* We may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) should you make a purchase through one of our links. Learn More

The 15 Best Bass Effects Pedals For Incredible Tone and Creativity

BEST CHOICE

Boss ME 50B Bass Multi Effects Pedal

Boss ME 50B Bass Multi Effects Pedal
Our Rating:
4.4/5

PREMIUM PICK

Tech 21 Sansamp 3-Channel Bass Preamp

Tech 21 Sansamp 3-Channel
Our Rating
4.8/5

BEST VALUE

BOSS GEB-7 Bass Equalizer Pedal

BOSS GEB-7 Bass Equalizer Pedal
Our Rating
4.5/5

Table of Contents

Effect pedals are not just designed to improve tone but also add a creative personality to a huge number of music styles.

Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned bass player, adding a few bass pedals to your setup is one of the easiest ways to really stand out from the crowd.

Having researched 50 different effects pedals over the past week, I’ve put together a short list of the top 15 which deserve a closer look.

To start off with, here is a list of top contenders:

The Top 10 bass effects pedals:

ImageBass Effects
Boss ME 50B Bass Multi Effects PedalBoss ME 50B Bass Multi Effects Pedal
Keeley Bassist Limiting Compression PedalKeeley Bassist Limiting Compression Pedal
MXR M288 Bass Octave DeluxeMXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe
Dunlop Cry Baby 105Q Bass Wah PedalDunlop Cry Baby 105Q Bass Wah
MXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter PedalMXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter
MXR M85 Bass Distortion PedalMXR M85 Bass Distortion Pedal
Tech 21 Sansamp 3-ChannelTech 21 Sansamp 3-Channel
Electro Harmonix Bass MicroSynth PedalElectro Harmonix Bass MicroSynth
MXR M83 Bass Chorus DeluxeMXR M83 Bass Chorus Deluxe
BOSS GEB-7 Bass Equalizer PedalBOSS GEB-7 Bass Equalizer Pedal

Compressors perform the important job of balancing loud and soft signals and boosting overall volume which is especially useful for slap bass or aggressive strumming.

Keeley Bassist Limiting Amplifier Bass Compression Pedal

If you’re aiming to get the easiest, most professional studio grade compressor available in pedal form, this is the model for you.

The control knobs are clearly marked to find the ideal ratios from 1:1 to 10:1. Even when you punch up the volume, you get a completely clean, noiseless tone without distortion or clipping your bass amp.

The input is built to handle higher signal strengths from active pickups, which means it works perfectly for all types of bass guitars.

Ease Of Use
5/5
Sound Quality
5/5
Features
4/5
Keeley Bassist Limiting Compression Pedal

Positives

  • Simple configuration, easy to set up and adjust on the fly
  • Clean and noiseless tone (no hissing)
  • Built in limiter which gives more options on protecting speakers

Negatives

  • Not the most adjustable control interface, but a lot of the magic happens internally anyway

A bass octave pedal is a classic effect used in countless recordings. It simply adds a higher or lower copy of the original signal which produces a dual tone exactly one octave apart which sounds especially good on bass.

MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe

The M288’s unique secret weapon is the mid range boost button which adds up to 14db overdrive to your tone.

If you want to fine tune the mid boost frequency and db volume, there are a few more controllers located underneath the pedal bottom plate.

The growl control knob adds an aggressive undertone, and girth adjusts how much lower octave you want in the mix. Overall, a great sounding pedal with loads of flexibility.

Ease Of Use
5/5
Sound Quality
4.5/5
Features
4/5
MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe

Positives

  • Solidly build and compact in size
  • Signal tracking is responsive and accurate

Negatives

  • Takes a little fiddling to fine tune the perfect settings

Bass Wah Pedals

One of the most recognisable funk, blues and rock music effects has to be the Wah pedal.

The ‘WahWah’ name derives directly from how it sounds, and because of that, you’d bet it’s a popular addition to any bassists pedal collection.

Dunlop Cry Baby 105Q Bass Wah Pedal

Especially made for bass guitars, the 105Q focuses the Wah’s to high and mid range while keeping your low end crisp and clean.

