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Category Archives for "Guitar Pedals"

Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal Review

Best Delay Pedal Boss DD-7

The Boss DD-7 is the latest addition to the successful range of Boss delay pedals. Among others, the line includes the popular DD-3, DD-5 and DD-6.

The Boss DD-7 Digital Delay is designed in a way that incorporates all of the best features of the delays that come before it and packs them into their signature stomp box enclosure. The engineers at Boss have really outdone themselves with this one, and here is why:

The Boss DD-7 Compared To The Delays Before It

Best Delay Pedal Boss DD-7

The best way to find out what the latest model stands out is to compare it with the previous models. Boss took the reviews and suggestions of their audience into consideration, resulting in the specifications of the DD-7 being a combination of the DD-2’s classic warmth, the DD-3’s pedal look and the DD-5’s evolved functionality. Boss really did their homework this time and worked hard to replicate the DM-2’s sound via the Analog mode of the DD-7.

The DD-5 was the first Digital Delay by Boss that had a tap-tempo feature included, which was used by plugging in an external switch like the FS-5U. The DD-6 decided to go ahead with stereo inputs and exclude the external footswitch, much to the dismay of many loyal users. Boss was quick to take customer feedback into account. Once again the external footswitch jack is equipped on the DD-7, all the same keeping the stereo inputs maintained. So a lot of thought was put into creating the DD-7.

Features:

  • Approximately 6.4 seconds delay time
  • For sounds emulating chorus, a Modulation Delay mode is present
  • The ever popular Boss DM-2 is emulated through the Analog Delay mode
  • Tap Tempo feature through external footswitch
  • Feedback, Delay Time and Effect level is controlled via external Expression Pedal
  • Approximately 40 seconds of sounds is offered on sound recording through the Hold mode
  • Stereo Inputs and Outputs, with Wet/Dry routing and panning

Sound & Performance:

Features aside, it is important to look at the sound quality the DD-7 delivers and how well it executes it. The controls are intuitive and simple, offering the standard Feedback, Effect level and Delay Time functions. Itis very fast and easy to dial in the required amount of both delay and feedback delay.

The sound itself is very clear and crisp, giving a fantastic reproduction with an added hi-fi warmth. The sound is very modern, and feels more alive and soulful. This is definitely one of the best delays that Boss has produced.

The Hold mode is great if you like messing around with basic loops, but there is no feature to save loops. If that is what you want, then you may want to look into getting a dedicated looper, like the RC-300. The DD-7 is still a good choice to give you some experience with looping.

The Modulate mode gives a chorus-like sound to the output. Its control is limited, so it isn’t possible to adjust the depth and rate of the effect. But again, the DD-7 is a good entry level item to help you determine whether or not you want a pedal dedicated to chorus effects or have a small area on the pedalboard to do so.

The Analog mode is the most remarkable feature of this pedal, give a warm and smooth sound output that will put your mind off buying a dedicated analog delay pedal. Certain sound purists argue that the feature is not a perfect emulation of the one provided on the Boss DM-2, but for now it is as good as it can get and is a breath of fresh air in the otherwise sharp digital delay sounds.

The Reverse mode changes any sound played through it by giving it a psychedelic twist to it and basically reversing the signal. This is great for amping up some parts of a song or adding an unexpected flavor to a guitar solo, anyone say Hendrix??

The Tap tempo can be used without an external footswitch by simply pressing the footswitch for 2 seconds, followed by tapping the tempo. But this is sort of wonky for live use so we recommend getting the FS-5U footswitch.

I think it is safe to say that the Boss DD-7 Digital Delay is the king of the delays in the Boss line up for now. It offers something for everyone; analog as well as modern delay sounds, unique and interesting effects, and a tap-tempo that is optional. All these functions will make a great addition to any pedalboard.

Boss RC-300 Looper Pedal Review

Introduction To The RC-300

Are you looking for an honest review on the Boss RC-300 Loop Station? We thought so and we’re more than willing to share our two cents on Boss’ frontrunner looper. If you have read our previous article on the best looper pedal on the market, then you may already be familiar with this bad boy. However, we wanted to dive a bit deeper since it is such a beast of a loop station. 

This looper is under stiff competition with other loopers in the market – think, Jam Man Delay from Digitech. Not to mention its predecessor, the RC-50 Loop Station is still not out of the picture.

So, what makes the RC-300 Loop Station special? Is it worth your precious time and money? We’ll find out as this review goes deeper into its features.

Details

Let’s now delve in to the main part of the subject in focus and see what makes the RC 300 such a great loop station.

Size:

The Boss RC-300 Loop Station comes in a noticeably enormous size compared to the models that came before it. It’s a little bit over 21 inches wide and nine inches from back to front. It comes in a jagged metal construction with a total of eight foot pedals and a built-in expression pedal to allow you to shape your sound.

Features:

  • · It’s jam-packed with features that you can find in most loopers out in the market – tempo-shifting functions, reverse playback, different stop modes, auxiliary inputs, undo/redo functionality, and rhythm tracks.
  • · This looper makes the process of switching between tracks easier by giving each one a dedicated “Record/Play/Overdub” and “Stop” pedal so you can record onto track one, then hit the pedal for track two and start recording onto it instantly. This feature is perfect for live musicians!
  • · Just like the RC-50 Loop Station, the RC-300 features a variety of outputs for subs and guitar amps; this simply means you can have your bass thumping out of a bass stack instead of your guitar amp. It also comes with standard 99 internal memory locations, with three tracks stored in each location. Another awesome thing about this looper is its internal memory can store up to three hours of recording, way better than its predecessor.
  • · You can also connect the RC-300 using a USB cable straight to your computer which will allow you to increase the amount of loops you can store.
  • · The RC-300 also has built-in effects where you can add phaser, flanger, chorus, pitch-bend, distortion, tremolo, lo-fi effects, and delay to your recordings.
  • · Furthermore, the unit allows you to alter the pitch of recordings without changing the tempo, this is referred to as its transpose function. There is also a particular effect to turn your guitar into a bass, that’s important for “one man band” musicians. They’ve also included a number of vocal effects to make your alter the way your voice sounds – you can sound more masculine, robotic, feminine, you can even experiment on the different levels of voice sounds available and we think that this is a totally cool feature of the RC-300.
  • · Another awesome thing about the new Boss looper is that effects can be set up for use in combination with any of the three available tracks. Depending on how you split up tracks for your songs, you can add wild pitch bends to a lead part without affecting the rhythm. You can also apply the effects to all tracks, if you like.
  • · The RC-300 Loop Station also has the largest selection of rhythm backing tracks (23 of them). It also has 17 different time signatures, each with close to 10 rhythm backing tracks.
  • · In addition to ensuring that your overdubs stay in time with the original recordings, this looper ensures your 3 tracks fit together properly. If you’re a beginner, turn this function on and if you’re more of an experienced user, you can simply turn this function off. It definitely makes the looping process much easier than doing it unassisted.
  • · Another plus that we noticed is that the actual operation of the pedal can be done entirely hands-free. Imagine being able to create a three track loop with multiple overdubs on each using just the foot pedals! This is clearly a huge advantage for live players, and the ability to bring in and take out different tracks according to your preference make the RC-300 Loop Station fitting for complex, hands-free composition.

