Best Bass Pedals

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While effects pedals may be more commonly associated with guitars, there are also numerous effects specifically designed to enhance and transform the sound of the bass guitar. These effects pedals can play a big part in the tone and style of bassists in a variety of musical genres; truth be told, most of popular music’s most prominent bass players owe part of their signature sounds to their effects. Navigating the sheer amount of bass pedals on the market can be a daunting task, but fear not, we’ve laid out some important guidelines for you to follow in our buyer’s guide provided below. 

Best Bass Distortion Pedal:

Who says that guitarists are the only ones allowed to have fun throwing their instrument into extreme overdrive? Just as the 6-string electric guitar can be taken to new levels via the addition of a distortion effect, so can bass guitars. This effect can be used to give the low end some slight extra crunch, or can completely transform the character of a bassist’s sound to achieve a powerfully wall-smashing tone. Here are the best bass distortion pedals, with each one we've chosen offering some form of EQ/tone control via onboard switches/knobs, they're all housed in a durable, rugged exterior to protect the pedal from the rigors of regular use, and they can be powered by an external AC adapter.

Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff Pi Distortion Pedal

Electro-Harmonix’s Big Muff Pi is a well-known distortion/fuzz pedal staple in the world of guitarists, so it was only right that bassists be allowed to join in on the fun. The Bass Big Muff Pi provides the classic crunch that you would expect from the brand, without sacrificing any of the low end. Read Full Review

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    Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff Pi Distortion Pedal

    MXR M85 Bass Distortion Pedal

    MXR’s M85 bass distortion pedal offers players a few options in how they choose to crank up the gain on their signal. This pedal may be small in size, but it offers a remarkable range of tone control and range to give your bass sound just the right amount of grit. Read Full Review

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      MXR M85 Bass Distortion Pedal

      Electro-Harmonix Bass Metaphors Compression/Distortion Pedal

      The Electro-Harmonix Bass Metaphors pedal is more than just a bass distortion unit this thing can also act as both an EQ and compression pedal. With all of that said, it still excels at providing the ideal amount of powerful crunch that makes it ideal for rock and metal bassists alike. Read Full Review

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        Electro-Harmonix Bass Metaphors Compression/Distortion Pedal

        Boss DS1 Distortion Guitar Pedal

        BOSS’s iconic DS-1 is probably most frequently associated with guitars, but this little orange distortion pedal also pulls a great, growling sound out of bass guitars, too. This piece of gear has been melting peoples’ faces for more than 30 years. Read Full Review

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          Boss DS1 Distortion Guitar Pedal

          Wampler Low Blow Bass Overdrive/Distortion Pedal

          Wampler’s Low Blow bass distortion pedal is perfect for players looking to achieve a more subtle and natural bass overdrive. Despite its small size, the pedal provides multiple parameter controls to nail down the exact amount of EQ and drive in your signal. Read Full Review

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            Wampler Low Blow Bass Overdrive/Distortion Pedal

            Best Bass Multi-Effect Pedal:

            Guitarists aren’t the only ones who can play with effects. There have been plenty of bass effects pedals that have allowed bassists to help craft new and innovative sounds with the instruments. There are many advantages to a bass multi-effects pedal; for one, they take up far less real estate on a player’s pedalboard. Many of the effects contained within a single unit can be combined and play off one another to create unique sounds as well. And the cost of purchasing a single multi-effects pedal is typically more affordable than building out a full effects rig piece by piece. We've chosen the best bass multi-effects pedals, each one here weighing less than five pounds for easy transportation, they can easily be powered by either common batteries or AC adapter, and they all offer user-preset slots so that you can create and save your own tones within the unit.

            Zoom B3 Bass Guitar Effects and Amp Simulator

            What can’t the Zoom B3 bass multi-effects pedal do? The stompbox-style layout of this unit provides a simple look that may undermine the sheer complexity of sounds, settings, and features contained in its compact shape. Read Full Review

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              Zoom B3 Bass Guitar Effects and Amp Simulator

              Boss ME20B Bass Guitar Multi Effects Pedal

              BOSS’s ME-20B is an ideal multi-effects processor for bassists looking to bring a wide range of sounds to their live performances. The unit features several preset sounds and effects, and can also be used to edit and store new sounds and configurations. Read Full Review

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                Boss ME20B Bass Guitar Multi Effects Pedal

                VOX STOMPLAB2B Modeling Bass Guitar Multi-Effects Pedal

                One of the bigger appeals of multi-effects bass processors is the fact that they can be a more affordable alternative to building up a rig with a slew of individual pedals. The Vox Stomplab IIB is not only very affordable, but also offers a range of uses, from home headphone practice scenarios to recording to playing onstage. Read Full Review

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                  VOX STOMPLAB2B Modeling Bass Guitar Multi-Effects Pedal

