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Distortion/Fuzz pedals that work with active basses?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Phyrexian, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. Hello hellow,

    I've been playing a Warwick Corvette Standard (passive 4 string) for a couple of years now. Together with my Ampeg SVT-3 Pro it sound quite awesome (my sound's got quite some amp overdrive). The collection of overdrive/distortion pedals I use, complement my tone. I love my fulltone bassdrive, ebs multidrive and ehx big muff (green reissue).

    Six months ago I bought a superb G&L L2000. One hell of a meaty tone! I just love the sound of it (thanks to them hot pickups), I'm more present in the bandmix and the bandsound got fuller. The G&L is a keeper.
    Now, strange thing is that both the Fulltone and the EBS tend to sound less good with this bass... I guess it's due to the fact that the G&L is an active bass with quite a very hot ouput?

    What do you other 'activers' do with your distortion pedals and active basses? Do they also tend to sound bad, or is it just me?
    Any recommandations for distortion pedals that sound good with active basses??

    I'm going to try to use the Fulltone Bassdrive with a 18V powersupply and see if it sounds better... fingers crossed.
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I've had problems with some pedals, but not the fulltone or ebs. I play almost exclusively active basses.
    IIRC, the EBS has an active/passive switch. Have you tried that?
    Pedals I've used with no problems on active basses:
    Fulltone Bassdrive, EBS Multidrive, Barber Deep Fryer, Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive, Boss ODB-3, EHX Big Muff, ProCo Juggernaut, Dredgetone Angler, Prescription Electronics Depth Charge, Carl Martin Fuzz. There's probably more, just can't remember them all at present.
  3. Thanks. I must say the EBS is alright though, it just needs some more tweaking. I fine-tuned my amp/bass sound, so next up is fine-tuning the pedals to that setup.

    Thanks for the recommendations (spelling?). I need to check that Depth Charge... looks like an awesome fuzz!
  4. Have you tried a Keeley modded RAT? I guess it's better than the Juggernaut?
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Haven't tried it, sorry
  6. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    teh z. vex wooly mammoth, though not made or supposed to be used with actives, DOES work with them. just dont dime all the knobs and your fine. that thing is super sensitive and can get really out of hand really quick. but it you are careful with yoru settings and stuff youll have no problem. but as with everything, try it before you buy it.
  7. anastasio24


    May 24, 2003
    I apologize if I am hijacking the thread but my issue is similar. I am trying to find a vintage late 60's - 70's fuzz sound with my active bass. I don't care to have much overdrive. I am just interested in fuzz. I am trying to run fuzz for a pyschedelic sounding line. I am also interested in running a fuzz with my Meatball.

    I have had the Black Cat Octave Fuzz recommended but I have read some negative things about that too.

    Any other suggestions? If possible I would like to try it before I buy it since fuzz is so subjective.

  8. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I can tell you some fuzzes that will work with active basses: Chunk Systems Chunk Fuzz, Carl Martin Fuzz, Depth Charge, Black Cat Octave Fuzz.

    I can't say anything really negative about any of those, they're all perfectly functional but might not be the sound you're looking for.
  9. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    I have a Russian Big Muff that I use with my Aguilar'd and EMG'd Warwick. Sounds fantastic - a truely funky fuzz! I've also used it with a Lovetone Meatball but that flew the coop a while back because the excess of knob twiddling drove me mad. I often use it with an MXR Phase 90 and EBS BassIQ for spacier and squelchier sounds. The Muff/BassIQ sound is one of my favourites!

    However, Big Muff's are rather random pedals - they are cheap (and sometimes unreliable) and thus use varying components and even if the components are nominally the same, the tolerances can be so loose that one pedal can sound amazing with bass and another not. So it's a gamble but a very cheap one. And they're easy to find so you can try out a bunch until you find the one that's most compatible with your bass.

    I used to think about upgrading from the Big Muff to something fancier (like a Frantone or Prescription Electronics) because it was my cheapest pedal and I am a fuzz addict. But the more I use it and the more I hear it recorded, the more I realise that it's fantastic and the cost is irrelevant.


    P.S. For overdrive/distortion I use a Fulltone BassDrive which is equally fantastic, totally different (and really solidly built) but four times the price. But it ain't no fuzz!
  10. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Flossin'? I thought your name was Munson! Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    64 Audio · DR Strings · Source Audio · Hipshot
    I haven't seen any lower priced pedals recommended, so I'll do it! The digitech Bass Driver works well with active basses, and it runs the gamut from a slightly dirty boost to a full on fuzz, and everything in between. I have been using a Danelectro Fab Tone for distortion, but it's very finnicky. The volume has a spot that on one side it's too loud, and the other side it's too quiet... might just be defective, but who knows? Anyway, when I can get the volume squared away, it sounds pretty good. A little more sizzly than the Bass Driver, which is pretty thick.
  11. glasshand


    Jul 27, 2004
    I have a Spector Legend 6 and spent $40 on a Digitech Hot Head. It worked well, even with bass chording. You can do a fair job of adusting parameters on it as opposed to volume and noise. This is key.

    However, after about two weeks, I realized I need a bit more flexibility and more sonic choices, so I returned it and bought a ZOOM GFX-1 guitar FX pedal. YEEOOWWW do I love that thing! But that's just me. I run it through a ZOOM 607 (I already had it, saved me spending more $$$) for an expression pedal.