However, more complex things still require fingers to operate like selecting a specific rhythm track and setting time signature. Luckily, the options that entails the need for you to stoop over and operate the control panel can all be set prior to a performance or between songs. This will result in some silence, though. The good news is, silence won’t happen mid track.

The Verdict

In general, the Boss RC-300 Loop Station has all the features and more that a looper could ask for. It’s quite versatile and can be used during live performances, for complex compositions, as a dependable practice instrument, or anything that’s weirdly in between.

It’s great for performing artist that either work alone or as part of an actual band and the impressively massive memory allows you to store more than enough data without the need to obsess over whether you have enough space or not. Boss definitely has come a long way from the RC-50 and has done an excellent job with designing the feature packed RC-300. This device is totally a worthy investment!

Guitar Tone – How To Perfect Your Tone

This is going to be a fairly short article, but by no means should it be underestimated as this topic is one of the most important part of playing guitar in my opinion. Now, your tone will only be solid if you are actually able to play the guitar well and are capable of hearing minute differences in tone. So with that being said, keep practicing if you don't even know what tone is or don't know what I am talking about! 

Guitar tone is a complex beast. It takes skill and ability to be able to perfect your tone to how you want it to sound. Some guitar players spend their whole lives dedicated to finding the best tone for their style of playing. I may not be that intense but I have been searching for great tone ​for the last 5 years of my life. I went from knowing very little about guitars, guitar amps, guitar pedals and guitar accessories to diving deep down to try and figure out the foundation of great tone. 

Ive gone from using basic and cheap guitar pedals to buying some solid boutique high end pedals that nail a precise tone. However, it is important to not guitar tone should not only be developed through pedals and accessories. You need to start out by picking the best guitar and the best amp that will be right for your playing.

For example, it wouldn't make much sense for a heavy metal guitarist to pick out a guitar that is meant for jazz or blues. Instead they would want something potentially with active pickups and ​a lot of action so they can nail the solos and punch out the heavy parts. However, if you are a blues player you may want to opt in for a more subtler guitar that won't produce such heavy madness. 

In terms of guitar pedals though, you can read all of our reviews to find out what different pedals might sound like. A good place to start would be reverb pedals, fuzz pedals, overdrive pedals and a modulation pedal like a chorus or tremolo. ​

The TC Electronics X4 Delay Pedal (Lead Guitar Review)

flashbackx4delaypedal
flashbackx4delaypedal

The Flash X4 Delay Pedal is TC Electronic's flagship delay and looper pedal. It’s a culmination of TC Electronic’s many years of experience crafting amazing delay tones. But the question is, is this model worth purchasing? We’ll find out whether this delay pedal is worth your time and money in this review. The TC Electronic

Flashback X4 offers a broad range of features which we will assess in this review. But before getting into the features, let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros

  • The looper is extremely flexible and easy to use
  • This pedal offers an excellent range of delay types
  • You can instantly access three different presets
  • The Tone-Print feature is undeniably easy to use, adding significant control over the X4

Cons

  • It’s a bit large due to the incorporation of the tap tempo footswitch
  • At times it feels like the pedal is trying to do too much at once, similar to a multi effects pedal but FAR from it.

Types of Delay The X4 Offers

The TC Electronics Flash X4 offers twelve different delay types and four preset positions. This includes the typical delay modes which are found on any digital delay pedal, in addition to several modes which will prove handy in certain situations.

One feature that is fairly handy would be the the four preset slots. The slots are Tone-Print positions that allow for the creation of any preset from the Tone-Print Editor. With the editor you’ll be able to create and save delay tones on any of the provided three instant preset slots accessed by the foot switches.

I really like the preset features because of the ease of use they provide when playing live. Instead of having to turn the top-left knob to access your Tone-Prints or to change between different delays types, you are able to easily access your favorite settings directly from the footswitches.

Details on The Flashback x4 Looper Component

The Flashback X4 boasts an inbuilt looper as well as a delay. You can enable and disable the looper using a small toggle switch that you’ll find on the pedal’s face (its in between two knobs). Once enabled, four foot switches will control different looper functions. This looper has a maximum recording time of 40 seconds, which isn’t as long as some of the pedals in our best loop pedal article, but for a delay/loop combo its pretty alright.

A dedicated knob will help you control the loop’s volume level. There is a separate level knob makes it quite a breeze to mix your levels correctly. Which can be helpful if you accidently record something too loud and need to adjust it.

One of the top features is that you can use the looper while using the different delay types, something that’s uncommon with other pedals. The X4 Looper is hugely flexible and is among the best loopers we’ve seen integrated onto a delay pedal.

A Closer Look - I/O

x4-back

On the back, you’ll find the input/output expression pedal input as well as the USB and MIDI options. The Expression Pedal feature might not be a big deal, but it’s nice to see that it’s present.

The Flashback X4 features both MIDI In and Thru. Some artists will find that extra capability useful. You can read the Flashback X4 manual for more information on features like the Expression Pedal or the MIDI.

