Video: Andy Martin Picks 5 Great Pedals for Bass Guitar

As faithful viewers of YouTube pedal demos already know, Andy Martin knows his way around the world of guitar effects. Today, he's dropping everything down an octave and sharing what he thinks are five great stompboxes for bass guitar.

EarthQuaker Devices Plumes

While there are, admittedly, quite a few Tube Screamers and Tube Screamer clones out there in the gear world, EarthQuaker Devices did something new with the Plumes. Even as it kept the price tag at a highly competitive $99 USD, the EQD team uses a low-noise JFET op-amp, three switchable clipping options, and a Tone knob that promises a full range of tonal options to create a versatile, precise, and robust overdrive pedal.

All of these traits combine to make it just as good for basses as it is for guitars. Using a Reverend Wattplower short-scale bass, Andy says, "I'll roll the Tone back nearly all the way and you can still hear some definition on the high-end, which is why I really like this Plumes with bass guitar."

DryBell Unit67 Compressor

Original 1176 Limiters were designed by Universal Audio's Bill Putnam, and in the more than 50 years that they've been in action, they've become a go-to piece of gear in pro studios everywhere, often used as a compressor on vocals, drums, bass, and anything else that needs compressing.

The DryBell Unit67 seeks to give this same renowned sound—along with the 1176's quick attack and release times—in a pedalboard-friendly stompbox. And in addition, it features a high-output boost and a versatile EQ. If you're looking for an end-all, be-all compression pedal, try the DryBell Unit67.

"And here's the great thing about the Unit67 with bass—it just tightens everything up without being overly compressed, and you can take the EQ in and out" with the EQ switch, Andy says.

Tech 21 SansAmp Para Driver

A true classic of the bass field, the Sans Amp Bass Driver can be found on many, many bass pedalboards around the gigging world. The SansAmp Para Driver DI is, in many ways, the same pedal, but it adds a sweepable, semi-parametric EQ that lets you have more control over midrange frequencies.

What this means in practice is that you can get warmer, rounder tones more easily with the Para Driver than you can with the fairly aggressive Bass Driver, which always has its mids scooped. To show off the full range of drive and sweepable EQ tones, Andy plays through a collection of basslines that includes Black Sabbath's "N.I.B." and Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade."

SolidGoldFX Athena

SolidGoldFX's Athena is part-phaser, part-Uni-Vibe. It offers two-stage phasing, vibrato, and rotary sounds in a standard-sized stompbox.

The Mode and Color switches also make it easy for you to find some tonal sweetspots, before using the knobs or an expression pedal to fine-tune the warble. If you're looking to introduce some pulsing flair to your basslines, the Athena is a great choice. It has "a subtle swirl as opposed to a heavy swish," Andy says, resembling "a classic Uni-Vibe, only with more options to adjust the color and frequencies being swept."

Source Audio C4 Synth

The Source Audio C4 Synth had been teased for a long time before its eventual release this summer. While many other pedals on this list are great effects stompboxes, they're also very much the kinds of pedals you've heard before. The C4 Synth is not.

Monophonic and polyphonic pitch-shifting, more than 20 filter options, drives, distortions, intelligent harmonizations, and switchable waveforms... there's a huge new world for bassists to explore. From Moog-style girth to tones better-suited for video game soundtracks, the C4 Synth can bring your bass closer to a bass synth than just about any other synth-style pedal.

Gear Used in This Video
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