Last time we looked at a few ideas for effects pedals for use with acoustic guitars. Actually for bassists similar rules apply. There are plenty of interesting bass pedals around but first question to ask is, can I realistically use this in my worship band context? Having said that I have seen a few bass players blend all sorts of effects into worship very nicely but for every one of those I heard another ten that use too much, too often and it doesn’t really fit with the style of the music or even worse veers into lead guitar territory and loses the low end – which is the whole point of having a bass in the first place. So as per acoustic the place I’d start out is to make the very best of the original instrument tone you have.
So perhaps two good places to start are compressors and DI’s. Compressors effectively smooth out your sound, evening out any nasty volume peaks and troughs. Great if you regularly change finger positioning and picking attack style. Just make sure you buy one that’s designed for bass. A dedicated bass DI can really help shape a consistent tone through a PA system – which is particularly useful if your church building is tricky for bass tones. A good DI is also helpful if the bass amp you’re working with isn’t very good or a useful back up rig in its own right.
• Sansamp bass Driver DI – very useful little box capable of dialling up a wide range of tones.
• MXR Bass DI+ – Very similar to the Sansamp but with a dedicated distortion button. Road test both!
• Sansamp VT bass character pedal. New DI pedal that models the sound of a full Ampeg stack with without the size and weight of an 8×10 cab. The videos on the Tech21 site look very convincing.
• Aphex Punch Factory – Great quality dedicated bass compressor.
• Boss LMB 3 – great standard pedal in the bullet proof boss enclosure
• Electro Harmonics Bass Metaphor. Combination of DI, compressor and distortion in one unit.
Other useful pedals
• Aphex Bass exciter. Very similar in principle to the acoustic exciter mentioned last post. So it adds tone, sustain to the low end plus some snap to the high end. Smaller rigs sound big; big rigs sound huge!
• Yamaha NE1 Nathan East parametric eq – very inexpensive little box that allows a wide range of tone shaping – it may be discounted now but search for an ebay bargain.
• Electro harmonics Steel Leather bass expander. The opposite of a compressor and is kinda like a range of Eqs pre- set for bass in one little box. Could really help you cut through if your tone is lost in the mix.
If you want to venture on to the wilder side there’s loads of stuff available. Again just check out you can actually use it convincingly in your own church music set up.
• MXR do a whole range of wilder effects for bass. Check out the Bass octave, Bass fuzz, Bass Auto Q, even a bass wah. Same rules apply
• Electro harmonix also have a great range, Micro Synth. great for funk, Bass Muff – massive low end fuzz, Bassballs filter
• Boss and Digitech have done bass pedals for years – check out the chorus, bass synth, EQ, flanger overdrive and more.
As ever there are load more of these type of pedals out on the market so if you have any good suggestions do let us know.