In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: June 23, 2021
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Bass guitar is often known as the underrated but effective member of a band. However, its non-headline status and limited tonal potential from only four strings leave many to discouraged to learn the bass. However, since the 1980s, multi-effects pedals for bass guitars have become increasingly popular – they are a single physical units that provides bass players with a variety of sound effects to use while playing, they can either be operated by foot pedals or knobs/switches. But what is the best bass multi-effects pedal currently available on the market?
If you are newly playing the bass guitar, the process of purchasing a multi-effects pedal can be daunting. Make sure you take time to go over the aspects, which cover the quality of the product, as well as the protection you get as a consumer. We suggest you consider before purchasing the size, weight, digital connectivity, presets, and warranty. Do not necessarily assume that price means quality. There are some great value pedals out there, which may perfectly suit your needs.
This article first reviews seven of the best bass multi-effects pedals available: outlining their features, pros/cons, and in-depth product reviews of each. Following the reviews is a detailed buying guide, which contains an FAQ section. In the buying guide, we what exactly a bass multi-effects pedal is and what aspects you should consider before purchasing.
The Boss GT-10B is a multi-effects pedal geared for bass players who like to experiment. It offers a variety of effects that are suited to those interested in experimenting across many music genres including rock, blues, jazz, country, R&B and Jazz.
Too often, the bass is stigmatized as a bland instrument which lacks tonal variety, the GT-10B eradicates that myth with 200 different effects for players to experiment with.
If you are a bassist who is looking for a specific sound, you would probably be better off purchasing a premium single effect bass pedal to maximize your sounding potential. The GT-10B is also not well suited to those bassists who like to retain a simple sound and are not keen on tonal experimentation.
Although the price of the GT-10B is certainly at the higher end of the market, it offers great value for money with quantity and variety of bass effects, featuring a 100dB+ dynamic range and a 44.1kHz sampling frequency.
A bonus feature of the GT-10B is the 132 x 64 display feature, which provides a live visual information board to give players an indication as to the effect being used and frequency levels. This is ideal for bassists playing live so that they can see in real-time what effects are being utilized.
As a purchaser, you are protected through the brand Boss, who is offering a 5-year limited warranty on the GT-10B. Do ensure you read through the warranty agreement in detail so that you are aware of what is covered under the agreement.
The ModTone MT-BX is an affordable multi-effects pedal perfect for beginner bass guitarists looking to explore new tones and musical ideas. Coming in a small size at 4.8 x 3.5 x 1.8”, the MT-BX is very easy to transport and intuitive to operate. The pedal is operated through turning the 9 different operating knobs to the desired level.
By being designed for beginners in mind, the complexity and variety of effects on offer by the MT-BX are limited to what you may find on a regular amplifier, including treble, gain, comp, frequency, and blend. That said, these different effects also include a true bypass, high impact switch, and metal chassis should provide beginners with more than enough variety to experiment with.
As the MT-BX is dial-operated as opposed to foot pedal operated, it may not be best suited to those who wish to play live with easy access to a variety of different effects during a song. Also, there are no recording or looping features, which key features of modern bass multi-effects pedals and can, therefore, restrict players in what they are able to experiment with.
A bonus is that the MT-BX comes with a 5-year limited warranty agreement that gives purchasers a good degree of flexibility when purchasing.
The affordability aspect should also not be underestimated. The MT-BX should very much be seen as the entry point into multi-effects pedals for bass guitars. Do not expect all the lavish features of rival products but expect the MT-BX to give beginner players a good grounding in the potential of bass effects.
The Boss ME-50B is a premium bass multi-effects pedal that offers bass guitarists a wide variety of sound options. Designed with both knobs and foot pedals, the ME-50B offers an ideal setup for those wanting to experiment in a studio or perform live.
The ME-50B goes beyond offering standard guitar effects such as treble, bass and gain to be able to offer players a wide variety of effects. These include Killer COSM Compressor/Limiter, Slow Gear, and T-Wah. A very innovative effect that is available with the ME-50B is the Innovative Sound Hold function, which produces a sustained low note while it players over a sound-on-sound recording.
This, in addition to Easy Tone effects which use preset EQ templates. They are perfect for fast tone editing when using the pedal on a recording or during a live performance.
Where the ME-50B may suffer is in complexity. To use the pedal effectively you do need to have a good prior knowledge or significant playing experience. Otherwise, the complex setup and balance of effects that are required to produce a clear and effective sound will be too overwhelming for the majority of beginners.
