Welcome to the bass distortion pedal guide that’s going to help you invigorate your bass sound with some sweet distortion. Here’re the reviews of the 6 best distortion pedals for the bass guitar effects pedals you can buy right now.
If your bass amp alone is struggling to give you the aggressive edge you want for punk, hard rock, metal, or anything in between, take the extreme measures of using a bass distortion pedal. Or, if you just can’t get the deep bass you need for modern pop, EDM, indie, and similar genres, tweak your sound with one of the effects I’m listing.
I’m featuring the best bass distortion pedals chosen by the pro players and our bass heroes – each pick on our bass distortion pedal list has been carefully vetted.
Don’t worry about the prices, though: I’m giving you both high-end and budget bass distortion pedal alternatives.
A pricier pedal doesn’t mean it’s better than a budget pedal. Sometimes you’re just paying more for marketing reasons.
- 1 Why should you buy a bass distortion pedal
- 2 About bass distortion pedals
- 3 What is a bass distortion pedal?
- 4 Buying advice
- 5 The top 6 best bass distortion pedals reviews
- 6 MXR M80 Bass D.I.+
- 7 Boss ODB-3 Bass OverDrive Effects Pedal
- 8 Budget Bass Distortion Pedal alternative: Behringer Bass Overdrive BOD 400
- 9 Premium Bass Distortion Pedal alternative: Darkglass Alpha Omega Bass Preamp Overdrive
- 10 Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi
- 11 Easier Bass Distortion Pedal Alternative: EHX Big Muff Pi
- 12 ZVex Woolly Mammoth Vexter Fuzz Bass Effect Pedal
- 13 TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion Bass Effect Pedal
- 14 Electro Harmonix Bass Soul Food
- 15 Final Considerations
Why should you buy a bass distortion pedal
Bass guitars are generally in the background. But we bassists players know how important our instrument is, as our main purpose is filling the gap between the guitar and the drums with both melody and rhythm. We all know there is no music genre out there living without a bass.
Sometimes, we bassists want to spice things up, and we can do it by adding some distortion to our tone. The results might be pretty interesting as we get more versatility and power punching through our amps.
Here’s what bass distortions can do for you:
- Make playing your bass more fun;
- Make your sound more interesting;
- Make your sound louder;
- Modify the EQ of your sound (make it brighter, make it louder, make it punchier on the mids,…);
- Make your bass stand out on the mix or on live presentations;
- Give you more character;
- Give you more punch;
- And add more power to the rhythmic pillars of the song.
More importantly, bass distortions give you the possibility to experiment with your tone. And who knows what you may find and how you’ll use it.
The best bass distortion pedals can add character and power to your bass guitar. It can turn your instrument into the protagonist of a song or a particular section.
Keep in mind the most important thing about your bass gear is the tone of your bass, which is something you should then complement and enhance with the right bass amp. That’s why not many bass players are known for their uses of pedal amps. However, those who do usually become the main component of their musical projects (like Les Claypool or Muse bass player’s Cris Woltesholme).
It’s a matter of personal knowledge, then, as you can achieve your perfect distortion solely with your bass and your amp. For example, late Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) used no pedals. Instead, he split the signal of his Rickenbacker 4001 bass between two Marshall amps, turned all of the knobs of his bass up, and then lowered the bass and treble knobs on the amps. It gave his instrument a natural overdrive without destroying its tone.
That’s, of course, way harder and costly than getting a pedal to achieve the same effects. If you’re not a super know-it-all sound purist bassist, this is probably the path you should take.
About bass distortion pedals
We’re looking at the three different types of distorting effects there are fuzz, distortion, and overdrive.
These three effects are different, and I’ve already covered each effect in the overdrive pedals for electric guitars guide. You can read all about it here.
A combination of at least two of them would yield the best results. Still, I’m featuring the best possible alternatives you can go buy right now to take your bass sound to a whole new level.
