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As modern music has evolved, so has the demand for thicker and fuller bass tones. Luckily for us bassists, there’s a wealth of tools to help accomplish this, including compression, DI blending, fuzz and overdrive, or parametric EQ’ing. Regardless of what’s used, the key to effective thickening relies a lot on how well these tools are blended together, which brings us to MXR’s M287 Sub Octave Bass Fuzz. It combines two of the most popular thickening tools for bassists—fuzz and lower-octave doubling—with straightforward blending and EQ controls.
The all-analog Sub Octave Bass Fuzz is built with the same rugged standards MXR pedals are known for. Its enclosure is as tough as they come, the controls offer substantial friction when turned, and its footswitches respond to stomping with a reassuring mechanical snap. Located on the left, the fuzz section’s controls include gain and fuzz, as well as a small push-button to select between two different voicings. There’s also a 2-band EQ for additional fine-tuning. The amount of single-octave-down sub octave is governed by a single control on the right side and the effect sports footswitchable bypassing. Lastly, there’s a volume knob for the unaffected dry signal that’s tied to a midrange-boost control for adding extra cut and punch to the dry tone.
Pairing a Fender P with a Mesa/Boogie 400+ pushing a Mesa PowerHouse 4×10, I started exploring the fuzz effect by setting its EQ and volume controls at noon, the fuzz-mode button switched to its flattened-midrange mode, the gain at 3 o’clock, and the dry knob all the way down. The result was a huge tone under an avalanche of gain that delivered punchy lower mids, ribcage-rattling lows, and a pleasingly smooth top end.
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