Pedals, what’s a good starting point?

After playing a lot with my Zoom in stomp box mode, and reading the pedalboard threads, watching reviews and demos, I was thinking to start inexpensive and test some pedals.

These seem like good starters, and almost fit inside the Amazon gift card I had laying around for $100. Also, they are all Amazon Prime, and free to return if I don’t like them.


if you were to pick one of these pedals, and step it up to a highly rated, high cost pedal, which one would you do. Not only out of these 4, in your whole line??

I am thinking Compression, but don’t know if that is true. And I found a used Mark-bass compressor effects pedal for $100 that was listed 8 months ago, and has not sold, so I could prob get it for $75. so I was curious if that would be your choice too.

I already have a Behringer limiter Enhancer pedal that I got NIB at a pawn shop for $15 a while back, that I like that can be in this line.

There are countless other pedals on Let Go and Offer Up that I could choose from as well, but this is the starting point I am thinking of.

Along with a Behringer Vtone B21-U

Here we go.

Tuner Pedal - $22
No Reviews outside Amazon

Compression pedal - $25
Good reviews for inexpensive option

Jump Kokko OD Pedal - $24
Guns and Guitars rated it good, a little thin cuz it’s for guitars, but he showed a way to EQ it to sound good. I can get a used Behringer EQ for $17 at GC right now.

Bass Chorus Pedal - $25
No reviews outside Amazon

I am hoping for good info from the forum.

What is right?
What is wrong?
What is neutral.

I also have the Zoom B1Four, I will happily keep for practice, or for my daughter to practice thru headphones, or as a tuner in bypass in front of the chain??? Tho I think it will add a hum, and not sure if you can do tuning in mute with it or not. I think there is a setting for that.

This is all speculation, and for fun, and all of it could be shipped back if any doesn’t fit me personally,
Hope this helps others find a good cheaper way to get started too.


This is the Markbass Compressor

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For compressors, I really recommend this guy’s reviews:

For chorus pedals, there’s a lot of good choices. I really like the Electro-Harmonix Bass Clone. TC makes a great one ironically called the Corona Tri-Chorus, which you have an excellent model of on the B1four. They also have a really loved Stereo Chorus Flanger pedal, but I have never used it. I liked the chorus on my Zoom units.

Tuners - you have a good one in the B1four, but there’s a lot of good ones out there, TC nakes a great one, Boss and Korg as well. I have a Boss and it’s good.

Since you already have a B1four, if I were you I would probably look at things that sound better to you with analog pedals than with the sims. For me this was overdrive/distortion, so preamp and distortion pedals made sense. Lots of good choices.


So the Markbass was on his list of top tier compressors with more options, as opposed to top tier ones with fewer controls.

Do you know anything about it @howard? Do you think that a Top end compressor will make a difference?

I listed cheaper pedals as a way to physically play with them in a more hands on way then in the B1Four. Not to say I don’t like it, and won’t still use it for Max benefit and learning experience, but I was looking at some “starter” pedals that I might not even keep.
That said, I know I will keep a Compressor pedal. Which is why I was thinking to go big on that pedal now, and that Markbass for $75 looks like a steal??? But I still value the opinions of you guys here, especially if anybody has experience with it in particular.

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@howard, for the B1Four, I have the list of fox that came with it, but where can I find the breakdown to show which pedals the B1Four is modeled after. I have not dug deep, and can look at the website, but do you have a list or link?

I had not been paying attention to the specific pedals they are modeling, just the actual effect.
I don’t recognize the names or abbreviations it uses either.

And yes, the OD and Distortion are my least favorite fix coming out of it.

I found the list @howard.


I don’t know anything about it but MarkBass gear is generally top quality and if he recommended it I am sure it is good. $75 sounds good to me for that pedal as well.

Rather than buy a bunch of cheap burner pedals if I were you I would explore with your B1four, as it is flat out great for this. I’ll see if I can find the list, it’s on Zoom’s site in the docs.


Ahh, cool. Another thing you will want to do, if you look in the Zoom thread I put a link in the first post to some freeware that makes editing patches on it super easy. Then just add the pedals you want to try to a blank patch and tweak them with the knobs on the unit in stompbox mode.

I love the Zoom boxes for this kind of exploration of sound.


Thanks, I understand your point, and the Zoom is good for that, but there is a certain “hands on” element, and that is how my mind grasps things a little better. I am not done exploring the B14 by any means, but I think I will get added benefit from chaining it with other pedals. I may be checking them out from amazon as though they were library books.
I may get the Markbass compressor, and the cheap one, and play with them side by side, and see how much difference there is???

Idk really, just having fun with looking around and talking about it.

