC Electronic POLYTUNE 3 – Best Tuner Pedal
The TC Electronic Polytune 3 is a tuner pedal that offers multiple tuning modes, including polyphonic, chromatic, and ultra-precise strobe modes.
In terms of tuning accuracy, the Polytune 3 is incredibly precise thanks to its strobe mode. This makes it perfect for those who need to be in tune with absolute perfection.
Additionally, the buffer prevents your bass tone to lose the edge and have its dynamics squashed up. This can be an issue when using long cable runs or complex signal paths.
The Polytune 3 also features a handy store function, which allows you to save your tuning for quick and easy recall later on. This is perfect for those who have multiple guitars with different tunings or who simply want to be able to quickly switch between different settings.
Furthermore, the LED display adjusts brightness based on the surrounding light conditions. This makes it easy to read in both live and studio settings.
Overall, the TC Electronic Polytune 3 does everything you could ask for from a tuner pedal. It’s not the most affordable tuner on the market, but it’s one of the more complex. It won’t let your tuning down!
Read our reviews of the best bass tuners here!
- Three tuning modes
- Fast and accurate tuning
- Buffered bypass
- When connected, the battery will drain even if you’re not tuning
Bass Guitar Effects Pedals Guide
Rather than manually turning down the amp or the bass, volume pedals allow players to adjust the volume of their rig from a foot-operated pedal.
In addition, many volume pedals also have an onboard mute function, which can be handy for quickly cutting out your sound during live performances.
Volume pedals are typically placed at the beginning of your signal chain, right after your bass guitar. This way, you can control the overall level of your sound before it hits any other pedals on your board.
So what are the use cases?
The most common use is to create swells or fades, by slowly increasing or decreasing the volume over time. This can add a lot of depth and emotion to a performance and can be used to create both tension and release.
A preamp pedal is a DI box with tone-shaping EQ controls that can be used to turn your bass or guitar signal into a fully-fledged amp.
Preamp pedals are perfect for those who want to get the most out of their sound without having to lug around a heavy amplifier. Besides, they also come in handy for those who need to boost their signal before it hits their main amplifier.
Most preamp pedals will have a few different EQ controls that can be used to shape your tone. These controls can be used to boost or cut certain frequencies, depending on what sound you’re going for.
An octave pedal is an effects pedal that adds an octave above or below the note being played. This can be used to create a thicker sound or to make the bass sound more like a lead instrument.
This effect can also be used to make your bass sound like a synth or create interesting harmony parts.
Most octave pedals have two separate effects: one for adding an octave above the note being played, and one for adding an octave below.
Moreover, some pedals also have a mix control, which allows you to blend the two octaves together.
So, when should I use an octave pedal?
Although they can be used in any genre where you want to add some extra low-end or high-end to your bassline, octave pedals are most commonly used by rock and metal bassists. Why? They create a thick and heavy sound.
An overdrive pedal is used to make an electric guitar or bass sound like it is being played through a cranked-up tube amp. It achieves this by soft-clipping the signal while adding grit and harmonics.
This can also be achieved by driving a tube amplifier harder than its normal operating level, or by using a solid-state amplifier that employs “soft clipping” to achieve a more grit sound.
A tone with warm overtones while played at quieter volumes, and harsher distortion as volume or gain is increased.
Overdrive pedals are often used to mimic the sound of a cranked tube amplifier, which can be difficult to achieve without actually cranking the amp.
This can be useful for achieving a more aggressive tone without having to worry about the volume level getting too loud.
Additionally, overdrive pedals can provide a way to get some of the benefits of tube distortion without having to use an actual tube amplifier.
A distortion pedal takes an audio signal and hard-clips it. The result is an aggressive, crunchy sound.
Remember, overdrive pedals are known for their soft clipping. Distortion pedals utilize hard clipping to generate more aggressive tones.
They’re often used in rock and metal music, as they can help to create a thick, “heavy” sound. However, they can also be used in other genres such as blues and punk.
So how do they work?
Distortion pedals work by taking the audio signal and running it through a series of diodes that clip the peaks of the waveform. This process “distorts” the waveform, creating a harsher, more aggressive sound.
The amount of clipping can be adjusted to create different sounds, from light overdrive to full-on metal distortion.
