Harley Benton Sucker Punch... does it suck? [edit: it's a give away now]

I was buying other stuff from Thomann when I saw this pedal, 20 Euro price tag, high-gain metal-style distortion for guitar and bass (??). Given the price, I didn’t think much about that and added it to the cart. So, I have played around with it for a few days now, here’s my verdict: does this pedal suck for bass use? (Disclaimer: I am a total noob when it comes to gear/effects/pedals/etc) [update in a later post]

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: yes. Although it has its niche uses, I would probably look elsewhere for a bass pedal. I am disappointed mostly for two reasons.

The pedal comes with a rather simple layout: volume, distortion, contour and classic/extreme switch. However, most settings seem to do… nothing. It’s on or it’s off, and that’s a clear difference :rofl: but there is very little change between classic and extreme and even the main “distortion” pot doesn’t really affect the tone much. The contour is horrible, btw.

Second, possibly worse: it does cut a lot of low frequencies, or at least that’s what I hear. No matter how I turn the on-board pots or the amp eq, the bass is gone. It’s basically playing a highly distorted guitar :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

So… yeah: 2/7 stars. Possibly better for guitars. Buy only if you need a door stopper or really hate your neighbors/band mates



Yes, Harley Benton is hit and miss… I had two basses from them over the years - both astonishingly good instruments given the price tag. I also bought a multi-channel power supply for pedal boards from them - not so good…

So, perhaps they are not doing so well on electronics!?!

But, I mean… 20 Euros??? What can you expect?? Most of the time, such pedals cost you 200 Euros or much more!

You might have been sucker-punched here, but it can still be a neat paperweight (probably more likely to work for that than as a doorstop :rofl:)

PS: do you like Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)???


I definitely didn’t have high expectations, it was mostly a GAS moment :grin:

Also my bass (see profile picture) is Harley Benton, which is great value for money, but I know there is a limit to what cheap gear can do. I am mostly disappointed because there are bass audio samples on the website which don’t sound so bad, but when I use it I definitely feel the low frequencies disappear… or being completely overwhelmed?

Keep in mind, the problem might also stand between the bass and the pedal, for what we know :grin:

And I’m looking forward to hear f somehow it works better with the new bass- when it finally will be delivered

Yeah, as paperweight might do, it looks nice, if anything else

And no, the nickname came automatically from the email I used to register. I didn’t bother to change it, call me lazy :rofl: I know a few songs from Premiata Forneria Marconi, but definitely not enough to put their acronym in my nick on purpose.


There are many in here much more knowledgable about pedals than myself… but have you tried putting the pedal in the effects loop of your amp?

:joy: :+1:

1 Like

Thanks for the idea, but after a quick google research I do not think it would help. And anyway I can not do that now with my practice amp at home, whereas it should be possible with the better amp in the rehearsal room…

However, after typing the last message, I decided to give it another try. It’s not the first time it happens, that an error or issue becomes actually apparent when trying to explain it to somebody else… so, yeah, part of the problem was user-induced :sweat_smile:

Maybe it has all been discussed in other topics on pedals/effects, but I did not find much useful. Otherwise any direction is appreciated. Here is how to make the Harley Benton pedal suck a little less (both imho and so far… will update if anything new comes up)

  1. Don’t use headphones with a new effect, or at least don’t change 2 amps and headphones when figuring stuff out. While the bass tone don’t change much (or I got used to it), the effects settings are nowhere near comparable for each case. With headphones it 's shitty anyway.

  2. I kind of managed a decent tone with a pick, whereas the sucker punch definitely sucks for finger style. Is it “on purpose” or a side effect? Still not clear

  3. comparing the tone with effect on and off is probably misleading or at least not how it’s supposed to work(?). To get something decent, the on-board settings need to be quite different than with a “comparable” clean sound.
    This means the effect is either on or off for a whole song, or you need to be quite good at juggling the pots mid-song. However, given this constrain, there is some extremely distorted but now definitely bassy sound you can get with this pedal

(Updated) short answer: still yes :upside_down_face:

(Updated) long answer: not really for the price point, but very limited use

Vote: 4/7 stars, given the price. It kind of gives that metal-style distortion it promises, but there is no way to tame it. Just spend your time practicing rather than figure out why you bought it :rofl:


It might be good combined with a two signal splitter pedal to keep the low end intact. That means you can blend the clean and OD signal. I very much like the KMA Audio Tyler which even has low and high pass filter.

