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Bass Fx Pedals In The Real World - Which Ones Do You End Up Leaving At Home?

Discussion in 'Maddrakkett's Caffe' started by DiMarco, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

    Nov 19, 2009
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    the Netherlands
    Guilty. I confess. I love pedals. I know bassists who bring pedals to the stage get frowned upon. I do not care. I puzzle with my dozens of pedals at home in the mancave looking for kickass tones...

    But then there's the real world. I play rock in a rock band. No metal, no wave, no pop nor jazz, funk, reggae or whatever you can think of. I play rock. Period.

    Over the course of the last 5 years or so my pedalboard has seen many many incarnations and while I was having fun adding some outlandish stuff to the mix, I often was the only person in the band enjoying it.

    So here's what it comes down to. What I really need, and the only things I really need besides a tuner are:

    1. A really good compressor that will anchor my bass playing in the mix, making the total band sound blend better then without a compressor. In my opinion no bassist should ever leave home without one.

    2. A pre-amp that gives me tube warmth and a good EQ to make up for all those cheap old quirky and often partly broken in-house bass rigs I get the joy of playing through (why do they always have those honky eighties Peavy combo's??? I really hate those!)

    3. The most tricky part: A good organic and filthy sounding dirt pedal which can blend in a hint of the clean signal.
    Nothing more, nothing less.


    So here's my tiny board I actually use with the band. Those who know me might be aware I own a lot of other pedals, some boutique, some of the more standard stuff. But this is all I really need.

    I put the compressor up front because it is buffered and reinforces the signal coming from my bass. I also use it to raise the volume of my signal around 5-6 decibels so the dirtbox sounds bigger with less dramatic settings. This particular FET based compressor (based on the Urei 1176) has a high pass filter and a blend function so it won't squash my low B string too much when I dial in active lows on my Warwick or Zon.

    The dirtbox (Royal Jelly) allows me to use two different blends between overdrive and fuzz, and also allows me to filter out the fizzy treble when needed. This gives me four tastes of dirt in one pedal which I can easily switch between. I guess the dirt department is covered.

    Then there's the pre. Kicking in Le Bass is a difference between day and night. Everything sounds bigger, stronger, warmer and more ballsy with it. It also has an overdrive channel which I use for very mild driven tone in an always on kinda fashion at some occasions to get more grip in the mix.

    All the rest, I should and will leave at home.

    How about you guys, which pedals do you actually really use?
    Nachobassman and Hardy like this.
  2. Foal30


    Jan 9, 2018
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    Christchurch Aotearoa
    Diamond Bass Comp
    Free the Tone Bass Blaster OD
    The Old brown Boss PEQ

    Everything else depends on the gig...
  3. Bassist4Eris


    Jan 6, 2018
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    Upstate NY, USA
    Real Name:
    Steve Gregory
    In my main band, I use everything on my board. In short: octave, OD, fuzz, envelope filter, chorus, phaser, compressor, preamp. Throw in a tuner and a line selector and that's my rig. But my band is a special case: a funk oriented instrumental band with a strong focus on bass. For me, using effects is a way of drawing attention to the bass. I'll use a more conventional tone when the song's focus is more about the keyboard, but when the bass part is the hook, I want to make the bass stand out.

    When I do gigs with other bands, I generally just use my compressor and preamp, sometimes maybe some dirt. If I get a solo I might step on the filter just to get it to pop more. I used chorus all through a jazz gig last summer, and I really liked what it did for my P-with-flats.

    So what do I leave at home? Synth pedals. I keep buying pedals that are either synths (Boss SYB-5) or at least "synthy" (Source Audio Bass Multiwave Distortion) but the truth is they sound like crap in the mix. The SYB-5 actually records really well. It just sounds awful coming from a bass rig for some reason.

    My favorite "living room pedal" is my Boss ME-50B, a multi-effect with mediocre sound but a very easy user interface. It does things like delay, "slow gear" (a kind of fade-in effect, like stepping on a volume pedal with each note) and whammy-style pitch shifting; all things that are fun when you're home alone but hardly work in a band context. Of course it will do "normal" effects too, but none of them sound as good as the pedals on my main board, so there's rarely any call to bring this one to a gig.
    DiMarco likes this.