Tap Tempo Footswitch

One thing I have started to gravitate away from are pedals that lack a dedicated tap tempo footswitch. The ability to quickly tap the tempo using your foot rather than turning a knob or pushing a button is a handy feature to say the least, and one that comes stock on the X4. Features like this are what make the X4 superior to the other smaller Flashback pedals TC Electronics offers.

Tone-Print

TC Electronic Tone-Print is an app and editor that allows you to customize presets and upload them onto your pedal. The X4 comes standard with presets from some famous guitarists. The smartphone app enables you to customize presets and load them wirelessly onto your pedal through your guitar pickups… pretty insane if you ask me!

While there is an option to connect your X4 to your Mac or PS via USB, you can just use your smartphone to ‘beam’ your Tone-Prints onto your pedal. Considering that the app is entirely free, that is an impressive feature!

Sound

The days where both digital and analog delay pedals sounded awful are far behind us. While there are some bad-sounding pedals out there, most delay pedals sound true to the signal. The X4, however, sounds fantastic.

The analog-style delays sound authentic, giving a nice, warm feel. The Space delay creates a beautiful, rich atmospheric floor that you’ll build on. With the surprisingly useful Reverse delay, you’ll have a nice smooth sound. Such a broad range of delay types ensure that you never feel like the Flashback X4 is missing something.

Ease of Use

As more features get incorporated on pedals, they typically become more complicated. The more presets, effects, and footswitches available on some pedals make it quite fiddly. Fortunately, the X4 is pretty straightforward. Just turn the far-left knob to choose the delay type or to select a Tone-Print. Take advantage of the three middle knobs to control the parameters: delay time, delay level, and feedback. So far so simple, but it gets even better. Hold down one of the 3 main footswitches to keep a delay setting for future use.

The looper works superb, thanks to the four footswitches. Each footswitch’s function is well labeled and easy to see. The large chunky knobs feel pretty secure. The large size ensures that it won’t flip over or roll around by accidentally tugging a cable, not the craziest benefit but still something to mention.. The pedal is conveniently rugged and will last a long time.

Firmware Updates

The Flashback X4 benefits a lot from firmware updates. Upon purchasing this pedal, it’ll be worth keeping an eye on firmware updates for bug fixes and improvements. The quickest way of checking for updates is searching for ‘Flashback X4 firmware update.'

Our Verdict

The Flashback X4 Delay Pedal has been around for quite a while. It has already built up an excellent reputation for being an incredible delay pedal. We confirm that it’s a good model and a favorite choice if you’re seeking a pedal which will offer you an extensive range of useful features. Those who play for fun might not need this large and diverse pedal. Hands-down, the X4 is worth considering as it is a quality product from a reputable manufacturer.

Proper Order of Pedals In A Pedal Chain: The Basics

Best Pedal Board

I have been writing and reviewing guitar pedals for a while now and there is a question I get asked by beginner guitar players quite often. That question is, "what order do I put my pedals in"? 

While there is not an exact formula for placement of guitar pedals, as you can get some crazy sounds by breaking the rules, there are a couple basic rules of thumb that can be applied. In this article, I will go over how I structure my pedal board and give some reasons on why I do the things I do. 

The Pedals I Use:

Let's first get an understanding of the pedals I am using. Now, my pedal board has changed over the years and will probably continue to do so, but I think I have found a set up I like. I should mention I have other pedals that I use and some I have bought and sold that are not in my chain, these are just the ones I am using right now: 

First, My Tuner​: Poly Tune II

Best Guitar Tuner Page Image

I use the Poly Tune II tuner pedal as I really like how it can supply power to my other pedals through the use of a daisy chain. It has a full strumming tuning mode, which I personally never really use, and also a really accurate single string tuner. It is a decent pedal at a decent price point. 

A tuner should always go first in the chain. This is because you want to tune off of the most natural guitar signal you can get, the one coming straight from the guitar. You can also use a tuner pedal as a switch to cut your signal to the PA by turning on the tuner. Can be quite useful in live situations. 

Next Up: Compression

MXR M102 Dyna Comp Compression Pedal

This is one of the most recent pedals I bought, and boy am I glad I bought it! I am talking about the MXR Dyna-Comp compression pedal. It is a classic compression that basically can be considered one of the first compression pedals out there. I put the compression after my tuner, because like the tuner, we want to focus on the natural signal from the guitar and compress that. We don't want to apply compression to all of our other effects! 

After Compression, Comes Dirt! = FUZZ Pedal

The next section of my pedal board, composed of two pedals, is the dirty section of my pedal board. Or alternatively, the section where I put my "gain" pedals. These are the fuzz, distortion, and overdrive pedals... The ones that give your tone some balls. 

In the signal chain, you want to have these affecting your dry signal so you can get the most out of the type of gain pedal you have. Personally, I like putting my fuzz first as I like the tone it generates by itself. You can put an overdrive ahead of a fuzz pedal, but it tames the fuzz a bit too much for my liking. I don't have a wah pedal, but if you did, then you can either put it before or after the fuzz/distortion. You will get a different tone depending on the placement so pick the one you like the best. 

On my pedal board, I use a germanium fuzz face to get that vintage fuzz tone with a warm sound. Next in line to the fuzz face is my Boss OD-3 overdrive pedal. This combined with my fender amp gives a nice tubey sound. 

After the Dirt, It Is Time For Some Color: Tremelo & Chorus

Boss-tremolo-image

The next and final section on my pedal board is for colouring my tone. The pedals in this section of your pedal board are reserved for adding texturizing effects and colouring effects to your signal. Some pedals you can experiment with in this section are chorus, tremelo, vibe pedals, octive pedals, phase shifters and many other types of pedals. For me personally and my style of playing, I like to use a tremelo pedal, a chorus pedal and a delay pedal. 

I typically have a tremelo pedal into a chorus pedal (sometimes I switch these two around) and then I go into my delay pedal at the end. This is because I want to colour my tone with the tremelo and chorus pedal, and then have all of the sounds fed into the delay pedal so the delayed sounds actually have effects as well. If I were to put a delay pedal first, then it would delay the clean tone only, which isn't what I want to go for. 

