Based in Helsinki, Finland, Darkglass Electronics has been making big inroads into the bass community with their high-quality, versatile bass-centric gear. Their mission is simple – to help bass players of every genre take their tone to the next level. And from my time with a few pieces of their gear, I think it’s safe to say they have succeeded.
Much of their expertise can be traced back to the small but dedicated team of professionals, such as founder and CEO Doug Castro, who mixed his passion for bass and electronics at an early age. In fact, the very first circuit he designed was that of the Microtubes B3K – the pedal responsible for the birth of the company and a best-seller to this day. They’ve come a long way since then, releasing a series of excellent pedals used by players and professionals alike, including Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse, Billy Gould of Faith No More and even Taylor Swift bassist Amos Heller. Below, we take a look at a few standouts that would make a great addition to the toolset of any bassist.
Microtubes B7K Ultra Overdrive/DI/Preamp
One the most versatile bass stompboxes we’ve seen, the Microtubes B7K Ultra is more than just a simple overdrive pedal. Sure, it’s in there, but it also works just as well as a bass preamp and DI combo, making the B7K Ultra a triple threat bass effects pedal and a worthy successor to the already great Microtubes B3K. New features include a dedicated footswitch that allows you to engage the overdrive section independently, a Master volume control for the overall level and three-way toggle switches for each mid control (with a total of 6 different mid frequencies at your disposal). Combined, these features make the B7K Ultra a powerful device that allows you to meticulously craft your tone with plenty of precision. Whether you’re looking for a punchy yet clean bass tone or exhilarating high gain sounds – or anything in between – the B7K Ultra can deliver.
Vintage Ultra Bass Preamp
After spending a few days putting the Vintage Ultra through its paces, we can see why Darkglass considers it one of the best pedals they have ever made. On a basic level, the Vintage Ultra features two core tones – thick yet clean and amazingly saturated – along with a host of sonic shaping settings to further craft your sound. While that might not seem like much, believe me when I say that the tone this little white box gives you can hold its own when compared to using a dedicated, high-quality amplifier. This means that you no longer have to bring your amp and cab if you want rich, articulate bass tone -- simply hook it up straight to the sound system, and you're good to go! Other features include three different bass boost levels, a Grunt Switch to control the amount of low-end saturation and more. A Vintage Ultra is a definite winner in my book.
Super Symmetry Bass Compressor
The Darkglass Super Symmetry is the best of both worlds when it comes to compression, combining the uncolored transparency and articulation of modern models with the unique and hard to replicate feel that old-school units are still prized for. We've talked a lot about compressors recently and how you can use them as powerful tone shaping tools and the Super Symmetry is the perfect example of just that. With controls for attack, release, output, and compression, you can precisely dial in you desired sound, able to deliver a clean, consistent and powerful sound with the hit of a switch. Whether you're looking for a clean booster, a pedal that can eliminate aggressive transients when slapping, or just trying to even out your sound, the Darkglass Super Symmetry has you covered.
Duality Bass Fuzz
Fuzz is a popular effect that gives a player's tone a signature growl that is similar yet different from overdrive and distortion. With that in mind, if you're looking for a fuzz pedal to add to your bass, you can't go wrong with the Duality Fuzz, named after the two discrete fuzz circuits contained within. The first gives you a gated saw-tooth wave while the other provides a more raunchy high-gain sound, both of which can be swept together and variably mixed with the unique Duality knob, making it a highly versatile fuzz pedal. And just in case you're worried about losing any attack and definition to your bass tone, the Blend knob can add your clean sound back into the mix for a tight and articulate sound that retains the grit of the fuzz. Did we mention it works just as well on guitar?
While the four pedals above are some of our favorites, the guys over at Darkglass Electronics have more up their sleeve. To check out our entire selection of Darkglass products, hit the link below! And as always, if you have any questions regarding the purchase of the pedals above or any other piece of gear we carry, don't hesitate to chat with one of our friendly PAL pros by using the live chat feature below or by calling us toll-free at 1 877-671-2200!
Your Turn to Sound Off!
What bass pedal could you not live without?