Effects Pedals for Your Bass Guitar - dummies

By Patrick Pfeiffer

As a bass player, your job is to hold down the groove and keep the sound of the band tight, and that’s best accomplished with a clean sound from the bass. But for a little special effect during a bass groove or solo, you may want to audition some other pedals besides the chorus unit and the volume pedal.

Here are examples of other effects pedals you may want to use:

  • Flanger/phase shifter: These devices create a whooshy, swirly sound, similar to the Hammond organ.

  • Digital delay: This device creates an echo of the notes you play. You also can use the digital delay unit to record a short, rhythmic phrase that repeats as you play over it.

  • Distortion: This device distorts your sound, making it rough and dirty. Distortion is mostly used for guitars, but basses can use it, too. This device is great for hard-rock tunes.

  • Envelope filter: This device makes your bass sound like a funky keyboard bass. It makes it sound as though a synthesizer is playing the bass part.

  • Octave pedal: This device doubles your bass notes (either an octave above the note you’re playing or an octave below).

  • Multi-effects unit: A multi-effects unit is an all-in-one effects unit. It can be programmed to alter your bass sound in several ways at the touch of a foot pedal.

    Keep in mind, though, that a unit like this requires a lot of homework on your part. You have to find sounds you like, program them, and listen to how they work when you’re playing in a band. You may find some cool sounds along the way. Just don’t get carried away; you’re the bass player, not the guitar player.

You can get these items at most large and small music stores, or you can order them online or through mail-order companies.