Hartke Bass Attack Pedal

Hartke Bass Pedal Review
by Kevin Johnson

I picked up one of these and I wanted to write a review. This is a very affordable and versatile pedal that someone using a 12ver and one amp should definitely check out. It is a pre-amp in a pedal form. There are controls for level, bass, treble, brite, harmonics, mix and shape. There are two foot switches, one for shape and the other an on/off for tube emulation. There is a " input, " parallel output, " output, XLR output, pre / post switch, ground lift / phantom power switch, AC adapter input and 9-volt battery door.

The level, bass and treble controls are always active. The harmonics, mix and brite controls are turned on or off by the footswitch. The harmonics control is meant to emulate the overdrive that you get from a tube amp. The mix control sets the balance of the harmonics added to your sound. The overdrive is usable, it is not as compressed sounding as a SansAmp but it does give a good hot tube sound. Use the mix control to set the level to your liking. The brite control is similar to a presence control and comes in handy when wishing to control the extreme frequencies from a 12ver.

The shape control is what sets this baby apart. The shape control is described as a variable notch filter that enhances or cuts high and low frequencies depending on where it is set. I'm not sure exactly how this works, but what I can tell you is when you turn the knob clockwise all the way, the bass is boosted and the highs cut, resulting in a dub-like bowel rattling sound! All the way counterclockwise results in the most obnoxious high-pitched slap tone you can imagine! By sweeping through the frequencies you can locate the sweet spot that will bring out the highs from your 12ver and keep the bottom strong.

I've been fooling around with this pedal for about three weeks now, and I am very happy with the results. At around $100 retail, it is a small outlay for a very versatile device. I encourage anyone to check this out, especially if you are one of those who feel that the SansAmp Bass Driver is lacking because it doesn't have a mid control. You may be pleasantly surprised by the Hartke Bass Attack Pedal!

I used the Attack Pedal at rehearsal last night, and what a difference over my SansAmp! I set the shape to about 850hz and kicked it in and out depending on the song. For the one semi-slap song I do, I turned the frequency to about 150. The bass cut through better than ever - our sound guy was impressed. What a great deal this pedal is!

Kevin Johnson
Methuen, Massachusetts