The following best bass distortion pedals on this guide are fun, aggressive, raw, and dirty. Here, you’re going to find classic reissues of timeless bass distortion pedals, brutal modern best bass distortion pedals filled with buttons and stuff, and plenty of versatility.
So, bass distortion hunters out there, gather your budgets because you’re finally going to find the effect needed to take your bass guitar out of the background.
What is a bass distortion pedal?
When it comes to adding distortion to your bass, you can either go for a fuzz, an overdrive, or a distortion pedal.
These belong to the same family of effects, but they are different. Let’s see:
- Overdrive: delivers the “crunchy” high-gain tone as it replicates the sound of natural tube amps breaking. Overdrive pedals tend to keep the same feel and tone of the pedal’s natural sound.
- Distortion: these are savage devices that squeeze as much gain as they possibly can. They alter the natural tone of your instrument and your amp with a deep, crisp, compressed, and aggressive new tone.
- Fuzz: they add a harmonic distortion that colors and enriches your original tone.
Some bass pedals deliver sounds that are a mix between these three different effects.
As I said, overdrive, distortion, and fuzz are different, but the results are often so similar in bass guitars you can interchange them. After all, these follow processes of adding clipping into the audio signal.
If you use these in a controlled environment as a recording studio the results can be very effective. The reason being you have time and freedom to experiment, tweak, and customize the exact sound you want.
On live situations, though, you would have to rely on a single type of sound you love from the pedal, leave the knobs where they should, and just turn the pedal on and off with your foot. That means finding a single tone you like, or maybe two or three, is paramount.
To me, a bass pedal should be able to give you at least one glorious tone. Versatility, though, I don’t find that too important on bass guitar pedals, as your sound relies more on your basslines and original tone of your bass rather than distortions and effects (like an electric guitar).
Then, different pedals combined can produce a varied assortment of tones and sounds, but all you need to do is find exactly what kind of sound you’re looking for and go that way.
The sound ranges from light distortions, like what you’d hear from pop and indie rock songs; transparent boosts; acid tones like a Queens of The StoneAge song; or The Call of Cthulhu kind of tones.
So, the question is…what kind of bass tone do you want to get? Well, mine is the following (put your headphones):
You can somehow know how a bass pedal sounds by watching a YouTube demo or by knowing which bassists players use these pedals. However, if the quality of your bass or your bass amp is not good, no-pedal will make you sound better. Instead, you will sound worse.
That said, if your intentions are building a professional or semi-professional bass gear, I advise you to consider improving to a better bass guitar; if you’re on a budget, consider getting the best bass you can afford.
Another thing to look for is distortion pedals that still manage to keep your sound clean and free of buzzes, noises, and mud. This is a major issue with cheaper models.
One final tip. As the bass tone is so important, then it’s equally important getting a pedal that manages to preserve the original sound. You can identify these models because they have some fort of mix feature between the dry (unaltered tone) and wet (the tone + the effect) signals.
The “balance” knob of a pedal usually mixes dry and wet signals.
A single bass distortion vs. multiple bass distortions
Choosing between a single pedal or a combination of various pedals depends on your personal style and, most of all, on you answering the following questions:
- Do you want an easy experience using pedals or do you prefer to experiment?
- Do you want a single type of sound or do you want or need versatility?
- What’s your budget?
- What’s your experience?
I find the best are superb at producing single good distortion, good overdrive, or good fuzz effect. But they don’t have many tonal options, and I’ve found that’s mostly what bass guitar players prefer.
There’re also small stompboxes capable of going from smooth distortions all the way up to power-hungry roars.
There are other pedals offering a myriad of options, gadgets, and toys to lose yourself in. But, Honestly (like that amazing Foo Fighter’s song), we will rarely use more than two or three different sounds on a bass pedal.
What do you prefer on your bass pedal, versatility or ease of use?
Here’s my last advice: if you spot the term “D.I.” or “D.I. box” on a pedal, you’ve found a premium alternative.
