What’s in a name? Apologies for going full Shakespeare off the bat, but the question is actually germane. “Providence” is defined by many as the manifestation of divine care or direction, a pretty lofty appellation for a company furnishing stompboxes for the great unwashed among us. But given its track history—and a demonstrated soft side for the low-end community—Providence has thus far earned a name so sweet. Here we turn to one of their latest offerings, the ABC-1 Anadime Bass Chorus.
Based on the company’s ADC-4 Anadime Chorus, the ABC-1 Anadime Bass Chorus takes the best features of its predecessor—rugged build, tidy form factor, and a bucket-brigade delay circuit—and presents it in a bass-facing format. The ABC-1 screams quality from the get-go from its powder-coat chassis to its heavy-duty footswitch and easy-access pointer knobs.
Inside, Providence places its D.C.G. circuit, a double-contact grounding mechanism that promises durability and improved sound. That’s a hard one to assess in an evaluation such as this, but on gigs and in gigbags, the pedal proved itself to be a stout little stompbox.
The ABC-1’s raised LED serves a dual purpose: The bright, blue light pulses at the tempo set by the pedal’s speed control, but it also acts as an indicator of battery strength—dimming when the charge sags below 7 volts. Handy.
My only reservation regarding the pedal’s roadworthiness is its 3-position deep-mode toggle, which is somewhat precariously placed in an exposed area below the speed knob. That said, the switch felt sturdier than most, and allowed for little lateral movement.
Depth and Dimension
A chorus pedal at its most basic needs two controls: one for rate and the other for depth of modulation. Judged on these merits alone, the ABC-1 is perfectly adequate, as those controls function precisely as they should. Dig deeper, and you’ll find what makes the Anadime Bass Chorus so special.
Just as overdrive and fuzz pedals can vex bass players in how they suck the low end out of the signal, modulation effects can be problematic in how they become mired in muck, sluggishly spitting out a signal that lacks definition. Providence tackles this problem with a high-pass filter (HPF) knob that offers tremendous control over the low-end character.
With the HPF set at minimum value, my hot-rodded Fender Precision going through a ’65 Ampeg SB-12 sounded a tad tinny. The low end began to bloom as I turned the HPF toward noon, and when turned full-bore, the HPF control let in more booty than a bouncer at a Kardashian bachelorette bash.
On its surface, the ABC-1’s deep-mode switch might also seem to function as a frequency filter, but in fact it’s cooler than that. By controlling the effect’s delay response, the deep control provides three distinct settings. Flip the switch down, and the chorus has a presence and immediacy that will make you feel as if you were just plunged into a pool of pudding. Flipped to the middle position, the effect takes on a more airy quality, as if you’re bobbing in a bubble ball. The deep switch goes even deeper in its high position by serving up a sound that somehow feels both submerged and spacious.
It can be tough to make a splash in a market as crowded as chorus pedals. But with its eye toward the low end, its superior build quality, and its spacious, multi-dimensional sound and feel, the Providence Anadime ABC-1 makes some others in its class seem about as warm as soggy blankets.