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Bassists don’t always get to branch out with their sound. Typically, in a band situation, they are asked to hold down the beat and basic structure of the song.
But branching out can be worthwhile. There are a lot of great effects out there, and you can broaden your tonal palette and even add some interest to your band’s sound by adding in the right effects at the right times.
An octave pedal (or octaver) is an easy choice. It can thicken your tone, and some octave pedals can even help you achieve organ like sounds.
In this guide, we look at the best octave pedals for bass, and answer some of the most frequently asked questions too.
Electro-Harmonix POG2 Polyphonic Octave Generator
Let’s not beat around the bush. When it comes to octave pedals, POG is kind of the king, and we have more than a few POGs to highlight on this list.
This one is the Electro-Harmonix POG2 Polyphonic Octave Generator. This pedal comes with attack control, two sub-octaves, two-pole resonant low-pass filter, enhanced detune and algorithm, and a rugged die-cast chassis.
This is a versatile pedal with many controls – there’s a section for the octaves, a section for effects (attack, lowpass filter, and detune), buttons for Q (resonance) and Dry/FX (allows you to apply to your dry signal), and finally preset controls for cycling through presets.
The POG2 makes it easy to add octaves below and above, and together can create a huge sound. Since it’s a polyphonic octave generator, it can handle chords too. I’m not convinced that’s the best way to utilize it, but it does allow you to create some interesting sounds.
Although the POG2 is often used by guitarists, it sounds quite good with a bass too. Just know that it doesn’t always track lower notes all that well.
Most users loved the POG2, and they even found they were able to create cello and organ like sounds using this pedal.
Some users were a little disappointed in the quality of the build, though, especially considering the price.
Item weight: 1.95 lbs.
Package dimensions: 8 x 7 x 3.5 inches
Fishman Fission Bass Powerchord FX Pedal
The Fishman Fission Bass Powerchord pedal is more than just an octave pedal. It creates stacked harmonies above the root note an octave up, and octave and a fifth up, and a fourth and an octave up.
The onboard LEDs help you see which harmonies you’re about to activate before you switch them on. The more switches you activate, the bigger the harmonies.
This pedal also comes with noise gate, overdrive, tone, and effects level controls. It accepts active or passive instruments and has a battery life of 20 hours.
It’s not hard to see why it’s called the Powerchord, though, because with the harmonies it creates, you will literally have a power chord with every note you play!
As you would expect, you can get some huge sounds out of your bass using the Powerchord, almost as if you were playing a bass with double course strings. And the overdrive creates a tone well-suited to heavier genres – rock, progressive rock, metal, and so on.
Most users enjoyed the Powerchord, but some felt it was a little too expensive for what it offered, and said that the notes didn’t track very well.
Item weight: 1 lbs.
Package dimensions: 0.5 x 2 x 3 inches
Electro-Harmonix Nano POG Polyphonic Octave Generator Pedal
I did warn you that we’d be covering more POGs didn’t I?
The Electro-Harmonix Nano POG Polyphonic Octave Generator is a more affordable, easier to use pedal compared to the POG2. The three knobs (sub octave, octave up, and dry) give you full control over the sound. You even get a dry and effect output jack for those times you need some extra versatility.
This pedal comes with a silent footswitch, and the EHX9.6DC power supply, so you won’t have to purchase one separately.
Of course, the Nano Pog is going to seem basic compared to the POG2, so how does it compare sound wise?
Overall, I’m quite impressed with the sound of the Nano POG, regardless of whether you’re playing blistering pentatonic licks or slowly arpeggiated chords.
Despite only having three knobs, this is still a versatile pedal with a lot of cool sounds in it.
Again, while it is more commonly used by guitarists, it can still be used by bassists to achieve all kinds of effects.
Customers were generally sanguine about the Nano POG, and some even said every guitarist should have one.
Some complained of noise (strange, loud clicks), but they were in the decided minority and probably had a defective unit.
Item weight: 1.2 lbs.
