Bass Overdrive Pedals | 10 Best Overdrive Pedals for Bass (2018 Review)

Best Bass Overdrive Pedals

What is a Bass Overdrive Pedal?

Before we get into exactly what a bass overdrive pedal is, and it’s function, it’s firstly important that we distinguish the difference between overdrive and distortion. These two effects are commonly mistaken and used interchangebly and so it’s important, for bassists/musicians that may be new to choosing bass effects, that they fully understand what they want.

Ok, so distortion is the process of sound alteration in terms of tone and timbre, against the natural ‘acoustic’ sound. In clearer terms, a distorted sound muddies the signal, usually adding more gain, giving it that aggressive growl.

Overdrive is an effect that aims to simulate the sound of an overdriven tube amplifier, which is a milder, warmer, more organic sounding distortion. An overdrive effect is more suitable if you’re after a cleaner sounding texture, as opposed to a really rough and ready distortion effect.

Bass overdrive pedals are portable effects units which emulate this overdriven pre-amp sound at the tap of a stomp-box, where traditionally, overdrive was created through increasing voltage gain on tube amplifiers.

These units are commonly used inline with other bass effects pedals including bass compressor pedals which help to maintain db output consistency and bass EQ pedals which are used to help reduce and boost certain output frequencies, based on the bassists needs and sonic requirements.

Bass overdrive stomp-boxes are used in both a live performance environment, and in a studio recording setting.

 

How does a bass overdrive pedal actually work?

As we previously touched upon, bass overdrive pedals are used to emulate the same overdriven sound that could be achieved on tube amps. These modern effects pedals try to replicate this effect by increasing the level of gain, at specific outputs. This is why bass overdrive becomes more prominent within the mix as the input signal is increased, and when the input signal is low, a negligible amount of overdrive can be heard.

Although bass overdrive stomp-boxes exist in both analog and digital forms. Analog bass pedals provide a more accurate overdriven effect, with the analog circuitry being a similar replication than digital circuitry.

Ok, so I hope that clears up some questions about the overdrive effect for bass…

Before we continue, as much as we would like to suggest one pedal for everyone, it’s simply not a one-fits-all solution; Thus please make sure you listen to the video demonstrations, as everyone has different sonic requirements from an effects pedal, and by listening to each one, it’s the best way of finally qualifying if it’s really for you.

Well let’s get to it!

What are the top bass overdrive pedals of 2018?

Behringer Bass Overdrive BOD400 – $24.99

behringer bass overdrive bod400

Features
  • Behringer bass overdrive unit with plastic outer casing
  • For tube-like overdrive, suitable for 5 & 6 string bass
  • A clear copy of the ‘Boss ODB-3’, with cheaper parts, aimed to be inexpensive at $24.99 compared to the ODB-3 at $119.99
  • LED to let you know if the pedal is active (on), or being bypassed (off).
  • 5 knobs on the unit,
    • Level – Volume Control
    • High – Boost/Reduce high frequencies
    • Low -Boost/Reduce low frequencies
    • Gain – Overdrive
    • Blend –  Amount of mixed ‘bypassed’ and overdriven bass sound for signal output
  • Versatile in the overdrive tones that you can hear
  • Runs on a 9V battery, but can also be directly run on 9v power supply (not included)
Technical Specifications
  • 1/4″ jack input
  • 9v battery (included) : 9v AC adaptor is sold separately (9V Power Supply – Buy on Amazon)
  • Weight : 0.73lbs
  • Dimensions : 2.8″ x 2.1″ x 4.8″ inches
Summary
The Behringer Bass Overdrive unit is certainly something, but who can be surprised with the fact it’s a product of german engineering!
At a price-point which really should not be able to provide an overdrive pedal, let alone the outer shell of the unit, Behringer hit a home run.
This unit has a mass of functionality for you bassists that yearn for ultimate control over your overdrive sound… With 5 knobs on the front of the interface giving you an unlimited amount of tone/timbre customization, it’s suitable for 5-string and 6-string basses.
For a demonstration of the processor, take a look at the video demonstration below:

TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive – $49.99

TC-Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive Stomp-Box

Features
  • Compact Overdrive pedal designed by TC Electronic
  • Suitable for both Bass & Electric Guitar
  • Provides True Bypass for zero signal deterioration
  • Has 5 interface switches
    • Drive – Adjust level of overdrive effect added to the mix, to either achieve that slightly rough sound, or muddy fattened overdriven sound.
    • Voice – Two different voicing styles to choose from:
      • Up position – Frequency response is true to the input signal
      • Down position – Low-end frequencies are naturally boosted
    • Level – Adjust the overall output signal db
    • Bass – Boost/Reduce low frequencies
    • Treble – Boost/Reduce mid & high frequencies
Technical Specifications
  • 1/4″ jack input
  • Includes 9v battery, 9v AC adaptor is sold separately (9V Power Supply – Buy on Amazon)
  • Weight : 1.4lbs
  • Dimensions : 5.0″ x 3.0″ x 4.0″ inches
Summary
The TC Electronic MojoMojo overdrive pedal is suitable for both bass guitar and electric guitar. It was created to simulate a tube amplifier sound with plenty of headroom and clarity and is very versatile in it’s ability to add overdriven tonality without dirtying the sound too much.
The pedal has a number of different interface controls (5 in total), which all can be used to mould and create the overall sound that you want.
For a demonstration of the processor, take a look at the video demonstration below:

Ampeg Scrambler Bass Overdrive – $99.99

Ampeg Scrambler Bass Overdrive Unit

Features
  • Compact Bass overdrive pedal by Ampeg
  • All metal chassis so it’s ideal for the touring/gigging musician
  • Provides true-bypass for clarity of output signal
  • High quality Ampeg circuitry, renouned for its use in their BA combo amplifiers
  • High visibility smokey blue on/off switch
  • Features 4 main interface controls
    • Drive: Controls the level of Bass Scrambler overdriven effect which is applied
    • Blend: Amount of mix between input signal and overdriven signal for output
    • Treble: 17db Boost or 14db Cut of higher frequencies within the mix
    • Volume: Overall db output level
Technical Specifications
  • 1/4″ jack input
  • Includes 9v battery, 9v AC adaptor is sold separately (9V Power Supply – Buy on Amazon)
  • Weight : 0.6lbs
  • Dimensions : 2.2″ x 2.6″ x 4.5″ inches
Summary
The Ampeg Scramber is a unique overdrive pedal; Specifically designed for bass guitar, the pedal features the same circuitry as the renounced Amped BA-Combo amps (v2). Because of the verbal feedback from that amplifier, they decided to use it within this effects unit.
This pedal has an all-metal chassis, and so it can take a few knocks, making it suitable for the road. And at the price of $99.99 it’s one of the mid-range overdrive effects units featured within this article.
For a demonstration of the processor, take a look at the video demonstration below:

MXR M89 Bass Overdrive Unit  – $129.99

MXR-M89 Bass Overdrive Unit

Features
  • Overdrive pedal for bass – created by Jim Dunlop
  • Unique analog overdrive circuitry specifically designed for bass
  • Provides true bypass
  • Features a high visibility LED for on/off use
  • Has 4 main controls on the interface
    • Clean: Used to blend the input signal with the overdriven signal
    • Volume: Controls the overall db of the output signal
    • Tone: Controls the tonality and ‘colour’ of the overdrive effect
    • Drive: Controls the amount of overdrive effect that is added
Technical Specifications
  • 1/4″ jack input
  • Includes 9v battery, 9v AC adaptor is sold separately (9V Power Supply – Buy on Amazon)
  • Weight : 0.7lbs
  • Dimensions : 4.5″ x 5.5″ x 2.5″ inches
Summary
The MXR M89 is one of the best mid-range overdrive effects pedals that you can consider. Just by listening to the video demonstration below, you can hear the quality of this pedal.
The pedal can be run on 9v battery, and can be run on a 9v power supply. It has 4 main controls which really offer a lot of tonal variety… So you can rest assured that this pedal is the perfect choice for all of your bass overdrive needs.
For a demonstration of the processor, take a look at the video demonstration below:

Boss ODB-3 Bass Overdrive – $119.99

Boss ODB-3 Bass Overdrive Processor
Features
  • Overdrive pedal specifically for Bass Guitars
  • Created by Boss ensuring high quality components
  • Two-band EQ to adjust the tonality of the low and high frequency response
  • 4 main interface controls
    • Level: Adjust the level of overdrive added to the overall sound
    • EQ: Two-band for high & low frequency cut/boost
    • Balance: Used to blend between dry and overdriven signal for the output
    • Gain: Adjusts the level of gain added to the output signal
  • Check indicator light for visual confirmation when the pedal is in use
Technical Specifications
  • 1/4″ jack input
  • Includes 9v battery, 9v AC adaptor is sold separately (9V Power Supply – Buy on Amazon)
  • Weight : 1.15lbs
  • Dimensions : 5.9″ x 3.7″ x 2.5″ inches
Summary
The Boss ODB-3 is truly the creme-de-la-creme pedal of the bass overdrive world. Considering the build quality and price-point, this is definitely suitable for musicians who need an effects unit that can not only provide a high quality, realistic overdrive effect, but also perform night after night, without fail.
The Behringer BOD400 is the cheaper alternative to the Boss ODB-3, being designed based on the ODB-3’s specifications, except at a cheaper price-point and subsequently a lower quality build… However, the Behringer BOD400 has glowing recommendations for anyone who doesnt want to fork out $119.99.
For a demonstration of the processor, take a look at the video demonstration below:

Xvive Bass Overdrive Processor

Features
  • Xvive overdrive pedal specifically designed for Bass
  • Compact pedal in durable metal chassis
  • On/Off LED for visual confirmation that the pedal is activated
  • True Bypass
  • Simple to use with three main interface controls
    • Volume: Adjust the level of output db
    • Compression: Adds more compression, limiting the dynamic range of the signal
    • Gain: Controls the intensity of overdrive effect
  • True Bypass
  • Sturdy On/Off switch, making it ideal for live performances, with no chance of turning it off without serious pressure.
Technical Specifications
  • 1/4″ jack input
  • Requires a 9v AC adaptor is sold separately (9V Power Supply – Buy on Amazon)
  • Weight : 0.51lbs
  • Dimensions : 4.2″ x 2.4″ x 2.0″ inches
Summary
The Xvive overdrive pedal is one of the smaller, more inexpensive pedals that we’ve featured in the list. This particular pedal is ideal for the bassist who’s looking for a quick and simple to use overdrive processor, with the ability to add compression in the same unit.
A solidly built pedal, but it may lack some features such as 2-band EQ that other pedals within this price range are offering (i.e the Behringer BOD400). None-the-less, this is certainly a fantastic option!
For a demonstration of the processor, take a look at the video demonstration below:

MXR EVH5150 Overdrive – $199.99

MXR EVH5150 Overdrive processor

Features
  • MXR EVH5150 for Bass Guitar and Electric Guitar.
  • Designed in collaboration with Eddie Van Halen
  • Premium quality for professional recording sound quality
  • True Bypass
  • Features hand-adjusted multistage MOSFETs
  • On/Off LED for visual confirmation that the pedal is activated
  • Multiple controls
    • Gate: Controls noise gate to minimise unwanted noise
    • Output: Adjust the level of output db
    • 3-Band EQ
      • Bass: Boost/Reduce bass frequencies
      • Mid: Boost/Reduce mid-range frequencies
      • Treble:Boost/Reduce mid-range frequencies
    • Gain: Controls the intensity of overdrive effect
    • Boost: Adds more gain and compression to the output, really ramping up the overdrive
Technical Specifications
  • 1/4″ jack input
  • Includes 9v battery, 9v AC adaptor is sold separately (9V Power Supply – Buy on Amazon)
  • Weight : 1.03lbs
  • Dimensions : 5.5″ x 4.5″ x 2.5″ inches
Summary

The MXR EVH5150 is an overdrive unit, designed and built in collaboration with the iconic Eddie Van Halen. The pedal is a result of high-quality engineering, having hand adjusted MOSFETs (metal oxides semiconductor field effect transistors) which help by changing the characteristics and performance of the analog circuity [Wikipedia].

At this price-point, the MXR EVH5150 is the most expensive unit that we’ve featured. And we think that this unit is aimed mostly at professional musicians who need an ultra high quality overdrive, and/or someone who has a high budget.