At a length of 15” and weight of 7lbs, the ME-50B may also be a bit cumbersome to transport if you do not have the ideal transportation system. If you have a full band setup then this will be no problem at all.
The ME-50B is certainly geared towards experienced and experimental bass guitarists. If you fit in one of those categories you will also be reassured by the 5-year warranty agreement which will protect the significant investment that the ME-50B requires.
Why are we impressed?
Variety of effects
Switches and foot pedals
Versatile for studio and live performance
What negatives must you be aware of?
Requires good prior knowledge to operate effectively
The small but powerful Soundblox 2 SA223 offers bass guitarists multiple effects for bass guitar at an affordable price.
Including 12 different filter effects such as the low-high band-pass, single peak, multi-peak, and notch, the SA223 packs a significant punch enabling players to get punchy and iconic synth sounds.
Although the SA223 does not come with foot pedals, there are two switches which are foot-operated which can be used while playing. More varied foot pedals are can be purchased separately. The strong aluminum casing also provides a great degree of protection and durability to the SA223, especially as at a small size of 4.4 x 4.4 x 2.2”. The pedal is great for transport.
Featuring 20 effects in total, including 8 integrated distortions, the SA223 also contains 2 user presets to give added options to bass guitar players. Beyond these 20 effects, however, the SA223 is also MIDI compatible which ensures the device can be managed remotely and can have up to 128 sounds recorded.
Despite being MIDI compatible, more experienced players will undoubtedly appear more limited when compared to other more expensive bass multi-effects pedals. However, compared to other affordable options, the SA223 certainly offers the best value in bass effect variety compared to rival models.
The two-year warranty agreement, although giving some purchasing protection, is not as long as other bass guitar multi-effects pedals. The SA223 is more geared to intermediate bass guitarists who want to go beyond simple electric effects but may not have the extended knowledge of more complex pedals.
The Zoom MS-60B incorporates a perfect blend of variety at an affordable price for bass guitarists to experiment with. Featuring an LCD display, the MS-60B contains 58 different effects in which 30 are preset patches that are ready for immediate use when plugging in your bass guitar.
Containing USB connection and a lightweight size at 3.1 x 3.8 x 6.3”, the MS-60B is perfectly geared towards bass guitarists on-the-go since it is very practical and portable. It can be powered using AA batteries which can last up to 7 hours at a time.
When recording, however, there is no fear of losing your sound if the battery dies as the autosave function will protect you during the creative recording process. Players are able to store up to 50 original patches using the MS-60B, which is a great asset considering the affordable price of the product.
Where the MS-60B suffers is in sound quality. While offering a variety of different sounds and recording capabilities, the technology built into the product design simply does not provide the top-level quality of more expensive multi-effects pedals or single effect bass pedals. The MS-60B can be best seen as an experimental device rather than a pedal to be relied upon to deliver an iconic sound when performing live.
Further to this, the 1-year warranty seems to give potential customers not the greatest level of protection and can leave you wondering whether there is a sufficient commitment to protecting the product on the side of the manufacturer.
What makes it special?
58 effects at a low price are great value
Portable and practical
What cons did we find?
Limited sound quality
Small warranty offer
Zoom B1Xon – Best for Live Performing Bass Multi-Effects Pedal
Size: 6 x 9.3 x 2’’
Display: Backlit dot matrix LCD
Warranty: 1-year limited
More features: 44.1 kHz sampling frequency, 5 simultaneous effects use, 20 hours usage time
The Zoom B1Xon is the perfect bass guitar multi-effects pedal for a gigging musician. Designed with a backlit dot matrix LCD display screen, the B1Xon provides over 105 different effects with foot pedals available as its standard, which can be operated during a live performance.
In addition, the pedal allows for 5 effects to be used simultaneously which adds a great deal of opportunity for sound experimentation for players looking to break sound boundaries.
The B1Xon is battery operated, requiring 4 AA batteries and can last up to 20 hours of continuous playing time. This, in combination with its lightweight design weighing only 640g, ensures that the B1Xon is perfect for a bass guitarist who is travelling regularly.
As the USB jack that is fitted on the B1Xon does not operate as an audio interface, the B1Xon is limited in its ability to send a receive audio. The B1Xon should be seen as a pedal that is able to model and shape the tones of different but sounds but cannot be relied upon as a preamp and would require stronger amplification before transmitting the sound to recording equipment.
For such an affordable device, you would be wrong to dismiss the B1Xon as a potential option even if you are a more experienced bass guitarist. The variety of sounds from Jazz, rock, blues and country which can be easily operated by foot pedals is a winner for any live performing bass guitarist.
The Way Huge WHE214 combines two well-known bass effects into one singular unit. While the WHE214 is severely limited compared to rival bass multi-effects pedals in terms of numbers of effects on offer, it certainly delivers on quality by only focusing on the Pork Loin OD which provides a warm overdrive and the Russian-Pickle fuzz which is a fatter, more dense sound.
The WHE214 is primarily operated using knobs and switches on the board but also contains a bypass foot switch, which allows players to alternate between the different effects during a live performance.
The WHE214 is very lightweight at only 350g and can be easily transported for those players who are regularly travelling. The strong metal casing also assists with this portability as you can certainly rest easy that the device is durable and robust to cope with regular transportation.
The WHE214 is obviously targeted at bass guitarists who enjoy using the Pork Loin OD and Russian-Pickle effects. Only focusing on these two effects has ensured that the sound quality generated through the analog circuit is over a very high quality, similar to what is expected of a singular bass effect device. If want to broaden your horizon of effects, you should try out another bass guitar, since the WHE214 will not meet your needs.
The WHE214 is easy to use and may seem an appealing device for beginner bass guitarists who do not have the depth of knowledge of bass guitar effects. The affordable price makes this more appealing who wants a guarantee of a good, crisp sounding bass guitar effect.
What makes it special?
Easy to operate
What cons did we find?
Limited to two effects
Focused on bass guitarists with specific musical interests
Things to Consider
This buying guide and FAQ section provide you with all the essential information you need to know before purchasing the best multi-effects pedal for your own musical needs.
What to expect of bass multi-effects pedals?
There are some key advantages and disadvantages of using a bass multi-effects pedal that you should be aware of before committing to purchasing one.
The clearest advantage of owning a bass multi-effects pedal is simply having a variety of effects built into one unit.
These products provide a one-stop shop for bass effects. When compared to the cost of purchasing singular pedals that match the number stored in the multi-effects pedal, it is clear that you will be saving a considerable amount of money when buying a multi-effects pedal for bass.
There are, however, some disadvantages important to note. The most well-known disadvantage is sound quality.
Multi-effects pedals tend to lack the crispness and clarity of sound when compared to singular effect units, which are aided by analog circuits.
Designers of single effects units are able to select and focus on a particular effect, whereas the net is as much wider with multi-effects pedals where sound quality can suffer.
Bass multi-effects pedals contain many similarities to guitars, especially in tonal capabilities. With a bass multi-effects pedal you should expect to access effects such as reverbs, phasers, delays, tremolos and chorus as evident in the Boss ME-50B, which will give you plenty to play around with.
However, as the pitch of the bass guitar is based on much lower frequencies, the majority of bass effects focus on limiters and compression to reduce the subsonic sound waves that can ruin equipment.
Most effects on a guitar will not be fully optimized on bass due to the low frequency.
Multi-effects explained by types
There are two types of multi-effects that are classified as either:
Analog Bass Multi-Effects
Digital Bass Multi-Effects
How do analog and digital bass multi-effects pedals differ?
First created in the 1980s, analog bass multi-effects are distinct by requiring manual operation of the sound signal.
This differs from digital multi-effects since the digital circuits built into the unit modify the signal. Digital multi-effects were developed after analog units and are therefore seen as analog’s younger sibling.
Purists will always opt for analog bass multi-effects pedals such as the Way Huge WHE214 because of the natural sound quality as digital conversion can cause interferences from the original input, which can negatively affect digital multi-effects units.
Where should you start with the bass multi-effects pedal?
The first time you use a bass multi-effects pedal can be a little confusing. Since there are many filters and distortion levels to select, it can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you are purchasing a bass multi-effects pedal for the first time.
A good tip is to simply spend some hours playing around with all the different effects available. Read through the better parts of the manual to get an overview before you play.
Often in music, it is the process of playing around care-free when you stumble upon interesting sounds and sequences for you to explore further.
The majority of multi-effects pedals out there will also come with some preset sound combinations for you to explore. If you are comfortable enough with them, many units will have customizable settings to create your own units.
