Pedal effects operate on signals passing through them; they do not recognize whether the signal comes from a guitar or bass.
Most pedals can be used as on-demand effects – switched on and off during performances – though others, like reverb and EQ pedals, remain on throughout a performance.
The Octave Pedal
An octave pedal can turn any guitar into a bass by adding one or two octaves below its original tone, as well as create organ-like effects and the type of distortion Jimi Hendrix used on tracks like Purple Haze and Fire. Octave effects are an invaluable addition to any pedalboard, whether your goal is fattening up riffs or making solos shine brighter.
When shopping for an octave pedal, there are a few key considerations you should keep in mind. First and foremost is deciding the number of octaves the pedal should produce. Some monophonic octave pedals interpret one note at a time before producing an octave-down effect for that note alone; these can produce some very interesting sounds but are generally best used with straightforward melodies.
Polyphonic octave pedals are more suitable for multi-note phrases and chords as they interpret multiple notes simultaneously and produce an even sound. Furthermore, these pedals offer greater flexibility compared to older monophonic ones as they allow multiple notes to change octaves simultaneously.
Another key consideration when purchasing an octave pedal is how well it tracks. This refers to how responsively the pedal responds to changes in your playing style, such as when you bend a note or play fast passages; an ideal tracker will accurately follow along without creating noticeable latency issues.
The Mooer Tender Octaver pedal offers a monophonic octave effect with outstanding tracking capabilities. This pedal features one knob to control direct sound level, another knob for setting down signal level, and finally one multi-functional knob with multiple settings depending on which mode the pedal is currently in.
If you need an octave pedal that offers more versatility, consider the Poly Blue Octave. This pedal builds upon the classic Blue Box with additional features such as polyphonic capabilities and phase modulation – while still maintaining the quirky personality of its original. With more interactive sounds than an exclusive octave pedal can offer, this versatile device may just be exactly what’s needed!
The Fuzz Pedal
Fuzz pedals typically cater towards guitar players, but some models can also work wonders on bass. Fuzz pedals can tighten up bass sound by making it fuller and more defined – perfect for tightening up sound on this instrument!
These pedals resemble distortion pedals in that they add both gain and compression to your signal, as well as clipping its waveform for that classic, fuzz tone.
Some pedals feature a “wet/dry” control to allow for running the unaffected signal through an amp to filter some of the fuzz sound away and add both natural and fuzzed signals in one mix. Others provide control of when to engage the effect, mixers for customizing mix ratio, or different diode choices to create different tones like silicon or germanium diodes for greater tonal variation.
Finding a bass fuzz pedal that does not produce too much low-end loss is of key importance when selecting one for use with their instrument. Some pedals utilize this technique to achieve their signature sound; however, bass players prefer having enough low end to maintain power and punch in their music. Many classic fuzz pedals such as Sovtek Big Muff or NYC-built Big Muff Pi have excellent low end response.
Consider including a distortion pedal when selecting your fuzz pedal, especially if you play heavy genres such as metal. A distortion pedal can add extra crunch and growl to your bass sound; just make sure that its power supply meets industry-grade specifications to prevent unwanted noise/hum from infiltrating the signal chain.
Octave pedals may not be as well known, but they still serve a valuable purpose for bassists. By offering synth tones and big bass riffs as possible variations to explore with, these pedals allow bassists to explore different sounds with greater ease. These easy-to-use devices will really help define your overall sound!
The Overdrive Pedal
Overdrive pedals have long been an indispensable part of guitarists’ effects chains. Overdrive provides less extreme distortion that adds warmth and crunchiness to your tone, while top overdrive pedals come equipped with multiple settings for you to find just the right sound for both guitar and amp.
Overdrive pedals utilize a two-step process to boost and clip your signal, with diodes acting as soft-clipping diodes that soft-clip boosted signals while adding harmonic content. Each type of diode can make a significant impactful statement about the overall sound produced by an overdrive pedal – thus the numerous options on the market today.
Fuzz and distortion pedals typically contain multiple knobs that may result in unwanted tonal collisions; by comparison, overdrive pedals typically have fewer controls to worry about. The Gain knob controls how much overdrive you get while Tone controls tone (similar to guitar’s tone knob). Once your desired level of gain has been determined you can use Level to maintain a constant amount of overdrive.
Some players like to crank their overdrive pedals up all the way for an iconic AC/DC sound; others may prefer setting it lower so that they can still articulate chords and create smooth leads. As always, personal preference plays a part, so don’t be afraid to experiment and listen closely while listening for results in order to determine what works best for you.
If you’re in search of an overdrive pedal that doubles as both clean boost and overdrive, take a look at Electro-Harmonix Soul Food. This Klon Centaur-esque clone costs less than $100 USD, yet provides convincing overdrive effects when used standalone.
Strymon’s Riverside overdrive pedal is an ideal option if you don’t wish to spend too much on an overdrive pedal. Boasting superior construction quality and an array of connectivity features, as well as offering customizable tones via its EQ controls on its front panel – including Gain, Tightness, Bassness and Treble controls that can all be set according to your individual tastes.
The Delay Pedal
Delay pedals can transform any sound from subtle atmospheric effects to full-on percussive instruments, offering everything from subtle atmospheric effects to full-on percussive instruments. A delay pedal should be part of any guitarist’s or bassist’s arsenal for thickening up guitar lines, filling empty spaces or using delay as rhythmic effect. They’re especially indispensable for creative guitarists and bass players looking for new ways to experiment musically with delay effects such as creating complex rhythmic repetition, faux twin-guitar harmony or live looping effects with delay pedals.
A good delay pedal should provide controls for time, feedback, mix and analog/digital processing – with dry-through to prevent your guitar signal being affected while using it; 300ms delays should also be available per song on your gig list (we recommend 300ms or less). We highly recommend the Fender Space Delay as an excellent starter or advanced guitarist option as its simple dials, screens and switches give all you need in terms of delay tone!
Traditional delay pedals created delays by recording a sample of your guitar or bass signal onto tape, then replaying it back in real-time. Modern “Tape Echo” delay pedals seek to recreate this vintage effect, giving your delays a distinct sound that stands out among modern digital delay pedals.
Delays are one of the rare effects pedals that can be used effectively with both electric and acoustic guitars, providing another layer of texture and depth in their music. Acoustic guitarists like John Butler and Tommy Emmanuel often combine delays with reverb for psychedelic sounds, using long repeats or Chet Atkins-style slapback for added effect.
Delays should be added at the very end of your pedalboard signal chain, after compression and distortion effects have been added. They’re an essential feature for rock or metal players, adding depth to drumming. In addition, delays can add ambience to fingerstyle acoustic guitar playing and are used by artists such as Jon Gomm to produce otherworldly sounds that almost sound supernatural.