Bass synth pedals can be novelty items or really essential tools in a bassist's arsenal depending on how they're used.
In this article we'll take a look at the 5 best bass synth pedals you can buy.
|Rank||Product||Input impedance||Amazon product page|
|1||Boss ME-50B – Our top pick!||2kOhm||Check price|
|2||Boss SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer – Best value for money||1kOhm||Check price|
|3||Markbass Super Synth||200KOhm||Check price|
|4||Red Witch Zeus Bass Suboctave||2.2MOhm||Check price|
|5||Electro-Harmonix Bass Micro Synth||1MOhm||Check price|
They have the ability to generate crazy, quirky sounds which can work great on some kinds of music and not so good on others.
Ultimately it depends on how they're used, and having a great pedal in your collection could quite possibly help you create some outstanding work.
- 10 sliders for moulding your sound.
- 4 mixable voices.
- A specially designed built-in EQ bass filter that you can easily sweep.
- True bypass.
The EHX bass Micro synth is one of the best bass synth pedals for money can buy. It has a solid, compact design which makes it easy to carry around and fits snuggly even on a busy, messy stage.
The thing that stands out the most about this pedal is the amount of sound you can generate with it.
It has a natural sound and is particularly great in the recording environment where you may need access to a lot of flexibility in generating sounds.
It works really well on EDM and pop style bass sounds.
The problem with it being analog is that you have to adjust the tone every time you want to use it which can be a problem for people who are used to the digital way of doing things.
You can't save presets so if you need to change settings for different songs in the middle of a show you may have a bit of tough time.
The octaves are almost always distorted so if that's the sound you're going for then this pedal will do the job for you.
Moreover the pedal can operate using a battery which can be of convenience if you're in a place where you don't have many power outlets or for jamming outdoors.
All in all it's a neat little piece of gear to have. The only real issue may be its analog nature which means a little bit of unpredictability which can either be fun to tinker with or quite annoying in a live setting if you need to make a lot of adjustments in between.
But music is about sound and if sound quality is a priority to you then you'll probably love the EHX bass micro synth. It allows to great flexibility and has plenty of controls for exploring.
- Compact design
- Great sound quality
- An extensive selection of effects
- Depletes quickly. This can be solved with a power adaptor.
#2. Boss ME-50B
- Specialized controls for each effect.
- Loop recording with overlay
- Strong casing to ensure durability
- Sound sustain function.
- Compressor, Wah, and Drive effects
- 3 Multi-effects pedals
Are you the kind of a musician who would do anything just to have the smoothest possible performance? If you are a performing musician, you definitely love to have all your controls at your fingertips.
If you always have an array of different effect pedals to achieve different sounds while performing with your bass guitar, I doubt you'll be the mixing engineer's best friend. Also, you don't want to look messy while playing.
The Boss ME-50B makes sure all your worries are addressed, and that you have a smooth performance. The multi-effect pedal makes everything easier; with the compressor/limiter, equalizer, overdrive, sound on sound recording and lots more.
You may not need a bass synth keyboard if you have a BOSS ME-50B. The drive pedal doubles as a synth pedal.
The Bass ME-50B is not only good for the stage, but it's also awesome for studio recordings. If you're a session bassist, I'm pretty sure you'd rather spend most of the studio time actually playing the bass rather than tweaking knobs, right?
All I'm saying is, make your performances smoother and less stressful. With just three pedals, you have all the effects you need. Make the performance easy on your legs – leave the post-performance leg aches for drummers.
As a bassist, you may find yourself nursing leg pains if you decide to carry a pedal for every effect you need. BOSS ME-50B has an EQ effect, but it has presets that can give you one-touch settings that are perfect for you. If not, only slight tweaking may be needed.
There are some pretty impressive overdrive effects too.
As an example, the hi-band effect adds distortion to high frequencies only, while the other frequencies are untouched. I know you're imagining what that would sound like. It's amazing!
Isn't it amazing how guitarists can have a whole solo performance, recording and overlaying different elements?
Well, the Boss ME-50B gives you the opportunity to do just that with your bass guitar. The sound on sound feature enables you to record and overlay sections of music.
So are you ready to get creative?
Then what are you waiting on?
- Dedicated effects knobs
- Lots of knobs
- 11 digital signal processing variations of waves (pulse synth, saw and square)
- Sustain pedal
- 4 knobs for controlling decay, frequency resonance, applying effects
The Boss SYB-5 is from the same line as the renowned SYB-3 which is one of the most popular small form bass synths. Right off the bat it's clear that build quality of the unit is quite good.
The 4 knobs allow you to tweak the device to your taste and it has a jack which allows you to connect an external expression pedal for controlling the LFO, cutoff filter and note hold.
But that has to be acquired separately as it doesn't come with the Boss SYB-5.
If you decide to buy this pedal it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with what you're getting into.
The pedal can generate some crazy tones to accompany you as you play; sounds such as aliens, robots, metallic tones and all sorts of wacky sounds.
The Boss SYB-5 allows both the clean and processed signal to pass through the unit if you wish so you can mould your sound how you wish.
Having the clean and processed signal can sometimes make for a nice punchy, interesting bass line.
Tracking on this pedal requires caution though. It doesn't handle chords very well; it's monophonic so take that into account.
