Bass Effects Pedals

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Bass effects pedals have been used almost as long as their treble counterparts: fuzz, filters, and wahs being early favorites in funk, soul, rock, and pop music. As companies like Boss, Electro Harmonix, and MXR made stompboxes more practical and affordable, bassists began using pedal versions of utility effects, like EQ and limiting.

In the '80s, chorus effects were popular, as heard on songs by The Cure. Into the '90s, metal, punk, and grunge bass guitar players didn’t shy away from distortion or other dirt pedals to match the high-gain sounds of their bandmates. In the early 2000s, some bands and guitarists, like the Death From Above 1979 and Jack White, opted to use octave pedals in place of another stringed instrument.

Today, solo artists may use looper pedals to add bass lines to their sample-driven creations. Recent trends have introduced many new synth pedals to the market, which sound amazing with bass guitar.

What are the most useful bass effects pedals?

Depending on your style, genre, and taste; you may find a tuner pedal and a compressor or limiter, such as the Keeley Bassist, the only essential bass pedal. In some cases, a versatile preamp is enough. Other bassists may crave overdrive, modulation, synth, or delay for their sound.

Can you use guitar effects pedals on bass?

Some pedals are specifically designed for bass, either to handle low frequencies, or with additional features like a clean blend or special output for connecting directly to a PA or recording setup. Other pedals, such as the EHX Big Muff and Smallsound/Bigsound Team Awesome Fuzz Machine, may sound equally great on bass as with any other guitar. Also, some guitarists prize pedals designed for bass, such as the Digitech Bass Synth Wah and the DOD Meatbox Sub Synth.

What are the best bass pedalboards?

Most of the advice for creating a great guitar pedalboard also applies to bass, such as our guide to pedalboard power supplies. Bassists may prefer a smaller board, such as the Pedaltrain Nano+ or a Gator G-BONE.

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