Package dimensions: 6.25 x 3.2 x 5.65 inches
EBS Sweden AB EBS-Pedal SE-OC Bass Octave Effect Pedal
The EBS OctaBass Triple Mode Octave Divider is a big, sturdy looking brick. Its controls, though, are about as straightforward as they come – there’s a knob for “normal,” octave, and a switch for range with low, mid, high as options.
It features a true bypass signal relay switching design, which can be helpful when adding more pedals to your signal chains.
The OctaBass does what it’s been designed to do. It adds an octave to your notes, and the latest version tracks better than past iterations. It can even keep up with slapping.
The tone control allows you to dial in additional bass for all those times you need a heavier tone, and that’s a basic but fun feature.
If you’re expecting the OctaBass to do anything besides add an octave to your tone, you’ll be disappointed. It doesn’t do anything other than what it’s been designed to do. But what it does, it does well. It’s just a solid pedal through and through.
Users found this pedal to be sturdy, dependable, and some even said it was the best pedal available.
There was one user who didn’t particularly like how the pedal made his bass sound, but he was the only one to express this thought.
Item weight: 14.1 ounces
Package dimensions: 5.5 x 3.75 x 2.5 inches
TC Electronic SUB ‘N’ UP Octaver Pedal
The impeccably designed TC Electronic SUB ‘N’ UP Octaver offers polyphonic tracking, true bypass, controls for dry, octave-up, and two sub-octaves, as well as a three-way switch (poly, TonePrint, classic).
Using TC Electronic’s TonePrint editor (or app), you can also add modulation for some spaced-out ambient sounds. And I quite like how the octaves sound with modulation.
This durable and versatile pedal offers a ton of low end, which helps you achieve some huge tones. The polyphonic mode can make your instrument sound like it has two or three courses of strings, and you can even achieve mellotron and organ like sounds utilizing the TonePrint function.
Again, you’ll sooner find this pedal on a guitarist’s pedalboard than a bassist’s, but honestly, it works great with bass too.
Buyers loved the tracking, the versatility, and of course TonePrint functionality.
There was one user who didn’t like pairing the SUB ‘N’ UP with his bass. He’s in the decided minority though.
Item weight: 13.4 ounces
Package dimensions: 4.8 x 1.97 x 2.87 inches
Electro-Harmonix Micro POG Polyphonic Octave Generator Guitar Effects Pedal
The Electro-Harmonix Micro POG Polyphonic Octave Generator is the last of the POGs we’ll be looking at here.
The Micro POG is set up much like the Nano POG, with three knobs – dry, sub octave, and octave up. It also has a dry and effects out for added versatility. The main difference, I suppose, is the size of the pedal and its price.
To my ears, it sounds just as good as the Nano POG, and it basically does the same thing, too. It’s surprisingly versatile for being so simple.
And yes, while it works great for guitar, it works well for bass too. And its tracking is surprisingly good.
But how did customers feel about this durable pedal?
They were impressed with its sound quality, its polyphonic tracking, and its overall versatility (great for guitar and bass).
Some users thought it was a little expensive, even though this is one of the most affordable POGs there is.
Item weight: 14.4 ounces
Package dimensions: 8 x 3.5 x 7 inches
MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe
MXR is another reputable name in guitar effects pedals (Eddie Van Halen’s Phase 90 is legendary), and here we have the blue sparkle MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe.
This pedal comes with constant headroom technology for headroom and tracking, true bypass, two octave voices, and a Mid+ switch with a midrange boost. It also has an analog design.
Otherwise, it’s a simple pedal with three knobs – Growl, Dry, and Girth. The two voices of the pedal are controlled via the growl (midrange) and girth (bass) knobs.
In addition to octaves, you can use the M288 to create synth bass style sounds, which is going to come in handy for a variety of gigging situations.
Yes, the M288 sounds good. And it’s quite amazing what you can do with just three knobs.
Reviewers enjoyed its tone, mid boost, and its sturdiness.
Some felt that it was a little limited, and not quite good enough based on their standards.