Well, there you have it, my pedal board! If you have any questions or comments let me know below and I will address them with pleasure. ​

The Fuzz Face Pedal: Germanium VS Silicon

A Brief History Of The Fuzz Face Pedal

The Fuzz Face pedal is a classic fuzz pedal. If you have read our previous article, The Best Fuzz Pedal, then you may know it was first built in the mid-1960's[1] at a time of revolutionary rock and roll. A period when artists, inventors, and engineers were working around the clock to develop new sounds and electronic abilities. The fuzz pedal, although a fairly simple development, blew the minds of many of the first people who heard it. It's dirty and distorted fuzz compiled with the warmness it produced led many artists to experiment and write with these new pedals. 

One of the most influential  guitarists who helped the fuzz pedal blow up in popularity was Jimi Hendrix. His use of the fuzz pedal and the harmonics that it is known for was one of the most creative uses at the time. Hendrix's fuzz pedal of choice was the Fuzz Face. 

Throughout time, the fuzz face has been modded and developed to include different tonal elements. One of the most common mods is changing between silicon and germanium transistors. There are two main types of Fuzz Face pedals due to this fact, the germanium fuzz face and the silicon fuzz face. 

Below we describe the differences between germanium and silicon fuzz face pedals so you can know what one may suit your style of playing better. 

Germanium Fuzz Face Pedal

To an untrained ear, the differences between germanium and silicon may seem minute. However,  the two kinds of transistors produce a really different tone from one another. Traditionally, fuzz pedals used germanium transistors. This is because silicon is a more recently found element. Germanium transistors have been described as more vintage sounding tone because of this. 

The tone quality to a germanium transistor is warm and round with a vintage quality fuzz. But, don't take my word for it! Below is a quote from Robert Keely of Keely Electronics. Although they are one of Dunlop's competitors, he describes the sound of a germanium transistor really well. 

Subjectively, the sound of Germanium offers a smoother, more ear pleasing distortion. Whether that’s technically due to greater capacitances, lower bandwidth (Germanium can’t handle those higher frequencies that can sometimes lead to harshness) as well as lower gain, can sometimes lead to more gratifying sounds. There’s another phenomenon called Miller capacitance, which is the capacitance between the pins and the internal structure of transistors or tubes— which leads to smoothing and roundness, attributes that sound better to us guitar players." - Robert Keely, Keely Electronics [2]


It can be concluded the Germanium Fuzz face has a warmer and rounder feel and sound than the Silicon Fuzz Face. If you are going for a vintage sound and want something that is a bit warmer then definitely consider germanium as your go to transistor

However, if you are looking for a crisper, more transparent fuzz then read below! ​

Silicon Fuzz Face (Mini Version) 

Fuzz-Face-Mini

Germanium was the primary transistor for fuzz pedals until silicon came around. Not all germanium transistors are born equally. What I mean by this is that each germanium transistor sounds a bit different from the next. Germanium transistors can occasionally be faulty right from the factory as well, so it is important to make sure your fuzz pedal is tested. Fuzz Face pedals, for example, are all tested in the factory so you won't have much to worry about. 

Silicon is a much more precise material when it comes to transistors and creates a much purer signal. Also, it is a better material for ensuring quality so you won't ever have to worry about it not working. It is also cheaper than germanium, which obviously helps out the pocket book.

In terms of sound quality, a pedal made with silicon transistors will sound much brighter and will have a bit more edge to it. Silicon Fuzz Face pedals typically have higher gain as well, 

Top 4 Volume Pedals In 2016 – Review By The Lead Guitar

​Guys! Today is the day! Voluuummmeee Pedals! 

While these pedals may not get as much fame and fortune as the fuzz, delay, reverb, & more "popular" kinds of pedals. For the pro's, this pedal is a crucial piece of the pedal board, especially when playing in a band. See, as a beginner, you may not be concerning yourself with the volume of your guitar.

Most likely, you will be thinking louder is better... which it can sometimes be... but with experience you will start to realize that when you are playing in a band​ and either need to rise above your buddies or fall in-between their notes, you will want a volume pedal. 

I put together this review of two high-end volume pedals and two cheap pedal options so you can find the one that works best for you. One of the biggest things I found was that I could really tell the difference between the cheap pedals and the high end pedals, so if you have the budget it might be worth the extra bit of cash.

As a bonus, it should be noted, with some of these pedals you can use them to control other pedals if they have ability to connect an “expression” pedal. Some types that utilize this are tremolo pedals or chorus pedals; we put together a list of the best of those if you click the links.

There is also one pedal on this list that breaks the rules. It is a volume pedal but ultimately has way more utility than just volume. It is also a fairly small pedal so the amount of value you can get out of such a small package is delightfully surprising! 

Finding The Best Volume Pedal:

As a guitar player, I am constantly trying to adjust my volume for each part I play. For a solo I need to push it like crazy and be as loud and out there as possible. However, when I need a soft rhythm track right after the solo I need to either pick quieter or adjust my guitar volume on the guitar body and potentially compromise my tone. Well, that was the case until I got a volume pedal.

At first I didn’t really know if I would like it, or even use it for that matter, but after playing with it for well over a few months now I don’t think I would ever go back to not having one. The only thing is, since most of these pedals resemble wah pedals, they can take up some space on the board. When I was picking out my pedal it was tough to sort through the noise and find the one that was best for me. 

​The Top Pedals To Control The Noise!

Ernie Ball VP Potentiometer 

This pedal is a pretty decent pedal that doesn’t impact tone very much, but also isn’t as expensive as the Boss pedal below which makes it pretty appealing. It should be noted this pedal is ONLY for passive instruments and not active instruments, they made a different model for active instruments like a keyboard, or if you have active pickups in your guitar or bass guitar.

Since it is for passive instruments, it doesn’t actually need a power source, it basically just impedes the signal from your guitar or other passive instrument. In my opinion, that is pretty worthwhile as I have quite a few pedals and only so much room/plug-ins using my daisy chain.

