We think the most reliable bass eq pedal for most musicians is still the BOSS GEB-7. After so many decades as the most popular option, it remains the reigning champ – many others have tried to imitate its success and come up short. It has flexible options across a wide frequency spectrum and is built to last.
While professionals who often find themselves in the studio may prefer a more premium piece of equipment, like the Whirlwind FXEQ10BP, the BOSS pedal will serve most players’ needs at less than half the price. The fact is that most gigging bass players need reliability above all in their EQ pedal, and that is where BOSS excels.
For those on a tight budget, the Behringer BEQ700 is a very solid choice. Given the price, there is a surplus of value in this little pedal, and it could open up a new world of tonal possibilities for those beginning to expand their pedal collection, or looking for a quick fix to a tone problem.
Recommend Bass EQ Pedals
FXEQ10BP Bass Ten Eq Pedal by Whirlwind
What’s good: Offers studio-like flexibility, clean tone, built like a tank
Not so good: Bulky, premium price, no control above 3kHz
Frequency Bands: 20Hz, 40Hz, 80Hz, 160Hz, 320Hz, 600Hz, 900Hz, 1.3kHz, 1.8kHz, 3kHz
Gain: +15dB, -15dB
Dimensions: 6″ x 7″ x 10″
Weight: 3 lbs
Everything about this pedal, from the price to the features and design, screams PREMIUM. If you can afford it and have room to spare on your pedalboard, it should be a no-brainer. But at what point is it just overkill? The FXEQ10BP will usually set you back more than buying two BOSS GEB-7s (the second priciest bass EQ pedal on this list). Is it really worth the price of two pedals to have the king of bass EQs in your arsenal?
There are two features of this pedal that really set it apart in terms of sound. For those purists, especially professionals, who need flexibility and a super clean sound, Whirlwind has created an ideal option. The 10 bands of this equalizer were chosen specifically with bassists in mind, meaning that setting this pedal offers 10 impactful choices for your tone.
This not only makes it easier to add definition to your sound or troubleshoot resonant frequencies in a given room but also provides 10 parameters for designing those idiosyncratic sounds perfect for complimenting your other pedals. Some players may be surprised to see that the pedal has no frequency band above 3kHz, and the other pedals do cover higher frequency ranges.
However, it seems that this choice was made to offer greater nuance in control where bass players most need it. You will rarely need to make adjustments so far out of the instrument’s main frequency range, and few pedals can compete with the bass-oriented frequency bands offered here.
Even when idling with a completely flat setting, the Bass Ten stands out from the bunch. I know that every time I add another pedal to my board I have to worry about adding more noise to my output – but not with this one. The pedal only colors your sound when and how you want it to, with no hum and great headroom. This may be less important if you’re only ever playing to loud rooms, but when recording or performing with your cab mic’d, this can be an essential feature.
Besides price, the major drawback of this pedal is its size. Big, bulky, and relatively heavy, some bassists may prefer something more mobile to take on the road. Though the FXEQ10BP is still a great asset to your live rig and is built to take the beating of gig life, those who rarely step into the recording studio may find that they could pass on the nuance it offers and save a LOT of money.
BOSS GEB-7 Seven-Band Graphic Bass Equalizer
What’s good: Strong build quality, wide frequency range
Not so good: Pricier than other options, short of premium sound
Frequency Bands: 50Hz, 120Hz, 400Hz, 500Hz, 800Hz, 4.5kHz, 10kHz
Gain: +15dB, -15dB
Dimensions: 2.9″ x 2.3″ x 5.1″
Weight: 11.2 oz
BOSS pedals are known for being sturdy and reliable, and the GEB-7 is true to form. Its 7 EQ parameters were chosen with bassists in mind.
The pedal prioritizes a much different frequency range from the Whirlwind Bass Ten. Unlike the Whirlwind, which allows nuanced adjustments as low as 20Hz and 40Hz, the BOSS reaches its lower limit at 50Hz. For many players, this makes little difference, since most occasions will only require a roll-off in this sub-bass “rumble” range. On the other hand, the GEB-7 soars above the 3kHz upper limit of the Whirlwind, allowing players to manipulate 4.5kHz and 10kHz. Though 10kHz is far outside of the main frequency range for bass guitars, it’s nice to have the option to hype high harmonics and is especially useful in situations where you need to cut down on unwanted noises like a high-pitched hiss.
