There are literally thousands of bass guitar pedals on the market today. And of these units there are a wide range of effect types that they provide. Luckily, bass tone can really be boiled down to a few core effects that are considered staples for the instrument.
Here is our 10 awesome sounding pedals that fall under those fundamental bass tones:
1. Darkglass Hyper Luminal
Darkglass has made a name for themselves by making some of the best sounding bass gear out there. This compressor is a perfect example of how great their stuff sounds. With the Luminal you can get classic compression tones including both FET and solid-state bus. And this unit has a third model that is the company’s now-discontinued Super Symmetry compressor. On the surface this thing is an incredibly versatile easy to use comp, but you can feel free to dive in as deep as you want with the free compatible software.
2. EarthQuaker Devices Cloven Hoof
While not just for bass, the fuzz tones of the Cloven Hoof are perfect for all your high gain needs. This EQD pedal is the older brother of their quite popular Hoof fuzz. Overall, the two sound very similar, however the cloven version has more gain on tap and a little more range tonally speaking. When paired with a bass guitar this stomp box comes alive. If you want a massive thick sounding fuzz tone, this guy is a great shout.
3. Electro-Harmonix Bass Clone
Chorus is one of those effects that pairs so nicely with the frequencies of a bass. Whether you like to turn up the depth all the way or just use it as a subtle modulation, chorus has a place with the bass. The EHX Bass Clone is a great sounding, very affordable pedal option for you. Based on the very popular Clone chorus the company makes for guitars, the Bass Clone has been slightly modified for lower frequencies. It also has a very useful X-over switch that lets you get a nice punchy modulated tone. If you want a chorus pedal for bass that won’t break the bank, this is perfect.
4. Electro-Harmonix Bass Soul Food
Here we have another unit from EHX that is modified to fit the bass guitar just a little bit better. Guitar players will be very familiar with the Soul Food, as it’s one of the best known budget Klon style pedals. Well, as it turns out, that transparent drive sound works great on bass guitars as well. The Bass Soul Food is perfect for those wanting to keep their core sound and add just the right amount of gain. EHX has also been courteous enough to add a -10dB pad that is switchable to accommodate for active pickups.
5. Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Bass
If you are into studio gear at all then you will be well aware of the legendary 1176 style of compression. Well, many consider the best pedal form of this comp style to be Origin Effects’ Cali76. The Cali76 is all that FET tone in a very pretty (but compact) box. Basically, this is an incredibly well-made boutique recreation of a fabled compression tone. While this one is a heavy price for one effect, it can be well worth it for those wanting studio quality compression on their board.
6. Boss GEB-7
EQ, it’s a little boring and most people don’t give it much thought, but they should. The boss GEB-7 (or an equivalent EQ) is the secret weapon for a lot of bass players. Essentially, this is the perfect pedal for tweaking the frequencies of your bass. If you play in a lot of different rooms or just record a lot of live bass, I cannot even express how useful this pedal could be for you. Also, it’s a Boss, so it’s as reliable as anything and built like a tank.
7. EBS-DP Billy Sheehan Signature Drive
For those searching for a killer drive tone, the Billy Sheehan signature EBS pedal is a terrific place to start. This pedal does a great job at giving you gain without sacrificing low end. In a band mix this unit really helps you to stick out. Additionally, it has a built-in compressor with two presents to make getting the perfect amount dynamics easy.
8. Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI
Is it a preamp? A drive effect? An EQ? A DI? Well, the Tech 21 SansAmp is actually all of these things. Most bass players are looking for a really great sounding warm preamp to put on their front end. And that is exactly what this pedal from Tech 21 is used for the most. But it also has a lot of built-in EQ controls that make this an awesome tone shaping tool. Furthermore, some choose just to use this as a drive pedal due to the fact that the gain on tap gives a really nice tube-like saturation. No matter how you use this box it sounds great.
9. MXR Bass Fuzz Deluxe
MXR is one of the OG pedal manufacturers. For decades they have been continuously making reliable great sounding stomp boxes. The idea behind this fuzz circuit was to take a vintage guitar unit and fine tune it for the bass. One of the coolest parts of this pedal is its ability to maintain a really fat, thick tone even at higher gain settings. This means when playing with other instruments you won’t be getting lost in the frequencies as much. And you also have dry/wet knobs to aid in getting the perfect blend of your effected and unefected tones.
10. Fender Downtown Express
Here we have Fender’s answer to the idea of an all-in-one pedal for bass players. This unit has an EQ, overdrive, and compressor to cover all the fundamentals of bass tone. On top of the surface level effects this workstation has a few little inclusions that make it pretty unique. For one the overdrive actually has a cab simulator built-in that helps keep the drive tone pure when played through certain speakers. Also, the Downtown Express, like all of Fender’s new pedals, has blue LEDs on the knobs that look awesome and help you see it on stage better. Finally, you can alter the order of the overdrive and compression circuits to your liking. Overall, this is going to be the perfect all in one solution for some players out there.