Guitar pedals with bass?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by m0t0rm0uth, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. m0t0rm0uth


    Sep 4, 2010
    ABQ, NM
    So, in the threads, I read about people who use guitar pedals with their bass rigs. How the heck...? Wouldn't that screw up the sound of the bass? What pedals/types of pedals would/wouldn't you use with a bass rig?
  2. I use a Boss MT-2 Metal Zone distortion pedal an i can get some really nice overdrive tones out of it, or full on distortion if i want.
  3. While you can use guitar pedals with your bass rig, the problem is that the vast majority of them are not designed to deal with the lower frequencies your bass produces - in other words, you'll lose some of your low end by running your signal through those effects.

    There are many effects, however, that aren't really guitar specific that will work fine with bass, such a delays, envelope filters, octavers, etc.

    EDIT: of course I should mention that many companies produce 'bass' versions of their pedals designed specifically for those lower fequencies.
  4. Deepak


    Mar 8, 2008
  5. rmkesler


    May 6, 2009
    Winder, GA
    I use a Russian Big Muff Pi when the occasion calls for it.
  6. rratajski

    rratajski Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2008
    Mount Laurel, NJ
    TBH, it just doesn't matter. Technically, the bass is type of g****r.

    Try a pedal out. If you like, you like it. If the low end loss is bearable (if there is any), then you're good to go. If you don't like the low end loss, look into mods or a different pedal.

    Take a gander at one of the 27 Post Your Pedalboard threads. A majority are "g****r" pedals.
  7. BassBrass


    Jul 6, 2009
    Boston MA
    With a blend ANY guitar pedal is potentially useful. Otherwise, a tube amp seems to help retain lows.
  8. G.Bisson

    G.Bisson Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    Just about all guitar effects work well with bass.
    The ones that usually suck bass are: compressors/overdrives/distortions. My trials have found Tubescreamer circuits and Ross compressors are the worst. Digitech guitar o.d. pedals seem to be better than most on bass. Even guitar od's that don't lose low end are typically so mid-range concentrated that you will become invisible when playing with other guitars. A blend can repair the missing low end, but its best to use a drive pedal that plays nicely with bass to begin with.
  9. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    For a long time bass players had very little if any choice for effects pedals for bass. We had no choice other then to find guitar pedals that would work well with bass. Since then mfg have come out with pedals labelled for bass use. Sometimes these work better then ones faves guitar pedal. Sometimes not. Todays guitar pedals tend to handle bass better then back in the 70's and early 80s. Due to mfg expanding their freq range for low end as result of 7 string and barritone guitars hitting the market with popularity. For many of us and it still applies today imo. One of the best friends pedal wise a bass player can have as part of their pedal setup is a good eq pedal. To help bring back whatever lost bass, or to tame shrilly treble, that otherwise nice effects pedals can have with bass.

    The same thing occured with useing effects on synths. Except for full range rack effects. Synth players of old had no choice but to use either guitar pedals that worked ok to well or the very few bass pedals (these tended to work best but very limited choices).
  10. xikbastard


    May 7, 2007
    if u are experimenting with guitar dirt pedal, a blend pedal is extremely useful to blend in and retain the low frequencies
  11. m0t0rm0uth


    Sep 4, 2010
    ABQ, NM
    Would a pre-amp be a feasible solution to this problem, or would I want to go ahead with an EQ pedal? I've been looking at a few of them, but am yet unsure what I want. My SWR Workingman 4004 head has a 5 band EQ that does a really nice job of raising the highs, and lowering the lows.

    The reason I ask as many questions as I do is because I have been playing w/o effects for about 20 years, and am in a current state of a "mid-life crisis" on my bass...not sure if I want to keep going with the straight through sound, or if I want to add effects in the original songs my band writes.

    Thanks for all the great help, answers, comments, etc.
  12. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    There's no specific, definite difference between a "preamp" and an "EQ pedal". The terms have a lot of overlap in function and meaning. Check the preamp article in the FAQ linked in my sig for more info. And check the FAQ of the fx forum here, for the answer to your original question. :meh:
  13. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    Not necessarily. Some are "full-range". Some just sound good with bass. It all depends on what YOU are going for.
  14. m0t0rm0uth


    Sep 4, 2010
    ABQ, NM
    Thanks for that link!! That answers a lot of other questions I had too. :hyper: As for the fx FAQ, I must have missed that part of it. Sorry I'm not as observant as I should be sometimes. :)
  15. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    The diff between preamp in the bass and a eq pedal is significant. With the former your doing whatever tone shaping right out of the bass. With the latter your doing it whereever it works best in the effects chain. Being able to correct or imporve the tone after overdrive is doable with a pedal after the overdrive or distorion. A preamp in the bass wont do squat to help that. You say your swr head has 5 band eq on it. This may well be enough to restore lower bass content eaten by overdrive if it has a 60 hz or lower active bass control. Since its after rather then before the overdrive/distortion/

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