If your music isn’t heavy enough, distortion pedals add an extra kick to your techniques. Bass distortion are commonly used in rock and indie music, since they add more aggressive saturation to your tone.
According to Gearank, distortion pedals are the easiest way to get a hard rock and metal tone. And getting the best distortion pedals for bass would really up your game in terms of bringing in some much needed dirt to your signal and coming out with heavy jams.
To make your decision a little lighter, below are some of the best and most rated distortion pedals for bass.
7 Best Distortion Pedals For Bass
- Pad on the input that's switchable between 0dB and -10dB ensures the pedal is optimized for use with both passive and active pickups
- Blend allows a player to mix to taste the direct and distorted signals
- Three outputs: a 1/4 effect out, 1/4 direct (buffered dry) out and XLR DI out give complete control of your output signal and sound
- Foot-switchable crossover section with a variable low pass filter on the dry signal and a variable high pass filter on the distorted signal give bassists the ability to sculpt their sound
- Crossover circuit, in conjunction with the Blend control, lets you keep the low-end clear and focused and the high-end bright and cutting
Here comes Electro-Harmonix’s Deluxe Big Muff Pi, based from its famous predecessor Big Muff, with better features and lots of enhancements, but retaining its sustain and tone. The Deluxe Big Muff Pi features lots of handy controls for the volume, blend, tone sustain, gate, and the crossover portion with a variable low and high pass filter.
Upon tweaking these controls you’ll know that the blend control mixes the distorted sound with the dry signal. Sculpt your sounds using the crossover circuit which controls the low-end and high-end of your tone, as well as tightening the tone and flattening selected portions.
- Lots of functional controls
- Blend control feature
- Footswitchable crossover circuit
- Not much gain
- Low-pass filter affects the dry signal only
- Modeled after a cranked vintage Model T amplifier to bring the openness, clarity, and crunch that only a dimed tube amp can provide
- Designed to keep the controls as simple as possible; the footswitch controls power, and the knob controls output volume
- This device can be powered conveniently by a 9V battery or a standard 9-volt DC power supply
- Made with care by human hands in Akron, Ohio
- PLEASE BE CAREFUL! The Acapulco Gold is extremely loud!
With its sound based on a cranked Sunn Model T power amp, the EarthQuaker Acapuclo Gold V2 Distortion Guitar Effect Pedal offers complete clarity and crisp distortion much like a dimed tube amp’s. The Acapulco Gold V2 proves that a second version is the better version by giving your solos a wide range of dirty tones that are very responsive to your guitar’s volume and tone controls. With whatever resource you have on hand you can power it with battery or DC power supply.
Designed to make your lives easier, the Acapulco Gold V2 features a straightforward design with a giant knob for the volume and footswitch to turn the pedal on and off. You’ll save money and space as the Acapulco Gold does not take much of your space and is very affordable.
- Can run on either 9 VDC power supply or 9V batteries
- Strategically positioned controls
- Quiet and static-free
- Footswitch quality could be better
- Kind of a one-trick-pony
- Compulsive Drive Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
Now on its updated version, the Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive Pedal features new layout and updated functions for optimum performance. The OCD now features redesigned output buffer for maximum signal integrity, a Class A input section using better dynamic response, and switchable Enhanced Bypass or True Bypass modes to achieve better results.
Its enhanced Field Effect Transistors or FETs in Class A configuration maintain the tones of your solos but gives it a more expressive touch. The OCD provides relatively clean boosting capabilities and will give your sound a natural crunch without muddying it up. Complete with a compact size, the OCD sits right into your pedalboard without giving you any headache.
- Gives a natural crunch
- Difficult input location
- To really unleash its full potential
- You may need more power
Considered as one of the go-to pedal of many guitarists, The Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer has the build quality, pleasing tones, and price you are looking for. Made to be simple and straightforward, the TS9 has three separate controls for drive, level, and tone. One strike on the pedal, and you have a harmonious, balanced and sustainable lead sound.
It produces a delicate overdrive up to an expressive tube-style distortion which has a more pronounced mid boost in a smooth manner. The TS9 has a sturdy and durable construction which will last a long time. You can also power it via battery or power supply.
