Now this may seem like a stupid question.
How many pedal Bass tones do you need for gigging.
I'm coming from rhythm guitar / sound engineer background – done a few gigs and enjoy using pedals and amp settings to shape different tones for each song.
Now I've decided to get into Bass playing.
Toe in the water with Yamaha Bass and Boss ME 50B got cheap. Kustom Bass Combo.
Some of the sounds you can create are lovely, but in terms of tones to aim for on stage I'm thinking I'm now the rhythm section and do not want to be invading the guitars melody or tonality front of stage presence etc.
So I can think of 3 main tones to create.
1 Nice clean , lots of low, bit of comp and use my right hand to vary any tone needed within a song. - main tone to use for most songs.
2 Bit of dirt – More gain, Big Muff, more comp (dbx?) some high frequency boost even, maybe use a pick to melt a few faces - drive a rock song along
3 funky stuff – wah and maybe bit of Overdrive dunno which 'cos decent funky playing is beyond my skills! Ain't slapping yet. –
after these 3 tones, will they do for 90% of all the stuff I'll do on the bass. Or is it the same endless quest of the rhythm / lead guitar tone hunt.

At present I feel many bass players don't have that many tones from their pedals. I do sound for a few bands and one Bass player just uses the gain as a volume adjust – not a tone adjust – (btw I turn him back down to re-balance the band mix Ha!) And I've lost count of the number that want to plug straight into the desk. ('The DI's over there mate!')

Anyway, I know you can make 100's of subtle tone changes – but sitting a Bass in a Band Mix – does anyone really hear the difference – I do want them to feel it though – even unconscious I want them to dance to the drummer and me while they listen to the guitars and vocal sing 'em a song.

Rambling question I know..
What would be a set of go to bass guitar tones to use for a keen advancing Bass player who gigs with Blues, Rock bands / Jam sets.


Thanks in advance.
It really depends on the player. I know guys who play with full pedal boards ala Justin Chnacelllor and I have a friend who is an amazing player who uses just a tuning pedal saying "the tone is all me and the bass". Both sound great in the context of their bands.

Myself, I really rely on compression, chorus and distortion. If you're playing slap, a good compression pedal is good money spent wisely
leave the effects to the guitars, you're there to lay down the beat. if you wanna get funky maybe get a wah pedal but thats about it
I'm a dirty fuckin' punk / i sell myself for a beer
Thank you that's the sort of advice I was after -

@ Anarkee
Do you use Chorus as a kinda octave thing without being an octave thing? (That was a daft sentence but I hope you know what I mean. )
I don't use effects at all. I like a very clean tone. I even swapped my 12AX7 preamp tubes for AT's for the additional headroom. My guitarist always tried to bump my gain, as if I wouldn't notice. I do have a multieffects unit and a compressor in a rack with my GK, as well as an overdrive pedal. I don't have the effects unit hooked up and the one pedal I have is collecting dust. Lately, I've been rocking my Traynor tube amp and been thoroughly digging it. I suppose the only "effect" I use anymore is my right hand.
"Quick to judge. Quick to anger. Slow to understand. Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand-in-hand."
- Rush, "Witch Hunt"
If I were to set up a pedalboard from scratch right now, I'd have a SansAmp BDDI, a Polytune and a compressor of some sort. I could get most of my tones with just that. Anything else would be dependent on the style. If I were doing Rush covers, I'd add a flanger and a chorus. If I was grungeing it up, I'd add a Big Muff or something.
I'm another who gigs with no pedals/fx at all and for blues rock I really don't thnk its a route to go down.

One of the big problems with bass is that the lower frequencies with wavelengths of several feet are much more affected by room acoustics than those of a guitarist. This means the biggest problem you often have is getting the tone you want at all. In rooms with low ceilings this can be a nightmare.

The second is that of being heard on a noisy stage. You'll see a lot more bassists experimenting with different amps and speaker combinations rather than pedals. And in my estimation you are right about trespassing upon the vocal and guitarists frequencies. Making the bass sound better doesn't always equal making the band sound better.

I'd say concentrate your efforts and funds in getting a good basic sound for now. You may become one of the more techie bassists or your style of music may mean you need fx but for now just concentrate on other things. When you n'need' pedals you'll know.
I'd say it depends on the band and style of music. Personally I have a light distortion that I turn on for some songs and off for others and then I try to vary with fingers vs pick or maybe rolling of the treble slightly but that's about it The most important thing for playing live is to make sure you sit good in the mix and that gets trickier the more different sounds you have.

If your'e in a cover band and need different sounds for different songs, then you do. Just make sure they all fit with the bands overall sound.
If you're in a blues band chances are it'll only distract or you get lost in the mix once you turn on your wah or drown out the kick drum when you stomp the octaver.
Appreciate all the advice. I like your comment copperwreck that I have to think about how if I change my tone that it will affect how the bass sits in the mix. And in these early days the less things to think about the better. I'm also finding you can do heaps with your right hand. And then occasionally bring out the big gun.... A pick!.
Last edited by St John 999 at Jun 21, 2016,
St John 999 great you are on it. Concentrate on technique and you can add fx at a later date when you know exactly what you are after.
TC electronic Hypergravity compressor and DOD Boneshaker designed in collaboration with Black Arts parametric distortion (i use it somewhat like a boost of sorts).. forgot to add, both are useful for electric guitar or bass
I have Washburn guitars 'Maverick Series' and bass 'Bantam Series' and a few pedals and amps, but man I wish to have more patience and drive practicing my playing, if it's equal to the modding itch, then I'm golden.
Last edited by psp742 at Jun 26, 2016,
Your tonal estimations are pretty accurate.

Your acquisition of amulti-effect pedal was a good call as well, although not my choice in multi.

I love Boss products, and have a ton of them. Yet for about 100 bucks you can get the old Digitech BP8, which has the Comp, Pre, 4 stage EQ, Phase, Flange, Chorus, Pitch, but not all of those modulators at the same time.

I still find no use for a compressor when doing funk as I have not stumbled upon a setting that helps the attack I naturally have.

A parametric is good for switching to a fretless, it is good also for pushing out in the mix in a pinch. But with a good sweepable mid control on the bass, that is not needed as well.
Ibanez BTB 1006 Fretless and 405 (no Barts)
456 & 455(w/Barts)
Genz Benz NeoX400 112T & NeoX 112T cab.
Digitech BP-8 (x2)
Yamaha PB-1
Boss: SYB-5, PS-2, OD-20, EQ-20, PH-3,BF-3, CE-20, DD-20
Morely A/B