Ernie Ball Volume Pedal

The VP Potentiometer is pretty easy to use and it is a fairly straightforward pedal. The pedal face controls the swell and volume using their respective knobs. The footpad allows you to control the volume/expression of the pedal. When the pedal is in the heal down position it allows you to utilize silent tuning so you wont blow out the speakers with the clicks of the tuner.... okay, a bit exaggerated but you get what I mean.

A feature of this pedal that should be highlighted is the fact that it has a switch behind the jack under the footplate[1]  to toggle between two different swell rates. This can be nice so you can fine-tune your sound/how you want the pedal to react; making it personalized to your use.

All and all this pedal is great for what you pay for. It doesn’t break the bank account and is a pretty solid volume pedal that keeps true to the tone of your guitar and amp. I would recommend this pedal to anyone who is on a budget but needs a great pedal to use.

Boss FV-500H Volume Pedal - High Impedance 

The Boss FV-500H volume and expression pedal is going to be the contender for the top choice out there in terms of quality. Boss designs and constructs all of their pedals to the highest standard in terms of durability and construction. The FV-500H is no exception to this, it is also a pedal that sounds great and has solid usability.

The best thing about this pedal, besides the construction and durability, is the fact that it can be used as a volume pedal and simultaneously an expression pedal as well. This can be really useful if you have a tremolo or another type of pedal that allows for expression pedals.

Boss Volume Pedal

The pedal also has a very smooth travel so the resulting effect is not going to be clunky and heavy. It has a true tone to it and you can’t really notice the effect too much. It can also be used in silent tuning like the VP Potentiometer, which if it didn’t I would be surprised at this price point.

If you were looking for a high quality design that will last the test of time then this pedal would be the one to get. It is definitely stronger than the VP Potentiometer and has ability for use as an expression pedal, but if you are just looking for a straight up volume pedal then the Ernie Ball may be a better option.

Hotone SP-10 Soul Press WAH/Volume/Expression 

The Hotone SP-10 Soul Press is a bit of a different duck on this list. Reason being is that it is a wah, volume and expression pedal which basically breaks it out into the multi-effect category. I traditionally have a distaste for multi-effects units because I have found they are cumbersome to use and don’t produce the same quality as a stand-alone effect.

However, the SP-10 is definitely a different story. I mean, it has its issues but when it comes to finding a volume effect pedal, you may as well look at maximizing other effects within one expression pedal if you don’t have them already.

These types of pedals take up a lot of room on an effects board and can be kind of cumbersome to tour with. As long as the pedal is built well, and you are satisfied with the tone then I would say go for something like this.

The SP-10 is a well-built pedal that will last a decently long time, maybe not as long as a boss pedal but it definitely holds its own. As far as a volume pedal goes, it definitely can be compared to the Ernie Ball and has a decent tone quality like the Boss does, maybe not as good as the Ernie Ball.

Soul Press Volume Wah Exp.

It is also a fairly small pedal, which is fairly handy if you have a set area on your pedal board for these kinds of pedals. It is a bit bigger than a boss pedal so will fit in most pedal boards with no issue.

As a Wah pedal, the SP-10 has a pretty good tone, kind of similar to that of a crybaby wah pedal. Since it is a bit smaller it can take a bit of getting used to in order to really get to know the action of the pedal.

Since it is also an expression pedal it can be used for other types of pedals to action the rate, level, and other controls by using your foot. If you had a tremolo or even some reverb pedals you can hone the sound and add expression into your playing.

All and all this pedal is a fairly solid unit that would come recommended as a strong buy. I like how it is small, has a great tone, can be used in many different ways and is still built to last. It is easily switched between expression, wah and volume so you can get the sound you want when you want it.

BEHRINGER FCV100 

Like I said at the beginning of this article, when it comes to volume pedals I think you really get what you pay for, especially compared to some other pedals out there. If you have the extra cash that you can afford a minor splurge on a decent volume pedal, I would suggest splurging.

However, if you are on a budget, or you don’t really know if you will use a volume pedal and want one you can use and burn after, then this would be a great option for you. Also, probably not best to burn pedals….

The Behringer FCV100 is a cheap but effective volume pedal. It does the job it is supposed to do, is built fairly well and is probably the best cheap volume pedal out there. The variance on tone is audible but not too bad considering the fact that a case of beer is worth more than this pedal. That makes it really appealing to me!

Behringer Volume Pedal

The controls are pretty standard and similar to the other volume pedals on this list, and surprisingly it can be used as an expression pedal as well. If I were to have bought this pedal as a trial for a volume pedal, which I was close to doing, then I would have probably used it for a bit, purchased a better volume pedal and made this one a permanent expression pedal.

That is a longwinded way of saying this is a decent pedal for what you are paying for. Not quite as durable as a boss, not quite the tone as an Ernie, but all and all decent for the price point.

There You Have It, A Comprehensive List of the Best Volume Pedal Options​

So, there you have it folks. A list of the top volume pedals you can find. Some are better than others and some are WAY better than others. You will need to go to your guitar store & try them yourself. A little word of advice once you find one though: purchase it online! You can find way better deals online than in the store, at least from my experience. ​

Top 5 Mini Guitar Pedals (For Packed Pedal Boards)

Mini guitar pedals are a newer development when it comes to guitar effect pedals. Most mini pedals take their sound from a larger sibling and compact it down into a small package for ease of use and transport. In this list we take a look at the top mini guitar pedals that are out there.

I personally really like mini pedals because they are… well… mini. I play in a band and lugging all of my gear around can be a real pain sometimes. I am always looking for ways to lighten up what I have to bring with me.

While guitar effect pedals are not huge individually, when you put a ton of them together their weight and size can add up quick creating a bit of a nuisance. This is when you are going to want to take a look at mini pedals and what is out there on the market to either replace what you have, or to have an extra pedal for jamming/traveling.

Lets take a look at the top 5 mini guitar pedals we found and see what is what! This list is in no particular order. Here are the pedals we are looking at:

Holy Grail Nano Reverb Pedal

Holy Grail Nano Reverb Pedal

A mini reverb is great little pedal to pick up. For me, the reverb pedal is one of those pedals that is in use a lot but doesn’t change that much from song to song. This is why I think I am drawn to mini reverb pedals instead of getting a huge pedal that takes up space on my pedal board.

If you have read our article on the best reverb pedal then you probably took note of the Holy Grail. It is a rad reverb with a great sound and has three kinds of reverb built in. The Holy Grail Nano is basically the exact same as the larger Holy Grail as well, so it also has three different kinds reverb and the same control knob as the big dude.

Some say the sound a bit worse on the Nano due to its size, so be forewarned. But if you need a small addition to your pedal board in the reverb department, definitely take a look at this guy.

TC Electronics Ditto Looper Pedal:

Ditto loop pedal

Usually when you think of a looper pedal you think of a boheamath like the Boss RC-300. It has multiple loops you can store and basically you can create a band in a box using it.

The Ditto Looper Pedal is not that. But it is a cool little unit if you want to loop basic parts in a song. It has 5 minutes of storage[1] and will store your track you looped even after you turn it off. But there are no presets and it is not loaded with controls, so if you are looking for a wild loop pedal then click here.

It is a perfect pedal for a casual looper that needs a small unit to create easy loops in a song. It has a volume control knob and a click button to start and stop the loop, turn it off and create unlimited overdubs.

Electro-Harmonix Nano Clone Chorus Pedal

Nano Clone Chorus Pedal

I think one of the most well known users of the Small Clone chorus pedal had to be Kurt Kobain. He used it in “Come As You Are”, among other songs, and it sounded really warm and a bit grungey.

The Nano Clone has the same great sound quality, although some argue a bit less, as the Small Clone, but in half the size. Just like a mini reverb pedal, a mini chorus pedal is a great option if you are looking to conserve space. It is a pedal that is used here and there and won’t change too much from song to song, so you don’t need a ton of options within the pedal.

Fuzz Face Mini

fuzz-face-mini

I love the fuzz face. I think it has one of the best fuzz sounds out there and can provide some really cool harmonic tones. The one issue I have with the fuzz face is how big and awkward it is on my pedal board. This is why I think the Fuzz Face Mini is an awesome pedal to think about.

I do hear a bit of a difference in fuzz tone between the mini and the regular fuzz face but to be honest, I really don’t mind the difference in tone. It can kind of add a bit of a unique factor to what I play.

I do really love the size of this pedal and the fact that it doesn’t take up too much space on my pedal board. It kind of blends in with the boss pedals on my board, and lets be honest, boss makes a nice pedal to stick on a board.

Dunlop Mini Cry-Baby Wah

dunlop-mini-wah-pedal

There isn’t too much to say about this pedal except that it is pretty cool and definitely works! I don’t really know if I am as big of a fan of this as the regular cry-baby but it needs to be in this list.

The reason why I had to put this pedal on the list is that Wah-Pedals are notorious for taking up to much space on a pedal board, or at least I think so. Also, it is a bit of a feat of engineering as it is half the size but at the same time packed with more than the regular Cry Baby. It has three different mode settings for getting a high, low and mid tone out of the wah sweep.

So there you have it, a list of mini pedals that are pretty sweet in our view! For today’s pedal packed boards, us guitar players all need to conserve enough space in order to not piss off the drummer and their rig…. Especially if you play in small little venues!

Best Loop Pedal? (TCE Ditto & Boss RC Standoff)

​Alright guys!!! I am super excited to be putting together this review for the best loop pedals on the market! Loopers have a special place on my pedal board and not just physically. Reason being is that I occasionally play solo as well as in a band. Loopers give me the ability to expand my sound as a solo artist and increase the potential of what I can play. 

The loop pedal is as simple or complex as you want it to be depending on how you use it. When looking for the right effect, I would suggest understanding what you are going to use it for and how complex you want your loops to be. As well, it is good to note what other effects you are using. Are you looping really fuzzy effects or cleaner more ambient effects like a chorus pedal?

In this review we will take a look two of the big hitters when it comes to manufacturers and their looping brands, we are talking about the TC Electronic Ditto Loop Pedal series & the Boss RC series. We will do our best to explain the features, but with some of these behemoths it might be tough to capture everything they can do within a medium like this!

The Standoff: TC Electronics Ditto Series & Boss RC Loop Machines

The way we will format this article is in the way of a Mexican standoff, well not really Mexican but definitely a standoff. The pedals that are in play are below, and we have paired them together with their equal, or not so equal, counterparts. Each unit is rated based off of the relative price point and overall quality, basically our perception of the value you are getting:

TC Electronics

Rating

VS

Boss

Rating

VS

VS

VS

The above competition is basically grouped by complexity from the simplest to the most complex version. It should be noted, that an increase in complexity also comes with an increase in price; so keep that in mind when you are drooling over the complex pedals… but if you have some cash, they would be the ones to take a serious look at as the looping capability is truly endless.

First Up In The Guitar Looping Face-Off: Ditto VS RC-1

This group is the simple to use group, don’t have too many controls and will loop the hell out of whatever you want to repeat. They both have storage and are true-bypass so your signal isn’t effected when the pedal is turned off. However, if you are looking for something that will allow you to get really experimental with your looping, then feel free to skip this section as these pedals are better for adding a bit of colour to your playing. 

TC Electronics Ditto Looper Pedal:

This little guy is a great option for those who want a simple to use and easy effect. It has 5 minutes of storage time in it and basic controls for dialling in the level/volume of the loop. It also has a click button to start and stop the loop and to control the loop options explained below.

Ditto loop pedal

The controls are pretty intuitive but can be a bit touchy since you are controlling everything with on single button. One-click to start recording a loop and the next click stops the recording and begins the playback. Any click after that will add in a layer on top of the original loop. Double clicking will stop the loop all together. A simple single click again will start it back up again. To erase the loop you just need to double click and hold.

A really cool feature of this pedal for its small size is the undo/redo function. If you record a loop over the last layer and don’t like it, you can hold down the button while it is playing and it will undo it. If you want the part back in you can hold it down again and it will add it back in which can definitely come in handy if you are learning how to use this effect.

