I actually went out to buy an EHX Bass Mono Synth pedal, but the shop guy suggested I audition it first. And I found it crappy and unusable.
So I asked if he had any pedal that could give me a fat almost synthy fuzz sound without losing the bottom end. Because when I plug my bass into the guitar fuzz effects I have, they suck the bass end right out.
I was presented with this MXR Sub Octave Bass Fuzz, which I auditioned and just couldn't leave in the shop - even at £200.
What is it?
Well, with its dual footswitches you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a 2-in-1 pedal, offering either sub or fuzz or both. But it's really not. It's a dedicated bass fuzzbox that can be tweaked to the Goldilocks spot, and then have some extra Daddy-bear low grunt kicked in!
How's it work?
There are two versions of fuzzery to choose from, courtesy of a small button and a red/blue LED. Blue fuzz kinda breaks up the heart of your signal whereas Red fuzz gives more of a buzz at the top end. Both seem natural and usable. The character of the fuzz is then down to how you set the Gain control. Lower gain is more responsive to the attack and tone of your playing. Higher gain increases the sustain and saturation of the fuzz. Finally, there are mini Bass and Treble knobs that allow you to shape the tone of the fuzz quite dramatically. And the ability to boost the low end whilst still having the pedal scream like a vixen seems like a good thing to me!
There are then three independent output level controls, allowing for all sorts of blending - one for the fuzz, one for the (switchable) suboctave and one for the dry signal. And that Dry control doesn't just add back a bit of your untreated bass, it has a little mid-boost knob that allows you to tighten up what could be a very fat dose of bassy trebly fuzzy goodness, by dialling in a clean midrange thump.
The suboctave seems to track very well - I couldn't fault it. And should you want to use the pedal as a clean sub, you can turn the Fuzz volume to minimum and engage both footswitches and off you go.
There is no control to adjust the overall level coming out of the pedal. Never mind. You will be heard.
What does it look like?
It's a double-size MXR pedal. 125x90mm in a gold, metal box. Input Jack to the right, output jack to the left. 9V in at the top, or battery compartment underneath.
Actually, the plastic battery door sits proud of the base of the pedal, so I might suggest sticking rubber feet at the corners if you want it steady on the floor. Crazy.
Engaging the suboctave brings on a blue LED, and engaging the pedal itself lights a white LED so powerful that if you stand directly above it and look down it will save you thousands of pounds in laser eye surgery!
This has got to be worth a look, if you are wanting to shape a deep, floorshaking fuzz. And bear in mind you can't chain separate fuzz and sub pedals to achieve the same thing.
I know there are plenty of alternatives, and some people may view this product through a dark glass (geddit?). But for me, for now, I'm a happy man.