- Delivers great sound perfect for rock/blues sound
- Does not give that much distortion
- Not really versatile
- Get mild overdrive to hard distortion Works for four- and five-string basses Balance control lets you mix signals Can be used as a two-band EQ
Having been in the industry for a long time, Boss surely knows how to cater every musician’s needs. The Boss ODB-3 Bass OverDrive Pedal does not look any more different than its co-models with its classic Boss chassis that has a solid bright color. Go from a mild overtone to a proper fuzzy distortion with the ODB-3.
It includes 5-string basses to avoid muddiness. You can also see on its control interface the different knobs (level, two-band EQ, balance, and gain) serving different purposes. The ODB-3 excels in giving your tone subtle amounts of drive or distort while retaining composure and definition even if you decide to have the most amount of gain into your signal.
- Excellent Sound Quality
- Limited Selection Of Effects
- Pretty noisy
- The MT-2 provides super-long sustain and heavy mids and lows like a stack of overdriven amps.
The Boss MT-2 Metal Zone offers great amount of gains and a wide range of heavy distortions. Perfect to use to perfect your guitar’s tone, this pedal carries a three-band EQ with semi-parametric and mid controls giving you a wide range of intense distortion levels. It has a dual-gain circuitry which gives distortion tones its huge sound.
Boost your bass’s sound with the MT-2 as it provides long sustain and heavy mids and lows. It includes a feature called buffered bypass which ensures there’s no blockage in the voltage signal from flowing, giving a stronger signal.
- Easy to mod if you know a bit about electronics
- Durable outer casing
- Sound is very buzzy
- Consumes battery fast
- On/Off switchControls for Volume, Tone, and SustainDual outputsMini Switch for Bass BoostRugged metal chassisRuns on 9 volt battery (best with Polaroid 9 Volt batteries) or optional AC Adapter (sold separately).
- The Bass Big Muff Pi Pedal features controls for volume, tone, sustain, dual outputs (effect and dry for recording), and a mini switch for bass boost
- The Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff Pi Distortion Pedal is powered by a single 9-volt battery or optional AC power supply (sold separately)
Bass players who love Big Muff Pi from the 70s will surely love this reborn with all-new features and upgrade. The Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Distortion Pedal features three knobs with distinct functions, namely volume, tone, and sustain. These knobs help give your solos and tracks the extra kick it needs by setting the level of distortion and choosing from a wide range of high treble to deep bass.
The three position toggle comes as it give you the choice to add bass on your distortion, stick to the pure tone, or mix the original dry signal from your bass with the output of distortion circuit. Give your bass some big fuzzy distortion tones with the Big Muff.
- Functional set of control
- Sustain works awesome
- Adjusts tone well
- Lack of options in Dry mode
- Difficult to access battery cavity
Factors to Consider When Buying a Distortion Pedal for Bass
To get yourself in the right direction, here are a few things to consider before buying a distortion pedal for bass.
Although it may be highly subjective, it’s always a nice thing to have an idea of how and what a good sound sounds like. As written in Thought Co, there are different effect pedals, each with their own sound. If you’d like to know some of the best sounds considered when it comes to distortions, you can check out some video demos online.
But, the best way to know if you like the sound produced by the pedal is always to try it out for yourself, not just by watching a video online. So, if you’re eyeing on a particular pedal online it’s best to check it out on your local store and have an actual demo.
More Knobs Aren’t Always Better
It’s an unwritten rule that a pedal should sound decent even with all the dials unmoved. You might not have time to adjust the knobs and tweak the sound on stage, but you will always have time to do that in studio whenever you’re recording.
Just because a pedal has a lot of knobs doesn’t mean it’s always a good thing—especially if it’s your first time to use one. Things can get easily confusing if you don’t understand how it works. But, if you know the How-Tos and whatnot, then more knobs are fine.
Pedals are also known as stomp boxes, since you’re going to be stomping on them. It’s of great importance that the pedal you’re about to buy ha a rugged construction and can withstand abuse.
Fortunately for us, there are lots of distortion pedals for bass that have a high quality construction with hard and durable housing. However, there are some pedals that feature delicate parts, so you have to be really careful and meticulous when choosing the best distortion pedal for bass.
If we’re talking about the best distortion pedal for bass, you might as well get the Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Big Muff Pi. If you think the popular Bass Big Muff is uneatable, try this new and enhanced version of it, with bass effects specifically tailored to the needs of modern bassists.