Item weight: 9.6 ounces
Package dimensions: 5.75 x 4.5 x 2.75 inches
BOSS OC-3 Super Octave Effects Pedal
BOSS is a well-recognized brand among guitarists and bassists. As anybody with experience will attest, their products range from extraordinary all the way over to “leaves something to be desired,” but they are a powerhouse in the compact effects pedal space, nonetheless.
Here we have the BOSS OC-3 Super Octave, which has two inputs (for guitar and bass), and two outputs (direct output and mono output). It features a simple four knob design, which gives you control over direct level, octave 1 level, and two knobs that control the mode and depth of effects.
The OC-3 offers both an octave up and an octave down, as well as a “poly” mode for polyphonic playing. The “drive” mode, of course, gives you a bit of distortion for some added dirt. The “oct 2” setting gives you access to two octaves simultaneously.
Reviewers have had some success with the OC-3, and even had a lot of fun playing with it.
Others said the pedal was about average, which isn’t overly surprising. HiFi results are generally achieved with more expensive pedals.
Item weight: 2 lbs.
Package dimensions: 12 x 7 x 10 inches
JOYO R-13 XVI Octave Pedal
We’ve officially entered the budget range of products. Some are surprisingly good for what they are, others are just functional and nicely priced.
The JOYO R-13 XVI octave pedal is still one of the more promising of the bunch. This pedal features a simple four-knob design with sub and upper (octave higher and lower) knobs, as well as dry and mod knobs.
The mod knob seems like a brilliant addition (why isn’t this on every octave pedal?) because it adds a chorus style effect. It is a little limited, though, since you can only control the depth of the effect.
As with most pedals noted so far, this one can both thicken up your tone and add some dreamy modulation.
JOYO is mostly known as a “bang for buck” brand, kind of like Behringer, but the R series of pedals is their attempt at boosting the quality of their products while keeping their prices moderate.
This is a fun pedal, and it does what it’s been designed to do. And yes, it works perfectly with guitar and bass.
Users found this pedal to be versatile, durable, and good quality. They even said it tracked great.
Those who were less thrilled said they felt it was a little limited and thought the tone could be better.
Item weight: 0.634 ounces
Package dimensions: 5.2 x 3.8 x 2.4 inches
TC Electronic SUB ‘N’ UP Octaver Mini
This one probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. We covered the SUB ‘N’ UP Octaver earlier, and the TC Electronic SUB ‘N’ UP Octaver Mini is basically the same thing except in a much smaller package.
To be fair, there are only three knobs on the Mini – Dry, Sub, and Up. But it still has a true bypass design, and you’re still able to use it with the TonePrint Editor or app.
I don’t think TC Electronic has sacrificed much of anything here, including the overall tone. So, all the core elements you can find on a SUB ‘N’ UP are also included with the Mini.
Positive reviewers said they loved its compactness, price, and the flexibility of TonePrint.
Others said they didn’t like how the TonePrint worked with this iteration of the SUB ‘N’ UP.
Item weight: 6.7 ounces
Package dimensions: 3.7 x 1.89 x 1.97 inches
ammoon Precise Polyphonic Octave Generator Pedal
Sporting a fresh, clean, modern look, the ammoon Precise Polyphonic Octave Generator offers fast tracking, dynamic octave harmony, three control knobs (up, sub, and dry – hmm… where have we seen this before?), and an LED indicator.
When the seller hypes up the rather basic feature set too much, though, you always need to ask yourself whether it lives up to the hype.
First off, this thing still sounds quite good. And considering its price, that’s an accomplishment.
And while it is a budget option, ammoon has put some serious time and effort into this pedal. That’s right, this one falls under the “surprisingly good” category.
Something to beware of, though, is that the pedal changes your tone slightly when engaged, even with the effect settings turned down.
But with the ammoon, you can achieve a variety of tones, even with the few tweakable parameters.
Overall, reviewers thought it was great for the price.
Some weren’t crazy about the octave up and thought you could do better with a more expensive pedal (true, but if you’ve got more of a budget, you might be more inclined to go with something better anyway).