A D.I. box (also DIs, which stands for Direct Inject) resolves impedance issues between your instrument’s pickups and other electronics such as amps, pedals, interfaces, or mixers.
The primary function of DI boxes is taking unbalanced, high impedance signals (like those coming out an instrument) and turn it to balanced, low-impedance signals. It allows you to run your guitar or your bass straight to the microphone, or send the signal through extended cables without losing the volume.
So, essentially, DIs clean and protect your signal, so they are an amazing addition to a pedal.
DIs came to existence in the mid-’60s and they have evolved much since their origins. Even so, they are a great addition to home studios.
The top 6 best bass distortion pedals reviews
I researched the best alternatives for you. I used my personal opinion and knowledge, as well as the popularity of bass pedals on the professional worlds.
Let’s dive right into the reviews of the top 6 best bass distortion pedals.
MXR M80 Bass D.I.+
This is the mothership of bass distortion pedals, it’s so good I truly don’t understand how the price is not at least twice.
The MX80 series is popular, acclaimed, and professional. This particular pedal is used by some of my favorite bass players, which are also some of the most successful bassists in history:
- Duff Mckagan (Guns ‘N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver);
- Les Claypool (Primus, solo artist);
- Robert Trujillo (Metallica);
- Troy Sanders (Motorhead)
- Mark Hoppus (Blink 182),
- David Effelson (MegaDeath);
- Finneas (Billy Eilish’s band)
- Melissa Auf der Maur (Smashing Pumpkins)
As you see, this is not only the definitive metal, it’s also great for modern pop and electronic music as it thrives on low-end bass rhythms.
The MXR M80 does something that was considered impossible for bass pedals back in the day. And it does something not many pedals can deliver. What’s so special about this pedal is how it can deliver a true distortion whilst keeping the low-end frequency intact.
Priorly (or with other pedals) you had to split your wet and dry signal into two amps, which requires two amps, so it’s very costly. But the MXR Bass Distortion gives you so much control over the clean & dry mix right out of the box.
That’s because the M-80 is so much more than a bass direct box. Its features include a distortion channel with Gain, Volume, and Blend controls (pretty self-explanatory). Plus it has a Noise Gate (the Trigger knob) to help keep the sound clean, and a 3-band EQ (Bass, Mid, and Trebble) to dial in the exact tone you want.
Other features include a phantom power and a parallel output jack to give you more flexibility on your routing.
So, whether you like clean, hot, spicy or tasty sounds, this distortion DI box can do it all.
Similar alternative: MXR M85
The MXR M85 is a legendary pedal known for dishing out big gnarly with the fat, deep sound of your bassy dreams.
Its famous nasty sound comes from its modern distortion circuits tailored specifically for metal, heavy metal, progressive rock, and hard rock bass players.
Some of the bearded bass players carrying these pedals to their stages include:
- Rex Brown (Pantera, Tres Diablos, Kill Devil Hill)
- Elena Tonra
- Liam Wilson (The Dillinger Scape Plan)
Just as the M80, the MXR M85 gives you plenty of control over the dry & wet signals. And it gives you so much more control than the M80.
That brings us to the M85’s control knobs: Dry, Wet, Tone, and Distortion knobs, plus a 2-way switch.
As you see, the controls are quite different from the M80. Although it’s less versatile than the M80, it can achieve the same levels of professional, raw distortion than the M80, with the addition of extra control over your clean & distorted signals.
In particular, the tone control only affects the distortion signal as a high cut filter that dials back the top-end frequencies.
Lastly, it has a LED/SIL switch to swap between distortion flavors:
- The default SIL gives you aggressive, biting sound with a bit of compression;
- The LED gives you a wide-open sound with a smooth bump.
Overall, the MX85 and MX80 have similar sounds but different controls. As a non-professional musician, I’d go for the easier MX85 but if you want to truly buy something professional and start creating your truest bass tone, go for the MX80.
Boss ODB-3 Bass OverDrive Effects Pedal
This is the “Around the World” bass pedal, the effect that created Flea’s signature attack tone. And, as most Boss pedal, this sells for a mid-level price.
This is the standard and most overused bass Overdrive, the one that can help you create a killer tone that stands especially on bands with a single electric guitar.
The Boss ODB-3 is designed to meet the demands of today’s music with a lot of contoured sounds and versatility. It can take your tone from mild overdrive to hard distortion0
In fact, musicians consider this as the solution for anything you can think of because it covers the entire spectrum with its four knobs:
- Gain: raises or lowers the amount of effect;
- Balance: selects the level of mix between the effect with the original signal to keep the presence and power of your sound;
- A 2-band EQ (high and low);
- Level: raises or lowers the volume of the effect.
With these controls, the Boss ODB-3 can cover even 5-string basses, so you can get a sound with no muddiness, even on the lowest notes.
Overall, I could say the ODB-3 has very standard controls, but that is something we appreciate about Boss because they are familiar and thus easier to use.
The pedal comes in the classic Boss chassis, this time a yellow bright aluminum chassis. Their build quality is nothing to worry about as these pedals have been tested, wired, abused, and misused for decades now in hundreds of stages. Your only concern with this pedal, though, is getting the extra DC adapter or remembering to change the 9V battery every once in a while.
I have to note this isn’t a noisy pedal, so there’s nothing to be worried on this front either.
As for performance, this pedal works like both an overdrive and a fuzz. It can give you subtle amounts of drive, it can give you a clean boost, or it can unleash a massive distortion into your signal.
That means the distortion of this pedal can be very hot and wild. Plus, the ability to adjust the highs and lows is a key feature that gives you so much leeway, even on low-quality basses as it allows you to tame bright sounds or dark sounds and bring you bass back to balance.
So, although this looks like a basic pedal, it truly gives you the professional sound chosen by Flea and many other professional musicians. Its sheer amount of gain also makes it a good choice for those bassist players playing heavy music ranges.
Also, this was my first pedal ever. And although it was very hard for me at first to get a hold of this beast, for I was a total beginner, I managed to melt some faces on my records once I got a hold of it. And I’ve never regretted buying it.
Do you want to know who else used this pedal? Late Metallica’s Bass Player Cliff Burton (for instance, the bass intro fro “For Whom the Bell Tolls”)
Budget Bass Distortion Pedal alternative: Behringer Bass Overdrive BOD 400
The Behringer Bass Overdrive BOD 400 is simply the best budget bass overdrive you can find.
This one cost a mere fraction of the average price of overdrive pedals, and although it comes on a cheap plastic case, it’s an affordable solution for bassist players on a budget looking for something they can still work with.
Even so, I love this Behringer pedal still packs a decent set of controls that can give you some fair versatility and a similar sound to Boss’ ODB-3. More so, it packs plenty of gain for a powerful sound.
Last words: I consider the Behringer Bass Overdrive BOD 400 the best budget solution for regular bass players out there.
Premium Bass Distortion Pedal alternative: Darkglass Alpha Omega Bass Preamp Overdrive
This pedal is simply a behemoth. You could consider the Dark Matter Alpha Omega as the best bass pedal there is simply because of the amounts of features it has.
I already reviewed this pedal here. In summary, though, it has two different overdrive channels (Alpha and Omega) giving you different overdrive textures and plenty of distortion flexibility. Plus, it has plenty of tonal-shaping features and it works as D.I. box.
On the downside, of course, this is more complex and expensive.
Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi
The newest bass fuzz from Electro Harmonix, the Deluxe Bass Big Muff PI, is an affordable and yet premium bass pedal delivering the company’s coveted Big Muff sound with extra options to tailor your specific needs.
This model goes for modern bass players. One again, this is another bass effect overused by Muse. Other bands rocking on this effect include The Frights, AFI, King Crimson, Liquid Tension Experiment, and more.
