Top Music Gear Review Site

Top 10 Best Guitar Effects Pedals

15

For the serious guitarist, the pedal they use is almost as important as the guitar they’re slinging over their shoulders at the beginning of a performance. A pedal certainly won’t improve the talent of the player, and they’re not designed to make a guitar easier to play. What they are designed to do is manipulate the sound that the instrument makes. Pedals, aka stompboxes, come in a wide variety of options and functions so coming up with the BEST guitar pedals on the market is no easy task. However, there are some classic pedals out there that have remained staples among the serious professional musicians and that’s what we’ll discuss below.

There are a TON of pedals on the market, and it can be overwhelming when you start to shop. There are countless pedals for multiple kinds of guitars:  acoustics, electric, bass, etc. However, there are a few types of pedals that specialize in a particular effect, and that’s what we’ll briefly touch on before we get into the actual model reviews. With that said, here’s a list of some quintessential styles of pedal you should consider adding to your kit:

  • Distortion - Popular among hard rock and metal fans, these pedals produce that rough, hazy sound. It does this by distorting the actual sound waves and piling on overtones so that the end result is a sound that feels as if it’s way too loud but somehow still fits with the music.

  • Delay - A delay feature in a pedal will give you an echo effect by duplicating your notes as you play them. It does this by mirroring each audio signal you produce slightly after you play it. Some pedals will allow you to control how long the actual delay is.

  • Wah - Very popular with 60s and 70s rock (think Jimmy Hendrix’s Voodoo Child), the wah pedal produces its signature “wah-wah” sound by boosting certain audio frequencies. The more you pedal, the funkier the sound you can produce.

  • Phaser - This style of pedal produces its sound by amplifying certain tones and reducing others. By splitting the notes in two like this you get a ripple effect that is very unique.

  • Compressor - A compressor pedal creates a sound effect that is very sharp and punchy. It does this by controlling the volume and smoothing out the initial strumming of the note.

  • Reverb - A reverb pedal magnifies the sound and creates an effect like the note is being played in a room far larger than it actually is.

  • Chorus - A chorus pedal does very much what the name implies--it creates a choir or orchestra-like effect by changing up the pitch of the note. You also get a bit of a delay when using a chorus pedal.

  • Flanger - A flanger pedal could easily be called the “sci-fi” pedal. A flanger produces a fantastic “spacey” sound by using a short delay and inverting the actual audio signal.

  • Multi-effects - As the name implies, a multi-effects pedal gives you a multitude of effects options in one place. It’s like the Swiss Army Knife of guitar pedals. The effects pedals themselves vary in the range of sounds they each produce. Some simply give you the basic effects to play with, while others can make your guitar sound like a completely different instrument.

As with most other pieces of electronic gear, there are some elements you should consider when shopping for guitar effects pedals. Here are a few of those considerations:

  • Price-- Most pedals are going to be reasonably priced, but as you can see from the list above, the investment comes by way of purchasing many different pedals. Think about the types of sounds you want to create and form a budget based on the number of pedals you’ll need to purchase.

  • Style--As mentioned above, each pedal creates a different sound so think about the kind of music you want to play. Then it’s just a matter of buying more and more pedals and adding to your collection. Most serious musicians will add their pedals to one “pedal board,” some of which are impressive and insanely complex-looking works of art.

  • Brand--As you research pedals you’ll discover that, like guitars, there are a ton of brands to choose from, but most serious musicians will pick one of the best and tend to stick with them for most of their careers.

  • Demos--It’s important to see the pedals in action. If you’re physically shopping in a music shop you should be able to test out pedals on site. If you’re looking online, take some time to check out some YouTube videos and get a feel for whether or not you’re on the right track with your pedal selection.

OUR TOP 10 BEST GUITAR PEDALS

Now that you have an idea about some of the elements you need to take into consideration when shopping for your pedals it’s time to take a look at 10 options. You’ll find a few of each type of pedal, as well as a variety of price points.

MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay

If you’re looking for a great delay pedal, look no further than the MXR M169 Carbon Copy. MXR is a solid brand, and you’ll see their products on the pedal boards of some pretty prominent musicians. The Carbon Copy produces a delayed sound that is very warm and rich. The delay time comes in at 600 ms, and the device has an optional modulation switch at the top. You also get some switches to select some mixes (so you can switch between a “dry” and “wet” blend), as well as a regen switch, which acts as a delay/repeat function. This pedal isn’t complicated, and if you’re looking for a simple pedal with raw delay this one is for you. It doesn’t take up a lot of space so it’d make an excellent addition to any pedal lineup, especially if you’re travelling with your kit.

MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay

PEDAL TYPE

Delay

Boss GE-7 7-Band EQ Pedal

The only Boss model in the lineup, the GE-7 offers the user a 7-band equalizer, and it ranges from 100 Hz to 6.4kHz. The GE-7 features boost/cut of 15 dB, and all of these attributes come together to give you all kinds of control over the final sound your strings are going to produce. As equalizers go, this pedal is pretty simple, but if you’ve got a board-full of pedals that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What the Boss GE-7 does do is give you simple, yet total control of your frequency and boost, and if you’re looking for more control of the notes you’re making, this is the pedal for you.