                  DigiTech BP90 Bass Guitar Multi-Effects Processor

                  DigiTech’s BP90 not only offers the standard array of sounds and amp/pedal models to give bassists a wide range of sounds to play with, but this bass multi-effects pedal also offers other amenities that make it stand out from the pack. This unit also provides high-quality drum patterns to play along with as well as a chromatic tuner and built-in expression pedal. Read Full Review

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                    DigiTech BP90 Bass Guitar Multi-Effects Processor

                    Boss ME-50B Bass Multi-Effect Processor

                    If you’re looking for some boss bass tone and sound-editing capabilities, it wouldn’t make much sense to look anywhere but BOSS, right? The company’s ME-50B not only features a wide variety of preset sounds/tones, but also includes a looper and drum machine. Read Full Review

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                      Boss ME-50B Bass Multi-Effect Processor

                      Best Bass Chorus Pedal:

                      The chorus effect is used to thicken up a part and when combined with distortion or overdrive effects, it can expand and reveal multiple layers of tones within a single note. The added vibrato of chorus can create some truly imaginative and inspired when applied to an electric bass. Here are the best bass chorus pedals, each one listed here featuring a rate knob to allow you to control the speed at which the chorus is applied to your signal, these pedals can all be conveniently powered by a single 9V battery, and they come equipped easy-to-read LED lights which indicate when the pedal is in use.

                      EBS UniChorus Bass Chorus Pedal

                      The EBS UniChorus pedal isn’t specifically designed for solely bass guitars, but it does a fine job at applying that time-honored effect to the instrument. A three-way switch allows players to jump between chorus, flange, or pitch modulation effects. Read Full Review

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                        EBS UniChorus Bass Chorus Pedal

                        Boss CEB-3 Chorus Pedal

                        Who says guitarists are the only ones who should get to experience the fun and sound-expanding function of chorus effects? The BOSS CEB-3 bass chorus pedal contains all of the positive attributes that the company has built its name on, with an effect that is customized for the low-end. Read Full Review

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                          Boss CEB-3 Chorus Pedal

                          MXR M83 Bass Chorus Deluxe

                          MXR’s M83 Bass Chorus Deluxe pedal has an all-analog sound contained in a tight, compact unit. In addition to classic chorus sounds, this piece of gear also provides flanger effects as well. Read Full Review

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                            MXR M83 Bass Chorus Deluxe

                            Tech 21 Bass Boost Chorus

                            Tech 21 took a look at the numerous chorus pedals that are on the market that are specifically designed for guitars, and decided to take a bold step in offering chorus built specifically for bassists. Their Boost Chorus Bass pedal references sounds from the 1970's, and a variety of controls to allow you to fully tweak your tone until it’s to your liking. Read Full Review

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                              Tech 21 Bass Boost Chorus

                              Aguilar Chorusaurus Bass Chorus Pedal

                              World class bassists such as John Patitucci (Chick Corea), Adam Clayton (U2), and Paul Turner (Jamiroquai) all count themselves as fans of Aguilar Amplification. The company’s Chorusaurus chorus pedal doesn’t just have a pretty awesome name, but it also provides world-class, all-analog chorus designed specifically for bass guitars. Read Full Review

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                                Aguilar Chorusaurus Bass Chorus Pedal

                                Best Bass Compressor Pedal:

                                Compression is a tool that is frequently misunderstood by the world at large, but can play a crucial role in the recorded performance and dynamics of an instrument, particularly the bass guitar. Put simply, a compressor puts a ceiling on the volume peaks of a signal, resulting in a more consistent sound. To that end, many bassists use a compressor pedal to put a tight control on the dynamic range of their axe, as well as add sustain to their signal. These are the best bass compressor pedals, with each one we've chosen built to me extremely compact and weighing no more than two pounds, they offer multiple knobs/switches to control EQ and/or compression settings, and provide studio-grade compression without sucking out the tone of your signal.

                                Aguilar TLC Compressor Bass Effects Pedal

                                The attention to detail that is required to finely tune the compression of a bass guitar definitely requires a little tender love and care, and while the Aguilar TLC compressor pedal definitely fulfills that role, that description is not the reason behind this unit’s name. Using a proprietary Trans Linear Control circuit, the TLC gives unprecedented control and dynamic range over your bass tone. Read Full Review

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                                  Aguilar TLC Compressor Bass Effects Pedal

                                  MXR M87 Bass Compressor

                                  The MXR M87 bass compressor pedal gives bassists studio-quality compression right at their feet. This piece of gear utilizes CHT Constant Headroom Technology to offer clear and clean signal and also includes multiple controls to direct the amount and type of compression. Read Full Review

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                                    MXR M87 Bass Compressor

                                    Pigtronix PBC Philosopher Bass Compressor

                                    The Pigtronix Philosopher bass compressor pedal may appear small, but its strength is far from tiny. This true bypass unit provides wide range analog compression along with superb sustain. Read Full Review