This is an awesome sounding pedal that’s easy to dial even when it has so many controls. It delivers a serious professional distortion and it carries a DI out. A DI out allows you to connect the pedal straight to a recording device or a mixer to create a bass mix or record of your playing.
I consider this as the true swiss-army knife of pedals, and, still, is also ready to give you that single tone that truly takes your performance to another level.
This pedal is the lastest in the line of Electro Harmonix bass specific pedals, so it delivers the most modern tone-shaping options of the Big Muff series.
Here’s what we can do with the controls:
- Volume: raises or lowers the volume of the distortion;
- Blend: allows you to blend the mix and dry signals;
- Tone: allows you to tweak the tone of the fuzz, from a smooth, subtle boost to full-on face-melting distortion. It works essentially as an EQ as it goes from thin sound to a fat tone;
- Sustain: increases the sustain of your notes;
- Gate: this is the noise gate. As you turn this knob clockwise, the number of gating increases, so you would need a louder signal so it can get through. And turning the gate knob the other way around disables the noise gate function.
- HPF: when you engage the CROSSOVER knob, the HPF works like a high pass filter to cut off high-frequency signals (from 125Hz to 1075Hz). You set the range by turning the knob clockwise.
- LPF: similarly, this is a lowpass filter that works when the crossover is on. The range goes from 60Hz to 10kHz, and you increase the frequency as you turn the knob clockwise.
- Input switch: if you toggle this switch you swap the overall output of the pedal from 10dB to 0dB. The 0dB is an attenuated sound friendlier to active basses.
All of these features come within an aluminum pedal that’s very sturdy and sports a foot-switchable crossover section. If you manage this switch, you’ll get the most complex features of the pedal which allow you to precisely select the frequencies of the bass you want to hear. And if you leave it off, you’ll have a more standard experience that’s easy and smooth.
In specific, the crossover section, alongside the blend knob, allows you to keep the low-end clear and focused whilst keeping the high-end cutting and pristine.
Additionally, you can find three outputs: the XLR DI, a ¼’’ direct line, and a ¼’’ effects out.
Easier Bass Distortion Pedal Alternative: EHX Big Muff Pi
The Electro Harmonix Big Muff PI has been around for very long tames, and many guitar and bass players know this name as a quintessential stompbox.
So now I’m giving you a cheaper choice that has the same sound and quality minus the crossover section, the Big Muff Pi. If you found the prior alternative is too complex for you, then maybe this is more suitable for your style.
The Big Muff Pi has a secondary difference to its deluxe counterpart. Instead of a blend knob, it features a 3-way switch. The upper position is the Bass Boost, the second position is Normal, and the third position is Dry. Each option delivering a different tone.
Whereas this pedal is not as versatile as the Deluxe version, it does have a great option on the Bass Boost: if you find your bass is lacking on the lows, engage this option to get a fatter sound.
Plugging any of these two EHX Bass Big Muss into your signal chain will make you notice how these pedals are full of gain, which helps your bass sound massive whilst preserving its definition.
More so, if you play around the sustain knob you can yield various results, most of which are truly awesome.
Lastly, most players buy one of these two pedals because they can get the single, meaty and thick tone they are looking for on their bass guitars.
Overall, EHX-Big Muff pedals bring one of the most classical and coveted bass distortions you can find out there. From a bass player’s pint of view, I prefer going for the simpler Big Muff Pi as it can get annoying handling the crossover section.
However, the tones of both these effects are quite similar, so it’s all a matter of how much control you want.
Lastly, the price is a steal. For any of the two options.
ZVex Woolly Mammoth Vexter Fuzz Bass Effect Pedal
Are you looking for something out of this world? Well, guess what, the ZVez Wolly Mammoth Fuzz is the effect that makes Cris Wolstenholme’s tone (Muse bass player). In fact, this is the pedal he uses most often, the clearest example being the song “Guiding Light.”
Muse is not the only major band showcasing this pedal. This baby is used for hundreds of brands out there, including Arctic Monkeys, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Panic! At the Disco, Tame Impala, Billy Talent, …
As you can imagine, this is the bass distortion pedal for punk, punk rock, reggae, indie, and alternative.
This is a massive fuzz featuring a massive tone. More so, it comes in trippy case you’d think twice to get out of the exhibition case and into your gig bag.
Its controls and layout are the definite highlight of the pedal:
- Output: the level of distortion, which goes from subtle to smooth to deadly.
- EQ: turn the EQ knob to the left to add lows and soften the highs, and turn it to the right to add highs and mids while reducing the highs.
- Pinch: this is a very unique knob that adjusts the pulse width of the waveform. In the left position, it gives you a symmetrical waveshape for a smooth creamy sound. Turning the knob up slightly gives you an intermodulation distortion. And turning the knob clockwise narrows the waveform to make a brasier and reedier tone.
- Wool: it adjusts the amount of “fur” (which is another way of saying clipping) around the notes. Roll it up if you want more texture on your sound.
The controls are sensitive and highly responsive, and the overall sound is very powerful on the bottom end and beautiful on the high end. The tone is very harmonic, similar to a blistering electric guitar.
Besides, the pinch knobs allow you to alter the sound to great degrees, although I always recommend finding but a single tone you like and leave it be.
There’s an extra feature in this pedal that makes it truly interesting. The circuit draws far less energy than most pedal effects, which extends the battery life of its 9V battery. Also, the Mammoth includes an On / Off LED.
Overall, this is a massive fuzz capable of giving you the most creative, out-of-this-world sounds, as well as smooth distortion or simply raw power for your bass guitar. It’s THE fuzz pedal for punk and rock genres, and it’s also the pedal you should be looking for if you’re into sound experimentation.
And I choose this not as the best fuzz there is as I believe the Big Muff is better. I choose this for no other pedal can give you the weirdly fun sounds this one can give.
TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion Bass Effect Pedal
How beautiful can this be? This is such a cheap distortion you wouldn’t believe who’s used this pedal. Reading through the list of who’s used the Dark Matter Bass Distortion Pedal is like going through my favorite Spotify list:
- Andy Summers (The Police);
- Duff McKagan (Velvet Revolver, Guns ‘N’ Roses);
- Michael Shumman (Queens of the Stoneage on songs «Sick, Sick, Sick,» «Make it with Chu,» and «3’s & 7’s»);
- Richard Zven Kruspe (Rammstein);
- Jordan Rudess (Death Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment);
- Vernon Reid (Living Colour);
- Roger Glover (Deep Purple)
- Martin Gore (Depeche Mode).
As you see, this is a versatile pedal that has been and played almost anything, since EDM music to ballads, reggae, industrial rock, and the most hardcore progressive rock.
The sound of this pedal is pure analog as it has an all-analog circuit. But what I love so much about this pedal (which is what so many bass players have loved over the years) is its simple layout: it only has Level, Gain, Bass, and Trebble knobs. I bet just by this description alone you already have a good idea on how to use this pedal.
It also has a voicing switch that adds extra versatility. It can swap from modern rock sounds to a vintage sound that oozes classic rock.
The Dark Matter distortion aims for a powerful roar. But, also, it can give you cleans with plenty of attitudes, warm bluesy tones, crunchy, gritty sounds, dirt, acid, or fully saturated sounds full of harmonic overtones. I could go on for days on everything this budget pedal can do, and it has so many options because, aside from its features, it’s highly responsive to your bass guitar’s volume knob.
For example, you can go for an “AC/DC”-type crunch to a fire-breathing dragon riding on a power metal wave. This pedal lets you play any modern or vintage genre you can imagine, and it can shine especially as a subtle crunch creator.
It’s so easy to use it can become your go-to pedal on your distortion section. Simply plug it and leave everything as you found it right out of the box and start rocking. The difference it makes on your sound is truly a thing of wonders.
