Effects are electronic devices that alter the tone of your bass guitar signal in some way. Some effects are subtle while others are drastic. Most effects fall somewhere in between. In this bass guitar effects guide I’ll describe what forms effects come in, what the most often used effects do and why you may want to use them, too.
For the most part bassists don’t use too many effects. And, when they do, the effects are often very subtle.
When you first dive into effects you’ll find many effects to be cool sounding and fun. It will be a whole new world. Eventually the novelty will wear off and you’ll find many effects are not very useful in the context of real-world bass playing.
Since you are a rhythm player you often need clear, well-defined notes. Many effects blur and alter your bass tone in a way that works against your role as a bass player. Effects that create echoes, change pitch, or soften the tone particularly get in the way. It’s not that you can’t use them, but it won’t be often. Don’t try to compete with your guitarist pals who have a million effects. They can apply them more often because they usually have different musical responsibilities.
Bass Effects Pedals
Understand the difference between various effects pedal units and configurations.
What are rackmount effects? How do they differ from effects pedals?
Analog, Digital, and Modeling Effects
Learn the difference between analog, digital, and modeling effects. Basic effects technology principles.
What is a bass compressor and why do bassists use compression?
Bass Compressor Settings
What compression parameters mean and how to adjust your compression settings.
The delay effect explained, and how it is applied to the bass guitar.
LFOs - Low Frequency Oscillators
Low frequency oscillators are a simple, but important, component to many other effects.
Bass Phaser/Phase Shifter
What is phase? What does the phasing effect do? How can I apply the phaser effect to my bass sound?
Flanging is a popular and useful audio effect on bass. I'll explain how the flange effect works, and how it is applied to the bass guitar.
Chorus is one of the most commonly used effects on bass guitar. Learn what chorus is and how it works.
Bass Chorus Settings
Common settings for the chorus effect. What they do, what they sound like, and how bass players use the chorus effect.