Thing is those splitters are expensive so you might as well look for a OD with a blend. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


You might be below a gain threshold in the pedal.
Sometimes distorition is sensitive to input.
Play harder, more…play softer, less to none.

Try increasing gain if you can to the effect?
Try an active bass or hotter pickup if you have another bass?
Try putting it in your effects loop (if you have an amp with one) and adjust amp gain.

Just some ideas.


This is what I want to try as soon as the TRBX505 comes home :smile:

Thank y’all for the input! I’ll definitely keep the advice in mind, unfortunately I have to wait until Tuesday to make louder/more complex tests in the rehearsal cave…


That Boss LS-2 pedal @John_E is using isn’t crazy expensive. It doesn’t frequency split. Cost effective way to blend clean tone back in though.

I keep this thing around specifically to never have to worry about a pedal sucking bass or feeding mud into the effect …


I don’t even use pedals any more and part of me still wants a Tyler :slight_smile:



I think the size is what stopped me. Otherwise, very cool pedal.


Indeed, I should have said expensive compared to the 20 euros that you pay for the sucker punch. There are many great OD pedals and with a splitter you can even use guitar pedals. I would love to use the original RAT 2. That Sugar Britches looks so cool.


Now I what a Tyler too :rofl:

Is that generally a good idea? Or, what are the most obvious issues/wrong effects for this set up?
In my limited understanding, guitar pedals aren’t good for bass because they cut off the low end, but otherwise they should work, don’t they?


Yep and for guitar pedals to work for bass you can toy around with a splitter. Some of the bass players on this forum do it like that. It’s great for when you also play guitar.

So to clarify this is an example from Youtube with the Boss line selector:

And this with the KMA Audio Tyler:

Well, if you are a beginner like me it may be best to stick with instrument specific pedals, but I find this concept very interesting. Especially if you are guitar player too.

Actually if I would ever redo my pedalboard I would do something with a splitter. Think @John_E did something similar recently?


In a side board, built a Ric-O-Siund for a single amp board. The Ric has a stereo output so you can effect each pickup separately. So one pickup goes to the tuner then the Boss. The bridge pickup goes to a preamp / cab sim of choice then the Boss.

Then I mix them back out to the amp (through a mute switch for silent tuning.

One of a zillion uses for the boss. It splits it switches it combines it mixes etc


The difference many bass specific pedals to their guitar counter part is just a blend knob.
Here they talk about guitar pedals on bass:

That bassist says he just uses an EQ after the pedal and boosts the bass back in a little.

I am using a GT-1000CORE, the multi effects pedal from Boss. This thing can add other pedals in an effects loop and split the signal, and also can do HPF/LPF on those paths.
I am experimenting around with some fuzz/distortion pedals in the loop and splitting the signal, but didn’t have the time to really get many sounds going.
Most of the time, it seems the way to go is keeping it simple, just use one path and add a bit of EQ.


Yes, true enough for one pedal. I also thought it wasn’t a bad investment to be able use any pedal without worry. One master blend knob to wrap around a loop of anything that wouldn’t normally work with bass.


While that may work well in many cases, the general idea just sets off alarms in my engineering brain. I’m usually trying to preserve a signal so I don’t have to try to recover it out of the mud later.

Some questions that come up for me are:

What if the low is filtered off entirely? How does one get back what isn’t there?

What happens after I tilt the lows way up and a signal that already has lows gets through? Boomy.

What happens when the bass suck pedal is in bypass? How is EQ managed?


I can’t let this go without crediting master gear researcher @eric.kiser with finding this for me. With his gear cataloging skills, he could easily be a product manager.


Truth be told… Eric’s cataloging skills extend way past gear alone :smile: