This might seem a bit surprising, but bass guitars are overlooked quite frequently. If you play bass, more often than not you will meet high and mighty guitarist who will look down on you saying: “Bass is just another unnecessary guitar with fewer strings that sound similar. How hard can it be?” We all know how nonsensical this sounds. Bass is quite a complicated instrument requiring years of practice to master. It takes just as much skills as any other guitar. I guess you need special pair of ears to truly appreciate the amazing sonic range this bad boy has to offer. But once you do, you will want to explore every single possibility of bass. One of them might be adding sound effects, particularly good ol’ overdrive. In order to achieve this effect, you will need a badass unit that will satisfy even your deepest desires. Keep on reading and let me help you find the best bass overdrive pedal on the market.
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Top 5 Best Bass Overdrive Pedals
|Boss ODB-3 Bass Overdrive||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Aguilar Tone Hammer 3-Band Preamp/DI Overdrive Bass Pedal||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|EBS Multi Drive Universal Bass Overdrive Pedal||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Ampeg Scrambler Bass Overdrive Pedal||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Digitech XBD Bass Driver Overdrive/Distortion Pedal||(4.7 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
Why Would You Need a Dedicated Pedal for Bass?
Let me draw a little picture here: imagine that you are jamming with your electric guitar and suddenly you damage the strings. You do not have any replacements on hand except for your acoustic guitar strings. If you were to substitute your electric guitar strings with the acoustic ones (I know you would not though), would you get the same sound or would it even work? The answer is clear-cut here: the results would be completely different. Well, the same goes with the pedals as well. In order for a stompbox to work well with bass, it should have the ability to discern bass frequencies. Effects pedal designed for an electric guitar might work in some cases, however, if you compare it to a bass dedicated unit, you will notice a substantial difference. The latter has a circuitry that can “read” low end notes perfectly and adds effect accordingly. What is more, the EQ section of the electric guitar pedal will affect your bass negatively due to the same reason. This is why it is better to splurge on a bass pedal, rather than use an electric guitar stompbox you already own.
The Mistake to Avoid
When you play in a band, your instinct is to make sure your instrument is audible. If you play complicated verses and chords, it is only natural that certain signals get lost in the mix and are not discernable for the audience. In order to avoid this, many guitarists crank up the volume or gain knobs. Bad news, fella, this is a huge mistake, especially for bass players. You know how interactive everything is in a band, you turn up the volume, your mates follow and subsequently all you get is screaming and noise. All the signals that are produced become too similar to be distinguishable from each other, which means all your efforts are in vain. The good solution to this problem is using a blend knob. Engineers incorporate it in so many pedals for a reason. As you know, this bad boy gives you the option to balance out your pristine and affected signals. If you want more gain or volume, you should tweak the blend knob until you get the clarity and dimension you lacked in your sound. Easy, ha? Well, greatest solutions are always the simplest ones.
What to Look for When Choosing a Bass Overdrive Pedal?
If you have dealt with pedals at least once, you probably already know that different things work in different scenarios. I mean, sometimes even a single knob can be enough to dial in the desired effect, while there are situations where you need the ability to tweak every single parameter of your sound. This is why it is hard to set clear-cut requirements for the best overdrive pedal. However, there are some features that are a good addition to any pedal no matter what. I will discuss them in order to give you a general idea of what works the best in most cases. Let’s start with the Level knob. While this parameter is the simplest one, it gives you a great deal of control over your tone. It gives you the chance to match your volume with the rest of your band, adjust the output of dry and wet signals or simply make sure that nothing is screaming disturbingly. Next comes the Tone (sometimes labeled as EQ). This one allows you to choose the frequencies you want to be affected by the overdrive. This feature is particularly helpful with bass due to its specific frequency range. Now, let’s move on to Gain (sometimes Drive). This knob enables you to modify the amount of effect that is added to your signal (this is basically an overdrive control). This way your overall sound will be well-balanced without uneven sequences. Plus, this parameter allows you to add more dimension to your tone and make sure that every note you play is heard by the audience. Not to mention the ability to saturate your sound with girth and drive. And finally, the Blend. I have already outlined the significance of this knob, but I will still mention briefly, that it lets you maintain the clarity and definition of your sound. These are all the features that you will need for creating mind-blowing bass overdrive. More high-end pedals might offer some additional knobs, but the ones I have mentioned are the basis for any sort of sound.
For the sake of versatility, some models also offer different modes. This is a nice little touch that gives you even more control. Generally, these modes give you the ability to choose between different types of overdrives and leave room for an abundance of sonic possibilities. If you take another look at the list above, you will know what I am talking about. After all, additional features never hurt nobody.
Congratulations, my friend, you are now an expert on the subject of the best bass overdrive pedals. You have all the information you will need to purchase the suitable unit, plug it in and dial in some ethereal sounds. It might be a bit frightening at first, since bass is quite a heavy-sounding instrument on its own. Adding even more girth to it might seem like an awfully muddy nightmare. However, with a little practice, you will be able to nail the effect and combine it perfectly with your bass craftsmanship. The main thing is to let go of your fears and face the magic of both devices courageously. If you are a beginner, I would suggest starting small with lower settings and cranking it up gradually. If you are a professional, still be careful with the effect since it can get out of hand quite easily. One way or another, I know you will find your perfect sound. There are several good things in this world and two of them are bass and overdrive. Imagine what happens when these two are combined! Don’t you want to find out? If so, go out there, purchase the best bass overdrive pedal and let your bass do its job!