Bass Effects vs. Guitar Effects - Difference?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by NewCountryBass, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. NewCountryBass


    Jun 25, 2009
    Fresno, Ca
    As a former guitar player, I am loaded down with guitar effects equipment. Now a bass player, I've been experimenting by running my bass through my guitar effects hoping that I would not have to entirely reinvest in bass oriented effects boxes and racks.

    I'm not sure that what I hear from the guitar oriented effects equipment is best for bass.

    Before I start spending on bass effects, can anyone tell me if there is truely a difference between guitar oriented and bass oriented effects equipment? If so, does the difference apply to only certain effects, or is it across the entire effects spectrum?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Reviewer: Bass Player Magazine
    Depends on the effect. Certain effects like delay and reverb don't focus on cutting/boosting/letting through a certain frequency range. Other effects like fuzz and overdrive really need some part of the design that allows for the lows to come through. Some effects are designed for guitar still allow the lows to come through or boosts them, so they work just as well for bass. It's sort of a case by case thing.
  3. kenstee


    Oct 9, 2009
    Good question. It varies considerably effect to effect and on your own personal preferences. Bass specific effects in theory work best to accentuate/compensate for the bass frequencies and tone. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. You're really going to explore this on a pedal-by-pedal basis. But, it's very multi-dimentional. Other factors include the type of amp you're using as well as the EQ on your amp, pre-amp, etc. as well as if you are using an Effects Loop as well as effects/signal chain factors - pedals running before and after the pedal in question. Not to mention the settings on your axe.

    An example. Boss made a flanger in both guitar (the BF-2) and bass version BF-2B. Most bass players liked the guitar version better. Same with a chorus - they made a bass specific version of I think the CE-3 called the CEB-3. Most bassists preferred the CE-3. Analogman, a boutique effects manufacturer, addresses this issue by having an optional deep bass setting on their choruses. Makes their choruses adaptable to each situation with a flip of a switch.

    In some instances, an effect will have enough nuances/sensitivity in their controls to be able to dial-in a good bass setting as well. Others don't.

    Sorry I can't be more specific but this isn't a Yes or No question. In the final analysis it depends on your own ears and the tone you are looking for. You ask 10 people you'll get 10 opinions. Personally, I have found the bass/not bass-specific issue most profound with fuzzes/ODs. Many guitar fuzzes/ODs sound (to my ears anyway) crappy with a bass. Some fuzzes made just for bass compensate for this. Naturally, many bassists here will disagree with me. But, that's just the way we are...
  4. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    Bass effects usually mirrors guitar effects but they tune more lows on the pedals so that you'll be able to get good sounding effects without obliterating low-ends. there are some guitar pedals that work well on bass. some guitar pedals have low-end filters and some guitar pedals have mix controls making them more musical sounding on guitar and useful on bass. if you plan on getting a guitar pedal for your bass, make sure that there's plenty of lows on the pedal. when it comes to using guitar pedals on bass, it's usually a good idea to purchase a blender pedal. blender pedals can help you mix the dry signal(your original bass sound) with the effected signal.
  5. grovest


    Feb 26, 2002
    Did you like what you heard when you played your bass through your current effects?
  6. nostatic


    Jun 18, 2004
    Lompoc, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    I set up this board specifically for double duty:


    While I do more bass gigs than guitar, I do have a couple of projects (solo acoustic and a power trio funky rock thing) where I play 6 strings. The DD-2 I've had for ages, got it for guitar, and it works fine for bass. The Bass Drive I bought back in '02 specifically because while it is voiced for bass a lot of guys like it for guitar as well. For guitar I also use a very old Vox wah and had a Voodoo Labs chorus. I haven't tried the wah for bass but am not really interested in going there, instead preferring the envelope filters. I sold the Voodoo Labs chorus and bought the Analogman specifically because it *kills* on both bass and guitar due to the deep toggle switch.

    The envelope filters are new toys that I bought for bass because of a straight funk/acid jazz project but last time I did an informal guitar trio gig I found I liked the auto wah a lot. Both the Maxon and the Menatone work equally well on guitar and bass - you just need to tweak the controls a bit. people said above, no hard and fast rules, just try things and see what your ear likes.