Looking for a bass pedal can be a daunting task, especially if you are a beginner player or novice in the world of pedals. Adding effects to your bass line is vital to ensure better tone quality and definition.
The right effect pedal can provide you with numerous opportunities to refine your work, and develop a particular sound that is unique to you and your music. With so many on the market to choose from, where do you start? You can choose from thousands of options of pedals today, and it can be pretty confusing knowing where to begin looking, or knowing what kind of sounds and features you need.
Below we have compiled a list of what we think are the ten best pedals for bass guitar (and some for guitar too!), following with an in-depth section of various effects and features and an explanation of each. After reading this article, we are sure you'll be able to find the perfect device to suit your needs and budget!
First on the list is the SONICAKE Volume/Wah pedal. This pedal is 100% analog, with a 2 in 1 function for wah-wah and volume. The SONICAKE produces what is described as a 'Crybaby Style Vintage' sound. The 2 in 1 can easily be switched between using the hidden footswitch for ease of movement between the two.
It includes two LED lights that easily show you which state you're in. The SONICAKE is particularly small and light, making it a great choice for bass players constantly on the road with a lot of gear. It also means you can save space on the pedalboard as it's so compact.
The wah-wah tone on this particular pedal has been reviewed as one of the best on the list. The outer casing is plastic, making it very light; however, the input, output, volume, and wah selector are all metal, making them durable. The clean, silent transition between different sounds is another advantage of the SONICAKE pedal.
+ Analog signaling
+ Lightweight and compact
+ Silent transitions
Why We Liked It - The Sonicake has analog signaling, something that is rarely found on pedals nowadays. This pedal is the best choice for a fantastic vintage sound!
Number two on the list of our bass effect pedals is the Zoom B1 bass pedal, including over 80 different effects and controls to choose from. A cool feature of this bass pedal is that up to five effects can be used simultaneously, producing unique and multi-layered sound output.
The pedal includes an onboard chromatic tuner, reverb, looper, envelope filter, and rhythm machine for ease of use while performing live. With 100 different memory locations, this pedal is perfect for gigging bass players that are always on the road, who need preset effects stored and ready to go when on stage performing. This pedal provides all the effects you could ever need, from a rock bass level, overdrive, crazy distortion, to octave effects.
+ Number of effects
+ 100 memory locations
+ Presets provided
Why We Liked It - With so many different bass effects and presets to choose from, you will not need another bass pedal!
The VOX StompLab 2b pedal comes in a crazy red color to ensure you won't lose sight of it on a dark, unlit stage. This bass pedal is perfect for novice beginners on the bass guitar as everything is clearly laid out, with an easy to use interface and accessible access to the sounds you want.
It includes 100 preset programs that are categorized into different musical genres, making this an incredibly easy to use bass pedal for a beginner. This all-in-one pedal has many effects to choose from, including Clean or Distortion, Wah-wah, Chorus, Echo, Delay, envelope filter, and many more.
They are all easily chosen through the click of a few buttons. There are also 90 different presets already included with the VOX. If you're a beginner starting in the world of distortion and effect pedals, then this is the purchase for you!
+ Unique red color
+ Easy for beginners
+ Presets provided
Why We Liked It - This pedal provides many presets and effects that are easily selected from the click of a button. This is perfect for beginner players or novices!
Next up is the Behringer Bass Overdrive pedal. Don't let the budget price of this pedal fool you. The quality and variety of effects available are of top quality! The Behringer bass pedal has 2-bad EQ and Gain controls to ensure the best quality sound output at all times, and also includes unique balance control for when you're switching between each effect.
With blend knob, reverb and an envelope filter included, the Behringer pedals are a great choice for a bass player on the hunt for an inexpensive pedal with many options. The Behringer bass effects pedals ensure easy tone control while you play.
Reviews have noted that this pedal can also be easily switched to guitar, so it's perfect if you're a performing musician working with a number of different instruments. Let's not forget one of the best things about the Behringer; the price. If you're on a budget and are searching for a pedal that can give you features of much more expensive models, then look no further!
