Bass overdrive pedal

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Masslymo, May 19, 2020.

  1. Masslymo


    Aug 10, 2018
    I am new to bass (i am a guitar player) and want to build small and affordable bass pedalboard. I have cheap bass and amp (Ltd b10 and fender rumble 40).
    I want to buy an overdrive/distortion pedal and can you suggest any affordable pedals?
    I searched the internet and find Digitech XBD review and then went to Youtube for sound quality. It sounds ok for me. I just want to play and have fun at home.

    Digitech XBD Bass Driver Overdrive/Distortion Pedal Review (2020)

    Ellery likes this.
  2. GMC


    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    There's lots to choose from, most work great on guitar as well as bass. However, not many guitar overdrives work well on bass. The role of overdrive on bass is very different to guitar. Where you might be into solo-ing on a guitar, on bass they are usually used to fatten and compress the bass in a mix. So something that doesn't cut the low end and has a tone control to dial down the top end. Muffs and very popular on bass (also used a lot for bass solo tones) and Rats are good if you are careful about the low end cut.
    A few great cheapies are the Joyo Ultimate Drive (OCD fuzz clone) their American Sound is glorious (but has a baked in tone). The TCelectronics Mojo Mojo gets a lot of love (Bass and Treble boost / cut) or the Digitec Bad Monkey.
    If you have the time / money / effort / skills..I would seriously recommend a DAM Ezekiel Kit. It's a one stop shop to analogue bass dirt. Pretty much everything you will ever need in a single box for bass dirts, as long as you spend the time to lean how to dial in each sound. It has a blend, bass and treble cut knobs, plus 4 clipping options. The Drive is very touch sensitive, although hard to dial in lighter tones...they are there and are excellent. But it's primarily a fuzz pedal that wants to let rip the dogs of war.
  3. Masslymo


    Aug 10, 2018
    Thanks for the info. Wow, Joyo is cool and very affordable. I don't play in the band so I just want some affordable bass setup to have fun and record some demos for myself. So I don't want to spend a lot of money.
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  4. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Can't go wrong with the behringer bass over drive. It sounds pretty darn good, and its like 25 bucks. Even if you end up not using it much, it was only 25 bucks.

    I've also got a bass tube screamer. I like it. Much more money though.
  5. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Behringer, not bearing. Stupid auto correct. More like auto incorrect right?
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  6. I swear by the Digitech Bad Monkey and Hardwire Tube overdrive. They are so transparent with no loss of low end and work on guitar and bass. They are comparable to the Tube screamer but no loss of low end.
    dkelley likes this.
  7. Look for a clean blend to keep the bottom end. I like the EHX HotWax.
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  8. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    I'm not familiar with the super-inexpensive options, but for $100 or so (US), I'd recommend the EHX Bass Soul Food for lighter OD tones, and the Boss ODB-3 for something a bit crunchier.
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  9. Masslymo


    Aug 10, 2018
    I thought about Behringer because it's cheap. But is it durable?
    dkelley likes this.
  10. Get an Earthquaker Westwood.
    Goes from very pleasing light to medium heavy overdrive, and has a good active tone control that works well for both bass and guitar.
    It's an overdrive more than a distortion, those are somewhat different things that overlap somewhere. You need heavy distortion, get a dedicated distortion pedal. The great thing is you can use them both together to get serious combinations of dirt.
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
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  12. 85A17BA8-1FD4-4C26-A01F-2E42BF35343D.jpeg View attachment 3835364
    And they can be had relatively cheap too. I got mine for just over 100 bucks.
    It’s not my main overdrive tone but I stack it because it has a warm voice that doesn’t take away from the other pedal or character of my bass.
    (I also use OD so they are my tone together)
    relayer66 and Fuzzbass like this.
  13. I have a Digitech Bass Driver. I find it useful for some tones, like a fat woolly tone, but when you crank the "morph" and tone knobs it gets pretty fizzy sounding, like being a whale's mouth full of Pop Rocks, and the notes get ill-defined.

    Later I got a Darkglass b3k, and that has been an "always on" pedal on my board ever since. But at some settings, with certain basses, even the b3k can get annoyingly fizzy, and it's pricey as well.