Players with 5 or 6 string basses will also be glad to have more control over the high-end. With its frequency bands spaced over such a wide frequency range, the GEB-7 makes great use of the 7 available parameters, providing enough control for nearly any situation.
As with all BOSS pedals, this is a piece of gear designed for heavy use. Take it on the road, will it to your kids, the thing is built to last. It makes little noise except at high volumes and has a good sound, if not as high fidelity as the FXEQ10BP. The pedal has been a mainstay in bass rigs for decades, and you can’t go wrong investing in it (especially if you can find one used or on sale.)
Behringer BEQ700 Bass Graphic Equalizer
What’s good: Solid bass EQ at an unbeatable price
Not so good: Sensitive controls, a bit noisy
Frequency Bands: 50Hz, 120Hz, 400Hz, 500Hz, 800Hz, 4.5kHz, 10kHz
Gain: +15dB, -15dB
Dimensions: 2.8″ x 2.1″ x 4.8″
Weight: 11.7 oz
With its line of budget pedals, Behringer provides the cheap fix for your effect pedal needs. Though some will complain about how the pedal colors the sound or about its cheap feel, this bass EQ pedal really can solve many of the problems that drive you to invest in an EQ, with little investment.
In many ways, the BEQ700 is a poor man’s BOSS GEB-7, with strikingly similar features and design in a less sturdy box. A quick comparison reveals that it has the same EQ parameters as the BOSS, in a matching layout. But the pedal leaves plenty to be desired, especially as the cheap sliders can be frustratingly sensitive. There are also no notches at 0 to help hold the sliders in place, and settings can be completely lost just from the pedal brushing against the bag while in transit.
The pedal defaults to a slightly muffled sound, and can’t match the more robust tone offered by more expensive competitors. It also has a tendency to hum at high output settings. But this is to be expected from such a budget option. For many players focused on “grungy”, indie or distorted sounds, the limitations of this pedal may rarely pose a problem.
At its low price point, the BEQ700 is a great choice for those who need an affordable bass EQ to make broad adjustments in tone, whether for adapting to venue acoustics, improving the sound of a cheap bass, or taking full advantage of another effect.
AEB-3 Bass EQ Analog 5-Band Equalizer by Tomsline
What’s good: Small size, great budget option
Not so good: Audible pop when switched on, only 5 frequency bands
Frequency Bands: 62.5Hz, 125Hz, 500Hz, 1KHz, 4KHz
Gain: +18dB, -18dB
Dimensions: 4″ x 2″ x 2″
Weight: 5 oz
Another great budget option comes from the Chinese pedal company Tomsline. The thinnest bass equalizer pedal on this list, the AEB-3 could be a great pick for those who want to spend as little money, and as little space, as possible, while still getting a good product.
This is also the most feature-limited, as it only has 5 bands. Still, the bands cover a useful variety of frequencies and should cover most needs.
Unfortunately, the quality of construction on the Tomsline pedals can be a bit inconsistent, and the pedal tends to be a bit noisier than competitors. There’s even a small popping sound when the pedal is switched on.
This pedal does a lot with a little and is definitely worth a chance if you happen across one and can try it out. It’s hard to recommend ordering it online, however, given that it usually retails for more than the Behringer and with less reliable quality control.
Joyo R-12 Band Controller 10 Band Guitar and Bass EQ
What’s good: Appealing aesthetic, illuminated controls, wide frequency range
Not so good: Not designed specifically for bass
Frequency Bands: 31.25Hz, 62.5Hz, 125Hz, 250Hz, 500Hz, 1kHz, 2kHz, 4kHz, 8kHz, 16kHz
Gain: +12dB, -12dB
Dimensions: 5″ x 3″ x 1.8″
Weight: 11.2 oz
Joyo is another Chinese pedal-maker known for making budget gear of surprisingly high quality. In 2019 they launched the R-12, the newest piece featured on this list, and an impressively versatile pedal.
Unlike the other pedals featured here, the R-12 was designed to be useful for many different instruments. In spite of that, the frequency bands it adjusts have a great deal of overlap with bass EQ pedals such as the BOSS GEB-7. Multi-instrumentalist bassists should take note, especially if they often perform or record on guitar.
