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Using guitar pedals for bass

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by HardRockZombie, Jul 12, 2002.

  1. HardRockZombie


    Jul 4, 2002
    Just a general question about using guitar pedals for basses. Does it even work? what are the results like? is there any danger to the amp?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    1) Yes.

    2) Depends on the pedal and your expectations, prepare to loose some bottom end and general loss of clarity. This can happen with "bass" pedals too, especially those with no hard bypass. Guitar and bass pedals don't differ that much.
    Some guitar pedals are even more popular among bassists, e.g. the BOSS OC-2 Octaver, a guitar effect that's used predominantly by bassists (cf. Pino Palladino, Will Lee).

    3) No.
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I don't know of any "danger" or harm they can do.

    The typical downsides I've found with guitar-designed units are;

    - guitar units weren't designed to handle the frequencies of a bass and do a very poor job of handling them.
    Often, they give you a disgustingly "thin sound" because anything below what they were designed for is just eliminated (in terms of Hz's)

    - many bass effects require good tracking of the lower notes and the guitar units just can't do it. In simplistic terms, you're getting sounds long after the original note is sounded. The effect just can't process the notes quickly enough because they weren't designed for the waveforms of bass notes.

    The popularity of the B string on 5+ string basses just blows guitar effects away. They can't even begin to handle a B string.

    Those are just generalizations from my experience. On the other hand, some units that were never originally intended to be used with bass can sound quite cool.
    - Tim Bogert told me he played one of my favorite bass solos using a Mosrite Fuzz unit. At the time that unit was made, there simply weren't any effect units designed for bass.
    - I've heard of bassists having good results with the Pro Co Rat, even though it was intended to be a guitar unit.
    - Geezer Butler did some work using a wah-wah before there were any wah's designed for bass

    Long story short - If you can, try any effect unit with your bass. You never know what you may find.
  4. Listen


    May 19, 2002
    Yeah, some work, but some short out very quickly.
  5. the Boss MD-2 Megadistortion i use for my guitar sounds really wicked on bass.. a bit big-muf like, but way more sustain..

    i still prefer the ODB-3 over it tho, coz the ODB-3 has more lows in it.
  6. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I use a few guitar pedals in my setup, and the biggest drawback is that even when the effect is off, simply having the unit in-line sucks bottom end punch right out of my tone (they're not "true-bypass").

    For that reason, I use a true-bypass loop pedal which bypasses the effects altogether in order to save my tone.
  7. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    I'd been using a Boss CH-1 Super Chorus (in stereo) for many years and I thought it sounded pretty good. Just two days ago, I got an EBS UniChorus and there is no comparison (it blows away the CH-1). Also, the EBS only has two knobs (I love simplicity).
  8. Eddie Charles

    Eddie Charles

    Oct 25, 2015
    I've enjoyed playing both guitar and bass with one instrument on a Roland guitar synth with a Godin Multiac guitar. This rig allows not only playing a bunch of different basses (acoustic upright, fretless, slap, etc) and guitars (acoustic, electric, nylon string, 12 string)...but also piano or organ. Percussion too...but I haven't practiced enough with percussion.

    It actually has built in patches that allow strings 1-4 to sound like guitar or piano...and strings 5&6 to sound like bass.

    I always play it through a bass amp as I've heard playing bass through a guitar amp is hard duty on the guitar amp....and won't produce a bass sound that well. It is fun piece of equipment. One can get lost in the numerous possibilities.
  9. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Chamonix Mont-Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    Pedals are pedals - some just hold onto your low end a little better than others.

    Lots of weird stuff written in this thread.
    NealBass and Nashrakh like this.
  10. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    15-year bump, a new record?
  11. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Chamonix Mont-Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    I didn’t even notice!
  12. I didn't do it, nope wasn't me, I swear.

    Didn't notice either.
  13. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Take a look at the MI Audio Blueboy Deluxe MkII.

    That's a guitar overdrive pedal.

    It has multiple tone controls. One is a tone stack that will boost bass and cuts highs if turned CCW and do the opposite if turned CW. Turn it CCW too far and you get a boomy sound, too much bass.
    That's not very common, but happens on some guitar pedals.

    It also has a mid control - one that's centered for the guitar. That knob is totally useless when you play bass through the pedal.

    Overall, the use I get out of that outweighs the point that a few parameters on the EQ are off. I have a wonderful grindy low gain OD that does not steal any frequencies.
  14. Eddie Charles

    Eddie Charles

    Oct 25, 2015
    I did it (the bump)! I was searching for guitar/bass pedals because of my experience with the Roland Guitar Synth. Am I eligible for some kind of recognition? :)
    knumbskull and GentProvocateur like this.
  15. pretty much all Way Huge pedals work for bass too, maybe except the Fat Sandwich.
  16. 52ASm5X.

    I use this for both guitar and bass, has both guitar and bass pedals on, all can be used interchangeably on the whole.

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