The 9 Best Bass Octave Pedal Options For The ULTIMATE creativity

BEST CHOICE

Electro-Harmonix XO Micro POG

Electro-Harmonix XO Micro POG bass octave pedal
Our Rating:
4.6/5

PREMIUM PICK

Digitech Bass Whammy Octave Pedal

Digitech Bass Whammy Octave Pedal
Our Rating
4.4/5

BEST VALUE

Boss OC-3 Super Bass Octave Pedal

Boss OC-3 Super Bass Octave Pedal
Our Rating
4.5/5

Table of Contents

There’s nothing that can fill out the overall sonic footprint of a good song like a well crafted bass tone. Done correctly, it will fill that low to mid range frequency range perfectly and give a tune a sense of weight and fullness.

That being said, there’s always the opportunity to make your bass lines sound even better. A great way to do that is with various types of bass effects, and one in particular that will check off the ‘fullness’ box is a good bass octave pedal.

While it’s true that a good majority of effects – even octave pedals – that are available today are geared towards the guitar, there is also a rather large market for ones that are targeted specifically for the bass.

They run the gamut from simple features and controls to those that may be a little more elaborate, which ultimately gives you more control over your sound. There’s a tool for every purpose, so it may be a good idea for you to consider more than one particular model.

I do have a quick question for you: do you like homework?

Nah…I didn’t think so. Truth be told, I’m not much of a fan of it myself. But I’ll tell you what – I’ve done the heavy lifting for you by taking a look at what I think just may be 9 of the best bass octave pedals you can find nowadays.

Let’s dig in!

The 9 Best Bass Octave Pedals:

ImageBass Octave Pedals
Electro-Harmonix XO Micro POG bass octave pedalElectro-Harmonix XO Micro POG
Boss OC-3 Super Bass Octave PedalBoss OC-3 Super Bass Octave
MXR M287 Sub Octave Bass Fuzz PedalMXR M287 Sub Octave Bass Fuzz
TC Electronics Sub 'n' Up Bass Octave PedalTC Electronics Sub 'n' Up Bass Octave
MXR M288 Bass Octave DeluxeMXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe
Aguilar OctamizerAguilar Octamizer
Digitech Bass Whammy Octave PedalDigitech Bass Whammy
Fishman Fission Bass PowerchordFishman Fission Bass Powerchord
MXR M280 Vintage Bass Octave PedalMXR M280 Vintage Bass Octave

Electro-Harmonix XO Micro POG Polyphonic Bass Octave

Housed in a rugged aluminum case, the Electro-Harmonix XO Micro POG is my overall pick for the best bass octave pedal around. It’s simple, yet extremely effective.

The Micro POG features only three control knobs: Dery, Sub Octave (for the octave below), and Octave Up (for – you guessed it – the octave above the note coming from the dry signal). Easy manipulation of these knobs will give you any level of mix between the three that you want.

Separate dry and wet output jacks are just the right touch if you want to route the signals to different amps – adding even more to this pedal’s flexibility.

Ease Of Use
5/5
Sound Quality
5/5
Features
4/5
Electro-Harmonix XO Micro POG bass octave pedal

Since it’s polyphonic, the Micro POG can easily make your 4-string bass sound like an 8-string, and the digital circuitry provides a level of tracking accuracy that has to be heard to be believed.

Positives

Negatives

Boss OC-3 Super Octave Bass Pedal

The Boss OC-3 packs a lot of unique features into its standard sized ‘Boss’ enclosure. It takes into account the tonal needs for a bass guitar, as it has a dedicated input just for the bass that’s optimized to handle those lower frequencies.

The circuit is based on a digital design, making polyphonic sounds simple and easy to produce, with tracking capability that is nothing short of impressive. There are three separate tones that you can mix together – the dry signal, one octave below, and two octaves below.

Ease Of Use
5/5
Sound Quality
5/5
Features
4/5
Boss OC-3 Super Bass Octave Pedal

A creative feature is the addition of a Drive mode; this will let you add some dirt and grit to the generated octave sounds. It’s a great way to add a little aggressiveness to your tone, along with the thickness of the two-octave spread.