The overall features are really simple with a few control knobs and a spring loaded foot lever which automatically resets the starting position.

It’s super easy to set up from the get go, and delivers an interesting tonality which is fun to experiment with in just about all styles of music.

Ease Of Use
5/5
Sound Quality
4.5/5
Features
4/5
Dunlop Cry Baby 105Q Bass Wah Pedal

Positives

  • Clean, versatile tone designed for bass guitar
  • Solidly made for lots of stomping and foot wagging

Negatives

  • Quite large in size which is worth bearing in mind if you have limited space available

Bass Envelope Filter Pedals

Envelope filters are also known as auto-wah effects pedals with a more synthy tone which shifts automatically with each note depending on the sensitivity you choose.

MXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter

The MXR range all use analog circuitry which is known for it’s rich and fat sound quality, and this pedal doesn’t disappoint.

Being able to blend the wet and dry (effect and raw signal) is really useful especially if you don’t want to lose your natural bottom end frequencies.

The control interface is packed with loads of combinations to experiment with and tracks signals more accurately than other envelope filter pedals.

Tracking accuracy also depends on your pedalboard order which is worth bearing in mind if you’re planning to add this pedal to your collection.

Ease Of Use
5/5
Sound Quality
4.5/5
Features
4.5/5
MXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter Pedal

Positives

  • Easy to set up, tweak and blend
  • Solid exterior construction, and accurate on tracking too

Negatives

  • The LED light is so bright, you might need sunglasses

Distortion pedals hardly need an introduction, it’s the unmistakable ‘crunch and fuzz’ effect guitarists use to deliver powerful solos.

When combined with a bass guitar, overdrive, fuzz and distortion pedals add a whole new powerful dimension to explore.

MXR Bass Distortion Pedal (M85)

Aimed at metal, rock and heavier music styles, the M85 feels closer to a fuzz pedal than tube style overdrive distortion pedals.

It’s an aggressive and powerful effect but maintains fullness across the low, mids and highs.

You won’t end up sounding like the second guitarist in the band (common problem with cheaper bass distortion pedals).

The wet and dry control knobs also give you full tone control by mixing your natural signal with effects.

Ease Of Use
4.5/5
Sound Quality
4.5/5
Features
4.5/5
MXR M85 Bass Distortion Pedal

Positives

  • Perfect for those ultra dirty, gnarly tones
  • Simple controls and blend options for the perfect mix

Negatives

  • The LED light is bright enough to perform laser eye surgery

Boss ODB-3 Bass OverDrive Pedal

If you’re looking for an affordable, rugged bass distortion pedal which can be easily tweaked, the ODB-3 is definitely worth checking out.

The build quality is always really great with all Boss pedals, but as far as sound goes, it tends to thin out on the lower frequencies which may need boosting through a separate EQ.

The interface is nice and simple with 4 controls (level, EQ, balance and gain) with plenty of scope to layer on effects at a granular level.

Ease Of Use
4.5/5
Sound Quality
4/5
Features
4.5/5
Boss ODB-3 Bass Overdrive Pedal

Positives

  • Versatile settings from mild drive to fuzz mania
  • Solidly built for years of stomping

Negatives

  • It's closer to the fuzz spectrum and less natural in the vintage overdrive department

When on stage, your bass guitar will likely be routed to a mixing desk through a cheap DI box, bypassing your bass amps EQ.

If you want to record, the same issue applies, you’re capturing your raw signal without any of the bass amps tone control or EQ.

Investing in a quality bass preamp gives you full access to your frequencies which could even outperform the tone you get from a bass amp.

Tech 21 SansAmp Programmable Bass Driver DI

All hail the Tech 21 tone monster!

Arguably the best bass preamp out there, it absolutely delivers on tone and versatility. You’d be hard pressed to find a lot of negative feedback on the SansAmp anywhere online.

It does a superb job on EQ and the foot switches are easy to program.

Another impressive feature is how closely it resembles an old school tube amp overdrive which delivers a warm and natural sounding distortion.

