7 Best Distortion Pedals for Bass in 2021

A great distortion pedal for bass will help you accentuate the genre you’re operating in; this means that different pedals work well with varying music styles and musicians. To help you narrow down on the ideal pedal for your needs, we present a list of seven unique distortion pedals for your benefit.

If you’re looking for the top distortion pedal for bass in 2020, you can’t go wrong with the BOSS Distortion Guitar Pedal. It’s a great choice for beginners and experts alike, and it’s our top pick in this category.

Our recommended seven best bass distortion pedals are:

Reviews of the Top Distortion Pedals for Bass

BOSS Distortion Guitar Pedal

Best Bass Distortion Pedal Overall

BOSS Distortion Guitar Pedal
Dimensions: 4 x 6 x 3 inchesPower: One 9V battery (included.)Weight: 1.06 poundsEQ: Three settings

This particular model by Boss has become legendary among the music community and is a star in the world of guitar effects. It has been around for more than four decades, and it’s still going strong thanks to its remarkable sound and features.

It boasts a unique distortion circuit that manages to produce a tight, hard-edged gain, combined with rich harmonics while retaining the distinct characteristics of the musician. You can use this model for various styles, such as:

With the help of the three-knob interface system, you can produce a wide range of sounds and effects with this model. Its novel two-stage circuit manages to incorporate both an op-amp gain stage and a transistor, thereby allowing you to make the most of your low frequencies.

You can use the distortion knob to dramatically modify the sound, moving from a mild boost for driving ample to a full-throttle gain that can be used for epic rock riffs.

While most tone controls only cut off the high frequencies, DS-1’s unique tone circuit offers a greater range to the artist as they can use the knob to increase the highs and reduce the lows. Tone control becomes especially handy when you’re looking to maintain a low-end definition while using vintage-style amps.

Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedal Review

PROS

  • Classic tones for various types of music.
  • Hard-edged attacks maintain clarity even at maximum distortion.
  • Excellent booster for low distortion settings.

CONS

  • Crunch could be better.

Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal

Best Rock Bass Pedal

Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal
Dimensions: 4.8 x 4.5 x 3.3 inches. Power: One 9V batteryWeight: 1 poundEQ: Three settings

This particular model by Pro Co is a master at rocking rock n’ roll music as it relies on a primary distortion system; this allows you to belt out some incredible rock rhythm tones and compose soaring leads.

It’s the ideal pedal when you’re trying to hit the sweet spot when your tube amp shifts from a sparkly clean sound to attaining a warm overdrive.

You can use the features of the RAT 2 to boost the quality of your solos or to add an extra kick to your sound when you need it the most.

This is a heavy-duty bass pedal with an almost indestructible steel housing. It has a glass-epoxy military-grade circuit board on the inside, and glowing graphics on the outside. A five-year limited warranty is included.

PROS

  • Relies on primary distortion.
  • Switches your tube amp from clean to overdrive.
  • Can be used to boost solos.

CONS

  • Not ideal for crisp sounds.

Fender MTG Tube Distortion Pedal

Best Real-Tube Bass Pedal

Dimensions: 3.75 x 4.9 x 2.5 inchesPower: 9V batteryWeight: 1.2 poundsEQ: Seven settings. 

The Fender brand is known for creating some high-quality equipment used by professional musicians worldwide. This model stems from the same exquisite breath and is one of the top offerings on the market.

Its quality comes from the fact that it contains an MTG Tube distortion unit at its heart, and this is a 6205 preamp tube. It creates a clean and classical sound that’s hard to replicate using modern devices.

You can further modify the sounds from this distortion bass pedal with the help of a traditional EQ stack, including bass, middle, and treble control. This model also has tight control options, which help you contour the low ends to your taste.

A set of boost and level control knobs allows you to tinker with the master output level when your boost circuit is busy, and the boost control changes the amount of gain introduced.

The exterior of the device is truly top of the line as well, featuring a true tube-driven distortion system that’s fit into a chassis that can easily be fixed into any pedalboard. All Fender effect bass pedals are also crafted using high-quality, lightweight anodized aluminum, making this model incredibly durable as well.

PROS

  • Made using a real vacuum tube.
  • Multiple EQ controls.
  • Excellent enclosure system.
  • Stage-ready construction.

