Effect pedals for bass players – part 2

Tips & tricksThe majority of effect pedals are made for guitarists and therefore, many bass players fear the contact with the small (and sometimes big) devices that can add a special character to the sound.
In the first part of this two-part series, I already presented some effect categories, every bass player can use without taking any risks. In this second part, we will have a closer look on effects, that require a bit more sensitivity.
So, boys and girls behind the fat strings: go for it!


Pure modulation effects are struggling to cope with bass sounds.
But nevertheless, a chorus or flanger effect can be pretty interesting for bass players. Especially if you are playing on the higher ranges on the fretboard.
The combination of a tremolo and a bass guitar can also create nice sounds. The tremolo will emphasize the rhythmical playing of the bass guitar. In this case also, it might make sense, to add an overdrive or compressor pedal to support the sustain.
In the 1970s auto wah and filter effects have been must-haves for every bass player. Those, who like this kind of sound, can still use it today. This very prominent effect becomes a bit more subtle if you avoid playing quarter notes and adjust a slower filter sweep that lasts the whole bar instead.


Regarding a delay pedal, that is able to create interesting rhythmical repeats in combination with a bass guitar, it is extremely important to choose the right device.
If you want a delay that cuts through the mix, you should choose a bright sounding digital delay. For a darker dub sound, an analog delay would be the perfect match.
If you are looking for more than a disdainful slapback, you should choose a delay with tap tempo. Especially for bass players, time and rhythm are extremely important.
But reverse and pitch delays as well can sound really fascinating. But in this case, less is more: Such prominent effects soon become exhausting and are not really suitable to become always-on- pedals for bass players.


If the song and the assembly of the band permit it, a reverb can also be a nice effect for the bass guitar. By filling the room, it can create a very nice atmosphere. Please keep in mind, that using a reverb does not work for every song and every kind of style. But added with the right finesse, it will enrich your bass sound in a beautiful way.

Sustain pedals

Exotic pedals like the EHX Freeze and the Gamechanger Audio Plus Pedal might also be a delicious ingredient to the pedalboard of a bass player. They are able to make the bass sound like a fretless or an organ. Especially unexpected tones like these make the sound very stimulating.

As you see, bass players also should have a closer look to their feet, or rather the pedals underneath them. Thereby, you can experiment with various sounds instead of peering enviously or uncomprehending at the pedalboard of the guitarist.