Ease Of Use
4.5/5
Sound Quality
5/5
Features
5/5
Tech 21 Sansamp 3-Channel

Positives

  • Fat, full and warm thanks to the analog circuitry
  • A huge number of positive reviews across the bass community

Negatives

  • It's large in physical size, worth bearing in mind if you have limited space on your pedalboard

Darkglass Electronics Darkglass Microtubes B7K Ultra

Similar to the SansAmp, this is a highly popular and feature rich preamp which also includes the option to upload different amp and cabinet simulators.

It does have a few more control knobs and selector switches to transform tone, but only gives you access to a distortion and bypass foot switch with no way to save presets.

There is no denying how good it sounds. The distortion tone is impressive, it’s one of the better sounding pedals out there.

Ease Of Use
4/5
Sound Quality
5/5
Features
5/5
Darkglass Microtubes B7K Ultra Bass Preamp Pedal

Positives

  • Insanely good sound quality with a rich and full tone
  • Really great Overdrive and Distortion tones

Negatives

  • Very expensive when compared to the SansAmp
  • No option to save presets
  • Volume jump between clean and distortion switch may be a problem for live performances

If you’re into those 80’s keyboard ‘moog’ sounds, then you’ve come to the right place.

Bass synth pedals are used in a huge variety of music, giving that distinctive R&B, hip hop, rock and funk tone which normally requires a keyboard synth player to match.

Electro-Harmonix Bass MicroSynth

Although this pedal has been out for many years, it’s one of the more versatile and classic sounding synth effects pedals available.

The multiple sliders make for a huge range of effects, voices and sweep patterns.

It would be even better if you had the option to save presets, but overall it does a pretty awesome job of delivering those vintage moog tones.

Ease Of Use
4/5
Sound Quality
5/5
Features
5/5
Electro Harmonix Bass MicroSynth Pedal

Positives

  • Practically does the job of a envelope filter, octave pedal and distortion pedal all in one
  • Really punchy with lots of analog warmth

Negatives

  • Input/Output jacks are not the greatest, could do with more resilient construction

The wobbly, shimmering chorus effect is a popular bass effect pedal used in countless recordings and live performances, definitely one to add to the list.

MXR M83 Bass Chorus Deluxe

Boss and MXR make the most popular chorus pedals, but the M83 is a little more feature filled to include a flanger too.

The sound quality is rich and full sounding with controls over bass and treble frequencies, along with intensity, rate and width.

The X Over selector is the magic ingredient, applying chorus to the mids and highs only while keeping the bass clean and crisp.

Ease Of Use
4.5/5
Sound Quality
5/5
Features
5/5
MXR M83 Bass Chorus Deluxe

Positives

  • Feature packed and compact in size
  • Chorus and Flanger built into one pedal

Negatives

  • Limited adjustments to the Flanger effect on its own

Other Essential Bass Pedals For Creativity

If you’re looking for a few more ways to add creativity to your solos and musical phrases, here are a few more bass pedals worth considering.

Boss GEB-7 Bass Equalizer Pedal

Equalizers are essential for dialling in the perfect tone.

The GEB-7 is a tried and tested favorite with full EQ access to all the important frequencies.

The sliders are marked out visually to show the ranges where you can add or remove a 15db range of boost.

As with most boss pedals, the GEB-7 doesn’t come with a power adaptor, but it is capable of running on a battery if you prefer.

Ease Of Use
4/5
Sound Quality
5/5
Features
5/5
BOSS GEB-7 Bass Equalizer Pedal

Positives

  • Full EQ coverage from 50 to 10k herts and 15db boost/reduction range
  • Rock solid construction, and affordable too

Negatives

  • Requires a bit of patience to dial in your preferred sound, it's very sensitive
  • No preset options, so better take a photo when you've struck gold

MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay Pedal

Although the Carbon Copy is designed for electric guitars, it also work brilliantly on bass to produce that signature repeating echo delay effect.

The mod button adds an airy sustain to the delayed notes and you have control over the amount of delay, the delay decay (regen) and the mix over effect to raw signal.