One other thing to note is this looper pedal is great at keeping your tone intact. It was specifically made for guitar players and tone was a huge consideration for these guys when they made the pedal. Sometimes these kinds of pedals will take your tone and alter it a bit, which isn’t really the most desirable aspect of a pedal when it comes to looping.

Boss RC-1 Loop Pedal

The Boss RC-1 is a simple but effective effect that is built like an absolute tank. Like the Ditto, the RC-1 has a volume/level control knob and is activated by the stomp pad button.

RC-1 Loop 15 minute loop memory

Where it surpasses the Ditto though is in its visual indicator. It pretty much counts you into your loop and helps ensure proper timing. The RC-1 also has more storage than the Ditto. You will be able to store up to 12 minutes of one track so you can really create some long songs!

The controls basically the same as the Ditto. Simple one button control that is very intuitive after plugging it in and experimenting for a bit. It also has a great sound quality and was designed specifically for guitarists and bassists. However, I would have to say the Ditto is a bit better in terms of tone.

Check out the RC-1 in action in the below video:

Next Up In The Stand Off To Find The Top Loop Pedal: Ditto X2 VS RC-3

This next group gets a bit more complex​ and if you opt in for one of these guys you will be able to experiment a bit more than with the above two. This is because they have more features, options and effects to let you loop your mind  away. 

TC Electronics Ditto X2

The Ditto X2 is an interesting pedal to say the least. It is not your typical “more complex” effect that stores more tracks, or has better memory and display settings. Instead the X2 includes an extra click button and an effects switch that can help create some really interesting sounds.

TC Electronics Ditto X4

Just like the regular Ditto, the X2 has 5 minutes of looping memory, unlimited overdubs, the undo/redo function, and true bypass for keeping tones in mint condition. But it is definitely not the same pedal.

The X2 builds on the original Ditto by offering the effects switch mentioned above, a USB port for uploading and downloading backing tracks, stereo input/output, a battery pack that holds 2 batteries (pretty cool idea for extra battery power) and also a hidden extra switch by the batteries that allows you to switch between two different loop control modes.

Most of the extra features are pretty straightforward additions that we don’t really need to go over. However, the effects switch feature should definitely be explained, as they are pretty cool.

The effects switch, which is controlled by the additional button, can switch between a stop function, reverse loop and ½ speed loop. The stop feature is absolutely great because it provides a simple and precise way of stopping your loop, without having to double click. The reverse loop is like a reverse function on a delay pedal, however, this time it will reverse a whole loop not just what you play. The ½ speed function is a little weird in my opinion. When you engage the ½ speed effect and record it will record/play at ½ speed and drop down an octave, however, as soon as you disengage the effect button it will speed everything back up and what you recorded will be up an octave. It is kind of cool but would take some getting used to.

Take a listen below:

Boss RC-3

The RC-3 is a very different to the X2 in the sense that instead of including different kinds of effects within the pedal like the X2 did, the RC-3 improved upon the memory and controllability of the RC-1.

Boss RC-3 Loop Station

The RC-3 has a different output knob than the RC-1. The outer ring of the knob controls the volume and the inner ring of the knob controls the rhythm track volume. Which leads us to another added feature: the rhythm track. The rhythm track will add a beat to the background of your loop. This feature can be really cool to practice to, but they do sound a bit hokey in my opinion for using it live.

Another great upgrade to this pedal is the ability to store multiple loops as well. The RC-3 allows you to store 99 different loops for later use and is easy to control with the write/delete button and the arrow buttons. With the added memory comes some other added tech such as quantization so if you mess up your timing a little bit the quantization will make it right so you don’t have to re-record the loop section.

All and all I really like the additions and upgrades on the RC-3. It still is really simple to use and has the ability to be a band in the box by allowing you to store multiple loops. I personally would pick the RC-3 as the best loop pedal in the middle grouping.

THEE Fiiinnaall Stand-Off!!!!!! Ditto X4 vs RC-300 Loopers

TC Electronics Ditto X4

The changes on the X4 can be put pretty simply. It is basically two regular Dittos, mixed in with the effects button and effects of the X2 plus extra effects and they have added an additional stop button that enables you to have a stop button and play effects.

TCE Ditto X4

The two separate loopers can either be synced with the original loop or be in “serial” mode to be able to control separate timings. This means the two loopers can be mutually exclusive or stacked on top of each other.

There is also a decay knob that can control how an overdub fades over time. With this knob you can either have the new overdubs be stacked one on top of the others infinitely or you can have them decay and

It also has a midi control input as well so you can control the sound, as well as sync with any other effects. Like all of the Ditto pedals the tone of your guitar stays intact and every loop sounds amazing.

Boss RC-300

The RC-300 is a behemoth and not just in its physical size. It has a huge amount of creative potential and is probably the best loop pedal on the planet in my opinion due to the fact it is hugely popular with some of the some of the top artists out there. Its functionality and ease of use is consistent with all other boss pedals but it has endless capability.

This pedal is almost more of a station than it is a "pedal". It has a ton of variables that can be messed around with to ultimately rock anyone who uses it. But beware, as this thing can be kind of confusing when you are first getting used to how it plays. The first time I tried this loop pedal I had to turn it off due to a major headache from concentrating so hard! Well... thats an exaggeration but you get what I am trying to say. ​

Best Loop Pedal: Boss RC-300

The RC-300 offers 3 hours of recording space within the pedal’s memory so you can record a ton of songs and store them within the pedal. There is also 99 phrase memory settings so you can store entire set lists in the pedal for any live applications.

The RC-300 also takes a page out of the Ditto’s book by including 16 on board effects to modulate the input sound. There is also an expression pedal so you can accent your effects the way you want them to sound and add a bit more flare into your playing.

The biggest reason I like this pedal the most is the fact that it has 3 different tracks with individual record/play buttons and individual stop buttons for all three of the tracks. However, there is still a switch to control all of the tracks at once.

Honestly though, the best way to understand this pedal is to watch it in action in the video below. It can be used in so many different ways it is unreal.