Item weight: 11.8 ounces
Package dimensions: 6.42 x 4.84 x 2.8 inches
Behringer Ultra Octaver UO300
At last, we come to the end of this list with the Behringer Ultra Octaver UO300.
As you might have expected, this is the most affordable pedal on this list. It looks a little like a BOSS pedal, and you would be right in assuming it might not quite hold a candle to the OC-3.
Still, you might be looking for something more affordable that you can mess around with. Maybe just to try out this “whole octave thing,” or maybe for general jamming and practicing purposes.
Obviously, the UO300 is a valid choice in situations like that.
The UO300 can add an octave above and below your original tone, it has volume control for three tones (hi, mid, lo), and it’s got a status LED for on/off and battery check.
This pedal, like the others, does what it’s been designed to do. From what I can tell, it does suck some of the natural tone right out of your guitar, but what can you expect from a bargain basement pedal? I don’t think the tracking is perfect either.
Users liked its solid case and found it fun to play with as well.
Some, however, found it a little odd and didn’t like that it didn’t track across the entire fretboard.
Item weight: 11.7 ounces
Package dimensions: 2.76 x 2.13 x 4.84 inches
What Should I Look For In A Bass Octave Pedal?
So, you’re looking for an octave pedal for you bass.
Chances are you’re looking to thicken up your sound. Or maybe you heard one of your favorite bass players do something interesting on a recording and now you want to emulate it.
There’s a good chance you’ve at least been exposed to the types of sounds an octave pedal can create already. So, in a general sense, you might know what you’re looking for.
But specifically, you might not. Octave pedals aren’t created equal. They’re all priced differently. Some have more knobs and faders. Some have fewer. Some are bigger. Some are smaller. And they can all sound different.
This isn’t to suggest all octave pedals don’t perform the same function. In general, they do. But the slight differences are what can ultimately make or break, at least over the long haul.
For instance, you might be satisfied with a cheap octave pedal early on. But you may realize down the line that it colors your tone in a way you don’t like and doesn’t sound on par with more expensive pedals.
So, here are the main criteria we’ll explore below:
These are worth going a little deeper into if you’re looking for the perfect pedal.
In effect, all octave pedals do the same thing – they add a lower octave to your tone, and oftentimes a higher octave too – sometimes simultaneously, sometimes separately, sometimes depending on how you tweak the pedal. In the case of the Powerchord, you might get fifth and fourth harmonies too.
Some pedals are transparent, meaning they don’t color your tone. They just add an octave (or multiple octaves) depending on function.
Some pedals will color or diminish your tone. Sometimes, this isn’t a bad thing, but it can be undesirable for many players.
The only other thing affecting your overall tone is effects (like drive or modulation). Again, some pedals come with this, while others do not.
There is no right or wrong answer – just what you like and prefer.
I touched briefly on effects already.
Perhaps the most unique of all pedals introduced here is the SUB ‘N’ UP pedal with TonePrint technology.
To be fair, though, some pedals do come with drive or modulation settings that allow you to accomplish something similar.
If octave is all you need, then you’re not going to be worried too much about other effects. And if you have other pedals, you can combine your octave effect with your other compact effect pedals.
If you think you might want to turn your bass into a synth or organ, then you’ll want something more. The great thing about this is that with some octave pedals you can still accomplish this depending on how you tweak them. But not in every case.
So, it’s not a bad thing to think about whether you need a little more with your octave pedal.
Tracking refers to how well the pedal “tracks” with the notes you’re playing on your instrument.
This includes the speed at which it tracks (loose or tight), as well as how well it tracks across the frequency spectrum of your instrument (some pedals have trouble with certain frequencies).
The best thing you can do is try out a few pedals at the local guitar store to see how they perform. But if that’s not possible, then you can still check online demos and reviews.
Tracking tends to be a major concern for a lot of bassists, so it’s worth doing a bit of homework before you commit to the purchase.
We’ve introduced pedals starting at about $20 going all the way up to about $520. So, yeah, that difference can be significant.
Expensive isn’t always better, but you will pay a pretty penny for a top-of-the-line POG unit.
An experienced bassist can make just about anything sound good and may not immediately spring for the most expensive pedal.