A fuzz pedal is a type of distortion that is achieved by extremely clipping a signal’s waveform. This results in a “fuzzy” or “ragged” sound. These type of pedals produces the harshest type of distortion, and they were originally designed to simulate the sound of a broken amplifier.
The first fuzz pedal was the Maestro Fuzz Tone, which was released in 1962. This pedal used germanium transistors to create its distorted sound.
Today, fuzz pedals are still popular among guitarists who want to achieve heavy distortion. Modern fuzz pedals typically use silicon transistors instead of germanium, as silicon provides a harsher distortion sound.
Envelope Filter Pedals
An envelope filter pedal alters the sound of an electric guitar or bass by filtering out certain frequencies.
The three main types of envelope filters are low-pass, bandpass, and high-pass. Each type of filter will affect the sound of the guitar or bass differently.
Low-pass filters allow low frequencies to pass through while attenuating high frequencies. This results in a “muffled” sound.
Bandpass filters allow a range of frequencies to pass through while attenuating both low and high frequencies. This results in a ” nasal” sound. Bandpass filters are often used to create a “wah” sound.
High-pass filters allow high frequencies to pass through while attenuating low frequencies.
Furthermore, envelope filters are controlled by an ADRS envelope. The attack, decay, sustain, and release parameters determine how the filter will respond to the input signal.
A wah pedal is a kind of envelope pedal that uses a bandpass filter to create a vocal-like sound.
They were first used in the 1960s by jazz and rock guitarists who wanted to create a more expressive sound. The wah-wah effect was named after the sound it produces, which resembles the human voice crying out or laughing.
While envelope filters are the most common type of wah pedal, other types use different methods to alter the waveform. Some wah pedals use a low-pass filter to create a mellower sound, while others use a high-pass filter for a brighter sound.
A chorus pedal is an effects pedal that creates a “chorus” effect by splitting your signal into two parts and slightly detuning one of them. This detuned signal is then mixed back in with the original signal, resulting in a thicker, fuller sound.
Most chorus pedals have controls for rate, depth, and intensity. These controls allow you to dial in the perfect amount of effect for your playing style.
The rate knob determines how fast the delay time is, while the depth control adjusts the amount of detuning. And finally, the intensity control determines how pronounced the effect is.
Chorus pedals are often used to thicken up lead guitar parts or to add complexity to rhythm guitar playing. They can also be used to create special effects, such as “flanging” or “whooshing” sounds.
So if you’re looking to add some extra dimension to your bass playing, then be sure to check out a chorus pedal. With its ability to create a doubling effect, it’s perfect for adding some extra thickness and richness to your sound.
A delay pedal records an input signal and plays it back after a set period. The delayed signal may be played back multiple times, with each repetition getting progressively quieter until it fades out completely.
By adjusting the pedal’s controls, the user can change the volume of the repeats, the length of time between repeats, and the number of repeats.
Delay pedals are commonly used by guitarists and bassists to create a “slapback” echo effect or to thicken up their sound by playing two or more notes at once. They can also be used to create artificial double-tracking effects.
The effect varies from an immediate repeat to a long, drawn-out echo.
A reverb pedal is an effects pedal that simulates the sound of an acoustic space. They’re used to create a sense of space and depth in the sound.
For example, they can be set to create a warm, lush soundscape, or they can be used to create a more spacious, ethereal sound.
Furthermore, the “space” can also be used to add texture and character to the sound of the guitar.
Reverb pedals are typically located at the end of the signal chain, after the other effects pedals. Why? It allows the reverb pedal to process the signal from all of the other pedals and produce its own unique sound.
Compression pedals are one of the most popular types of effects pedals used by bass guitarists. How come? They reduce the dynamic range of a signal, which can result in several sonic benefits.
First, they can be used to make the bass sound fuller and rounder.
Secondly, give your tones more attack and punch.
Thirdly, they can even out the level of a bass guitar signal. This can be especially helpful when playing with a band, as it can help prevent the bass from being drowned out by other instruments.
Last but not least, compression can also help to add sustain to a bass guitar signal and can make palm-muted notes sound more articulate.
As the name suggests, a tuner pedal is a device that helps a bass guitar player keep their instrument in tune.
