Effects pedals may be designed with a particular instrument in mind, but we’ve always felt that a quality effect in the hands of a discerning tone crafter will sound great on any instrument, whether guitar, bass, didgeridoo, or even vocals. Bass players had to learn this lesson many years ago when pedals specifically designed for their instrument’s frequency range were a scarcity. Today, bass players have just as wide a range of amazing stompboxes available to them as guitar players do, and many of them sound incredible with guitar. We put a list together of bass pedals that every guitar player should seriously consider adding to their arsenal.
CRY BABY® MINI BASS WAH
The Cry Baby Mini Bass Wah captures thick, throaty envelope filter tones in a mini housing with auto-return switching and Q and Boost controls for simple but responsive tweakability. Accentuating the lower midrange of the frequency spectrum, it sounds full and meaty when used on guitar—perfect for wah users who want to beef up their sound. And if you tune down, the Cry Baby Mini Bass Wah is an excellent choice for emphasizing the depth of those lower notes.
MXR® DYNA COMP® BASS COMPRESSOR
The Dyna Comp Bass Compressor comes equipped with the classic CA3080 “metal can” integrated circuit that guitar players know and love for its quiet operation, excellent transparency, and superior dynamic range. This pedal’s Clean control allows you to dial in your dry signal alongside the compressed signal, and for guitar players, that means retaining the sound of your pick attack. Also, thanks to the way that this particular version of the Dyna Comp Compressor is tuned, it works extremely well with guitars that have single-coil pickups.
MXR® BASS OCTAVE DELUXE
The Bass Octave Deluxe provides two differently tuned sub-octave signals that sound just as great on guitar as they do on bass, and you can dial in your clean signal with one or both to thicken up a chorus or bridge passage. Try running this into a fuzz pedal for over-the-top sub saturation.
MXR® BASS CHORUS DELUXE
The Bass Chorus Deluxe combines chorus and flanger effects into a single pedal, and the sound of the circuit offers a nice change of pace from the most common modulation tones that guitar players tend to use. It also has a stereo out for splitting the signal to two separate outputs to get rad panning effects.
MXR® BASS PREAMP
The Bass Preamp is a killer option for acoustic guitar players. Its EQ interface is simple to use while offering a wide range of tonal flexibility that perfectly complements the instrument. With both 1/4” and XLR outputs, you can send your signal to an amp and the front of house at the same time, so you can play an acoustic gig with the ability to shape your tone and go direct without needing to carry anything more than your gig bag.
WAY HUGE® SMALLS™ PORK ’N’ PICKLE OVERDRIVE & FUZZ
The Pork ’N’ Pickle OD & Fuzz combines two different types of dirt in a single pedal with a ton of tweakability, including the option to dial in a clean signal. What’s that mean for guitar players? You can go all out with the overdrive or fuzz and then dial in come clean tones—seasoned to your liking—to make sure the mix has the clarity you need.
The moral of this story? Don’t limit yourself. A great effect is a great effect, and a lot of bass pedals are the result of an extra step or three of engineering and design thanks to the more demanding frequency range. Don’t be afraid to reap the benefits.