Another unique feature of this pedal is the illumination of its controls, which light up when the unit is turned on. For those who like to fine-tune their tone onstage, this could be a selling point, since visibility problems can often make it difficult to manipulate complex gear during a show. On the other hand, it’s easy to see how this striking aesthetic could be a deal-breaker for those who want something a bit more understated.
In some ways, this pedal is the best of both worlds, as it features the nuance of the Whirlwind EQ with the broader frequency range of pedals like the BOSS, and at a lower price than either of them. It also manages to offer 10 frequency bands while remaining significantly smaller and lighter than the Whirlwind. Still, the discerning ear might find that this more affordable option bears some signs of its price in its tone quality.
Bass EQ Basics
Before we get started on the gear rundown, it’s important that we get on the same page about EQ pedal bas(s)ics.
What is an EQ?
Equalizers allow you to raise and lower different frequencies in your sound. Your amp most likely has a simple equalizer, in the form of “Low”, “Mid”, and “High” dials. Unlike this bare-bones EQ system, the pedals we’ll cover on this list are Graphic EQs, which have a series of sliders pertaining to different frequency bands. These sliders give you the control to raise and lower your output volume around each of the selected frequencies. If you lowered all of the sliders below 300Hz by 5 dB, this would have roughly the same effect as turning down the “Low” dial on your amp. But the beauty of graphic EQ pedals is that they allow much more control and nuance in shaping your sound, and offer a user-friendly visual representation of what they’re doing, through the relative positions of the sliders.
When and How to EQ?
People often invest in an EQ pedal when they want more control to squeeze the best tone possible out of their bass, or if they often find themselves playing in rooms with acoustics that cause problems for their tone.
Once you’ve made the investment, the pedal will likely become a staple of your pedalboard, with default settings that you like, and time set aside to fine-tune during soundcheck. Cutting down on rumble frequencies in the 20 or 40Hz range can make a big difference when you’re wrestling with venue acoustics, and every room has different “resonant frequencies” which it disproportionately amplifies.
Even if you love the sound of your bass, and rarely play live, you might get an EQ to give you more control over how your instrument sounds with other pedals, or to get some flexibility in the recording studio. Some effects, like chorus and octave pedals, sound best with a little sweetening from an EQ. Add some brightness to the high-end and hear your chorus effect really shimmer, or bring out the mids to add more character to your octave effect. Manual techniques, like slap bass, can also benefit from some EQ: scooping out the mids cuts down on unwanted noise and brings out the percussive aspect.
One thing to keep in mind if you’re planning to buy an EQ for studio use is that most sound engineers will already have premium EQ products available, whether in the form of an analog mixing board or a digital plug-in. While being able to affect the signal before it enters the amp is often the best choice, these other options may make the investment unnecessary.
EQ vs Preamp Pedals
It can be easy to confuse Preamp pedals for equalizers at first glance, because many have simple EQ settings included.
Preamp pedals are designed to offer some of the settings which come on an amplifier before the signal actually reaches the amp. This can be particularly useful if you need to boost your signal or want to emulate the sound of another amp head. Many also offer “Gain” or “Drive” boosts and can function as DIs for recording or plugging into a PA.
While these features can be valuable for many players, they don’t offer the nuance and flexibility of a graphic EQ with control of specific frequency bands. They are also designed to color your tone in ways that EQ pedals are not, which is a downside if you are already happy with your basic tone and just want to make small adjustments.
For more tips and information, check out this helpful video from TalkingBass.
The best bass EQ pedals not only make your carefully crafted studio tone available at any gig or practice, but also allow you to easily correct for venue acoustics, and even coax the best sounds out of more “fun” stompboxes (like choruses or distortions). They also need to be sturdy and user friendly, with a lot of sonic flexibility and as little unwanted noise or coloration as possible.
While there are many great options available at surprisingly low prices, it’s important to choose carefully. When your EQ is on, it’s going to be coloring every aspect of your tone. We’re going to take you through 5 of the best options on the market today to see how you can find the perfect pedal for your needs – while maybe even saving enough cash to splurge on more pedals!