Boss GE-7 7-Band EQ Pedal

PEDAL TYPE

Equalizer

Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal

As far as distortion pedals go, the Pro Co Rat 2 is definitely one of the more popular choices. This pedal covers most of the effects you’ll need in a distortion pedal, and you’ll easily be able to control your guitar’s distortion, sustain, overdrive and fuzz. If you’re playing a lot of gritty rock and roll, this is definitely a pedal to look at. This pedal is also popular with bass guitar players, as it allows you to dial back the treble and really push the lower bass sound. The Pro Co Rat 2 is time tested, and if you do your homework you’ll find a ton of positive reviews and praise for the pedal. A distortion pedal of some kind should be on every serious player’s board, and this one is an excellent choice.

Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal

PEDAL TYPE

Distortion

MXR EVH117 Flanger Guitar Effects Pedal

This MXR product can be powered by a simple AC adapter or two 9 volt batteries. As simple as that sounds, the EVH117 is one of best flanger pedals on the market. Bands like Van Halen use this pedal regularly on some of their more popular songs. In fact, the “EVH” here actually stands for “Eddie Van Halen,” and the pedal comes with a preset EVH switch which will automatically tune your guitar to the same speed, width, and manual settings that Van Halen uses so you can replicate their signature sound. You don’t have to be a Van Halen fan to appreciate what an awesome pedal this one is, but if you are a fan then having this on your board is just one more perk.

MXR EVH117 Flanger Guitar Effects Pedal

PEDAL TYPE

Flanger

Electro-Harmonix Soul Food

Another very popular pedal, the Soul Food from Electro-Harmonix is extremely responsive, and the compact design makes it an easy addition to an existing pedal board. The pedal features a true bypass and buffered bypass setting, and it boasts a killer overdrive sound, too. It’s very affordable when you compare it to other fuzz pedals on the market, and it’s a good option for those looking for a little more headroom and definition. Check out some of the videos online of this thing in action and you’ll see just how impressive a pedal it is.

Electro-Harmonix Soul Food

PEDAL TYPE

Distortion/Fuzz/Overdrive

Wampler Pedals Ego Compressor V2

The Ego is a very popular choice among compression pedals. There are plenty of dials on this one to really explore and zero in on the type of sound you want to produce. You can tweak the overall volume, blend, attack, tone and sustain. The blend knob is a really great feature as it allows you to really control your tonal quality by balancing louder notes with softer ones, making for a really even sound. This one is an affordable and effective option for those looking to add a compression pedal to their board.

Wampler Pedals Ego Compressor

PEDAL TYPE

Compressor

Zoom MS-70CDR MultiStomp

This pedal is a great choice if you want both a reverb and delay but don’t want to drop the cash on two separate pedals. Plus you get a little chorus option thrown in for good measure. While Zoom is normally known for portable audio recorders and microphones, this pedal is no less an excellent addition to any pedal board. You get 86 guitar effects and an easy interface, as well as a built-in tuner. It’s compact, making it perfect for travel or placement on a board, and the digital screen on the face allows the user to easily navigate through all of the potential settings and customization options. As far as combo pedals go, this is one of the best options.

Zoom MS-70CDR MultiStomp

PEDAL TYPE

Chorus/Delay/Reverb

MXR M101 Phase 90

This is one of the best phaser pedals on the market. Serious guitar players rave about this particular model and it’s for good reason. The Phase 90 produces an analog sound that is extremely rich and warm. If you’re looking to produce that awesome “swoosh” sound this pedal will get it done for you, and control knob allows you to control the speed. This is an awesome pedal because you don’t just have to use it with a six string guitar--it will work equally well with bass, keyboard and even vocal equipment. The switches are pretty bare bones, but don’t let that fool you. Playing with the speed can really change up the kinds of sound you can produce. This is one awesome phaser, and if you’re in the market for one you should definitely check out the MXR M101 Phase 90.

MXR M101 Phase 90

PEDAL TYPE

Phaser

TC Electronic Hall of Fame

This pedal is arguably one of the best reverb pedals on the market. This particular model has been around for a while, and artists like Michael Jackson and Dire Straits have included it as part of their equipment setup. The TC Electronic Hall of Fame has 10 reverb settings as well as a stereo I/O. Deep tonal options allow you to fully customize the sound and feel of the reverb effect you’re trying to create. You can lose yourself for hours just playing with the sounds you can create with this one. Fully balanced tone, level and decay make this one of the best reverb pedals you can get.

TC Electronic Hall of Fame

PEDAL TYPE

Reverb

TC Electronic Flashback 2

This TC model is an excellent choice for those looking for some fantastic looping and delay effects. The Flashback boasts 11 delay times, 40 seconds of looping built-in and some audio tapping as well. The audio tapping allows you to set delay times in real time, so if you’re playing live and want to improvise you can. The pedal will automatically match your tempo so if you’re improvising with a live band it’s an awesome feature. The pedal has a lot of knobs and switches, and they allow you to play with things like delay time, feedback and FX levels.

TC Electronic Flashback 2

PEDAL TYPE

Delay/Looper

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This