6 Best Bass Overdrive Pedals (July 2022) – Buyers Guide 🥇

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In this article we’re going to be discussing the best bass overdrive pedals that exist in July 2022.

Although it didn’t become a common thing in the bass world instantly, the overdrive effect has been around with this instrument since the ‘60s. In the early days, it was more a kind of extreme than a common thing, but things have changed over the years.

These days, a good bass overdrive pedal is an integral part on pedalboards of many bass players, no matter the playing style. Speaking of the styles, we can’t imagine a good metal, hardcore punk, grindcore, industrial or techno bass tone without a proper overdrive pedal.

Best Bass Overdrive

 

What Is A Bass Overdrive Pedal?

Genuine bass overdrive pedals are pedal that produce the same effect as an overdriven amp. This is the sound you get from a fully cranked tube amp, when you push it over the limits, as the name says. What an overdrive pedal does is producing such effect without turning the Volume knob on the amp all away up. It’s a great way to get overdrive sound without being too loud.

Besides the classic overdrive, many of these units are actually distortion pedals. They produce more gain, with greater saturation and more overtones. Simply said, this is a more intense effect. What goes beyond distortion is called fuzz, but that is a whole new dimension. We will stick to the overdrive and distortion in this case.

As it is extremely hard to draw a line between these two effects, it’s no wonder that most pedals offer a sound with both effects overlapping. That’s the reason why this list includes both types of pedals, no matter what is written on their housing.

Bass Overdrive Pedals

Our Number One Choice
Boss ODB-3 Bass Overdrive Pedal
Our Premium Choice
MXR M85 Bass Distortion
Best Value for Money
Boss BB-1X Bass Driver Bass Overdrive/Distortion Effects Pedal with 1 Year EverythingMusic Extended Warranty Free
Summery
This pedal is our first choice for several reasons. The first one, of course, is that this pedal delivers one of the most legendary overdrive sounds, this time reshaped for a bass guitar
It offers such an impressive tonal diversity, thanks to the choice between two completely different distortion types. All this comes in a compact, pedalboard-friendly size.
This is practically a 2-in-1 pedal, which works both as an overdrive and preamp pedal
Dimensions
14.99 x 9.4 x 6.35 cm
13.97 x 11.18 x 6.35 cm
10.16 x 7.62 x 15.24 cm
Power
9V batteries required
9V batteries required
9V batteries required (included)
Prime
-
Our Number One Choice
Boss ODB-3 Bass Overdrive Pedal
Summery
This pedal is our first choice for several reasons. The first one, of course, is that this pedal delivers one of the most legendary overdrive sounds, this time reshaped for a bass guitar
Dimensions
14.99 x 9.4 x 6.35 cm
Power
9V batteries required
Prime
Check Price
Our Premium Choice
MXR M85 Bass Distortion
Summery
It offers such an impressive tonal diversity, thanks to the choice between two completely different distortion types. All this comes in a compact, pedalboard-friendly size.
Dimensions
13.97 x 11.18 x 6.35 cm
Power
9V batteries required
Prime
Check Price
Best Value for Money
Boss BB-1X Bass Driver Bass Overdrive/Distortion Effects Pedal with 1 Year EverythingMusic Extended Warranty Free
Summery
This is practically a 2-in-1 pedal, which works both as an overdrive and preamp pedal
Dimensions
10.16 x 7.62 x 15.24 cm
Power
9V batteries required (included)
Prime
-
Check Price

Boss ODB-3

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Boss ODB-3

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The ODB-3 is so good that even some guitar players choose it before the original OD-3 pedal. The bass iteration of the iconic pedal has been around for a quite long time and it proved itself as an excellent choice for all those bass players who want to get lots of quality for the money. This unit is such a great value.

Of course, the secret is in the original circuit, which is practically the same as in the OD-3 unit, with a big difference in terms of the EQ calibration. Also, it’s easy to notice that this pedal features a little bit different knob configuration, as there are four pots in this case. Besides typical Level and Gain knobs, there is also a Balance knob and as the name says, it allows you to balance between dry and overdriven signal.