You can’t overlook that fact that it’s made by Boss – long known for their legendary quality when it comes to effects pedals, both in how they sound and how road-worthy the build construction is.

Positives

Negatives

MXR M287 Sub Octave Bass Fuzz

The MXR M287 is yet another example of how today’s octave pedals are much more than a device that simply gives you one octave tone to work with. Yeah, it’s true that the M287 does handle only one octave below, but it’s what you can do with that sub-rumble that makes this bass octave pedal so impressive.

Not only can you dial in a perfect-to-your-ears mix of the dry and wet signals, you also can add two separate flavors of fuzz on top of that. One setting will give you a warmer tone, while the over tends to be a bit brighter with some punchiness to it.

Ease Of Use
5/5
Sound Quality
4.5/5
Features
4.5/5
MXR M287 Sub Octave Bass Fuzz Pedal

You can take that even further by tweaking the individual Bass and Treble controls, and the last punch in the gut is the ability to do a mid boost as well – perfect for getting you heard above the mix.

Positives

Negatives

TC Electronic Sub 'N' Up Octaver Pedal

If you’re a pedal junkie, then you know how valuable the real estate is on your pedalboard. The TC Electronic Sub ‘N’ Up Octaver may be the answer for any bass player wanting a great bass octave pedal that won’t take up a lot of space, thanks to its compact package design.

But just because it’s small doesn’t mean that it lacks functionality in any way.

As a standalone pedal you have polyphonic capability for both an octave up and down (which you have full control over the mix of each with the dry signal).

Ease Of Use
5/5
Sound Quality
5/5
Features
4/5
TC Electronics Sub 'n' Up Bass Octave Pedal

TC Electronic’s TonePrint system expands the possibilities even further, with several TonePrints dedicated specifically for the bass guitar – all available with the free TonePrint app.

True bypass ensures your native tone won’t be colored, and it also has a great monophonic algorithm as well for those times where you just wanna go old school with single bass lines.

Positives

Negatives

MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe Pedal

The MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe is yet another great pedal offering from MXR. This one was designed specifically for the bass, and it has several features that make it stand out from the competition.

While it manages only one octave down, the M288 has two knobs for two different voicings for that effect. The Growl control has a midrange-y tone, and Girth is more of a smooth and deep sound.

The level of each tone can be mixed independently of each other along with the dry signal as well. You can also use the Mid + mini toggle switch to get a +14 dB bump in the low-mid to midrange frequencies (internally adjustable).

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

MXR’s Constant Headroom Technology (CHT) is another great feature on the M288. It runs at 18VDC, which provides headroom performance that approaches studio quality levels, and also helps to make the monophonic tracking as tight and precise as it can be.

Lastly, it’s from MXR – that’s all that needs to be said as far as the build quality. Housed in a rugged aluminum case with top-of-the-line switches and jacks, you can expect trouble free operation for many gigs to come.

True bypass ensures your native tone won’t be colored, and it also has a great monophonic algorithm as well for those times where you just wanna go old school with single bass lines.

Positives

Negatives

Aguilar Octamizer Analog Octave Bass Pedal

Looking for an old-school, monophonic bass octave pedal that just gets the job done with a minimum of extra bells and whistles? The Aguilar Octamizer may be your solution.

It manages a single octave down signal, and it has individual level and tone controls for both the Clean and Octave (dry and wet) signals. The Clean tone integrates a ‘Full Spectrum Tilt EQ’, letting you boost treble frequencies while simultaneously reducing bass and low-mids for a more even sound.

The tone control for the octave signal is called a ‘Filter’, and that’s exactly what it is – a multi-pole low pass filter that will let you go from smooth and clean to something a little more assertive.

Ease Of Use
5/5
Sound Quality
5/5
Features
4/5
Aguilar Octamizer

One neat feature of the Octamizer is the ‘Gig Saver’ bypass feature – if the battery dies the unit automatically goes into full bypass mode so you’ll still have full signal available.