CONS

  • Lead channel management could be improved.
Wampler Pinnacle Deluxe V2 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal
Dimensions: 7 x 4 x 7 inchesPower: 9V DC adapterWeight: 1 poundEQ: Five settings

The Wampler brand prides itself on producing high-quality products, and the Pinnacle Deluxe V2 distortion pedal is by far one of the top high-end bass distortion pedals on the market today.

Unleash the power of a three-band EQ stack using this model as it allows you to seamlessly and effortlessly modify the tone of your bass guitar based on your necessities. A gain control knob, in conjunction with a boost toggle, allows you to switch genres and move from classic rock to modern beats at the drop of a hat.

You will also have access to a special SAG control to minimize the compression of the low end, thereby allowing you to create some rich sounds when you’re working on some laid-back tones. With the flick of a switch, you can easily turn the gain up thanks to the boost toggle.

It’s built in the US using high-quality components, for exceptional sound and response, and comes with a five-year limited warranty.

PROS

  • Three-band EQ allows you to modify tone greatly.
  • Bright and bass boost change output dramatically.
  • A SAG switch lets you remove the saggy crunch from the guitar.

CONS

  • High-gain pedals can get very loud and hissy.
JHS Angry Charlie V3 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal
Dimensions: 6 x 3 x 3 inchesPower: One 9V battery (included.)Weight: 9.1 ouncesEQ: Four settings

This is the latest model by JHS and is the third generation product of this series. The V3 comes with a brand new color coating as the primary color has been changed to red. This latest update also comes with a three-band tone stack and a total of five controls on the pedal.

Using these incredible variations and control options, you can create a diverse set of sounds using this product. By turning the drive control down, you can attain bluesy and vintage sounds from your instrument. Turn it up to rock hard and even step into the realm of metal music.

The manufacturers have even added a Marshall-style tone to the model, and this can be fine-tuned using the Marshall-style three-band EQ.

It’s a small and handy device powered by 9V batteries and consumes less than 100mA of power. The drive and volume control on this device also interacts in the same manner as a master volume amp head. You can control your gain levels without worrying about losing clarity in the output.

The Angry Charlie comes with a lifetime limited warranty.

PROS

  • Includes a three-bad tone stack to improve your musicality.
  • Has incredible range and variations.
  • Control your gain levels without losing clarity.
  • Fine-tune tones with bass, middle, and treble controls.

CONS

  • Price is on the steeper side of the scale.

Rowin Plexion Distortion Pedal

Best Dual-Mode Bass Pedal

Rowin Plexion Distortion Pedal
Dimensions: 3.7 x 1.7 x 1.8 inchesPower: DC 9VWeight: 8.9 ouncesEQ: Three settings

This is a unique distortion pedal that comes with two working modes to offer greater variation to your musical abilities; these are normal and bright modes. When you use the bright channel, you can effectively take on classic rock tunes from the 80’s and 90’s. The normal mode, on the other hand, offers a full-bodied tone and a clean output.

You’ll notice that this product has been modeled after the classic Plexion distortion, and it effectively mirrors the original Plexi amps. It comes with three knobs that allow you to shift between volume, tone, and gain.

The exterior of this pedal is extremely tough as it’s made out of a high-quality zinc alloy, making it highly sturdy and durable.

A true bypass model helps you create a transparent tone, and an LED indicator enables you to determine which mode you’re using.

PROS

  • Comes with two working modes—normal and bright.
  • Made from a high-quality zinc alloy.
  • True bypass mode helps provide a transparent tone.
  • Small and handy in size.

CONS

  • Gain knob functioning could be smoother.

Kikko Distortion Guitar Pedal

Best Budget Bass Pedal

Kikko Distortion Guitar Pedal
Dimensions: 4.3 x 2.79 x 2.63 inchesPower: External AC adapter delivering 9V DC regulated at a minimum of 300 mAWeight: 6.34 ouncesEQ: Three settings

This incredible little bass pedal by KOKKO offers impressive features despite being priced much lower than the other models on our list; this makes it the top budget offering among our selections.

You can generate a wide range of effects using this product, and this includes your classic distortion tone, a true bypass mode, and a stage distortion setting to provide greater degrees of distortion.