Still, the thing we like most about the pedal is the EQ knob, which actually features two knobs, smaller that works like a typical tone control, and bigger that allows you to go between something that the manufacturer describes as Boost and Cut. Typically for Boss, the housing is built like a tank, while you may also count on a 5-year warranty.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

Just like the legendary guitar version, this pedal is also designed for those who are looking for a vintage-style overdrive pedal that offers a great balance between price and quality. Simply, this pedal offers a little bit of everything. It sounds great and offers a wide tonal range. At the same time, it’s quite easy to use. Eventually, you get Boss’s famous durability and reliability for a quite affordable price.

Ampeg Scrambler

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Ampeg Scrambler

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The Scrambler puts the legendary overdrive tone of the popular amp maker in a small package, in the form of pedal and the final result is amazing. This impressive overdrive bass pedal has so many things to offer. Of course, it all starts with the authentic sound, but the pedal is also quite versatile and functional.

Analog circuit and tonal flexibility are quintessentials of a great bass overdrive pedal and this particular unit is excellent in both aspects. It offers an impressive tonal range, which goes from subtle boost to genuine overdrive screams. At the same time, the pedal is quite easy to use, as you can find just four knobs on it.

Of course, there are typical Drive and Volume knobs. On the other side, the Blend knob lets you balance between dry and overdriven signal. Finally, there is the Treble pot, which is all about hi-end, which is critical when it comes to cutting through the mix. The pedal features a compact size and can run either on a battery or a 9V adapter.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

First of all, this is a perfect choice for those who are looking for a genuine Ampeg overdrive sound in a compact package but the pedal would work great for everyone who searches for wide overdrive diversity and appreciate simple layouts and easiness of use.  All in all, we doubt someone will be disappointed with this one.

MXR M89 Bass Overdrive

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MXR M89 Bass Overdrive

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The thing MXR does best is packing impressive tonal diversity in a simple and very compact package. This unit is no exception, so besides exceptional sound, you may also count on a pedalboard-friendly unit, which dials amazing tones with ease.  At the same time, the pedal is quite affordable.

The MXR M89 features the company’s well-known circuit, which was originally designed for guitars, but this pedal has been completely reworked, so the focus is on dealing with low-end frequencies. As a result, you get harmonics-rich, fat tones even on 5- or 6-string bass guitars.

As we’ve just mentioned, the pedal features MXR’s typical easiness of use. There are just four knobs and most of them are pretty common among overdrive pedals from this manufacturer. Of course, we are talking about Volume, Tone and Drive controls, which play an essential role in tone shaping. Additionally, there is a Clean knob, typical for bass pedals, which lets you mix clean and overdriven signals.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

MXR Overdrive pedals belong to the group of pedals that shaped fuzz bass sound, so all those players who look for a quintessential bass overdrive pedal will be more than satisfied with this one. Also, those who don’t like to play with knobs too much will find this unit perfect, as finding great tones is a piece of cake with MXR M89.

Boss BB-1X Bass Driver

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Boss BB-1X Bass Driver

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The BB-1X is definitely one of the best bass overdrive pedals around. Simply, it offers tonal diversity you won’t find in many overdrive bass pedals. Whether you want a subtle crunch or something that goes way beyond classic overdrive tones, this unit sounds great. The best thing of all is that you actually get a two-in-one product, as this pedal also acts as a preamp.

In terms of tonal flexibility, there are four knobs on the panel. All of them are pretty common for bass pedals, so getting used to this pedal is a quite short process. Of course, you have Drive pot to find a perfect amount of overdrive, while Low and High knobs let you do that fine tonal shaping, which can change to pedal’s sound entirely.

Finally, there is the Blend knob, another common bass pedal control, which lets you mix dry and effected tone. For added versatility, the pedal comes with dual outputs, where the additional Line Out brings significant benefits if you want to go directly into PA. Of course, you may count on Boss’s typical hi-end build quality, while the pedal can run either on a battery or a 9V adapter.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

Compared to the previous pedals on the list, this one is a little bit premium and seems like a great choice for all those players who look for added tonal flexibility and sound-shaping options. Moreover, a dual output makes it highly convenient in various situations. Finally, the pedal works like a real preamp unit and keeps the natural tone preserved, which can save you a little bit of space on the pedalboard, as well as a little bit more money.