Since there is a growing number of multi-effects pedals for bass available to purchase online, there is now quite a varied range in prices.
Cheaper units can be priced around the $180 mark whereas units at the higher end extend beyond $450. However, the price does not necessarily mean quality.
If you do not have a budget, shop around affordable multi-effects pedals since some of the cheaper ones may more than adequately satisfy your needs.
Features to consider while buying the best bass multi-effects pedal
Detailed below are some specific aspects you should consider before purchasing the best bass multi-effects pedal to suit your needs.
As previously mentioned, the majority of multi-effects pedals for the base will have preset effects already tuned into the device for you to access.
The presets are normally really easy to access and are created using a complete setup with many different effects applied and manipulated to create an overall effect.
While using a factory preset, you may experience that some units will allow you to create and save your own effects easily through the touch of a button.
Equalization effects operate through enhancing or cutting certain frequency bands with the sound signal.
EQ effects do not have any direct impact on the pitch, but they do have significant effects on the sound quality, known as timbre. These effects can work equally well with bass notes and high-end notes and can, therefore, be very useful for bass guitarists.
Depending on the type of multi-effects pedal, operating the EQ can either be very easy to operate or very precise.
EQ effects can also be operated by the tone knobs available on most guitars and basses. These knobs can manipulate the treble frequencies to give distinctive EQ sound. A good point of comparison for multi-effects pedals is the extent to which EQ is precise or easy to use.
Multi-effects pedals are available to purchase in three different formats, either unit that is floor-based with pedals and switches that are operated by foot, tabletop units with switches, and knobs or rack-mounted units.
Floor-based pedals are known for being great when playing live since the sound effects can be changed easily at the push of a pedal with your feet while you are playing. The majority of tabletop and rack-mount units also come with foot pedal options, which are ideal to give you a variety of options when playing live.
Among digital multi-effects pedals, there are a variety of different types of digital connections. Some digital connections provide good levels of control through external connections whereas others can record interfaces into your computer without needing any other hardware.
USB can be used for updating patches on the pedal through editing software on your computer as well as using it to record the unit ins and outs.
The main advantage of the USB is speed when you are developing your sounds. While the foot pedal controls can give you plenty of variety, having a USB provides access to computer software which in many cases is quicker when in the editing process.
Multi-effects pedals that have USB access will also allow download presets from other artists to help you build a distinctive sound. You should check this out on the product specification to see whether a multi-effects pedal can enable this process.
The USB can also easily connect to a computer using the effects system as an audio interface, which is great as they can enable high-quality converters.
On the more expensive multi-effects units you will find MIDI ports. These ports are very useful for controlling effects and emulations from the amplifier. This can be operated from a separate computer or a MIDI controller.
The best advantage of MIDI is that you can control it remotely provided you have a computer or rackmount unit at the back of the stage. When playing live, this can be perfect as a sound producer can manipulate the sound if necessary, but it can also be operated manually on stage.
Although S/PDIF is well-known it is not commonly used with multi-effects pedals. The S/PDIF allows audio signals to be transmitted digitally to your audio interface or mixing desk.
This is beneficial for those using premium audio interfaces to make the most of the sound. However, for beginners or those with less expensive equipment, S/PDIF will likely be out of reach and not worth thinking about.
Size is very important when it comes to multi-effects units. One of the main purposes of a multi-effects unit is to bring multiple pedals and rigs into one unit. However, if this unit and cables far exceed the size of several pedal-boards you would be left wondering what the point is.
Thankfully, the majority of multi-effects units are small and easy to transport, especially models such as the Zoom MS-60B. It is worth checking out the portability of certain bass multi-effects pedal units especially if you are going to travelling a lot with it. You need to understand your travel needs before considering the size of the multi-effects unit most suitable for you.
Phasers are also commonly referred to as phase shifters. The effects of phasers are the duplication of the original waveform from the output of the guitar which then shifts a wave out of phase with another. They then blend these shifted phases together through an oscillating circuit to create a “whooshing” effect.
A famous use of phasers was Brian May, the lead guitarist of Queen, who commonly used the effect in the 1970s and 80s.
Compared to a phaser, the chorus effect manipulates the duplicated waveform in a subtler way. The effect of chorus sounds like multiple voices are playing the same notes and sounds and the effect is usually applied through using two different amps with a slight delay in between them.
If you are playing in a three-piece band including bass, rhythm and solo guitar, the chorus effect is a great way to bulk out the sound.
