It almost always poses a challenge figuring out what exact gear you need for your music.
Especially if you haven’t had any experience shopping or researching said gear.
For the average bass player,
figuring out the bass pedals to use in any given situation may be a bit of a challenge,
but, not to worry this post has you covered.
So if you were wondering the bass pedals you’d need, here they are:
1. Preamp/DI Box Pedals
2. Compressor Pedals
3. Distortion Pedals
4. Delay Pedals
5. Reverb Pedals
6. Multi Effects Pedals
7. Tuner Pedals
8. Envelope Filter Pedals
9. Chorus Pedals
10. Octave Pedals
It’s quite a comprehensive list and I’ll get into when you’d want to use any of the pedals listed above.
PREAMP DI BOX BASS PEDALS
Preamp bass pedals are usually used very early on in the signal path of the bass input signal, this is because
the main goal of pre amp bass pedals is to boost the input signal and turn it into a “line-level signal” ready for additional processing by other effects pedals.
In addition to the amp-like properties preamp pedals are also able to provide to a signal,
tone shaping abilities to your input signal.
Tone shaping is necessary in any case that you might feel like your bass signal is too dry or rough.
Therefore a preamp/di bass pedal is one that is necessary in both live and recording applications.
Below are some of the best PREAMP bass pedals, that we like utilize in our studio sessions:
Xotic BB Preamp V 1.5
this is one of my go to pre-amps,
especially when I’m trying to introduce effects early on in the input signal path.
The xotic BB can help you amplify your signal and give it some range and some tonality.
You’ll get a clean and rich signal.
Ampeg Classic Analog Bass Preamp Pedal
I’m heavily into analog bass because of hiphop music production.
The Ampeg Bass pre amp is great for this, because it is particularly useful for live performances and its tone shaping capabilities make it an interesting tool to run bass through.
Therefore if you’re looking to spice up your analog bass without losing any grit, this pedal is a great option.
Catalinbread Epoch Boost EP-3 Preamp/Buffer Pedal
The third recommendation is the Catalinbread Epoch Buffer pedal.
A buffer pedal has properties that amplify your signal to line-level, whilst making sure that your signal doesn’t get too altered, because bass and guitar are usually carried through unbalanced patch cables.
this pedal will be particularly useful at the end of your signal path, and it will help you moderately keep your other pedals in check.
Compressor pedals are great for both live and recording applications.
You’d typically use compressor pedals in order to control the dynamic range,
which is basically making the quieter parts louder and the louder parts quieter in order to have a consistent flow of volume through out the signal.
A compressor pedal should be used with a high gain preamp and a control circuit,
this way you allow the compressor to work more effectively,
by fixing any sloppy playing that may come as a result of the player making slight missteps.
Thats why I recommend having a compressor pedal in your signal path if you’re a beginner bass player or not a highly skilled one.
below are the compressor plugins that I use:
MXR M87 Bass Compressor
I mainly use this pedal for projects that require heavy compression for slapping bass or picking,
it offers a wide range in ratio which makes it easy for you to do some limiting too, if need be.
Plus it works just aswell when all you’re looking for is smooth compression to fix and control the dynamic range.
Definitely a good choice if you’re looking for a versatile compressor.
MXR Dyna Comp Bass Compressor Effect Pedal (M282)
Another favourite pedal of mine is the MXR dynamic compression effect pedal.
This pedal is most definitely useful for live performances because it will not skew your low end making you lose the grit in your bass.
It will let you keep the low end intact and improve the tonality of both your mid range and your high end.
I typically use this pedal for projects that require a very delicate touch.
Boss CS-3 Compressor/Sustainer Pedal
The third compressor pedal i normally use is the Boss CS-3, I mainly use it because it allows for low noise operation,
essential when you’re trying to record bass with low noise.
I normally run my analog bass through this compressor.
it can be a good option for anyone looking for a clear signal that they can boost while maintaining good dynamic range while adding preferred tonality.
OVERDRIVE AND DISTORTION PEDALS
Overdrive and distortion pedals are mainly designed for normal guitar and not bass,
but this shouldn’t stop you at all.
These pedals can transform your ordinary sounding bass into a dirty gritty bass that can stand out and provide additional spontaneity to your session.
Historically, metal is one genre that has utilized heavy usage of overdrive and distortion pedals.
Here are my favourite distortion pedals that you could try out if you’re looking to experiment with your bass a little.
Xotic Effects SL Drive Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal
This is a very handy little tool for distortion.
It is definitely the route I would go to achieve a vintage style touch.
iVery handy if you’re looking for a warm overdrive effect.
You can purchase it here and see how well it works for you.
Tech 21 Bass Boost Fuzz Metallic Effects Pedal
I haven’t personally used the Tech 21 pedal, but I’ve had some experience around people that use it and I basically reached out to them to share their brief experience.
What i gathered is that with the Tech 21, similar to most vintage style pedals it very difficult to find the sweet spot,
but one thing you can count on is that the Tech 21 will give you clean boost.
Plus you’ll enjoy a variety of metallic effects like grit, distortion and overdrive.