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                                      Pigtronix PBC Philosopher Bass Compressor

                                      Seymour Duncan Studio Grade Bass Compressor Pedal

                                      Seymour Duncan’s Studio Bass Compressor pedal offers a no-frills approach to giving bass players a compact way in which to control their sound. Four knobs give you a simple way to dial in the best settings, while its true bypass design does nothing to detrimentally affect your tone when not in use. Read Full Review

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                                        Seymour Duncan Studio Grade Bass Compressor Pedal

                                        Electro-Harmonix Bass Metaphors Compression/Distortion Pedal

                                        Electro-Harmonix’s Bass Metaphors pedal is more than just a compression pedal as it also functions as an EQ and bass distortion unit. This pedal is ideal for a variety of settings, including live performance, studio recording, or simple practice/rehearsal environments. Read Full Review

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                                          Electro-Harmonix Bass Metaphors Compression/Distortion Pedal

                                          Best Bass Equalizer Pedal:

                                          If you’re a bassist, chances are you already have access to other forms of equalizers between your amp and preamp. But the use of a bass equalizer pedal opens up a whole new group of tonal possibilities in your rig. Beyond giving you a greater range of sounds to dial in, an EQ pedal can also give you a quick and easy way to switch to a specific sound for a particular song, simply just by hitting the switch on the pedal. Here are the best bass equalizer pedals we've chosen, each powered by an external adapter, they feature on-board sliders to give you a hands-on control over your EQ, and they're manufactured with components designed specifically to work within the lower frequency range associated with bass guitars.

                                          Boss EQ-20 Advanced Equalizer Pedal

                                          BOSS’s EQ-20 equalizer pedal offers an advanced approach to sculpting tone and sound quality. Ideal for bassists, guitarists, and more, this unit offers both physical sliders as well as a range of electronic EQ settings that are easy to recall. Read Full Review

                                          Boss EQ-20 Advanced Equalizer Pedal

                                          MXR M108 10 Band Graphic Equalizer Pedal

                                          Although the MXR M-108 bass equalizer pedal offers a whopping ten bands of EQ control, the unit itself is still relatively compact. In addition to working well with bass guitars, this pedal can also be used with guitars, keyboards, and more. Read Full Review

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                                            MXR M108 10 Band Graphic Equalizer Pedal

                                            Boss GEB-7 Bass Equalizer Pedal

                                            Those familiar with the BOSS brand already know that the company is great for compact, solid effects in pedals that are built like tanks as far as durability goes. The GEB-7 bass equalizer pedal upholds all of the aforementioned standards, while also bringing a 7-band equalizer to the table to allow bassists to really be able to tweak their sound. Read Full Review

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                                              Boss GEB-7 Bass Equalizer Pedal

                                              Behringer BEQ700 Bass Graphic Equalizer Pedal

                                              The Behringer BEQ700 bass equalizer pedal is perfect for bassists seeking to coax new sounds out of their instrument. Seven sliders are available on this pedal, while a status LED clearly indicates when this unit is turned on or off. Read Full Review

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                                                Behringer BEQ700 Bass Graphic Equalizer Pedal

                                                Whirlwind FXEQ10BP Bass Ten Equalizer Effects Pedal

                                                The design of the Whirlwind Bass Ten makes it look like it comes from a spaceship, which is fitting since this bass equalizer pedal can really make your bass guitar’s tone sound out-of-this-world. A 10-band EQ gives you the ability to truly tweak your sound to fit your exact specifications. Read Full Review

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                                                  Whirlwind FXEQ10BP Bass Ten Equalizer Effects Pedal

                                                  Best Bass Synth Pedal:

                                                  Synthesizers became a viable option to cover the low-end of a song that was typically reserved for bass guitars back in the 1980’s. During that time, triggering that synth sound with a bass guitar was a more complicated process but now it’s easy to do with the invention of bass synth pedals. The end result is a tone that is simply transformative and can be used to produce subtle character to a bass tone or go completely wild and other-worldly sounding. Here are the best bass synth pedals, with each one we've chosen capable of producing multiple types of synth sounds via either presets or tone parameter controls, they can be powered by a DC adapter, and they also offer on-board EQ controls to further sculpt the shape and sound of your tone.

