Multi-effects pedals (a.k.a. multi-effects processors) for bass are a much more convenient and economical choice for bass players. They’re more convenient because you get a lot of effects on one device and they’re more economical because you get a lot of effects for less money. A low-priced multi-effects pedal could contain 20 or more effects for the same price as some single-effect pedals.
Many bass multi-effects pedals are also as portable as single-effect pedals, even though they’re usually bigger in comparison. One would think that a device that contains distortion, chorus, wah-wah, delay, and several other effects would be too big and heavy to carry around. The fact of the matter is, most multi-effects pedals today are compact enough to fit in your gig bag.
Multi-effects pedals are digital, unlike many single-effect pedals which are analog. Because they are digital, there’s a lot you can do with them. Multi-effects processors include presets of different sounds and they also allow you to create and save your own sounds. The presets that a multi-effects pedal has could include emulated sounds of well-known effects pedals and even amplifiers. Most multi-effects pedals include an expression pedal which is usually placed on the right.
The expression pedal can be operated as a wah-wah and/or volume pedal. There are also certain multi-effects pedals that allow bassists to jam without a band by including extra features like a built-in drum machine and an input to plug in your MP3 player.
Be sure to check out our bass flanger pedal guide.