HAO Rust Ride Bass Driver
This is one of the best bass pedals I’ve ever used, and i enjoyed running a couple of bass types through it.
For everyday guitar bass, the HAO Rust provides professional sounding overdrive that doesn’t punch too hard or cause major alterations to your bass notes.
I’d definitely recommend this pedal for the beginner or favourably skill bass player.
DELAY BASS PEDALS
Another pedal type that you would typically use with bass is a delay pedal.
They are cool for creating a doubling effect, or creating rhythm patterns that are complex.
with delay you basically have:
Tape Delay: these are delay effects that were originally created by tape machines using an actual physical tape that was running in a loop.
Loop Delays: this is where you have an input signal of bass looping or repeating according to the specified settings.
Ping Pong : this is another delay effect that makes the signal bounce from right to left speaker creating a cool ping pong effect.
Slapback: a form of delay where the signal slaps back with some feedback.
Here are some types of delay bass pedals that I love to use:
Koogo Digital Delay Echo Effect Pedal
This is a cool little delay tool that comes with basic options.
The modes are the most impressive thing I find about this pedal because they allow you to reverse delay effects which I find particularly useful.
be warned that this not a high end product that will give you high end high quality results but it can get the job done and it is
definitely a cool little tool to have,
Ibanez analog delay mini pedal
I mainly use this pedal with analog bass because of its variety with delay, time, repeat and other cool effects.
if you want a pedal that can give you an analog type sound with a lot of controls then you will enjoy this little tool.
REVERB BASS PEDALS
You may be wondering why you would need reverb on your bass and it’s understandable.
In recording, reverb is used to give bass a natural place within the mix rather than have it dry and in the centre making it feel like it was forced into the mix.
Moderate reverb can be applied to curb this effect.
If you add a lot of reverb to a bass signal you’ll lose the punch in the signal so you have to get the blend right.
Takes some learning to do but it is definitely worth it.
Here are some little cool reverb pedals you could consider buying:
Fender Marine Layer Reverb Pedal
Neat little tool that has great vintage sounding reverb.
MXR Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal (M300)
MXR are an excellent design team.
The MXR M300 comes with 6 different styles of reverb which makes it a great tool anytime I feel like experimenting with my gear.
MULTI EFFECTS BASS PEDALS
With multi effect pedals you have a variety of effects to choose from.
A bass multi effects pedal will combine a variety of bass effects within a single physical unit,
which makes these pedals particularly effective because you will not have to spend a lot of money on buying individual pedals.
My favourite multi effect pedals are:
Tech 21 Bass Fly Rig Multi-Effects Pedal
It has built in compression, chorus boost and a SansAmp control that sweeps through various tones.
BOSS Bass Multiple Effects Guitar Pedal with COSM
This one is a bit more sophisticated than the Tech 21, it has compressor/limiter, drive, and slow gear effect knobs that you can use to mess with your sounds as much you need.
TUNER BASS PEDALS
A tuner bass pedal works by plugging in your bass, then with the help of a visual display the pitch of your notes is shown.
Tuner bass pedals are good because they’ll give you an accurate representation of the pitch without it being altered.
Now that we have a basic understanding let’s get into some cool tuner pedals that you could consider buying.
Boss TU-3 Tuner
Great little tool, you’ll find it useful for outdoor use due to its bright display.
Three basic modes exist which are Chromatic and Guitar/Bass mode.
If you’re looking for an accurate representation of the notes being played this is your best bet.
I had to include the Klik on this list because it is a very effective and accurate little tool.
The only downside is that it doesn’t pack a battery and requires about 9 Volts of power.
never the less, it’s still a very useful tool.
ENVELOPE FILTER BASS PEDALS
A bass envelope filter pedal works just as a regular guitar envelope filter,
by adding or removing some frequencies from a signal to give a vocal-like touch.
For a regular guitar, an envelope filter pedal will enhance the mid and high frequencies but for bass the pedal will enhance and tweak the low end.
Here are some of my favourite Envelope Filter Pedals for bass:
MXR Bass Envelope Filter
Definitely worth checking out, plus its moderately priced.
This is also another filter pedal I use if I’m trying to achieve an analog funk feel.
it has separate dry and wet controls which gives you a little more freedom.
A chorus pedal doubles the bass signal and then sets the second signal slightly off to achieve a chorus shimmery effect.
it is mostly used for normal guitars and vocals to give them a more stereo feel.
Here two of my favourite chorus pedals for bass:
this is great pedal if you’re looking for a rich bass. the CEB-3 adds great texture to the mid and high frequencies of bass signals.
Ampeg Guitar chorus effects pedal
this is also another great bass chorus pedal.
I usually run my bass through this pedal when I’m looking to achieve a dreamy feel.
Octave pedals do exactly what you’re thinking.
They monitor the input signal from your bass to create a frequency output that is active higher or lower than the signal.
Octave pedals are also usually placed at the beginning of the signal chain, this is done to achieve a clean signal.
Below are the two octave pedals I recommend for bass.