MXR M85 Bass Distortion

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MXR M85

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The MXR has joined forces with Ryan Ratajski, the founder of Fuzzrocious Pedals. As a result, we have this impressive bass distortion pedal, which works in a little bit different way compared to most other pedals on the list. The catch with this unit is in some kind of a filter, which keeps low-frequency tones intact. The distortion effect hits higher notes only, which in practice means exceptional clarity, no matter how much you crank the distortion knob.

In terms of the overall layout, you won’t find anything untypical on this pedal. There are four common knobs, which let you tweak the tone in many ways. We are talking about Dry and Wet knobs, for a perfect mix of dry and effected signal, as well as about Tone and Dist knobs, for additional tone shaping. In the middle, you can find a small switch that makes this pedal super versatile, as it allows you to choose between two famous styles of distortion, silicon diode or LED clipping.

Given the number of features, as well as the fact that you may count on a genuine analog sound, the price seems very attractive. Of course, you may also count on MXR’s typical characteristics, which include compact, pedalboard-friendly size as well.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

This unit is a perfect choice for those who look for a versatile pedal, but versatile in a little bit different way. It offers two distortion types, but both of them sound unique, as the pedal keeps the fundamental bass tone almost intact. The only drawback is that there aren’t many similar pedals on the market, so you would have to purchase it to find out whether it’s your cup of tea or not.

Maxon Compact Series OD808X

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Maxon Compact Series OD808X

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When it comes to legacy in the overdrive world, nothing compares with Maxon’s original 808 circuits. The iconic overdrive sound has been replicated so many times, but Maxon came with something new this time. The added “X” letter means that the original design has been tweaked, so tonal diversity is now even wider.

What this modification has provided is a wider frequency range, which is the reason why this pedal works equally well with bass guitars, and also provides better clarity. Also, the new pedal features a little bit higher output, for about 5 dB more compared to the original unit. This resulted in a little bit fatter sound, in something that’s more like an amp distortion than a classic 808 overdrive.

On the other side, the overall layout has remained pretty much the same. You can notice that the controls have remained the same, as well as the size. Therefore, count on three familiar knobs – Drive, Tone and Level, as well as on the same buffered bypass. As you would expect from this pedal, it runs either on a battery or a 9V adapter.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

This pedal is designed to be versatile, so those who play both bass and guitars would find this pedal a perfect choice. However, this is not a classic 808 overdrive, but rather a distortion, which makes it a better choice for those who look for a little bit fatter sound.

Our Number One Choice

Boss ODB-3

This pedal is our first choice for several reasons. The first one, of course, is that this pedal delivers one of the most legendary overdrive sounds, this time reshaped for a bass guitar. Also, the pedal offers an impressive amount of tone-shaping options, thanks to several quite functional controls. At the same time, the pedal is pretty easy to use and doesn’t require a learning curve at all. Finally, there is the company’s unparalleled reputation for durability and reliability.

Buy On Amazon

Our Premium Choice

MXR M85

Although not the most expensive pedal on our list, the MXR M85 is a premium product in many ways. First of all, it is characterized by a pretty unique sound, which preserves low frequencies and preserves natural bass tones. At the same time, it offers such an impressive tonal diversity, thanks to the choice between two completely different distortion types. All this comes in a compact, pedalboard-friendly size.

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Best Value For Money

Boss BB-1X Bass Driver

As we mentioned above, this is practically a 2-in-1 pedal, which works both as an overdrive and preamp pedal. Besides impressive tonal diversity, which goes beyond overdrive and steps into some serious distortion tones, it is also a very functional unit, especially when it comes to live performance. Add to this a well-designed two-band EQ section, as well as the impressive build quality and it becomes obvious why this pedal seems like the best value for money, in our humble opinion.

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That concludes this full buyers guide on the best bass preamp pedals. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions regarding the products you have seen in this article. Check out our other bass buyer guides such as the best Bass Synth Pedals.

Here at Guitar Effects Pedalz we also provide full reviews of the best online guitar services so you can learn guitar online with our Guitar Tricks Review

Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API