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Bass manufacturers of Pedals...or any pedal will work?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Randyt, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. Randyt

    Randyt RAAPT Custom Wood Productions

    Jul 21, 2010
    Barrie, Canada
    As my role a bassist is slowly changing from holding down the bottom of the band to be asked to solo more and act as an accompianist to piano gigs.

    I find myself looking for more effects to add to the depth and level of entertainment....but it leeds me to this question,,,will any (guitar) pedal work for bass?..just until recently I found out that Delay Pedals will work with both..so a good quality delay pedal will work just fine..im presently using a TC Electronic Vintage Delay...but I want to get a little further...Synth pedals..(ie Moog) Octave pedals, compressor pedals etc. For Example EBS...makes pedals for Bass players

    So in a nut shell...what pedals should be made specicifically for Bass and not for guitar...any input would be great
    thanks Randyt
  2. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    IME, the two things you need to look out for are:

    a) low end retention.

    b) tracking.

    Low end retention is an "across the board" issue. Read reviews, listen to sound clips, buy a blender pedal if you love the tone, but also love having full bottom end frequency retained.

    Tracking is typically more of an issue with octave generation and synthesizers. The low frequency notes of a bass can be difficult for pedals to recognize and duplicate, depending on the design -- analog octavers tend to have more difficulty than digital ones but neither are perfect. Again, this will come down to an individual pedal, and what your priorities are. Glitchy octave pedals can be either a winning weirdness or a dealbreaker depending on your sonic goals.

    I'd suggest narrowing down what type of effect you're looking for and searching specifically on those terms. There's a lot of good reviews on here.
  3. I agree with Unrepresented. It really depends. Some guitar pedals work fantastically, while others don't work well at all. Your best bet is research. When you find a pedal, look it up on here, and/or Youtube to see if it works with bass. Like Unrep mentions, if you're still not sure then ask on here.
  4. Yeah, most of my pedals aren't bass specific...
  5. Like Unrepresented said, usually the two issues is how well an effect treats the lower frequencies, and how well it tracks or reproduces sound.

    However, there are no hard and fast rules. If it sounds good to you, then it works.

    That said, be very wary of anything with frequency filters (Envelope filters, wah pedals, other eq altering effects). Many of them that are made for standard (tenor) guitars are band pass filters, which sucks the low end out of your bass guitar. If you're looking for an envelope filter or a wah, I'd really look into a bass specific one.

    Also, there can be issues with short attack delays, phasers and choruses. All three of these effects recreate the original signal into a duplicate signal and then alter them. The result can mess with low frequencies far worse then upper frequencies, and your bass will sound muddy and indistinct, especially in live settings like a crappy dive bar. The problem is that the recreated signals from these effects tend to interact badly with the original signal. Unless you really realize what your doing and you can check out the sound all over the bar while it's full, tread very lightly with these effects when playing live.

    Delays tend to only get really muddy when you have a very fast delay time going. I never really used this effect (although I've used standard delays set with less-then-super-fast delay times plenty of times. It's not quite the same, but when I did some recording and wanted that sound on a kick drum, I ran a parallel loop with a high pass filter and the delay, so the lower frequencies didn't interact badly with each other. There's very few incidences where a really fast delay sounds good on a bass, and a little longer delay (1/8 of a second or so or more) won't sound as muddy. So, don't worry about delays for the most part, unless you really want to have a really, really fast delay sound.

    A phaser is usually a low-pass filter that oscillates in tandem with the original signal. As such, there's usually no issues with loss of bottom end. However, some are band-pass which can suck the bottom out, and some have a bit of latency which can also suck the bottom out. Just watch out for that.

    Choruses.... Just get a bass specific chorus. When you slightly shift the frequency of the original signal to get this effect, the problem is that it tends to really muddy up the bottom end. As such, most regular choruses will sound very, very muddy live, especially when you get out in the crowd. Bass specific choruses will have a high pass filter on the effected signal, so as not to mess with the lower frequencies on the original signal. They typically sound loads better on a bass then ones not specifically made for a bass guitar.

    Reverb - It tends to REALLY muddy things up. Be careful with this one. There are good reasons why pro-level producers pretty much never put on bass guitar, except when it's a solo piece or the music is very sparse, or if they specifically cut the lower frequencies that are getting sent into or out of the reverb with a lowpass filter. It may sound great, but the chances of it sounding good on your bass anywhere outside of a studio or your bedroom are minimal at best

    Distortion/overdrive/fuzz can also have issues. Often, the manufacturers will toss some sort of eq filters in with the effect. Watch out for these, as a few of these pedals will loose the bottom end.

    I'm sure that there are plenty more issues, but I can't think of them. The most important thing is to really listen to how the lower frequencies are treated on any pedal and if it's not taken away any. When you try them out, if it sounds a bit muddy, or if it sounds like the effect is removing some bottom end, I promise you it'll sound 10 times worse in the audience.

    And, above all else, even if it does mess with the bottom end in a way that may technically be bad, if it sounds good to you, then it probably is.
  6. Qlanq


    Jul 9, 2007
    I'd like to hear your stuff. Any chance?
  7. Aureus


    Apr 17, 2012
    imo, its only up to YOU.

    for example ... a lot of users here are very happy with bass specific chorus pedals, while i am completely satisfied with a boss ch-1 (non bass specific pedal).
    some pedals are better though if they are specifically made for bass, like some useres said above. but ... try them, and youll find out what you like the best. dont give too much about when its not bass specific ... hear it, play it, try it ... also here are so many nice people with huge knowledge in effects, ask em ! it really helps ...
  8. I try to buy pedals that have a wet/dry mix. Boss OC2, Boss SYB-3, MXR Envelope filter. These all have a knob to for dry and wet levels so my bass isn't lost in the effects. For overdrive i use a Digitech Hardwire distortion because it has a bass and treble knob on it, not just a tone knob. I can kick back some of the highs and add bottom without mud. These arent the most expensive pedals out there, but they get the job done for me.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The main effect to be concerned with being bass-specific is distortion. I don't like blending clean and dirty so it's important for me that a distortion pedal has plenty of low end response that works for bass, and most guitar distortion pedals don't.
  10. Randyt

    Randyt RAAPT Custom Wood Productions

    Jul 21, 2010
    Barrie, Canada
    Thank you alll for the input....truly apreciated!!

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