Positives

Negatives

Digitech Bass Whammy Pedal

Are you looking for a bass octave pedal on steroids? Then the Digitech Bass Whammy may be the pedal of your dreams. It’s a version of the popular Whammy pedal, but frequency-optimized specifically for use with the bass guitar.

It’s a complete pitch shifting solution that’s been impressing guitar players for many years – it’s time for us bass players to demand the respect we deserve!

You’ll find two distinct operating modes – Classic and Chord. The Classic setting gives you monophonic operation, while Chord takes things into polyphonic mode for intervals or chords. And you aren’t limited to just octaves…no sir…you have a complete range of settings going from sub-octave to two octaves up, with every conceivable interval in-between.

Ease Of Use
4/5
Sound Quality
4.5/5
Features
5/5
Digitech Bass Whammy Octave Pedal

The wah-style foot pedal lets you even get to those micro-tonic spaces between standard intervals, which is perfect for smooth pitch shifting effects or just getting all weird and stuff.

Midi control and true bypass are additional features that explain why the Bass Whammy has earned a solid spot on my list. It’s just too fun!

Positives

Negatives

Fishman Fission Bass Powerchord FX Bass Pedal

If you’ve ever played in a power trio, you know how the bottom can drop out when your guitar player goes to take a lead.

With the Fishman Fission Bass Powerchord, you can simply and easily turn your bass into a guitar chord powerhouse with just a press of a footswitch.

The Powerchord does exactly what the name implies. It takes your input signal and generates an octave up…but we’re not done yet. It also generates tones both a 4th and a 5th above the octave up tone, essentially letting you play power chords that can almost substitute for a guitar while simply playing single notes on your bass.

Ease Of Use
5/5
Sound Quality
5/5
Features
4/5
Fishman Fission Bass Powerchord

Each of the options are individually controlled via footswitch, so you can create fourth intervals, fifth intervals, or bass-cally (did you catch that?) create sus4 chords.

Additional features include overdrive and tone controls for the wet signal, and the onboard noise gate puts the icing on this impressive piece of cake.

Positives

Negatives

MXR M280 Vintage Bass Octave Pedal

The last bass octave pedal I’ll be taking a look at is the MXR M280. It’s another model from MXR which fits right into the ‘old school monophonic’ mode, but it has enough modern touches to make it worth your consideration.

Starting off, there are two separate octave settings, a single octave down along with two octaves down. Each effect has its own level control knob, along with the dry input signal as well.

There are no extra effects with the M280 (such as any tone shaping or drive/distortion), but if you’re looking for a simple pedal that produces great results, then you really may not need those anyways.

Ease Of Use
5/5
Sound Quality
5/5
Features
4/5
MXR M280 Vintage Bass Octave Pedal

Thumbs-up to MXR for adding a mid boost of +13 dB, helping you to rise above your band members in the audience’s ears.

That, along with the MXR Constant Headroom Technology (CHT) design to keep your sound clean and clear no matter what you throw at it, make the MXR M280 a great choice for a vintage-style pedal.

Positives

Negatives

What does a bass Octave pedal do?

Physics lesson time – but again, don’t worry about any homework…

In technical terms, an octave of a particular note is one that has a frequency that is either exactly double the target note (an octave above) or exactly half (an octave below). This mathematical relationship is the reason why octave intervals sound so smooth and full – it is essentially the most consonant sounding interval in modern music.

OK – class is over. That wasn’t so bad now, was it?

How a bass octave pedal works is that it determines the frequency of the note you’re playing, then it automatically generates an octave note (above or below, depending on your settings and what features a particular pedal has) in real time.

Sure, you could actually play the octave notes on your bass, but let’s just say that it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do. That’s especially true if you are trying to pull of a pretty complicated bass line.

Trust me – in cases like this it’s a whole lot easier to let a good bass octave pedal do the work for you.

Are there different types of octave pedals?

Yup. You bet there is.

With today’s technology, you aren’t limited to one type of octave pedal. There are many different types, each with its own set of pros and cons.

While the end result is the same for the most part, there may be particular nuances that may lead you to prefer one type over another.

Monophonic vs. polyphonic bass octave pedals

There’s a very important distinction between monophonic and polyphonic octave pedals, and the choice that may be the best for you will depend entirely on how you plan to use it.

