19 October 2016

The Big Bad Bass Pedal Wishlist

Here I am sitting alone at home drinking cream liqueur while watching bass pedal tutorials.
Hate to be the one to write a post completely off topic, but this is just how I roll...

For those of you who don't play guitar (as was I, until a year ago) - guitar and bass guitar players use different effects to achieve a various sound: distortion (mostly in metal music), chorus (for all you The Cure and post punk lovers) or fuzz (for the stoned ones) and the list goes on and on.... The effects come in pedal form, to be pressed on with the foot while playing (as you will see on).

For years I've wondered why Boris (who has at least 5 different pedals) spends so much time looking at dudes online explain about pedals and effects, their combination and variety (and then spending money on it). Well now that I've gained some experience in bass playing and made some aspirations, I've decided to check some pedals out to achieve a dirtier, heavier and less cleaner sound.

Here is my wishlist.

Electro Harmonix Nano Bass Big Muff Pi

Electro Harmonix are one of the companies whose effects I like best. Their fuzzes are great, and this is a smaller version of the Bass Big Muff. I like the crispy sound a lot, but my problem with fuzz is that you lose a lot of dynamics with it, and sometimes your clean sound. I like how you can make it completely dirty and all over the place (imagine a garage-rock guitar here, it's very similar) but it also loses the deep bass tone that I like. I think a fuzz is a cool addition to a guitar, but not for a bass guitar. So I was deliberating with this one.

Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedal

Did you catch the adorable brown sock in the beginning?

This is the pedal I will perhaps purchase, since it's not so expensive and has almost entirely the sound I am looking for - there is an option to make a classic distortion, and you just go from there to how much you want the crispyness of the sound. According to the tutorial above you can achieve something close to a fuzz without losing the bassy core, which is exactly what I'm looking for. I wonder about the sustain (how long a note lasts) of it though, since I like my sustain long...

MXR Bass Distortion

Note the Americana styled tutorial above hehe. This is another good distortion that has a very deep and rough cryspiness. Yet here I face the same problem I have with fuzz-sounding effects - the original bass sound tends to get lost and you get a dirty mishmash of sound, it sounds more like a soundscape than an actual tune. So hm... I am thinking about it, though it all depends on how much you exaggerate the distortion.

Aftershock Bass Distortion

The best for last - this is my absolute favorite of all the effects I've checked, and it doesn't say "the only bass distortion pedal you'll ever need" for nothing. This pedal has it all, there is so much versatility in the sound you can make without being too much or too little. Too bad it "only" costs 179 euros... so I'll just marvel at it, but if I had the chance to buy it right now, I would.

That's about it for now. I'm a complete newby when it comes to effects and all I know I've learned from Boris. Another thing to have in mind is that a pedal's sound will change depending on the amplifier you use -  an art in it's own that I am yet to have any knowledge off.

Hope this wasn't too confusing for you, as I've never written on the subject before on the blog. If you happen to watch one of the demonstrations above tell me what you think.



  1. Hi there! Great blog. I picked up a second hand Bass Big Muff Pi pedal a few months ago. Something that video doesn't explain well it that in dry switch mode, the volume knob acts like a mix knob, so you can control the balance between the dry bass and the fuzz. Also, the tone control is pretty cool in that it boosts the low end so it doesn't get lost even as you turn it up. I'm using it in a doom metal context and also on guitar. In either case I tune to either C standard, or a drop B flat. I'm using a Fender Jazz bass, a Washburn force 8 bass(late70s, I think), and an ES335 copy for guitar. I'm alsoba big fan of the crowther audio hotcake od/distortion pedal... it has a nice transparency for when you don't want to lose the underlying tone of your instrument

    1. I try to take those videos with a grain of salt, they obviously don't show you everything. Good to know about the volume function in the Big Muff, that actually sounds very cool, something I could use! I will check the distortion pedal as well, losing the underlying tones is something I don't want happening.
      Thanks for the comment!