And do you want to know how this truly shines? Well, this has a voltage 3-4 more times than your typical distortion pedal, so it achieves much more headroom and dynamics than most of its competition. It means it has a lot of gain and reacts to the strength of your playing as well as your bass’ volume knobs.
Overall, the Dark Mater Distortion is the best distortion pedal for bass there is. Furthermore, I wouldn’t be so sure other pedals selling for even 6 times its price truly topple this pedal. If you’re looking for your first bass pedal (distortion or no), definitely get this one.
And if you think all of this comes for the price of a 9V battery lasting half a day, don’t even sweat it. I’m sharing a bundle shipping with its DC adapter.
I must also highlight this pedal has a true bypass switch.
Electro Harmonix Bass Soul Food
EHX Bass Soul Food is the most optimized piece of gear you can find as it has the most balanced sound in the world of bass. So, in terms of bass distortions and overdrive, the Bass Soul Food features the most balanced and pristine sound today’s market can give you.
I couldn’t find any particular bass players using this pedal. I still chose this one out of personal opinion, personal experience, and online reviews. Many people, just like I do, consider this one of the best bass pedals there is period. Let’s find out why…
First of all, I must point out the durability of this pedal, just as much as all Electro Harmonix devices.
Now, I have to clear this stompbox offers a natural overdrive and a clean bass boost for bass players very conscious about their tone. So, what this pedal does is enhance the already great tone of your bass gear whilst retaining the essential character of your sound.
Let’s start with the controls:
- Volume: raises or lowers the volume of the effect;
- Trebble: raises or lowers the highs. It acts more or less like a tone knob as it cuts the treble.
- Blends: mixes dry & wet signals. When you set this knob 100% clockwise, the output signal is the pedal’s signal and vice-versa.
- Drive: it controls the amount of gain. As you turn this knob clockwise, the overdrive goes from a colored clean boost to full distortion. You can find a healthy amount of versatility and sounds in between
- It has a -10dB pad to lower the overall output of the pedal, a feature that works with active bass guitars or hot pickups that put heavy loads on the pedal.
The circuits of this pedal are optimized for low-frequency response, so it ensures a clean blend between the distortion and the dry signal that retains the original depth of your sound.
To be honest, the resulting sound is halfway between distortion and an overdrive pedal. Also, I would describe the sound as mellow and raw.
Soul Food is very bass-friendly as it keeps your original tone. It’s aggressive but not to the point of destroying your tone. Lastly, it handles low-end frequencies quite well.
As I said, this is the most balanced pedal you can find, and its performance is stellar. Plus, it has a buffered bypass / true bypass switch.
I have to add you can use the Bass Food on electric guitars. It adds extra sparkle and dynamics to your guitar tone
Did you find a clear winner among these items?
As you see, the perfect distortion for bass guitar depends on your bass rig and your preferences. If you ask me, the best pedal is the Dark Matter Distortion as it’s budget, easy to use, and has enough versatility for most modern genres you’d want to play.
If you’re a beginner bass guitar player, go for the pedal that seems easier for you. Complex features don’t make it better, it just makes it more complex and versatile. And, even when you grow as a bass guitar player, you might never need to use the full features of a versatile pedal.
Either way, I assure you that any of the best bass distortion pedals you choose from this list is a good option for you. They can make your current bass sound so much better (unless your bass or your amp have real performance issues); and they can stay with you forever as, except for the budget Behringer option, they are all at the top of the market.
Of course, there are more quality alternatives out there you’ll surely find on other guides. So don’t take my word, don’t believe me when I say these are the best distortion pedals for bass guitars. Instead, believe these are the most used bass distortion pedals by legendary bass players like Les Claypool, Duff McKagan or Andy Summers.
I hoped my guide helped you find the best distortion pedal for your bass guitar. If you have any questions, please leave them below. If not, then tell me: what’s your favorite bass distortion pedal?