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Using guitar overdrive on bass

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by wtf_is_a_bass, Nov 14, 2006.

  1. wtf_is_a_bass

    wtf_is_a_bass Guest

    Aug 11, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    Endorsing Artist: PiGLET picks
    I was browsing through a catalogue and saw that Boss Super Overdrive SD1 pedals were on sale. This made me wonder if a bass would sound any good through it. Have any of you ever tried playing through a guitar pedal?

    Other than the Overdrive ODB3 sounding better for bass, handling the low frequencies better, having an EQ and Balance knob, are there any major differences? Is there any reason it would be highly recommended that i dont use a guitar overdrive?
  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Boss SD-1's are permanently on sale almost anywhere in the states for $29.99 instead of the "usual" $39.99.

    They're good pedals, but don't expect a miracle.
  3. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Dude, where you been? ;) I would say 1/4 to as much as 1/2 of the pedals talked about here in Effects were originally designed for the guitar! :D

    I personally have two (soon to be three) guitar versions I use. (H&K Warp Factor, Marshall SV-1, and soon a Bad Monkey) Just try them out and see if the sound works for you. That's the question with effects, does it work for you?
  4. nad

    nad 60 Cycle Humdinger

    Sep 22, 2005
    There's probably 3 bass-specific pedals in existence, and I've had at least 15 pedals throughout my days, so yes, yes I have played through "guitar" pedals.
  5. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    All of the effects on my board, except one, are all "guitar" effects. It doesn't have to say "made for bass" to work wonderfully on guitar; heck, some pedals I've got even work better on bass than on guitar!

    Stick around here long enough, and you'll find that most of us use effects that aren't specifically for bass, especially for chorus, phasing, delay, compression, synth, envelope filters... the list goes on!

    Now, when it comes to overdrive, distortion, and fuzz, it's a different story. Most of these pedals won't work that well on bass unless built for that particular instrument. Basically, you'd lose some low end; it's harmless otherwise, but as bass players, we love... well... BASS frequencies!

    Not all OD/Dist/Fuzz pedals have this problem. The Electro-Harmonix Big Muff, for example, is a famous bass-friendly fuzz pedal. Then there's overdrives like the Tubescreamer, the Sparkle Drive, the DOD 250, and countless others, that work great on bass.

    In any case... if you don't know how well it works on bass, try it out, or search for the pedal here to find out what we've posted about it. It's always best to try it out for yourself though. And NEVER limit yourself to "made for bass" effects; some of the best pedals out there are excellent on either bass or guitar!

    In response to the Boss SD-1... I'm not sure. I've never tried one on bass, but I'm not fond of Boss pedals (with a few exceptions), so I doubt I ever will :smug:
  6. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    I just wanna say... i bought a digitech bad monkey, basically brand new on friday for £10... and what a good decision :eek:

    Its completely changed my sound for the better! it sounds a bit weak on guitar IMO... but on bass its just perfect for that growly, crunchy, SVT about to explode grit... such a nice sound!!!

    I think this used in conjunction with my sansamp is a delicious tone... I'll be taking them to a gig on the 2nd, which'll be my first gig with my new setup as my band's been on hiatus for a while and we're just getting back together now (stingray, peavey head, warwick cabs, EB strings, and now Digitech Bad Monkey)... i'll let y'all know how it holds up at that gig.

    but in the mean time, at band prac... wooow! :bassist: it mellows out just right for blues and soft rock/ballad stuff, and then it goes for all out growl for death metal and the like... my only grip is that its a tad muddy. but i plan to play around with some of the components when I get some time.

    seriously... if you can get a deal as good as this, then buy the Digi BM. way better than any other bass OD i've tried as of yet!
  7. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz!

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO
    Sounds like you assembeled a good list of reasons not to use a guitar overdrive. :)

    That said, there are plenty that do work well. Sample!
  8. Oreo


    Dec 26, 2005
    New York
    I use a Boss SD-1 and I love the sound I get out of it!

    I bought the ODB3 for real cheap to see if I would like it, and didnt...so me and the guitarist in my band tried switching (he was using an SD-1) and I ended up liking it enough to buy one of my own :)

    My guitarist uses both his SD-1 and my ODB3 now, it can make a cool combo at times!
  9. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    My all time favorite is the voodoo labs sparkle overdrive. The sd-1 is what I used to use and think it is the best except for the major low end loss. If you use it with a looper like the boss unit, it is just awsome. I have a keeley modded one on the way that is supposed to have way more low end . We'll see..........
  10. I use a DOD 250. Its nice and cheap. Sounds good.

    The majority of my pedals are for 'guitar'....
  11. I love my Mesa Boogie Bottle Rocket tube overdrive on bass. It seems to articulate just the way I want it to with the bass rolled back a smige and the treble boosted a hair. It will be perect once I get a gate for it to clean up gaps where I want to cut out the sound between notes. You can find them pretty easily on E-Bay for around $150.

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