+ Budget price
+ EQ and Gain controls
+ Works with the guitar also
Why We Liked It - The Behringer is a perfect bass pedal for those on a budget, and who are not willing to miss out on vital effects and features!
Number 5 on our list is the Percussion Plus 900P. This ultra-durable bass drum pedal has a single spring pendulum that will transfer the stroke power right to the drum head while you play. Although this product is incredibly durable, it's lightweight and easily transported. The response of this particular pedal is excellent, with a quick, smooth recoil.
+ Single spring pendulum
Why We Liked It - The percussion plus 900P is the perfect bass drum pedal for gigging and traveling, due to its weight and ability to be compacted easily!
The Xvive bass pedal is the perfect choice for those bargain hunters out there! As it's the cheapest distortion pedal bass on this list, the Xvive is an excellent choice if you're after a reliable, simple bass pedal.
The Xvive includes a true bypass footswitch, making transitions between options and controls incredibly easy and fast. With an overdrive level already built into the pedal, it's like you have two pedals for the price of one very inexpensive one! Reviews have noted that the Xvive is incredibly easy to use and to figure out all the settings and options initially.
This means if you are a beginner level user of external pedals, this could be a very nice choice for you. With the option to use this bass pedal for your guitar, it ensures that you can easily switch between instruments while you play live on stage.
+ Budget price
+ Simple controls
+ Works with guitar also
Why We Liked It - The Xvive bass pedal is perfect for those on a budget looking for a great distortion pedal!
Next up on the list is another one for those searching for bass distortion pedals on a budget. One of the cheapest on the list here, the Compressor bass pedal, hosts a fully analog circuit with a true bypass and a broad adjustable range. It's powered by an AC adapter, which means no worrying about running out of battery or switching batteries while playing!
It will use compression to add to the sounds produced and ensure there are no inconsistencies in your music. A quirky feature with this pedal is the anti-skid rubber pads on the back, so there is no chance of it slipping or moving around while on stage! It's made from aluminum alloy, which means this pedal is extremely durable but also lightweight. These particular pedals can create a great sound output, regardless of your bass guitar, musical genre, rhythm or lead guitar, is one of the selling points of the Compressor.
+ Budget price
+ Analog signaling
+ Powered by AC adapter
Why We Liked It - Not only is this compressor bass pedal great for a bass player on a budget, but it also works fully on an analog signal, which will satisfy all those looking for that vintage sound output!
Another Behringer product is number eight on our list of pedals. This bass pedal uses compression to produce loud sound output and boost a low signal, without diminishing the original sound quality. The controls on the Behringer Bass Compressor are easy to use, allowing you to quickly and simply select the appropriate sound and controls you want.
Due to the plastic casing, it may not be the best on the list in terms of durability, but it certainly is one of the most lightweight, compact, and easiest to transport around. This makes it a great choice for a gigging bass player. At a budget price, the Behringer Compressor will be a great pedal, providing you with all the basic features your music will need, at a very low price!
+ Easily used controls
+ Budget Price
Why We Liked It - The Behringer is a great choice for beginner bass players or novice users as the controls are incredibly accessible and easy to use!
Number nine on the list is the KLIQ TinyTune Tuner pedal. This mini bass pedal will comfortably fit on any pedalboard, and it's easily transported when traveling. With precise and speedy tuning, and a large and easy-to-read display unit, this pedal will ensure your gigging and playing time is much more comfortable and speedy.
This tuner will also work well if you're a novice bass player, as the options and levels are displayed simply. The tuner includes two display modes to choose from; 'meter display' and 'strobe display.' The material of the KLIQ TinyTune pedal is aluminum, ensuring it's lightweight but durable.
This reliable bass pedal will be able to work with an instrument like a five-string bass or a 12 string guitar! Reviews have noted the durability and high quality of the materials used on this pedal. It's perfect for those who will be transporting it around and gigging a lot!
