Best Bass Guitar Pedals

Add flavor and color to your bass tones with some of the best bass guitar pedals and multi-effects.

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As a bassist you play an important role, you are in charge of keeping the rhythm and groove flowing. This usually means that you can't go crazy with effects. This limitation however will not stop you from buying effects that can be used whenever a song calls for it. After all, big name bass players like Victor Wooten steps on a modest Boss GT-6B, Pino Palladino used a Boss Octave pedal, and even Jaco Pastorius employed a rackmount MXR digital delay unit to color his tones.

Bass guitar effect pedals are essentially the same as what guitar players use, it's just that they are tweaked to work best with lower register sounds. There are bass players that don't use effects, but at the very least they will be using a bass guitar pedal as their direct box or for tuning.

Compact Bass Multi Effects:

Here are some of the best compact multi effects for bass guitars, highly recommended for gigging bassists that want convenience and value for money.

    Zoom B2.1U

The Zoom B2.1U is an affordable modeler and multi-effects bass pedal that will cover most if not all the essential effect needs of bass players. Some may argue that it does not sound as great as analog boutique pedals, but it will be hard to argue the convenience and tone per dollar value that this compact multi effects provide. On top of the many effects, it also works as an expression pedal and as a USB audio interface. Get the complete specifications, read reviews and find out the latest price at Amazon.com.
Online Retail Price: $179

    Digitech BP90

The Digitech BP90 is one of the most compact and affordable modeler and multi-effects for the bass today. This effect will probably fit on most bass guitar bag pockets. It s not as sturdy looking as its competition but it will not easily break either. It offers simulations of famous Digitech effects like the Whammy. It has two foot switches and an assignable expression pedal. Another plus is its built in drum patterns. Get the complete specification, read reviews and find out the latest price at Amazon.com.
Online Retail Price: $99.99

    Boss Me-20B

The Boss Me-20B is another modeler and multieffects bass pedal designed to provide a compact and affordable solution for bass playing. The ME-20B offers bassists a stage friendly and sturdy pedal that they can easily carry anywhere. It offers essential effects like compressor, distortion, modulation, reverb and it also gives you unique effects like T-wah, defretter, synth and many more. Get the complete specification, read reviews and find out the latest price at Amazon.com.
Online Retail Price: $219

Standard Bass Guitar Pedals:

Here are some of the best single or dual effect bass guitar pedals, these are recommended for digital snobs who have bigger budgets and prefer real analog sound and warmth.

    SansAmp Bass Driver DI

The SansAmp Bass Driver DI is a direct box designed for bass players. It allows bassists to go direct to PA while retaining vintage tube like tones. You can also dial in some modern slap sounds and distortion. The SansAmp Bass Driver DI will work with power amps, mixers and recording desks. It can also be used to enhance the tone with your current rig. There are controls for blending, presence and EQ. Get the complete specification, read reviews and find out the latest price at Amazon.com.
Online Retail Price: $199

    Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff PI

This is a popular distortion and fuzz effect pedal used by many bassists, thanks to bands like Muse that employ distorted bass lines. The Bass Big Muff PI is based on the fuzz sounds of the Big Muff Pi from the '70s, modified to produce beefy bottom end punches with no loss of low end. It's fairly simple to use and features easy to operate volume, tone and sustain knobs. Get the complete specification, read reviews and find out the latest price at Amazon.com.
Online Retail Price: $81.50

    MXR M87 Bass Compressor

The MXR M87 Bass compressor is a welcome sturdy bass effect pedal for most rigs because of its small size and wide tonal controls. It features controls for Release, Attack, Ratio and I/O for fine tuned tone. With the M87, you can get subtle transparent sounds or go crazy and get hard squashed compression sounds. It also has gain reduction status LEDs which gives you a visual indication of what the pedal is doing. Get the complete specification, read reviews and find out the latest price at Amazon.com.
Online Retail Price: $180

    Markbass Chorus Flanger

You can get cheaper alternatives for the Markbass Chorus Flanger, but you will not get the same lush chorus and flanger effect specially designed for bass. This is a two in one bass guitar pedal that has easy to use knobs and clip LED indicators for clean and guided tweaking. The Markbass Chorus Flanger comes with software that will let you customize the pedal sounds on your computer via a USB connection. You can see the complete specifications at Markbass.
Online Retail Price: $279.99

    Morley PBA-2 Dual Bass Wah

The Morley PBA-2 Dual Bass Wah is equipped with two types of wah sounds, you can switch between a traditional wah sound and a funk Wah. These wah sounds are based on Pro Series II Bass wah and NSW Switchless wah sounds. Simply step on to engage wah and step off to go to bypass. The PBA-2 wah is meant to outlast the bassist with its rugged heavy duty metal chassis. Get the complete specification, read reviews and find out the latest price at Amazon.com.
Online Retail Price: $106.99

    Boss GEB-7 Bass Equalizer

This is a seven band equalizer bass guitar effect pedal that is specifically designed to best handle the frequency range of bass guitars. The seven sliders handle frequencies from50Hz all the way up to 10kHz, and three of these sliders cover the critical midrange which greatly shapes your bass guitar tone. It comes in the familiar and sturdy Boss foot pedal case. Get the complete specification, read reviews and find out the latest price at Amazon.com.
Online Retail Price: $99

    Electro-Harmonix Bass Micro Synthesizer

The Bass Micro Synthesizer from Electro-Harmonix is a fun effect to have on your rig. You get voice mix and filter sweep controls which you can blend produce some of the funkiest and weirdest sounds to come from a bass guitar. You can have filter sweeping sounds, percussive alien sound and some bad ass synth lead sounds. And best of all, the Bass Micro Synthesizer gives you transparentt and warm analog synth tones. Get the complete specification, read reviews and find out the latest price at Amazon.com.
Online Retail Price: $282

Related Article:
Portable Bass Amp Roundup
Distortion Pedal Round-up

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You left out the Bass Pod

You left out the Bass Pod from Line 6, I think it should be in the list - http://line6.com/basspodxtpro/

Bass Pod XT Pro

I am a fan of Line 6, the Bass Pod XT Pro is a good choice, however it did not make the list because it is already discontinued.

Compressors?

You have a lot of effects up there, but you don't mention one of the most critical pieces of bass gear - the compressor. I've used one for years now and I really couldn't live without one. Most of the time, I use an old Diamond bass compressor (unfortunately, they don't make it in the purple sparkle-flake any more - you'll have to settle for yellow - but you do get the new frequency selectable tilt tone control). If I'm dragging an equipment rack along, I 'll use an Ashly SC-40 or a Symmetrix 501 or 525. Compression - don't leave home without it.

Bass Compressor

Hello Frank,

We did include a stand alone bass compressor - the MXR M87 Bass Compressor. We tried to have at least one bass pedal listed for all the important effect types.

bass guitar pedals

There is no substitution to the plain acoustic tone of a guitar. But then again, times have changed and times are strange. The need of the hour is variation and if you dont have that in your armoury you will not be noticed in this rat of musicians all over the world. Effect pedals if used with proper control can actually make your song sound better and different from your peers. Bass guitar holds the key to the groove of a song, but a little delay or even some fuzz(where the song calls for it) will enrich the quality of sound.

Cheers!

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