    It really comes down to personal preference. I find that with my Rickenbacker, it works well with most dirt pedals. My Westone, with its hot humbucker pickups, seems to sound better clean with a touch of gain on the amp, while my Jaguar with the P-bass pickup is somewhere in between.
  14. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    DFW Metro
    You still have to define affordable in terms of price range; just because you play an LTD through a Fender Rumble doesn't necessarily mean a $200 pedal is too expensive (though we can probably guess). You also need to let us know how much drive you're looking to get; bass drives can go from very subtle almost-clean "is it on?" boosts up into wallpaper-peeling fuzz distortion.

    Pretty much any overdrive pedal that isn't a Tube Screamer clone or a treble-boost drive circuit will work okay on bass. You basically want to avoid two things; pushing your high mids, and losing your low end. Many overdrive pedals are designed to do exactly that, which on guitar produces a thick, focused tone that sits well in mixes and can be brought out for solos. On bass, the same approach totally destroys the mix by shifting the frequencies of your instrument up into where the guitar's supposed to be; no low end, competing mids, it just ends up a mess.

    (Spirit of Ox's recommendations in the Bad Monkey/Hardwire Tube OD vein work better, even though they are TS clones, by moving from the TS circuit's simple tone control to a two-band EQ, so you get as much low end as you want; I have the Hardwire one, great on guitar, still not a fan of it for bass)

    To avoid that, overdrives marketed specifically for bass typically use circuit designs that avoid the Tubescreamer's mid-hump (so-called "transparent overdrives"; "hard-clipping" distortion pedals with op-amps feeding clipping diodes also tend not to discriminate in what they distort), and they also commonly include a dry blend, which allows pure unadulterated bass to get through the pedal layered underneath the effect.

    On the lower end, there are a lot of direct-from-China brands like Caline, Joyo, NuX, Ammoon etc that make halfway-decent stuff. The Behringer brand is in a similar vein these days. People knock em because they're cheap Chinese brands, but when Made In The USA comes with a $100 price premium, most of these cork-sniffers end up having relatively few "boo-teek" pedals, and as many of the actual pedal makers will tell you, the components are all coming from China anyway, no matter where the pedal's assembled.

    Out of this field, the Joyo/Harley Benton Ultimate Drive is a sleeper. It's designed as a guitar heavy drive/distortion pedal (a Fulltone OCD clone), but it retains plenty of low end and has the gain to push into pretty extreme RATM-style tones. If you care about cosmetic appearances, it also doesn't look like a cheap pedal, coming in a standard 1590T aluminum enclosure in a very metal matte black powdercoat with a Japanese kabuki demon mask graphic. They sell for $50 brand new and you can score them used for half that. "Joyo Ultimate Drive" Gear

    Behringer sells the BOD400, more or less a clone of the ODB3 which starts at heavy drive and goes way past Anaesthesia, for $25 all day:

    Electro-Harmonix also makes some really good stuff at an affordable pricepoint, and more durable than many lower-tier offerings. The Bass Soul Food is a light drive based on the iconic and ridiculously-expensive Klon Centaur circuit, which on bass ends up rather subtle but very good as an always-on effect to get that vintage and hard-rock "almost clean but pushed just over the edge" tone from an amp stack that's got too much headroom for its own good. These change hands for about $60-$70 on Reverb.

    Slightly higher in price and much "gainier", the Hot Wax is a well-liked stack drive combining their Hot Tubes and Crayon circuits, one warm and dark for vintage drive, the other a bit brighter "color drive". Put em together and the available gain range and tone possibilities encompass just about every genre. These sell used for just under $100, so a bit pricier than others I've mentioned, but if you can front for it now it's a pedal you will not soon outgrow.

    (Don't worry about the high-pitched tone on the Hot Tubes side in the demo; it's not the pedal, it's a bad power source)

    The last EHX drive I really like is the Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi. An upgrade of simpler (and cheaper) Bass Big Muffs, this one has blend, gating and crossover controls that make it extremely flexible, but like all true fuzzes it does its best work at higher gain settings. These are also changing hands right under $100, and again it could be the only fuzz you ever need.