It’s easy to keep track of all the various modes on this model, thanks to an LED indicator that highlights which mode you’re using.

An anti-skid rubber pad is provided on the backside of the product to enhance its stability and avoid friction. The exterior is made using a high-quality aluminum alloy that greatly boosts the durability of the product.

PROS

  • Creates a classic distortion tone.
  • Has a true bypass mode.
  • Offers stage distortion.
  • Comes with an LED indicator to show the status of the effect in use.

CONS

  • Creates a mild buzzing noise as you turn up the level knob.

Distortion Pedals for Bass: Buyers’ Guide

A good distortion pedal will help you make the most of your bass and give it the necessary crunch or dirt you need to match your genre. Apart from an amp, bassists these days need a quality bass pedal in their arsenal. 

Although bass distortion pedals are quite similar to other guitar pedals, you’ll notice that these models specialize in creating greater levels of lower frequencies. They also offer higher levels of sustain that can be instrumental in creating rock music. You’ll also be able to use these bass pedals for solos in order to develop sweeter compositions.

To help you find the right bass pedal for your playing style, we’d recommend that you consider the following factors:

Headroom Counts

When you’re shopping around for a distortion pedal, you may notice that the term “headroom” comes up a lot. Headroom represents the range of a bass pedal, and it highlights just how high and low a given pedal can go while squashing a clean note. It also represents the sustainability of a distortion effect when the knob on the bass pedal is turned to max. 

This value is usually conveyed using dB or KHz( decibel and kilohertz.) Testing your bass guitar on various bass distortion pedals allows you to understand just how much headroom you need for your instrument.

Overdrive, Fuzz and Distortion

Most bass distortion pedals offer three distinct variations in sounds, and it pays to understand the difference in these terms. Using overdrive helps boost the clean sound just above the headroom, while the fuzz feature improves the bass signal well above the headroom.

Distortion is an effect that lies between the overdrive and fuzz features. 

Make sure to look out for these three effects while picking out a distortion bass pedal. Most offer at least two out of three, while higher-end models will give you access to all three effects on a single device. Such models will also come with a blend control knob that allows you to balance the signal between the various effects.

Bypass and Buffered Pedals

When you use a bypass signal on your bass pedal, it won’t distort the instrument’s sound when you switch it off. On the other hand, a buffered pedal changes the quality of the signal even when the pedal is off.

Most beginners tend to go for the bypass pedal option when presented with a choice between the two variants. Buffered pedals, however, will offer greater options across various musical arrangements. 

The top bass pedals are the ones that have a toggle option that allows you to switch between the two settings based on your requirements.

Matters of Size

You’ll notice from our above seven selections that even the best bass distortion pedals come in all sorts of various shapes and sizes. Picking the right size matters, especially once you know that smaller models produce some of the greatest sounds. The size of the device doesn’t matter as much as the headroom offered; make sure to weigh both factors before making a decision.

The easiest way to determine the ideal size of your bass pedal is by examining the size of your own pedalboard. If you have a small board, the only option you have here is to pick out a bass pedal that matches this size.

Frequently Asked Questions About Best Bass Distortion Pedals

How Do You Get a Good Distorted Bass Tone?

You can get a good distorted bass tone by running two signals—a clean one and a dirty one. If you allow the low frequencies to get too distorted, you’ll lose the tightness of the track and the precision of the notes. 

What’s the Best Distortion Pedal for Metal?

The BOSS Distortion Guitar Pedal is one of the top distortion pedals for metal as its gains can be shifted from mild to heavy based on the user.

Can You Use Guitar Pedals for Bass?

Yes, you can use guitar pedals for bass, but bass guitar pedals tend to have higher levels of sustain and work better with lower frequencies.

Slapping the Bass

Each of the seven best bass distortion pedals selected above managed to make the cut because of their superior build and features. The BOSS Distortion Guitar Pedal, however, takes the trophy as our selection for the top overall bass guitar pedal thanks to its smooth sustain and hard-edged attack.

This model is closely contested by the Rowin Plexion Distortion Bass Pedal that takes the runner up spot on our list. With its true bypass mode and dual working modes, this unit pretty much offers every musician a little something to explore.



Michael Southard

Michael is a multi-instrumentalist with extensive knowledge of audio production. He loves trying new gear to discover gems to create unique sound.