Can You Use Bass Pedals With a Guitar?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  October 13, 2020
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When investing in tools that will help you build your sound, versatility is crucial. In this regard, you may be wondering if you could use a bass pedal with a guitar.

This is a great question and one that is rather simple to answer, but before we do that, let’s take a look at some of the basic pedals you may have for your bass and your guitar.

Guitar Pedals on a stage with live band performing during a Show

Also read: these are the best guitar pedals to get right now

Bass Pedals

There are a wide variety of pedals out there from the simple and basic effects pedals like volume to more exciting options like phasers.

But in order to really understand how to use them with your guitar, you have to have a good grasp of what they are intended to do in the first place.

By looking at bass pedals, you are opening up more options that you can utilize to help build a unique sound or lets you experiment until you find just the right combination for your pedal chain.

So, here are some of the most common bass pedals you can find.

Compressors/Limiters

Having dynamic compression is essential to any sound.

This pedal is used to balance out the EQ of the sound, making the quieter parts louder and the higher parts quieter.

This gives you more control over your tone in regard to dynamics. This pedal can also add some sustain, as well.

Limiters do the same thing, but they have a high ratio and an attached time that is faster.

Overdrive/Distortion

Distortion or overdrive is something that, if you are a guitarist, you hear talked about all the time, but in bass circles, it sometimes is overlooked.

A simple distortion pedal can slice through the mix and add a little something special to given parts of the song.

It will also live in your rock power chords or even give your solo a little extra edge if needed.

Volume

Controlling dynamics is crucial whether you are a guitarist or a bassist, and one of the best ways to do that is to use a volume pedal.

Controlling volume is critical, especially when recording or working different venues from night to night.

It also allows for a more cohesive sound when riffing with your bandmates.

Tuners

This is not an effects pedal, but it is vital to any musician. Staying in tune while rocking out may not seem like a sexy problem, but if you hit a wrong note, it can change the entire sound of the song.

These pedals are easy to use and can also act as a buffer.

In this regard, they will help you maintain consistent power throughout your pedal chain, and that could help with your overall sound.

Filters

These pedals are used to isolate and filter out specific frequencies. There are many different types, and these include things like the wah-wah pedal.

This one messes with the peak frequency. There are wah-wah pedals designed explicitly for bass, although just like with most, some bassists just go for the guitar version but works just fine.

It is true for the opposite as well. There is also a pedal that affects the time itself, giving a synth sound to your sound.

This will work well with the guitar, as well.

Preamp

This pedal is key for the gigging artist. Each pedal is fitted with a DI box, and this allows for not only amps but PAS to be able to be patched in.

In essence, this lessens load-heavy amps and cabinets, which are crucial in regard to portability. These pedalboards tend to have multiple effects.

Some are designed for use with basses, but in them, there is nothing that will hurt, only improve the sound of your guitar.

Plus, it makes it easy to get from gig to gig without breaking your back.

Octave

This pedal can be used to add more depth to your sound. It plays the signal note one octave lower than the note, and this gives a fuller sound.

This pedal allows for a single note to fill a room and make your sound bigger than just a solo guitarist would be able to achieve.

Now that you have an idea of what each pedal is capable of, you can see that these pedals are truly not any different than their guitar counterparts.

So, it is possible to use a bass pedal with a guitar, and what happens when you do?

Also read: how to build a pedalboard the right way

What Happens When You Use Bass Pedals With a Guitar?

Though some pedals are calibrated explicitly for bass tones, on the whole, nothing exceptionally horrible will happen when you use a bass pedal with a guitar.

After all, many bassists use a guitar pedal without any unforeseen circumstances.

Some say that with specific effects pedals, you may get a bit of a muddy sound, but with a little adjustment, you can fix that problem right up.

So, what happens? Nothing.

You get the pedal effect and control you need and don’t have to buy a separate pedal for each instrument.

This means that you can save money and get more for your investment in the long run, and for some artists that are still working their way up the ladder, this could be a crucial benefit that they would like to take advantage of.

Final Thoughts

Can You Use Bass Pedals With a Guitar?

Why would you want to use a bass pedal with a guitar? It seems to us that this would open up more options and give some guitarists a leg up over their competition.

The ability to switch effortlessly between bass and guitar could help land that big gig or let you experiment with new sounds and styles.

The answer is yes, as we have stated above. There may not be as many diverse types of pedals, but for the basics, using a bass pedal with your guitar is just fine.

It may even give a unique sound that sets you apart from other guitarists.

Also read: these are the most affordable multi-effects for guitar

          Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of his passion, and together with his team, He's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.