When you plug an instrument into a tuner pedal, the display will show the pitch of the note that you are playing. The goal is to get the needle to line up with the “0” on the display, which means that your note is in tune.
Some newer tuner pedals also include features like chromatic tuning and drop tuning, which can be extremely helpful for those who play in more than one key or want to experiment with alternate tunings.
How To Set Up A Pedal Board For Bassists
A pedal board can be a great addition to any bassist’s rig. But what do you need to consider when setting one up?
First, you need to decide what size board you need. This will depend on how many pedals you want to use and how much space you have available. If you’re just starting out, a smaller board may be all you need.
Next, consider the power requirements of your pedals. Some pedals will require their own power supply, while others can be powered by batteries or via daisy-chaining from another pedal. Make sure you have enough power adapters or batteries to go around!
Last but not least, connect all of the pedals together using patch cables. This will ensure that the signal is properly routed between each pedal.
Pedal Chain Order
Furthermore, the order in which you connect your pedals is important.
Each pedal will affect the sound of the previous pedal.
There are no hard-set rules for pedal order, but there are some general guidelines to follow to achieve an optimal signal.
The key is to order them in such a way that preserves the function and tone of each guitar pedal.
Below is an example of a pedal chain, optimized to preserve the function and tone of each pedal:
- Distortion and Overdrives
- Pitch Shifters
- Modulation Pedals
- Volume Pedals
- Reverb/Echo/Delay Pedals
Again, there isn’t a hard-and-fast science when it comes to pedal chain order. Most likely you can dial in your desired sound by mixing it up, but the example above is a good starting point.
What Kind Of Pedals Do I Need?
Truth be told, it depends on what sound you’re after. I’m not saying you need to visit your local music store and buy EVERY pedal listed here.
Still, there are some essential bass pedals that every bass player needs, no matter what and how they play.
First, a tuner pedal.
It might not be the funniest purchase since it doesn’t make any sound. Nevertheless, it’s important to know when your bass is in tune. Especially when you’re jamming with other musicians or performing live.
Secondly, a compression pedal.
It will even out the dynamics, and provide a smoother sound. Again, this is particularly useful when playing with other musicians.
Also, it gives you a more consistent tone that the rest of the effects in the pedal chain can work with.
Last but not least, you’ll need some sort of overdrive/distortion pedal.
You want to be able to play both a clean and overdriven tone. As mentioned above, there are different kinds of distortion pedals, ranging from warm overdrives to aggressive fuzz.
Pick one that suits your music style!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use Guitar Pedals For Bass?
In short, Yes. However, if possible you should always pick pedals specifically designed for bass.
Bass guitars are usually at least an octave lower than guitars, and a bass pedal’s internal circuitry is designed to better handle that low end.
What Does A Bass Compressor Pedal Do?
A bass compressor pedal is a device that is used to even out the dynamics of a bass guitar signal.
In effect, the signal’s overall volume is reduced when the bass is played loudly. Moreover, the volume is boosted when played softly.
This results in a more consistent sound from the bass, which can be particularly helpful when playing with other instruments.
Furthermore, compressors can also be used to shape the envelope of a bass signal. By adjusting the attack and release settings, you can control how quickly the compressor responds to loud and soft playing.
This allows you to create a smoother, more consistent sound, or to add more punch to your playing.
Do I Need A Bass Preamp Pedal?
Technically, you don’t need a preamp pedal to get sound out of your bass guitar. Unless you’re using an acoustic bass guitar, your bass already has one built-in.
Nevertheless, a preamp pedal gives you a ton of control over your sound.
You see, they can offer a wide range of tone-shaping options, ranging from simple EQ controls to more complex settings like compression and drive.
Besides, most preamps have an amp-simulating, tone-changing “character”. It’s a great way to add some life to your bass tones!
There are tons of different pedals compatible with your bass guitar, and it’s easy to get lost in the jungle. So which ones should you choose?
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
If you’re a beginner, I would suggest you start experimenting with a bass compressor pedal and a simple overdrive/distortion pedal.
These basic pedals will help you get started and lay the foundation for your tone. As you progress with your playing and gain more experience, you might want to add other pedals to your arsenal.
That’s it! If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment section below!
Until next time!