    Honorable mentions include the aforementioned Boss ODB-3 heavy drive/distortion (prices vary widely, but you can be fairly certain to find a decent used one for about $70), the Way Huge Swollen Pickle fuzz ($80-90), the MXR Sugar Drive (the little Klone that could; used prices are about $80) and the Caline CP-20 drive/boost ($35 brand new).
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  15. There are LOTS out there. The Digitech one is not bad but there are far better ones. I used a Digitech unit for a couple of years, so it's usable... but these days I'd go for something else.

    I would buy a Joyo American Sound. It's got a speaker emulation built in that works very well at giving a natural overdriven sound, without fizz, directly to desk, as well as plugged into a bass amp. It's actually a guitar pedal, and it sounds FANTASTIC on guitar too. Since I bought one, I've been using it together with a reverb pedal, directly into my bass amplifier, to play guitar (a Stratocaster and a twin humbucker PRS), and it sounds great. For bass, I switch off the reverb.
    It gives you a variety of tones with its voice control, and it does very nice low gain sounds as well as all out distorted. It doesn't go as high gain as some other pedals, but I found it works very very well with additional overdrive/distortion pedals, so it's easy to stack a couple of them.
    I think the speaker emulation it contains is really useful. I have a couple of other overdrives that didn't work for me on bass, mostly because they lost a bit of bottom end. A couple of them work very well if I put them before the American Sound: the Mooer Hustle Drive is a tiny pedal that has become a favourite when used together with the American Sound. There's also a cheap Mosky Black Rat that sounds amazing now.

    The Joyo American Sound is also pretty cheap. So much, that I went and bought the British Sound too, so I get two different characters at my fingertips (toes?) for very little money. I'm bulding a compact FX board that I can use both on bass and guitar, and the American Sound is a crucial part of it.

    For maximum versatility, a Source Audio Aftershock is hard to beat. It can do ANYTHING you want. But you need to like editing effects, going through menus etc, using a PC editor. I have one, but I use it less and less.

    Joyo American Sound, and don't look back! ;) ESpecially if you're a guitarist too.
  16. Oh yes, the Joyo Ultimate Drive is a great pedal too. I stopped using mine live because the gain knob in particular was very sensitive and leads to big volume differences (you need to tweak gain and level both), and there were a few times live where a trailing cable just touched the knob and my volume went too high, or too low... I prefer the American sound because of its speaker emulation. If you set it clean so that the sound is similar with/without, and then add the Ultimate Drive in front, it improves a lot too. I use the UD mostly for guitar now, but it's nice on bass too. However, the American Sound (and close second the British Sound) get my vote, no question, as a first OD pedal, because they sound great alone, and work very well with other pedals so they make a nice central part of an FX board
    superblues likes this.
  17. I wouldn't worry about durability. They're pretty tough, just be sensible. However I wouldn't buy one. It was my first bass overdrive and I hated it. For an additional £10 you can get an American Sound (I sound like a broken record, I swear I don't work for Joyo :D )
  18. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    I use the CAL Grizzly, and doubt I will ever look/listen any further.

    The one thing I will note as a “downside” of the Grizzly is that both a) it has a LOT of sounds in it and b) the knobs are VERY sensitive, when looking for a particular sound. Taken together, on a dark stage, one can get into trouble with the knob positions down on the pedal board.
  19. If you play guitar and bass, and want to record... then.. guess what?

    American Sound! :roflmao:

    Because its speaker emulation makes both bass and guitar sound very good direct to your audio interface.

    I'll shut up now, I am repeating myself too much and sounds like I am bullying you into buying one :)
  20. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    I own a few that have already been suggested. I think the EHX Bass Soul Food and the TC Electronic Mojomojo are great values, and even better values if you can find them used. The Joyo American Drive is another nice one and it's so inexpensive that it's a great value even buying it new.

    I've always liked my Bass Soul Food a lot but it seemed to be a pedal that got poo poo'd here. But lately it seems that either the fans are finally speaking up for it or there's some new found respect for it here on TB. It's not going to do a hard rock or metal kind of sound, but it wasn't designed for that. It's a lighter OD and I always thought it did that pretty well.
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