It’s super easy to configure and fun for creative experimentation.

Ease Of Use
4.5/5
Sound Quality
5/5
Features
4.5/5
MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay Pedal

Positives

  • Well built, compact in size and delivers a great sound quality
  • Simple controls and mod feature, easy to set up and play straight away

Negatives

  • MXR LED's are bright enough to give you a suntan (better break out the factor 50)

TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 Reverb Pedal

Another fun and creative effects pedal which emulates the ambient reverberation of different sized rooms.

Aside from the standard presets you’d find on most reverb pedals, there is also a unique shimmer, modulating and lofi preset.

Another amazing concept is the super clever mash/expression pedal which should keep you entertained for hours.

The 3 toneprint presets are user accessible where you can upload different settings through the TonePrint app.

Ease Of Use
4.5/5
Sound Quality
4.5/5
Features
5/5
TC Electronic Hall Of Fame 2 Reverb Pedal

Positives

  • Standard effects mixed in with more interesting shimmer, modulating and lofi presets
  • 3 toneprint channels to upload presets designed by other musicians
  • Mash feature allows you to use variable pressure to apply the effect i.e. expression pedal (genius!)

Negatives

  • Digital rather than analog circuitry, but amazing value for money and sound quality is pretty darn good

The cost of buying a multi effects processor compared to individual bass pedals is a lot cheaper. So why would anyone bother getting single function pedals?

Well, as much as digital circuitry has improved, analog pedals still win on sound quality. Multi effects pedals can also be frustrating with all the menu surfing to find settings.

But, it’s honestly not all that bad. The tech is improving steadily, if you’re just getting started in the world of bass pedals then starting off with a multi effects is a great introduction.

Boss ME-50B Bass Multiple Effects with COSM

The ME-50B first came out in 2004 and is still an impressive, well designed multi effects pedal that keeps things simple.

You don’t have to dance through menus to get what you want and you have a huge selection of effects to experiment with.

So, what’s not to like? It’s a great bass pedal for beginners who want to experiment. Sure, it doesn’t deliver the same level of liquid warmth you’d find on analog pedals, but its a start.

Ease Of Use
4.5/5
Sound Quality
4/5
Features
5/5
Boss ME 50B Bass Multi Effects Pedal

Positives

  • Easy to control with dedicated knobs and built-in tuner
  • Big selection of effects which can be used to create presets
  • Loads of positive reviews from bass players

Negatives

  • Quite pricey but you get a lot of value for money
  • Not the warmest or most natural sounding tone (which is normal for multi effects pedals)

Digitech BP90 Bass Modeling Multi-Effects Processor

If you’re not only looking to get a large selection of effects, but also looking to emulate vintage bass amps and cabinets, the BP90 pretty much does it all.

Essentially a mini computer capable of doing everything from vintage to modern, I doubt you’d run out of options to play with.

If you don’t mind dealing with a more complicated menu structure, this is a pretty good multi effects pedal which is affordable too.

Ease Of Use
3/5
Sound Quality
4/5
Features
5/5
Digitech BP90 Multi Effects Processor

Positives

  • Huge range of 27 effects, 11 amps, 5 cabinets and 5 stompboxes to play with
  • Built in drum loops is a great practice tool for beginners
  • Super affordable considering all the options

Negatives

  • Surfing menus can be a pain, especially if you need to make a quick change

Bottom Line

Out of all the manufacturers, MXR are doing a lot of impressive stuff across the board. I’m sure there will be a few more bass pedals which will make it to this list in the future, so be sure to bookmark this page out for the latest updates.

If you’re looking for your first set of effects, my advice is to get two or three which will give you the most noticeable improvements.

For example, adding the Boss Equalizer, Tech 21 SansAmp and Keely Compression pedals puts your tone in a seriously good place, especially if you have a cheaper model bass guitar with passive pickups.

But be warned – once you get started, the bass pedal addiction begins!

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What bass effects pedal is your favorite? What bass pedals do you hate?

Let me know in the comments below!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Table Of Contents