For a demonstration of the processor, take a look at the video demonstration below:

Wampler Tumnus Overdrive – $149.99

Wampler Tumnus overdrive processor for bass

Features
  • Hand-built Overdrive pedal for Bass Guitar and Electric Guitar.
  • Built in the USA
  • Extremely compact, and will fit onto any pedal board
  • Buffered Bypass
  • High quality resistors and film capacitors, helping achieve a fantastic sound and frequency response
  • Extremely versatile in its sonic ability
  • Very simple to use, having a few interface controls
    • Gain: Controls the level of grit and overdrive
    • Treble: Adds more top end frequency to the output
    • Volume: Controls the db level
Technical Specifications
  • 1/4″ jack input
  • Requires a 9v AC adaptor is sold separately (9V Power Supply – Buy on Amazon)
  • Weight : 1.00lbs
  • Dimensions : 1.5″ x 3.5″ x 1.5″ inches
Summary

The Wampler Tumnus overdrive pedal is an excellent choice for musicians with a higher budget;  This USA handmade pedal is ideal for the bassist looking for a premium, high-quality, compact pedal that’s both simple to use and versatile in functionality.

Please note that it does require a 9V power supply to operate, providing any more voltage will melt the circuitry, so only use a 9V supply.

For a demonstration of the processor, take a look at the video demonstration below:

 

Rowin Dumbler LEF-315 – $29.99

Rowin LEF-315 Dumbler Analog Overdrive Pedal

Features
  • Vintage analog overdrive pedal for bass and electric guitar
  • Very compact unit with a sturdy metal casing
  • Fantastic for the price
  • True Bypass
  • Very simple to use, having few interface controls
    • Volume: Controls output db
    • Voice: Controls the colour of the overdrive effect
    • Tone: Adjust the tone of overdrive
    • Gain: Controls the level of overdrive
Technical Specifications
  • 1/4″ jack input
  • Requires a 9v AC adaptor is sold separately (9V Power Supply – Buy on Amazon)
  • Weight : 0.48lbs
  • Dimensions : 3.7″ x 1.8″ x 1.9″ inches
Summary

The Rowin Dumbler LEF-315 unit is the ideal overdrive pedal for someone on a budget; The pedal itself is suitable for both bass guitar and electric guitar, and does a wonderful job at emulating the ‘custom modified Dumble amplifier’.

If one thing is for certain, for the price, you really cannot go wrong in having this on your pedalboard.

For a demonstration of the processor, take a look at the video demonstration below:

 

 

Coolmusic C-OV01 Crunchy Overdrive – $29.99

Coolmusic C-OV01 Crunchy Overdrive Processor

Features
  • Multifunctional overdrive unit for bass and guitar
  • Sleek black coloured aluminium alloy casing
  • Blue LEDs around footswitch and control knobs
  • Very compact unit with a sturdy metal casing
  • Fantastic price for both visual appearance and sound quality
  • Simple to use, having three main controls
    • Output: Controls output db
    • Tone: Adjust the tone of overdrive effect
    • Gain: Controls the level of overdrive
Technical Specifications
  • 1/4″ jack input
  • Requires a 9v AC adaptor is sold separately (9V Power Supply – Buy on Amazon)
  • Weight : 0.48lbs
  • Dimensions : 3.7″ x 1.8″ x 1.9″ inches
Summary

On first impressions, we were particularly impressed with the Coolmusic Crunchy Overdrive pedal, with it’s sleek black outer shell with beautiful blue LED lighting around the footswitch and controls, it really is a thing of uttery beauty!

However, how does it sound? Well, it has some really cool and unique sounds, and is particularly versatile, being able to provide really crunchy overdrive, to a much smoother sound.

For the price-point, it’s a fantastic option!

For a demonstration of the processor, take a look at the video demonstration below:

 

Conclusion – The Winner is?

Best Low Cost Overdrive pedal – Behringer BOD400 (Buy on Amazon)

Best Premium Quality Overdrive pedal – Boss ODB-3 (Buy on Amazon) or Ampeg Scrambler (Buy on Amazon)

Best Portable Overdrive pedal – MXR M89 (Buy on Amazon)

Best Looking Overdrive pedal – Coolmusic C-OV01 Crunchy Overdrive (Buy on Amazon)

We highly advise that you take a listen to all of the video demonstrations before making your final decision, this way you can see which one resonates with your personal taste.

However, based on our recommendations, we hope you agree!

Summary
Bass Overdrive Pedals | 10 Best Overdrive Pedals for Bass (2018 Review)
Article Name
Bass Overdrive Pedals | 10 Best Overdrive Pedals for Bass (2018 Review)
Author
Publisher Name
Sustain Punch

Guitar Tricks Free Trial