If any of you use effects pedals out there, what would you say would be the essential. I know it really depends on your rig setup. I already have Chorus built into my rig, so I am looking at a couple of different pedals, and am trying to decide which way would benefit most. I think out of everything, with the music we play, I would benefit from a Sustain the most, but I can't find a specific Bass Sustain pedal.

We mostly play Chris Tomlin, Desperation Band, Jesus Culture, but have started playing some Alm:UK stuff. So, I have wanted to go with an Octave pedal to get some good depth to my Passive Bass.

A couple of pedals I have been looking at are:

  • The Big Squeeze from DigiTech (Compressor, with separate High/Low compression levels)
  • Some sort of a delay pedal
  • Some sort of a sustain pedal
  • A Bass Octave pedal

I don't know if I need specific bass type pedals or if the guitar ones will do.

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I have The Big Squeeze pedal.  It makes your bass sustain much longer because it keeps your output level up longer.  It's harder to play quiet with that pedal.  All notes come out more the same.  I actually don't use mine much.

At my church, we don't use amps on stage (sound guy dominated decisions), so my main essential pedal is a SansAmp Bass Driver DI.  It's really all I need.


I use a Combo amp on stage to EQ my bass and then Direct Out from the amp itself. Same basic priniciple I guess as the SansAmp DI. But, I need the amp on stage, as we have a horrible monitor mix setup, and the bass would only muddy it worse. Our sound setup overall needs major adjusting. IT is good to hear that the Big Squeeze could be the sustain pedal I am looking for.

If you want to play, consider some kind of multi-fx unit. I used to use a Zoom pedal and then, when I eventually stomped on it so much the contacts wore (after several years, countless rehearsals and numerous gigs - not a waste of money) upgraded to a Line6 BassPod XT. That gives me not only a whole rack of effects and detailed EQ settings but also lots of amp and cabinet models.

It is a spendier solution then just getting another pedal but does all I need. It also means I can have settings for a whole range of situations. For example, I've got a bank of patches which work well with my own Ashdown rig and another that has been tweaked to work well with the (erm... can't remember) rig down at church. I've also got further sets to work with my practice amp (typically turning down the bass end so as not to overload the smaller speaker), for my electric upright bass and even for my electric guitar (aka piccolo bass). In that light, it actually works out as pretty effective given the ability to make the initial investment.

This is a good recommendation. I'm waiting for a Zoom 2.1u to arrive - bought used through a bass forum, it will cost me £45~$65. I do have a compressor pedal but don't really use it, though I probably should for recording (which is mainly why I bought the Zoom unit, so I can add better bass to our worship team recordings).

Zoom arrived today, but I'm off to France first thing tomorrow, and won't have time to fiddle.

Hi Ryan,

A great resource for those wondering about bass compressors is here:


There is no better place to go for this.

I can't say I've ever heard a lot of effects for bass - I know they make them and people use them, but I can't remember the last time it was apparent that a bassist was playing with chorus or delay.  But a compressor - essential for bass. Octave is also nice to hear. But if I were to play bass, I'd be looking for a lot of tone shaping tools instead of outright effects. 

One of the comments some of the bass players over here have made to me is that you should not practice with a compressor, and should be careful using one live. Yes, they are extremely useful, but they can also make one sloppy - they certainly help cover up my mistakes and lack of control.

I definitely wouldn't label a compressor essential although, to be fair, I pretty much always have some degree of compression mixed in with my Bass Pod patches. In most cases though it is pretty subtle; more of a nuance than having a noticeable effect on the sound.

I think subtle is generally the way to go with bass; my guitar patches are more obvious, not least because my electric guitar playing functions like a dusting of icing sugar while, to extend the metaphor, the bass playing is more like the eggs, binding everything together. Mind you, sometimes I just go nuts with both ;-)

An example of subtle is the distortion effect on the main bass patch I use at church. For some reason, it sounds a bit thin through the system there unless I add a bit of deep toned overdrive (I don't need to engage it when playing through my own amp). It is a bit like engaging the gritty tone in a Sans Amp Bass Driver DI (mentioned above by Dan and one of my essentials until I got the Pod; I've kept my SABDDI around even though I only occasionally need it as a DI at the moment, for the time when the Pod fails and I need an immediate backup).

Well, I always thought it was important since most of the bass players I've worked with always had compression in the signal chain. But not being one, I must confess ignorance here. But my own bass player doesn't use one and keeps saying he needs one and I agree - he's often too peaky and could use some peak leveling and signal evening.

Remind him, gently, to get more control in his fingers. A compressor won't magically fix the peaks unless you have it rolled up so high that you sound more like a keyboard bass player with no velocity sensitivity.

Thinks to practise are playing more consistently and also turning up the amp volume so you don't have to whack the strings so hard.

Use of a compressor is dependant on your style of play.  I have a very percussive technique (which sometimes makes up for a missing drummer) which drives the pa guys nuts but adds a lot of rhythm and would be entirely irrelavant if compressed.   <SLAP> bass.


I do not use one at all.

Also, a compressor is very much a needed thing with a fretless to get the Muwaaa sound.


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