Have you ever wondered what a 2,000-pound bee sounds like? What about the world’s largest lightsaber? The answer to both may exist within your bass rig while working the Bass Bloom pedal from FuzzHugger. The Bass Bloom is a harmonically rich fuzz pedal, and it’s capable of creating the aforementioned tones, as well as an array of fuzzy, synth-like sounds.
A Box a-Bloomin’
The Bass Bloom is based on FuzzHugger’s Algal Bloom, their popular fuzz pedal for guitarists, and its personality is manipulated through its five control knobs. The gain dial determines the amount of overdrive in the signal, while the bloom expands the fuzz tone by adding harmonic detail and sustain.
Engaging the starve (aka texture) feature, which is controlled with an unmarked knob, adds another dimension to the pedal’s fuzzed-out sounds. Turning it clockwise limits the amount of power that reaches the circuit, simulating the sound of a dying battery. And FuzzHugger wisely provides two volume knobs on the unit—one for the clean signal and one for the fuzz. This allows a player to temper the effect while still maintaining the fundamental bass tone. Avoiding the potential hazards of using 9V batteries, this well-designed pedal is powered only with an adaptor. FuzzHugger believes this environmentally friendly and financially beneficial approach optimizes the performance of their pedals.
The Buzz, the Fuzz, and
Some Nasty Bass Face
For this review, I tested the Bass Bloom by running it through a Phil Jones D-600 amp and two Glockenklang 112 cabinets. As for basses, the pedal was put through its paces with a Nash P-style and a fretless Warwick Jack Bruce Survivor. It’s ironic that lurking within this floral box are some pretty beastly sounds. After just a brief period of knob experimentation, the variety of tones that came from the Bass Bloom elicited more “dude faces” from listeners than a Keanu Reeves convention.
Manipulating the bloom and gain dials created some formidable fuzz with both basses. Starting with the Warwick fretless, I was able to create tones ranging from synthy P-Funk to flatulent, Les Claypool-like dirt. And when I went to my detuned Nash, boosting the bloom evoked a burly buzz that was capable of handling any stoner-rock gig. I could even cop a Cliff Burton-esque tone by combining the Bass Bloom with a wah pedal. FuzzHugger’s latest offering for bassists also tracked low barre chords and double-stops with quickness and definition.
Limiting the amount of power that reaches the circuit, the starve feature does exactly what its name implies by making the overall tone a bit brittle. To my ears, this control knob seemed most effective up to about the 12 o’clock position. Overall, the Bass Bloom offered endless textures of fuzz, while effectively preserving the low end of both basses.
It Had, Shall We Say,
After satisfying my ears in the more controlled environment of my practice space, it was time to bring the Bass Bloom to the stage. And not with some clean, fancy-pants rig, but rather a ’70s SVT. Driven by the Nash P through the cranked SVT, the Bass Bloom sounded like a swarm of giant bees flying into a buzz saw. My bandmates laughed in awe of this mighty tone—and then asked me to turn it down. It’s a great feeling when we bassists can sonically intimidate our guitar brethren, and the Bass Bloom proved to be perfectly capable of doing this.
The FuzzHugger Bass Bloom allows you to create a spectrum of different fuzz tones that work well with both active and passive basses. Bassists from rock to funk camps can find a number of useful sounds within its responsive controls, all at a price point that is competitive with its peers. If you’re looking to transform your bass tone into a buzzing beast, the Bass Bloom may belong in your garden.