The Best Tremolo Pedal (Voodoo, EHX, Boss & Joyo)

Tremolo-Front-Banner

What It Is & A Brief Look

In this article, we will take a look at some options for the best tremolo pedal. Now, like all of our articles, this review is based by researching reviews, comments on what is popular and what we think from our own experience. When we say "best", it may be different for you than for someone else, so make sure to take a listen to how they sound in the videos we provide!

The tremolo is an effect that has been around for a very long time, dating back to the 1940’s. It was first manufactured by DeAramond which was also the company associated with inventing the guitar pickup. These guys weren’t kidding around when it comes to top inventions!

This pedal, known for its warm and round pulsating sound, is a very simple effect in terms of the electronics inside. This means as a guitar player you can get away with sourcing more affordable options. It is a an effect that is pretty hard to muck up, meaning the cheaper designs often are passable if not comparable to the more expensive designs. I don’t know about you but saving few dollars on new gear is definitely a big win for a hungry musician like myself!

The list below includes five of the most popular and best pedals on the market, including a cheap option that we think is pretty awesome! If you are building your pedal board, make sure to check out our articles on the chorus and reverb pedals as well, here and here. All three of these pedals pair really well with each other in our opinion, and from what we have heard, the opinion of a lot of players out there.

Shoot Out: The Pedals​....

Voodoo Labs: Round, Warm and Pulsates Like Crazy

Voodoo-labs-tremolo-pedal-picture

The Voodoo Labs Tremolo Pedal is one of the most popular pedals out there, and for good reason. This pedal replicates a vintage effect played through a tube amplifier, like one in this article. When strumming it with a Fender Stratocaster, like in the video below, you can really hear how warm it sounds. Kind of reminds me of being in a hazy 60’s bar or something like that.

The pedal itself is fairly straightforward and due to its four control knobs it is really customizable to get a good sound and dial in the perfect tremolo sound. The four knobs control intensity, slope, speed and volume of the effect.

The speed and volume controls do pretty much exactly what you would expect of them, volume controls level and speed controls how fast the tremolo is. One thing to mention and something that we feel deserves praise is the range is for the speed function; it has quite a wide range so you can get a reaalllllyyy slow or extremely fast effect.

The intensity function controls how much of the effect is mixed in with the dry signal, the higher you go the more tremolo effect you will hear. Then there is the slope, which is a cool function as it changes the slope of the waveform. This enables you to control how sharp or round the tremolo will sound, when you dial in the knob to sound sharper, you can get some really cool helicopter type of sounds to occur!

Take a listen to the effect below in the video from our friends at Sweetwater!

Boss TR2 Tremolo Pedal

Boss-tremolo-image

Ahhhhhhhh… the TR2, another strong pedal from the engineers over at the Boss shop. If you have read my reviews before you know I like Boss. They may not be the most unique pedals out there and some critics may be very harsh when it comes to these pedals (a lot of these critics will only buy non big name pedals, which are great if you can afford them but they are not for everyone). From my experience, Boss pedals are pedals that do not break the bank account, have a good sound and are really built to last… all good things in my humble opinion.

The TR2 is no exception, coming stock with the standard body shape of all Boss pedals and three dials to control the effect, the TR2 is a great tremolo pedal for anyone who is looking for a pedal that will last the test of time and produce a great sound.

The three knobs (rate, wave and depth) control the following:

· Rate: Speed adjustment of the tremolo effect

· Wave: changes the waveform from triangle to square

· Depth: strength of the effect

Electro-Harmonix Stereo Pulsar 

The EHX Stereo Pulsar is a solid pedal that creates a very rich, warm and vintage effect. I pretty much think of it as surf meets the bayou. I really like the look and feel of this pedal as well, really makes it seem as though the pedal is a vintage old pedal from back in the hey-day of psychedelic rock.

It is designed simply and the controls on it are fairly familiar to the previous two pedals we have reviewed. There is a rate knob, depth knob and a wave shape knob and a wave shape switch. The LED indicator light is tied to the rate knob that comes in handy as a visual way to see the rate speed.

The rate knob adjust the speed of the tremolo effect, the depth knob adjusts the amount that will be applied to your signal, just like the TR2. Where this pedal sets itself apart though is in its wave shape functions.

It has two ways of changing the wave shape; the first is the switch that is kind of like an override that changes the overall shape from triangle to square. Then there is the knob that will effect the type of rise and fall of the wave form, going from a slow rise and fall to a very intense rise and fall. Best heard in the video below:

Joyo JF-09 Tremolo Guitar Pedal

ehx-stereo-pulsar-tremolo-image

The Joyo JF-09 would be a great example of the best cheap tremolo pedal out there. Like a lot of the Joyo pedals, the JF-09 definitely does not break the bank account. However, since this pedal is a Tremolo, and we already discussed that these pedals are so simple you can get away with a cheap version, it is still a pretty solid option.

The pedal itself is extremely simple and has less customization options than the pedals we have reviewed above. It has two knobs, a rate knob and an intensity knob. Since we have discussed what a rate knob and intensity knob do then we won’t go into too much more detail then the rate knob is the speed and the intensity is the depth.

I would suggest buying this pedal if you want to test out this effect and have never played around with it before, or if you cannot afford the other pedals listed above. Where this pedal lacks a bit is in its warmth, it is a bit more tinny then the other pedals but what can you really expect since it is a fraction of the cost.

SO... now that we know the pedals.... How Does It Actually Work?? 

How does this effect function? Presumably the most widely recognized and least complex (with current innovation) is to adjust input voltage by means of circuit. This is the way your ordinary Manager tremolo works. In this situation, a voltage controlled enhancer (VCA) alters flag adequacy with a particular waveform to make the tremolo sound.

These tremolo pedals frequently stable decent and work dependably, yet like listening to vinyl, there are numerous individuals who incline toward a portion of the flaws of other innovation.Different sorts of innovation includes a low-recurrence oscillator, which bolsters the flag again into the amp in-stage, bringing on a tremolo sound. The low-recurrence oscillator makes impact by controlling the speed and to the extent I know, just delivers a sine wave.​

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