Can you use a guitar fuzz pedal on a bass? This question came up not too long ago during a weekend jam session. While one player in our group argued – based on his own experience – that you can’t, another said he regularly used guitar fuzz pedals on a bass with great results. So, why a difference of opinion? Are they both right? Well, the truth is somewhere in between. Below, we take a quick look using guitar fuzz pedals on a bass.
Not All Fuzz Pedals Are Created Equal ...
As we know, pedals come in a huge variety of flavors, many of which offer various EQ tweaks along with their effects.
As far circuits and signals go, running a bass through a guitar fuzz pedal will work just fine. But if that particular fuzz happens to add a few of their own guitar-oriented EQ tweaks, the results might not end up well for your instrument as opposed to a fuzz made specifically for bass. For example, there are several guitar fuzz pedals that help “tighten up” their sound, or give a very “tight” low-end response. What this actually means is that the pedal is cutting off the bass frequencies. While this sounds great on a guitar, it will thin out your bass tone, along with a fuzz that probably sounds more like a buzz.
What To Look For In A Guitar Fuzz Pedal That Works Great On Bass
With that in mind, if you want to add fuzz to your bass but really want to use a guitar pedal, look for one that features more low-end response. Many pedals aimed at metal players (and their propensity to tune low), or those that maintain a great low-end should work well on a bass. For example, the Way Huge Swollen Pickle and the MXR Fullbore won’t thin out the lower frequencies, so they should work great on either a bass or guitar. Check out the video below to hear for a great example of what the Swollen Pickle can do on a bass.
Aside from metal-oriented pedals, you could also look into ones that feature mix, blend or dry/wet control, which allow you to dial in your desired amount of clean signal with the fuzz tone. This will let you maintain the punch and fullness of your bass while adding in your desired amount of fuzz.
Hopefully, the tips above have given you a good idea on using guitar fuzz pedals on a bass. While many should work just fine, stay away from the ones that can cut off your low-end. Or better yet, check out our bass effects section by using the link below. Many of today's bass pedals are just as great as guitar fuzz effects and can deliver exactly what you're looking for.
If you have any questions regarding the purchase of any of the pedals featured in today's article 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!
Have you used a guitar pedal on a bass before? Which pedal and what were the results?