However, connecting the SYB-5 to an expression pedal helps to clear up the chord issue rather well.
It's also important to take note that the tracking issues normally arise when you don't have clean playing.
So it's not completely the fault of the pedal itself, which reinforces the importance of honing the fundamentals of playing bass before venturing into the synth pedal game.
Pedals merely give you room to expand and add interesting effects to your playing.
Other than that there's a lot of room for experimentation with the Boss SYB-5 and with time you can get to some really solid, unique sounds out of it.
You'll probably enjoy it that much more if you're a bassist in a psychedelic band as the sounds it produces fit perfectly in that genre of music.
If you're willing to spend some time to be creative, you'll love this pedal and you'll see that it's one of the best bass synth pedals available on the market.
- The pedal does a great job creating 70s/80s synth sounds.
- It has true bypass.
- The pedal's tracking abilities could be better. Connecting it to an expression pedal helps solve this.
- It has true bypass
- USB control
The Markbass Super Synth bass pedal is an excellently built piece of gear. The build quality is solid and unlike many other bass synth pedals the Mark Super Synth is actually very pleasing to look at.
It has a nifty presets footswitch which you can use to scroll through the sound presets, which is very handy when you're on stage.
This relieves you from manually adjusting the controls every time you want to use a particular preset.
In settings where equipment is shared this could come in real handy as equipment shared amongst multiple people is susceptible to tinkering.
The unit is a synthesizer at heart and that's exactly what it makes your bass sound like. In other words it's pretty much a synthesizer which is controlled by your bass in the same way a keyboardist would use a keyboard to control a synthesizer.
So it's ideal for playing super fast 70s bass grooves or electronic music.
The Mark Super Synth comes with its own software for creating your own presets which you can then sync to the pedal via USB. This gives you a lot of flexibility and you're not stuck with the factory presets.
But as is always the case with synthesizers you either need to know what you're doing or spend a lot of time experimenting in order to come up with some great presets of your own.
The onboard envelope filter might take you a bit of time to get used to, and if you prefer to have outboard gear then an external envelope filter can do the trick.
One of the areas in which this pedal truly shines is tracking. Its tracking capabilities surpass most other bass pedals in the same price range and makes grooving very easy and enjoyable.
All in all the Markbass Super Synth is a versatile pedal which you can use for generating fat 70s synth sounds as well as treble-heavy lead sounds.
It's quite the workhorse which gives you a lot of bang for your buck. It has a very analog feel to it and best of all there's no delay when tracking.
- Excellent sound quality.
- The on-board effects are good.
- Durable, sturdy build.
- Comes with Markbass software for creating and saving your own presets.
- No delay when tracking.
- No onboard knobs for creating sounds, which might be an issue for you if you prefer working with physical knobs.
- 2 Footswitches for controlling octave mode and fuzz
- It has true bypass
- Dedicated switch for doubling the distortion
- Onboard controls for fuzz mix, octaver mix, fuzz and spatter
- ¼ inch mono jack for input and ¼ inch mono jack for output
- Fuzz pedal (with octave control)
The Red Witch Zeus Bass Suboctave is a little powerhouse. It manages to combine an octave pedal, fuzz, distortion and an envelope filter into a neat compact box.
The above functions often require multiple pedals to accomplish, so it's safe to say the unit packs quite a punch.
Tracking on pedal is very fast and flexible and it has the capability of blending fuzz and octave effects to varying degrees which leaves a lot of room for creating some pretty stunning sounds.
Two onboard switches allow you to control add gain and cut high frequencies.
The sputter control might be the most interesting thing on the entire pedal. Engaging it can result in some weird effects such as glitch, clipping and some rather wild and uncontrolled singing effects.
Another great thing about the pedal is the fuzz which sounds controlled even at loud volumes. So you can rock out like crazy while still maintaining a high level of sanity and control in your bass grooves.
It will probably take you a bit of time to tune up the fuzz to a useable level, but it's worth it. This fuzz is for the faint of heart.
The combination of effects and controls means that there's a lot of room for experimentation. You can generate a wide array of sounds, be it tame or utterly mad and nonsensical.
You can't really criticize this pedal because it performs the job of two pedals very well. So if you want to have multiple effects without buying separate pedals, you should consider taking a look at the Red Witch Zeus Bass Suboctave pedal.
- Excellent tracking capabilities.
- A lot of bang for your buck due to its capabilities.
- The fuzz might take you some time to tweak to perfection.
Good bass synth pedals are generally difficult to find because of the overall sensitive nature of the sub 100Hz range.
Synths can introduce artifacts and chaos in the bass range which can affect an entire band if the devices are not used correctly. However, if you learn to use them properly you can achieve brilliant musical results.
Even if you're not a bassist you can still find use for a bass synth pedal such as triggering different chords with a single press; like a one man band does. You could also use a pedal to add effects to your other instruments such as keyboards and keytars.
The pedals mentioned in this article should suit most applications and playing styles and if you're new to pedals this is a great list to get you started.
Hi, I’m Jennifer I’m a passionate singer and an audiophile from Detroit, MI.
I’m on a mission to help music creators to create fine music that help them position uniquely in the saturated music space.
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