But what matters most is you consider your budget before purchase. Look at the resources available, and that can go a long way towards helping you narrowing down your options.
Above all, don’t go into debt to buy musical gear. Spend within your budgetary limits, or save up, but don’t finance your gear unnecessarily.
Will All The Above Pedals Work With A Bass Guitar?
Throughout this guide, we’ve noted which pedals are more commonly used for guitar compared to bass, although several of them have been made with bass in mind.
We also confirmed that each pedal had been used with a bass.
Yes, different pedals did produce different results. As a bass player, you might find some pedals more versatile than others.
Tracking can be an issue, and it’s a rare pedal that offers comprehensive tracking across the spectrum of your entire fretboard.
That said, all the pedals featured here will work with bass to lesser or greater degrees.
What Are The Best Bass Octave Pedal Brands?
Some of the best brands are obvious – Electro-Harmonix, MXR, Boss. But then there are a few lesser known or unexpected brands in the mix. That’s what makes the following list especially interesting.
Let’s look at the best bass octave pedal brands.
Electro-Harmonix is the go-to when it comes to octave pedals, thanks to their POG line of products.
And they aren’t a one trick pony either. They are also known for the Big Muff distortion, which players like Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour popularized.
Eletro-Harmonix is mostly focused on the development of compatct effect pedals, so it should not come as no surprise that they would have excellent options for any player seeking quality effects.
Fishman is best known for their acoustic guitar electronics and to a slightly lesser degree, their acoustic guitar amps.
It just so happens that they have the Fission Bass Powerchord pedal, which might be a tad overpriced, but is still a unique and interesting pedal worth a look.
Fishman has started making DIs and multi-effects units for acoustic guitar, though, so maybe we can expect to see more compact effects units via Fishman in the future. Here’s hoping.
EBS makes all kinds of gear for bassists – amps, cabinets, combos, effects, accessories, and more.
In addition to octave effects, they’ve got just about everything you can name – preamps, compressors, envelope filters, overdrives, distortions, delays, wahs, and more.
If you’re looking for some sturdy, quality effects for your bass, EBS is a good place to begin your search.
If you’re into effects, then it’s unlikely you haven’t heard the name TC Electronic before. In addition to effects, they even make recording and broadcast equipment, as well as portable live sound gear.
TC Electronic is known for their Ditto Looper, Polytune, Spark Booster, Flashback Delay, MojoMojo Overdrive, and many others.
Chiefly, they’re another go-to brand for quality effects pedals.
Dunlop owned MXR was a big deal in the 70s and 80s. Of course, they’ve had some major staying power because of that.
They make every kind of effects pedal imaginable, including tremolo, overdrive, fuzz, looper, compression, reverb, delay, phaser, chorus, or otherwise.
Many guitarists will know them for their Phase 90, but they’ve also got EVH 5150 Overdrive, EVH117 Flanger, Dime Distortion, and others.
BOSS is quite possibly the most recognizable name in compact effects pedals. They are known both favorably and unfavorably, but it mostly comes down to what you like and how you use the effects.
I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say they are the most copied and modified brand either (a lot of people like to mod and enhance their BOSS pedals).
BOSS is probably most known for their BD-2 Blues Driver, DS-1 Distortion, DD-3 Digital Delay, MT-2 Metal Zone, and CE-2 Chorus, but it’s fair to say there are plenty of other popular choices in between.
Whatever you’re looking for, they’ve probably got it, and they even have multi-effects pedals.
Top Octave Pedals For Bass, Final Thoughts
Sound tends to be individual, and therefore, so do effects.
What works for someone else may not work for you, and vice versa.
Fortunately, there are so many great video demos and reviews out there, if you’re struggling to figure out what you want, there’s generally an easy solution.
If you can go into a guitar store to try out effects, that is always best, but if you can’t, the videos do come in handy.
An octave effect can help enhance your performance by adding some thickness to your tone. And depending on how you use it, you can even get some cool synth bass or ambient sounds.
Have fun shopping, and don’t break the bank!