Playing bass is great, but after a while, you may want to experiment. Effects pedals are a great way to get a full new sound from your bass. Whether you want to add distortion, or just make your bass sound huge, effects pedals can do all of this and more.
Before we recommend any bass effects pedals, you need to understand something; buying pedals won’t make you a better player.
Have you ever seen a cover band full of forty year olds who think they are rock gods?
Chances are, they think they are rock gods because they believe that playing with a wah pedal and a chorus is more important than practicing and makes up for a lack of technique and ability. If you don’t practice, you’ll think you’re the greatest bass player as well. The problem is, no one will agree.
Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of covering up your sloppiness with a pedal; put in your practice hours regardless if you choose to use an effects pedal or not. This will keep your playing crisp and clean, and will allow you to enjoy yourself as well.
If you are ready to look at effects pedals as what they really are –supplemental aids to spice up your playing style not skill—then you may want to look at your playing.
If you are playing country, it might be best to avoid a wah pedal. Likewise, if you are playing death metal, a flanger might not be the tool for you. Effects are only as good as their usage allows. This means that your great effects lab pedal is basically useless and will do more harm than good if you insist on putting ridiculous effects in ridiculous places.
While there is always an exception to the rule (a wah may somehow fit in the background of a carefully chosen country song if it is behind a slide guitar or other pitch-shifting styled technique) it is best to be safe than sorry.
One of the most popular pedals for bass guitarists is a distortion pedal. Depending on your musical style, a distortion pedal can add depth to your playing and take you from a secondary voice to a primary voice. Distortion pedals can be used to bring you to the front of the band, but you have to use them carefully. Too much distortion can sound chaotic.
The most important effect pedal isn’t actually an effect. A noise suppressor should be a primary tool of any serious musician. It can quiet up your rig so that you don’t have to suffer from ugly buzzing. It will also tighten up your tone, to an extent.
Choruses and delays are great for making your bass sound huge. You can get a colossal, stadium tone out of your rig by simply adding these effects to your chain.
Keep in mind, that no matter how important you might think your choruses and wahs are, they come last in your chain. Your tuner and suppressor require the strongest signal. Try experimenting with different effects to see which best fit your style. In the end, remember; nothing will make up for practice. Don’t be a sloppy player.
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