A monophonic octave pedal will only analyze one single note at a time, while a polyphonic one will apply an octave note to multiple notes (such as intervals or chords) that are played at the same time.

A polyphonic unit can act as a monophonic one, but the opposite isn’t true – not even a little bit. Trying to shoehorn more than one note through a monophonic one can tend to give you a pretty weird result, as the circuitry just won’t be able to handle it.

A good polyphonic unit may tend to be higher in price than a monophonic one, so if your playing style is made up mostly of single note lines I’d recommend that you spend accordingly.

Analog octave pedals vs. digital octave pedals

Analog circuits in just about any type of effects pedal – not just octave pedals – typically sound very even and fluid. This due to the fact that the circuit design is based on a true continuous waveform.

Digital octave pedals, on the other hand, are certainly a product of modern technology. The signal is translated by what’s called an ‘A/D converter’ (analog to digital) into a series of 1’s and 0’s that are interpreted by the pedal’s advanced electronics.

Audiophiles generally tend to think that analog sounds better than digital, due mostly to the fact that the digital process actually loses part of the waveform during the transition. The ‘analog vs. digital’ debate has been argued for years, and will continue to be debated among musicians until the end of time.

But what does any of that have to do with bass octave pedals?

Quite a lot, actually. In this case it’s not so much a matter of tonal quality as it is the overall functionality of the pedal.

Analog ones may not track the input note as well, so that’s the main reason why any analog pedal will tend to be monophonic. You’ll need the added horsepower and flexibility of working with a digital signal to pull of a good polyphonic design, however.

Using a bass octave with fuzz/Overdrive/Distortion

There certainly isn’t any rule saying you can’t use any type of fuzz (or overdrive…OR distortion) with a bass octave pedal. In fact, the sonic wastelands you can potentially generate with such a setup may fit in perfectly with heavier rock that has that harder and more aggressive edge to it.

What I WILL say is that where you put a bass octave pedal in your signal chain can make all the difference in the world. How a typical signal chain works is that each effect pedal you have essentially feeds into all of the ones placed after it.

If you want to use some dirt, my recommendation would be to place the octave pedal as close to the start of the signal chain as possible, especially before any fuzz or overdrive effects.

This will ensure you have a clean signal going into the distortion. If you place the octave pedal after the distortion, you’ll be generating octaves of that distorted signal. The end result may not be the most pleasing thing to your (or your audience’s) ears.

But – as with most anything related to getting ‘your’ sound – everything is subjective. You may prefer the way your bass octave pedal sounds when the input is getting slammed with some heavy-duty dirt.

If that’s your thing, then ‘Let It Be’ – which, by the way, is a song that I would probably NOT use much distortion on, let alone a heavily octave-processed sound…

Just sayin’…

Can I use a guitar octave pedal on a bass guitar?

Simple answer here – most (if not all) of the pedals that I’ve taken a look at can be used for either the bass or the guitar. In fact, most were meant for the guitar.

Some, like the Boss OC-3 Super Octave, have special consideration for us bass players, which certainly isn’t a bad thing…but I can’t really say that it is an absolute necessity.

Truth be told, I think you’d be hard pressed to really notice much of a difference from a sonic standpoint, and the number of octave pedals that were designed specifically for the bass guitar are relatively few and far between anyway.

Bottom Line

Using a bass octave pedal is a surefire way to enhance your tone and ‘fill in the gaps’ – but they can be so much more than just a simple tone generator that will voice an octave off of your dry signal.

With digital technology, polyphonic capabilities are real, and they are ‘really good’! Tracking ability on all of the pedals we looked at was amazing, and they weren’t prone to glitches at all for the most part.

These reasons are only a few of why the Electro-Harmonix XO Micro POG is my favorite and most recommended off the list. Not to discount the impressive features that the others have, but the amazing polyphonic capability to produce tones with octave up and down at the same time is simply just what this doctor has ordered.

But you can’t let me have all of the fun, right? Shoot me a message in the comments section below and let me know what you think…

I’m always eager to hear what your opinions have to say!

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