                                                  Chunk Systems Octavius Squeezer Analog Bass Synth Pedal

                                                  Chunk Systems’ Octavius Squeezer bass synth pedal provides a full range of sounds for the bassist looking to transform his or her sound. In addition to the synth effects, this pedal also offers octaver, envelope filter, fuzz, and more. Read Full Review

                                                  Chunk Systems Octavius Squeezer Analog Bass Synth Pedal

                                                  Electro-Harmonix Bass MicroSynth XO Analog Synthesizer Pedal

                                                  Electro-Harmonix’s Bass Micro Synth pedal offers ten slider controls to help players completely dial in their sound. This pedal can do everything from classic Moog-like tones to more abstract and experimental custom settings. Read Full Review

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                                                    Electro-Harmonix Bass MicroSynth XO Analog Synthesizer Pedal

                                                    Boss SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer Pedal

                                                    BOSS’s SYB-5 continues the tradition of providing a multitude of bass synth sounds inside a tiny unit that the company has held since its SYB-3 years ago. This pedal is ideal for players who want to use their bass signal to emulate classic analog synthesizers. Read Full Review

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                                                      Boss SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer Pedal

                                                      Behringer BSY600 Bass Synthesizer Pedal

                                                      Though the Behringer BSY600 looks the part of a small pedal, in actuality it is a full-blown, sophisticated bass synthesizer that gives players plenty of options to transform their tone into something else completely. Players can access 11 synth waveforms and shape their tone with a variety of onboard controls. Read Full Review

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                                                        Behringer BSY600 Bass Synthesizer Pedal

                                                        Digitech DOD-MEATBOX sub synth guitar effect pedal

                                                        DOD’s Meatbox bass synth pedal updates the sound and features of the company’s classic FX32 to provide layer upon layer of floor-rumbling low-end attitude. Its striking visual appearance complements the vast range of tonal controls that this compact pedal is capable of producing. Read Full Review

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                                                          Digitech DOD-MEATBOX sub synth guitar effect pedal
                                                           

                                                          Bass Pedal Buyer's Guide

                                                          Sting. Flea. Victor Wooten. Les Claypool. These are just some of the bass players whose styles have been greatly affected by the use of bass pedals. But regardless of whether you’re a bonafide rock star, an aspiring musician, or anywhere in between, bass pedals generally serve to cut through the mix onstage or to help translate a musical idea in a way that has its own unique character.

                                                          Reading reviews is an excellent way to determine whether a pedal is worth your purchase but trying a pedal out for yourself is even better. Beyond both of those methods, having a good understanding about the functional purpose of different bass pedals will put you in the best position to find one right for you.

                                                          Bass Pedal Types

                                                          Octave Pedals
                                                          Bass players already cover musical territory that lives deep in the bottom end of the mix, but that doesn’t mean that bassists need to be limited by the range of their instrument. Enter the octave pedal, which technically falls under the “pitch shifter” umbrella of effects. Octave pedals split the bass signal into two separate octaves (one above the played note and one below). The resulting sound can often resemble the tone of a synthesizer; basslines played through an octave effect can also bring an even greater amount of rumble to a part.

                                                          Octave pedals are also often equipped with a distortion function, which can result in a fuzzy, thick tone. The sounds generated through experimentation with an octave pedal are often utilized in genres such as dub or reggae music, as well as songs/styles requiring the bass to sound like a synthetic instrument. 

                                                          Envelope Filter Pedals
                                                          Envelope filter pedals function similarly to wah pedals in they sweep through the frequency range of the instrument’s signal. The effect can subsequently make the bass sound thinner or wider. But while a wah pedal’s resulting sound is determined by how far forward or back the pedal is rocked, an envelope filter functions automatically, without needing any movement with your feet.

                                                          The fluctuation in frequency sweep is usually determined by the actual changes in volume coming from the signal flow. This effect can be used to give bass parts a synth-like, growling sort of sound which is distinctive and effective in filling out the bottom end of a song. Groups like Parliament-Funkadelic, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Nine Inch Nails have all run bass guitars through envelope filter pedals on songs to great effect.

                                                          Overdrive Pedals
                                                          Simply put, a bass guitar running through any sort of overdrive/distortion pedal rumbles the room in a way unlike any other. By overdriving the signal, the sound is boosted and given a stronger (often gnarly-sounding) tone. While fuzz pedals, overdrive pedals, and distortion pedals all have their own slight differences, they generally give the bass tone a sound that is fuller and possesses more low-end.

                                                          These pedals also allow bassists to tweak the treble, mid, and bass tones, as well as control the amount of overdrive added to the signal. Great modern examples of an overdriven bass tone include Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Around the World,” the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” and Metallica’s “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth).” 

                                                          Chorus Pedals
                                                          Chorus falls under the umbrella of a modulation effect, and can be used on bass parts to give them a shimmering (or “chorus-like”) sound. Chorus pedals duplicate the sound of the original output signal and alter it just slightly enough so it sounds like the note is being voiced by multiple sources. This effect allows the notes to ring out just enough to approximate an echo without going into full-blown delay territory.

                                                          Bassists like jazz virtuoso Jaco Pastorius have utilized chorus to give the bass a distinct flavor and character that can really make the instrument sing, especially when employed in the higher register. When combined with other effects such as distortion, chorus bass pedals can truly transform the sound into something else entirely.

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