Delay is one of the oldest studio effects known in electric guitar music. The effect duplicates the original sound input and repeats it after the original sound had been played. If played repeatedly, this sound can create an echo effect which can be very distinctive for bass guitars.
Time in between repetitions can be very short or extended out for a dramatic effect. The length of delay can normally be operated from the control panel of the pedal.
Compared to delay, reverb is considerably subtler and rather than pure duplication of the sound input will replicate sound depending on the natural effect of the space in which it is being played. The sound would, therefore, be altered depending on the size of the room and environment. Although the majority of amps will have reverb settings many bass guitarists prefer having a pedal option for the reverb to maximize their sound potential.
Reverb adds a lot of colors to clean sounding notes. It has to be used with care however as the sound quickly become heavily distorted if not used correctly.
Looping has been made famous in recent years by Ed Sheeran. A looper records a passage of music which then plays it back repeatedly. You are then able to record more loops and then layer them on top of each other. Watch Ed Sheeran play live to see an example of how this can be done.
More advanced multi-effects pedals with looping controls will include inputs for vocals, rhythms that are built-in, custom effects and digital recording processes. Looping controls real enable a one-man band setup and can be mightily impressive to watch live.
For bass guitarists, looping can add a lot of variety to a track when performed live. A layering bass can be really potent sound in a song that wants to a strong drive and bass bounce.
Looping may however only be best utilized by really accomplished players. Though beginners should not be completely deterred as they can be a lot of fun to play around with.
The tremolo effect alters the signal volume within a preset range. The effect is also known as vibrato and is often available in amplifiers. The tremolo effect sounds like turning the volume dial up and down rapidly after hitting a note.
In addition to rapid volume change, tremolo effects normally contain a control for speed and one for depth. The speed alters how quickly the change in volume occurs whereas the depth changes the volume range of the sound. Adjusting these effects allows you to manually fluctuate the sound from loud to soft tones.
A song that uses tremolo to good effect is “Born on the Bayou” by Creedence Clearwater Revival as well as Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones. Have a listen to these songs to see how you could potentially use tremolo effects on your bass guitar.
The ease of use of a bass multi-effects pedal is very important in deciphering which model is the most suitable for you. Many multi-effects pedals are notoriously difficult to use. Try to find a unit that has a clear manual as well as a clear notation on the medal so it is easy to understand and operate the different effects.
Developments in technology have meant that most multi-effects pedals have decent sound quality. As this is the case, take time to select a pedal that you will be able to use with ease.
If you are new to using a bass multi-effects pedal it is important that you have a look at the warranty information for each product. It is always good to protect yourself and those pedals with long term warranty agreements will you give peace of mind and a degree of flexibility when purchasing your bass multi-effects pedal.
Yes – multi-effect bass pedals are a great entry point for beginners in the world compact electronic effects. As there are many affordable options for multi-effects pedals, you do not have to break the bank to enable a beginner bassist to experiment with some new sounds. The all-in-one Setup of a multi-effects pedal gives peace and ease for beginners.
This is a question that is frequently asked by those looking into multi-effects pedals. For experienced guitarists seeking significant financial investment in building their own sound, a custom pedal board will give you more control over what you are able to create. To make the most of it however, you need good knowledge and that only comes with years of guitar playing experience.
For beginners, multi-effects are pedals are much more suitable. Provided it is easy to use, a multi-effects pedals give a great degree of variety and offers all the necessary tools required for a beginner to experiment and replicate some of the most famous guitar effects.
This is completely dependent on the purchasing agreement made between you and the seller. If you are looking for a potential upgrade after purchase, it is best that you purchase from a store where you can get better proof of an upgrade agreement. Make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully to see whether any future upgrades are possible with the seller.
Hopefully, this article has left with you with all the necessary information that you need to know before purchasing a bass multi-effects pedal.
Our verdict on the top three best bass multi-effects pedals are:
The Boss GT-10B wins the top place for the sheer variety of bass effects that are available to cater to the needs of all types of bass player.
The ModTone MT-BX comes in second place for its portability and the powerful punch that such a small and affordable pedal gives.
The Boss ME-50B comes in third place for its versatility between recording and live performance.
These are our three top options but it is now left for you to research and discover the best bass multi-effects pedal to suit your own needs.
You should understand what level of guitarist you are, your budget and then use the buying guide to find the most suitable bass multi-effects pedal.