Bass pedals, also known as'stomp' pedals, are an electronic musical device with an extended foot-pedal keyboard having at least one octave of pitch. The first bass pedals were essentially a thin, plastic pedalboard with either analog or digital synthesizer sound generation circuitry built into them as a single unit. In recent years, with electronic music growing in popularity and using complex audio processing equipment, the design of these pedals has progressed to include speaker units that are able to reproduce sound through the electronic signal being played. Several different brands of electronic bass pedals have become mainstream musical instruments. Some popular models are the Line 6 Podcaster, Moog Bassiptic, Korg DS4080 Turboformer, and Fender Stratocaster.
Since most bass pedals function in a similar way, it is important for the guitar player to understand the difference between a low end tone and a high end tone. Low end bass pedals reproduce a lower frequency sound, producing a warm, hollow, or distorted sound. High end bass pedals reproduce a higher frequency sound, producing a sharp, clear tone. Understanding how these sounds are produced can help guitar players and bass players alike to produce the best sound for their instrument.
Most of today's popular bass-specific pedals have a switching mechanism that allows the user to select a midi/position control for playing in a variety of modes, as well as a tremolo or other type of vibrato. A majority of the modern bass-pedal models will allow the user to adjust the volume and treble level through a time-based system that uses a unique algorithm. This algorithm determines how much of the input signal should be compressed while the volume will be increased or decreased accordingly. Many bass-specific pedals will allow the user to apply any number of voice modes and/or vibrations. The most common feature that most users will find beneficial is the ability to seamlessly transition from one mode to another.
One of the most useful features that many players find with the use of bass pedals is the addition of chorus pedals. chorus pedals will add a repeating chorus effect to a bass-specific instrument. In addition to providing a great amount of additional musical variation, chorus pedals can also be utilized to hide the delays on many popular bass-oriented instruments. For example, a delay on a traditional acoustic bass guitar can often be easily blended into a effected chorus pedal so that it adds another layer of sound to the overall bass line.
One other popular feature in the modern world of guitar effects pedals is the addition of delay and reverb. Delay pedals can offer a unique sound that can be used on both the sustaining and releasing notes of the bass guitar. In addition, many bass guitar effects utilize reverb for a thick, heavy, sound to add depth and dimension to the sound produced by the instrument. The reverb can be thought of as the finishing touches to the sound produced by a guitar or bass. Many players find that using multiple delays on their pedalboards is very useful for adding subtle layers of delay to a bass guitar effect.
Of course, one of the most famous effects that bass pedals can be equipped with is the use of true distortion. This type of distortion offers the tone of a full-blown transistor amp. True distortion can sound amazing when it is done properly but it can also be an incredibly limiting pedal if not done correctly. It is important for guitarists to learn how to control true distortion in order to get the exact tone that they want from their pedalboards.
Once all the basic pedalboards that can be used on basses are exhausted, some guitarists find that they need to move up to more complex signal processing units to provide them with even more extreme tone options. Some examples of these more complex guitar pedals include true volume effects, overdrive and chorus pedals, and even electronic whizzers. These types of sound processing units are typically run using separate controls and can be a little difficult to work with at first but, with practice, can quickly become intuitive to work with and quickly become an integral part of a bass guitar player's arsenal.
One thing that all bass pedals have in common is the ability to affect more than one instrument simultaneously. In other words, multiple sounds can be produced on a single Bass Pedal. These can be accomplished by either changing the pitch of one sound with another, or by modulation a single parameter of one sound with another. For example, the modulation a pitched Bass Pedal can be effected with another pitched guitar wah. There are also instances where two or more sounds can be effected at once, thanks to the availability of wah pedals.