+ Mini size
+ Easy controls
+ Lightweight but durable
Why We Liked It - The mini size of the KLIQ TinyTune Tuner pedal is perfect for traveling and gigging musicians that may have a lot of other pedals and amps on their stage while performing!
Last on our list is the Behringer Super Fizz SF300. The Behringer Super Fuzz for bass guitar is marketed to recreate the 'famous fuzz tones of the 60s and 70s.' The Super Fuzz provides three different sound modes; classic distortion, grunge, and gain boost, which makes this a great choice for novice users, a beginner bass player, or those wishing to purchase a simple pedal with few complicated effects.
This bass pedal is perfect if you're looking to add a grungy, distorted sound to your music. It's not only great for beginners; the Behringer Super Fuzz is also perfect for those on a budget. Due to the budget price, this bass pedal is less durable than the others listed. The Super Fuzz is made from plastic and would suit someone who will be using this solely in their house. It's not for intense traveling and touring.
Why We Liked It - The Behringer super fuzz provides an amazing distortion sound output for a budget price!
Bass Pedal Buyers Guide
What to Look For When Buying a Bass Pedal
When searching for the perfect bass pedal, the number of options can be overwhelming. With so many different pedals to choose from that provide unique effects and features, finding the perfect one can be tricky. Here we have compiled a list of features or effects that typically come with bass pedals, and what you need to look for to suit your needs.
Many bass pedals nowadays will have a preset option. Presets will generally require a setup with numerous effects applied to create an overall sound you want. They are usually very accessible and easy to use. Usually, presets are so extensive that you don't need to create any more presets of your own. Should you wish to create your own, or tweak the given presets, these can then be stored and easily accessed on your pedal through the click of a button!
Many guitar and bass pedal manufacturers will provide something called Modeling. This is when the manufacturer includes additional digital processors that will recreate or 'model' the sounds of numerous bass sounds, effects, instruments, and amplifiers.
Analog vs Digital Signal
Up until the 1980s, all effects provided through pedals and other bass guitar accessories were analog. With the digital revolution in the 1980s, pedals and amplifiers began to change into digital signal processing. Analog effects had to be based on already existing sounds and effects.
However, now, with a digital signal, many new sounds and effects can be created. There are many pros to both analog and digital signals and will depend on the person's individual wants and needs. However, most pedals nowadays will be based on digital signal manipulation.
Compression refers to effects that will reduce the dynamic range of the input signal. This means that dynamic inconsistencies will be reduced, therefore producing a clearer and perfect sound output. Usually, the settings for the compression will specify the upper and lower decibel range of the input. If this is surpassed, the compressor will then boost or limit the sound output in relation to the sound input.
One of the most common effects on pedals is the wah wah. With this feature, you can use your foot to rock back and forth on the pedal; this will then add a trebly sound to your music, similar to the actual sound of 'wah wah.' This effect is usually very simple to use, even while you play live on stage.
Overdrive and Distortion
Overdrive and distortion are sometimes confused with the other, but they are different effects altogether. The Overdrive effect will boost your sound as if you have turned your amp up to the maximum volume level (in terms of distortion), but it will actually not raise the volume level. The distortion effects will add a little more aggression than an overdrive effect. A distortion effect will completely change the sound of what you're playing and will take over the signal completely.
Equalization effects boost or cut certain frequency sounds from the sound signal. It allows you to control the bass, mid and treble frequencies produced. Usually, a bass guitar will include one or two tone knobs, giving you the opportunity to simply and easily use EQ effects. However, pedals can go much further with this and can offer you more precise control.
The chorus effect will duplicate the original sound to produce multiple voices on the same note or notes. This is a great option if you want to thicken the sound and make a more multi-layered output. You can also get chorus pedals.
A reverb effect will produce a subtle form of delay or echo in your music. Most pedals will include some form of reverb effect, although you can also purchase reverb specific pedals for a much more enhanced and precise sound.
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