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So with compressors, you are probably not going to really “get” it initially. They are subtle. At first they will seem to you to do very little to your sound, but as time goes on and you understand what it is doing, eventually you will be like “oh man I am so glad I have this thing.” Mine is always on.

Given that, I would suggest just getting one compressor and sticking with it until you get it.

Also, as an exception to my “avoid the cheap burner” advice above, one that you might want to pick up is the Behringer BDI-21. It’s very cheap, but is a ridiculously good clone of the SansAmp Bass Driver DI preamp. It has nice tone, a two-band EQ, and overdrive/presence that just sounds generally awesome. Super fun to use. I have lots of dirt on my board but this one is there for keeps.

Your B1four’s first patch is a model of the device it is cloning.


There is one thing I can’t do with the Zoom now, and something that limits how far I can go with the Zoom. I don’t have a pc or Mac, so I can’t download the sound lab, and transfer patches or firmware upgrades.
I suppose I could get a cheap laptop instead of pedals, but I try not to do cheap on computers, they never workout.
I would love a MacBook, but…
Somebody offered to trade a MacBook for my Hartke 8x10 stack, but I was not thinking along those lines, and I don’t typically like to buy used computers from people I don’t know.

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That’s not really that limiting. You can still edit on the Zoom, it’s just less convenient.


if I had to choose only one pedal (except a tuner which is not an effect) I would pick a BDI21. a compressor is very useful but I think it’s for a little bit more advanced use : when you buy a compressor, you already know why you need one :slight_smile:

but as always it depends. if you play only clean and you’re happy with the tone you get with your amp, the BDI21 won’t help much.


I completely agree with this. If I were to have just one pedal it would be a preamp with some tone coloring and overdrive and the BDI-21 is a great inexpensive choice.

(I’d actually keep my Battalion in that case but it costs 3-4x the BDI-21)

Additionally, the compressors on the B1four are excellent. There might even be a model of that MarkBass.

edit: yep, the B1four has a MarkBass MultiComp model :slight_smile:


Yep @howard, that BDI-21 was on my list in top post, but I called it Vtone something.

I actually do understand compression, and hear it, and know it’s importance, that’s why it was my first choice of pedals to just get a good one as a starter.

Also, you linked that kokko compressor in one of your posts in the Zoom thread as a good cheap option. I heard other good reviews of it, so it’s probably not a bad choice as a starter compressor, but the Markbass is an option for me locally at a great price, so I just need to decide if I want it or not.

The Tuner is an anomaly to me, I can’t see why I would want an expensive option as long as it meets certain requirements. True bypass, tune in mute, and chromatic. Beyond that, as long as it’s reliable, colors a don’t matter to me, and super features like the Polytune, which are nice, are not where I would put my money, at least I don’t think I would.

The chorus pedal up there is the one I will prob leave out, for now, and I will use the B14 as a chorus pedal, like you said, it has great ones.

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Yeah I looked at that Kokko and it seemed fine. There’s a vast number of compressors that are basic clones of a specific MXR comp, and it is one IIRC.

For a tuner, since it is usually the first pedal in your chain, there is a feature you should look for: a clean buffered bypass. This will prevent signal attenuation from your eventually nice long chain of true bypass pedals in the middle :slight_smile:

I just bought a used Boss Tu-2 from the '90s and am quite happy with it.

It’s nice to have a tuner there as a quick mute switch too. For now, just make a bypass patch on your Zoom and put it first in the chain :slight_smile:


Yes, the BDI-21 is a given. I made my mind up on that one long ago, in fact, if all of the Behringer pedals were readily available, I would just get theirs. I have the Limiter Enhancer, and it is great.

@howard, the thing is I can’t put other patches into the Zoom. I just use what’s in it.

You can edit existing patches on the zoom (even the presets), and it should have a bunch of blank patches. You can set up any pedal chain you want directly on the unit.

re: Behringer, check this out:

They are cheap and sometimes flimsy, but some of them are dead on clones :slight_smile:


Is that different then true bypass for the tuner?
I was thinking the Zoom later in the chain for chorus and cam sim. I need to check the tuner settings on the B14, is there a “mute” setting?

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Yes, buffered bypass is the opposite of true bypass.

You generally want true bypass pedals. But if all your pedals are true bypass, if you have a lot eventually you get subtle signal attenuation from all the pedals. So it’s generally good to have one pedal that is buffered bypass to prevent this.

Where to put the zoom in the chain is a good question and one you will have a lot fo fun playing with.

I strongly recommend reading this, it will tell you how to add/edit/tweak pedal chains, how to use stompbox mode, and about the mute with the tuner: