Category Archives for "Guitar Pedals"

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.

The below review 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 (see full specs). 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 the Ditto 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 (see full specs). 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 (see full specs).

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 and learn more about the X2 here:

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 (see full specs here). 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.

And THE Final 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 (see full specs here).

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 with the X4 Looper.

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 (see full specs here).

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.

dHope you enjoyed what I put together about the best loop pedals on the market! Please take a look at my headphones post (read the guide here) when you have a minute and share your experiences with my readers in the comments. Thank you!

Big Muff Pedal Review (Pi, Tone Wicker & Deluxe Muffs)

Big Muff Banner Image

The Big Muff pedal is probably one of the most popular fuzz pedals on the market. If you happened to read our article on the Best Fuzz Pedal, you will know it has been around for a long time, dating back to the late 60’s and early 70’s.

The Big Muff has been used by legends like Ernie Isley of the Isley Brothers, David Gilmore of Pink Floyd, and some say Jimi Hendrix may have bought one of these pedals before he died but unfortunately no one has been able to actually confirm it.

The Muff’s popularity didn’t stop in the 70’s either. Its use continued strong into the 80’s and 90’s and definitely well into modern times. Some notable users of this pedal include Jack White, Billy Corgan, and The Edge from U2.

Due to the Big Muff’s history of success and its favoritism among the touring community, many different versions of the Muff exist today. Anyone from the everyday guitar player to the touring rock star can find a Muff that will provide the exact sound they want!

In this big muff review we discuss various Electro-Harmonix Big Muff variations and what they offer individually. It is a close look at all of the different muff’s out there and why the big muff is one of the best-known fuzz pedals!

Big Muff Pedal: Pi and Friends

The Original Big Muff Pi

Best Fuzz Pedal: Big Muff

There is no better place to start this review than taking a look at the original Big Muff Pi. It is the pedal made that started it all and the reason the Big Muff name exists and thrives today.

The Big Muff Pi’s sound is known for having a crunchy high-end fuzz tone with a high amount of sustain to carry each note into a fuzzy abyss. The pedal has three control knobs for volume, tone and sustain so you can try and tame the sound to your liking.

Like we mentioned earlier the Big Muff Pi is known for having loads of sustain, even when you back the sustain knob off completely it still carries the sound a long way. It is also fairly heavily geared towards the high end on the frequency spectrum so you can really cut through the mix if you are playing with a band.

Big Muff Pi With Tone Wicker

This version is a slight variation of the original Big Muff Pi in two ways. The basics are the same and it still definitely has all of the punch the muff is known for.

Where this version separates itself is in the controls it allows for tone. This is a very nice feature to have since the original muff is pretty set in its ways in terms of clarity and tone versatility.

The Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker has two extra controls that are small but offer a decent amount of variation and tone customization. There is an added switch to further control tone, aside from the knob, that switches from brining out high frequencies in one setting and lower frequencies in the other setting.

The other switch that provides further versatility is the tone wicker switch. This switch seems to clean up the signal path and allow for a clearer and crisper fuzz tone to shine through. With the tone wicker it is possible to dial down sustain without the pedal losing power and punch or getting muddy.

Deluxe Big Muff Pi

deluxe-big-muff-pi

If we are talking in terms of versatility and controllability the Deluxe Big Muff Pi guitar pedal is going to take the cake for the best muff out there. It is fully stacked with seven control knobs, two control switches and two engage buttons. If you were looking for a fuzz pedal that allows you to fully master and perfect your fuzz tone, this would be a pretty decent pedal to look at.

The Deluxe includes all of the strength of the Pi as well as its volume, tone and sustain knobs. However, this pedal goes above and beyond with the inclusion of an attack knob, gate knob, two knobs for controlling mids, as well as a switch for high or low tone and a switch for a bass boost. To take a look at the individual knobs see below:

Volume – Like all the Muff pedals the volume knob controls the amount of level of the fuzz.

Tone – The tone knob sweeps between low and high tones depending on what you need for any given part or song.

Sustain – The sustain knob takes away or adds sustain within the pedal. Watch out with this guy as it is easy for the sound to become muddy! But if you use it correctly it can add some serious awesomeness to your playing.

Attack – This is a unique control knob on the Deluxe and in my opinion a really valuable control. This knob allows you to increase the level of the pick attack. This means you can either set it to the left to get rid of the attack for a more muddle or muted pick stroke or turn it to the right for a very precise and edgy pick stroke.

Gate – This knob is a basic noise gate. You can use this pedal to eliminate fuzz or unwanted noise, which can be very needed in the world of fuzz at times.

Mids section w/ click button – This feature on the Deluxe pedal is my favorite and really sets the Deluxe apart from the other Muff pedal varieties. The mids feature is the ability to enhance the mid frequencies within the pedal and can be turned on or off at the click of a button. This is perfect for if you need a boost in a song or are need to switch up your fuzz sound to something with more mid frequencies.

The mid feature has two knobs associated with it on the far right hand side of the pedal. The top knob controls the level of the mid boost. Pretty self-explanatory but it is a needed and well-added control knob nonetheless. The knob below the level knob is a frequency control. It allows you to further control the tone while the mid button is engaged. You can also buy an external control pedal to sweep the frequencies or use it as a texturizing effect.

Best Phaser Pedal (MXR, EHX, and Boss)

The phaser’s signature swirling, pulsating and all around trippy tone give it a lot of versatility in playing music like reggae all the way to metal, plus anything in between. There are many different kinds of phaser pedals out there including a lot of great custom pedals and a lot of big brand pedals. This review will focus more on some of the bigger brand name pedals out there. These types of pedals typically are a bit more value to the dollar and for the everyday guitar player. If that sounds like you then this review will hopefully help you find best phaser pedal to put in your line up!

What A Phaser Pedal Does:

The phaser pedal is a modulation pedal like the chorus and tremolo pedals are. These pedals take the incoming signal and alter heck out of it to give your guitar an extremely texturized tone. The tremolo pedal alters the volume of the signal, the chorus pedal alters the pitch of the signal and the phaser pedal alters the phase of the signal, hence the name phaser.

This means the pedal takes the incoming signal and moves part of the waveform into “stages” before mixing it back into the original signal. It does this by utilizing all-pass filters where each all-pass filter is a “stage”. You will notice when looking at various phasers that they can be classified as an n-stage phaser, where n would be the number of all-pass filters within it. Some pedals have options to switch between multiple stages where other pedals only have one set stage. This is what technically gives the pedal the full and intense swirling sound it is known for, giving it the perfect sound for a ripping guitar solo in a metal ballad to some island chords in a reggae song.

For an audible example check out the sound clip below:

Many great musicians have used the phaser pedal in a lot of great music. If for some reason you didn’t know what the phaser pedal was prior to reading this review, which would be kind of interesting since you probably were searching for a review on phaser pedals, you can be confident in saying you have heard it before possibly even without knowing it! If you like music from Radiohead, most psychedelic bands out there, or guitar greats such as Tom Morello, Eddie Van Halen, and many others you probably have a good idea about the phaser pedal and how it sounds. For the heck of it check out Paranoid Android by Radiohead and listen to the use of the phaser pedal:

Now that we have explored what the phaser pedal is, lets take a look at the pedals!

The Best Phaser Pedal For Guitar: Notable Brand Edition

MXR Phase 90 & Phase 90 Script:

MXR Phase 90 Phaser Pedal

The MXR Phase 90 and the Phase 90 Script are classic phaser pedals and are extremely well known. While being well known isn’t really a staple for making it on this list, the reason why they are well known definitely is. The phase 90 has been widely seen on some of the most famous pedal boards throughout the test of time. Eddie Van Halen may have thought it was the best phaser pedal for him since he consistently used it in his music and it could be found on his pedal board while playing live. This is because it is a strong phaser pedal, it is built well and most of all produces a great tone.

The phase 90 itself is fairly simple, well actually really simple. It has a basic click button on the front, and LED indicator to show if the effect has been engaged or not and then a big dial for the speed of the phase. The speed essentially alters how quick or slow the pedal “swirls”.

MXR Phase 90 Script

Now at first glance you might just say the difference between the phase 90 and phase 90 script is just the fact that the script has hand written letters on it. But as we know that is not the only difference between the two pedals. The phase 90 script is a bit more expensive than the phase 90 due to some slightly altered internal parts. These parts have been put in place to model the original Phase 90 pedal circuit. These different parts create a subtler vintage sounding phase giving it on a more traditional phaser tone. If you were after a more classic sounding phaser pedal then the Phase 90 Script would be a definite option.

Take a listen to the two pedals back to back in the video below:

Electro-Harmonix Small Stone Nano Phaser

Small Stone Phaser Pedal

The Small Stone Nano phaser pedal is another classic phaser. The original, and much larger Small Stone, was a favorite pedal in blues, alternative and competed with the MXR phase 90 on the pedal boards of many well known 70’s bands. Both the Small Stone and the Phase 90 are 4 stage phaser pedals but the Small Stone has a touch bit more versatility then the Phase 90.

Like the Phase 90, the Small Stone has an LED indicator and a knob to dial in and control the rate (or speed) of the phase shift. However, the Small Stone has one feature that the Phase 90 does not have. It has a switch to control the “color” of the phase shift, which alters the frequency that the phase is affecting giving it a deeper of more shallow feeling. When switched in the up position, the color effect is turned on giving the phaser a deeper and fuller swoosh sound.

It's a conventional sounding pedal but there is only one control choice beside the color switch. Saying this doesn't  necessarily imply that there aren't simple phaser pedals out there that give you more control (we'll cover a few), yet they're not the standard, and are regularly more costly than their computerized partners.​

The Small Stone is a great pedal that carefully emulates the pedal’s original quality. It would be a great choice for the best phaser pedal on the market, even beating out the Phase 90.

Boss PH-3 Phase Shifter

Boss ph-3 phase shifter

The Boss PH-3 is a digital phaser pedal and like all Boss pedals, it is a really well built pedal that will stand the test of time or any road abuse you may or may not throw at it. The PH-3 is the most versatile and controllable phaser pedal in this review. While many boutique and expensive phaser pedals offer many different controls and customization options, the Boss PH-3 is a fairly priced phaser pedal coming from a trusted brand. It is perfect if you want to get to know the phaser pedal a bit better or if you know what you want you can tweak it to sound the way you want between different phase stages. You control this by turning the right hand knob, and as you can see in the picture to the right it switches between 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12. Plus the PH-3 has an option for selecting fall, rise and step phase functions as well.

Like the Phase 90 and Small Stone, the PH-3 has a control for the rate, or speed of the effect. However, the PH-3 includes two additional effect controls to help dial in the sound of the effect exactly the way you want it to sound. You can control the depth of the phase as well as the resonance of the phaser pedal. These controls can definitely be quite handy in getting the right sound you want to use in each song.

It's flexibility makes it all around perfect for basement rockers and expert guitarists alike. The advanced tone doesn't sound canned at all and is ideal for adding a gleaming impact layer to a guitar track in the studio. The extra control improves it for session guitarists than say, the MXR Phase 90, and is a decent decision for the individuals who appreciate pedal tinkering. With such a great amount of space for tweaking, it's likewise one of the best phaser pedals for the ivories... ahem... keyboard players.

Check out a video of the PH-3 in action:

Best Guitar Tuner (Electronic, Chromatic and Pedal Review)

Welcome to our guide for the best guitar tuner! In this guide I will talk about some of the different kinds of tuners I have come by, the benefits of each kind and also highlight some tuners out there that are worth taking a look at to purchase.

The guitar tuner is a staple for any guitar player whether you have just bought a new guitar and haven’t even played it yet, or are an advanced gigging artist. It is a tool you will need and will want to always have on you or with your gear.

​The Best Guitar Tuner: Ways of Tuning and Why Get A Tuner

First we should note, there are many ways to tune your guitar other than buying a tuner. You can listen to a piano or other tuned instrument and match the pitch, or you can tune to other strings by holding down an equivalent note on another string. You could get a tuning fork and go the old school route or you can just plain wing it and hope for the best. All of these are strategies but in my honest opinion they are not that great. Why? Because you are relying on something that may not be in tune in the first place and thus may be tuning your guitar out of tune... as convoluted as that sounds.

Due to this fact, I would suggest taking a look at some tuner options and find the best guitar tuner for you. There are many kinds of tuners out there, some cheap, some expensive, some with bells and whistles but most tuners will do what they need to do, tune your guitar! For this review I will be focusing on three types of tuners: the plug-in electronic guitar tuner, the digital guitar tuner pedal, and the chromatic guitar tuner.

The Best Plug-In Electronic Guitar Tuner:

The electronic tuner is a cheap and effective way to tune your guitar. There is nothing too complex about these kinds of tuners. Essentially you take a patch chord, plug one end into your guitar and the other end into the tuner, turn the tuner on and tune your guitar. Most of these types of tuners run on regular AA batteries and are small to fit in a gig bag or even in your pocket. The below electronic tuner is a great electronic guitar tuner:

Korg GA1 Guitar and Bass Tuner

best guitar tuner korg ga1

The Korg GA1 is a great and standard plug in electronic tuner. It is easy to use, has solid accuracy and an simple but effective interface. Korg makes great key-boards, electronic instruments and musical equipment and makes everything with solid quality.

The tuner has a basic on off switch, a switch for picking the sound, the semi tone/how flat the sound is if you want to tune flat, and a switch for picking either guitar or bass. You plug your guitar in to one end of a patch chord and the tuner in the other, pretty basic but is awesomely accurate.

The one drawback, and it’s a pretty big drawback in my opinion, to the plug-in electronic guitar tuner is the fact that you need to unplug your guitar from your pedals, amp or anything else it is plugged into in order to tune. However, the next two tuner types, the guitar tuner pedal and the chromatic guitar tuner, you do not need to unplug anything!

The Best Clip-On Chromatic Tuner

The chromatic tuner is a tuner that allows for some better variation in terms of tuning then a digital or electronic guitar tuner. Now you may be thinking, variation in tuning? What is this guy smoking, isn’t tuning supposed to be exact? It is, but what I mean is in how you tune your guitar. A simple guitar tuner like the one above, is great for standard tuning, and maybe some other kinds of tuning involving flats and some different notes. However, a chromatic tuner tunes to what ever the note that is being played is, without having to follow a set program/signal. This can be very beneficial in case you want to tune your guitar to a different kind of tuning then the standard E, A, D, G, B, E tuning.

Clip on guitar tuners are great because they are small, easy to throw in a gig bag or have on stage and they tune with excellent accuracy. They are also not too expensive so they won’t break the bank account. The clip on tuner tunes without direct input signal from the guitar, it simply clips on to the headstock of the guitar and tune away!

The two chromatic clip-on tuners below are solid chromatic tuner options and each has some pluses and minuses associated with them:

The KLIQ UberTuner Guitar Tuner

best guitar tuner KLIQ

The UberTuner could be viewed as one of the best guitar tuner options for a clip on tuner. It has a big heads up display that is easy to read and runs off of a simple 3V battery that comes with the tuner.

It can be used for a guitar, violin, bass or ukulele and is extremely accurate for all those instruments. It has a basic on/off button and comes with a back lit screen so it is easy to see in all lighting conditions. 

The Snark SN-5 Guitar Tuner

best guitar tuner snark sn-5

The Snark is one of the most popular clip-on tuners out there and there is good reason for it. I like the KLIQ better due to the large display, however, the Snark definitely has an accurate reading display although a bit smaller than the KLIQ.

It is a very accurate tuner and is priced extremely fairly which makes it pretty desirable in my opinion. It can also be used on bass guitars or violin so is great to have in a band setting as it can be easily passed between artists.

The Snark SN-5 also has the ability to be a BPM indicator with a range from 40-250 BPM. You can turn it on via the button on the left hand side and it essentially visually indicates the desired BPM using a flash of an aspect of the display.

The Best Guitar Tuner Pedals

The tuner pedal is a great option especially if you already have a pedal board. You can slap the tuner on the board and rest easy that you will have a tuner wherever you go and it won’t get lost like the other two types may. I mean, it could get lost but if it is with all of your other pedals then I think you have more to worry about then just being out of tune…

The benefit of a tuner pedal is that you are able to get an accurate tune knowing that the signal is directly passing through it. You can also use tuner pedals as a quick way to cut the signal going to your amp say, in between songs or when you are not playing.

The below two guitar tuner pedals are the top choices for the best guitar tuner out there.

The Poly Tune 2 by TC Electronics

Best Guitar Tuner TC Electronic PolyTune

The Poly Tune is a cool tuner because, first and foremost, it is very accurate and it has a few different options that make it a bit more versatile. The Poly Tune has a setting that tunes all strings simultaneously. You essentially strum all of the strings and it shows you all strings quickly on one display so you can do a quick tune on the fly. It also has a setting where you can tune one string at a time for a more precise tuning.

A great feature the Poly Tune has is that it can distribute power to your other pedals, like a reverb pedal or fuzz pedal, as well and act as a power bank. You can plug in power to the in plug then use a daisy chain to power the rest of your pedals, pretty awesome in my opinion and very useful.

The Boss TU-3 Tuner

Best Guitar Tuner - Boss TU-3

The TU-3 is a solid Boss pedal. Like all the Boss pedals, they are made extremely well and are built to last the test of time. The TU-3 offers solid and accurate tuning and comes in at a pretty fair price point.

One thing to note about the TU-3 is that it is not true bypass and it has a buffer instead. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it should be known.

Best Compressor Pedal | Ultimate Reviews

Compression is a tool you are definitely going to want to consider adding to your toolkit in order to get the most out of your tone. In this article I will outline what compression is and go over the pedals that I think are the best compression pedal options out there based on price, popularity and controls.

Compression is a kind of effect that when you first plug it in and turn it on it will be a bit tough to judge what it is actually doing. However, when you take it away after playing with it for a while you will truly miss it. It is kind of a best-kept secret for touring and gigging guitarists. It helps create a studio like sound when playing live and helps you ensure your tone and guitar sound is going to be on point and mesh with the rest of the band.

It is important to also know it goes in the pedal chain. Some people like compression before or after effects like fuzz or distortion, while some like it to be before any type of ​pedal or even amp reverb. I personally like to have this pedal right next to my tuner, so it is essentially the first pedal on my board. 

Some people may be asking if the actually need a one of these things? To that I would say, if you are asking then you should go out and try one. Chances are you don't know what you are missing until it is gone... or was never there in the first place.

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What Is Compression? 

Compression is very much like it sounds. It compresses your guitar signal and based on your settings will limit the amount of certain signals entering the signal path and going down the line. Simply put it can make the elements of the signal that are too loud go quieter and the elements of the signal that are too quite go louder. It balances out the sound of your guitar and helps you maintain consistency in your playing.

This can be extremely helpful for controlling your guitar when you are playing live or jamming with other people. I know in my own experience I can get excited or amped up when I am playing live and thus start to strum my guitar a bit too hard, or pick a quiet part a bit to aggressively. In these moments of human error, I know I can rely on my compression settings to ensure no bad sounds get amplified through the monitors and to the audience.

These effects can come in all shapes and sizes and can include a wide variety of controls. Some pedals only have limited compression controls while others are extremely detailed and precise. When choosing a compression pedal it is important to take into consideration what you need out of it and where you are in terms of level of playing.

Best Compression Pedal: Popular Pedals

MXR Dyna Comp

MXR M102 Dyna Comp Compression Pedal

The MXR Dyna Comp is an extremely easy to use and effective compressor pedal. Like all MXR pedals it is a very well constructed unit and can be relied on during the test of time. It has also been around since 1975 and is known as being one of the most popular and best out there.

The Dyna Comp has two dial knobs that control the output of the pedal and the sensitivity of the compression. The output knob is fairly self-explanatory; essentially the louder you want your guitar the more you will turn this knob up. The sensitivity knob is the amount of compression added to the signal. The lower the sensitivity the drier the signal, the higher the sensitivity more of the effect is added.

What is pretty cool about the Dyna-Comp is it is actually an analog compressor. So it is probably the most similar to any old school compressor that you would have found on late 60's early 70's tracks. I purchased this guy a little while back and really like it. It can sound kind of gritty on your clean tones but honestly I like that. Kind of gives my solid state a tube amp feel. I would say though, you may want to buy this one as well as another effect that gives you more options, since it is pretty limited. 

One thing though, if you are looking for a really clean sounding effect then you may want to go to one of the digital compressors or something that is designed to be a bit more modern. All and all though, this is a dope pedal!​

Keely 4 Knob Compressor

Keely 4 Knob Compression Pedal

This is a fairly boutique pedal to be on this list but it is definitely one of the best out there in my opinion. It has unbelievable tone control and hardly makes any noise when engaged, which can be a downfall for some compressor pedals on the market.

The pedal has four control knobs on it: a level knob, sustain knob, attack knob and a clipping knob. The level and sustain knobs are basically the same type of controls as the output and sensitivity knob on the Dyna Comp respectively. The level knob controls the overall output of the pedal and the sustain knob controls the amount of compression put on the signal.

The attack knob controls how quickly the timing is activated and can be a beneficial control to tweak the tone of the pedal and your guitar to make it a bit more aggressive or to back it off a bit.

The clipping knob is an interesting control unique to the Keely 4 Knob Compressor and almost acts as a pre gain or pre level for the signal entering from the guitar. It can be very helpful if you are experiencing some natural distortion or clipping if you have sustain cranked. With this knob you can dial it back to get a clean sound with a tone of sustain.

Boss CS-3 Compressor/Sustainer Pedal

Boss CS-3 Compression Pedal

Boss is pretty much on all of my lists because I just really like how well their pedals are constructed and where they come in for price point and the quality you get. Just like the boss pedals we have reviewed in other articles like the best distortion & chorus pedals, the CS-3 is no exception to that and is a solid unit that simply gets the job done.

It isn’t fancy and nor is it claiming to be. The CS-3 produces a solid compression and it would be a great first compression pedal to pick up if you are just getting started with playing live with a band or by yourself!

The CS-3 has 4 knobs to assist you in reaching perfection in your tone. There is a level knob to control the overall level of the pedal. A tone knob to help mix in either low or high frequencies. There is an attack knob, similar to the Keely compressor, to enhance the aggressiveness of your signal. Finally a sustain knob to control the amount of compression applied to the signal.

Xotic Effects SP Compressor Pedal

xotic-sp-compressor-pedal

This is really cool pedal in my opinion and it sounds great! At first glance I was a bit shocked at the price compared to some of the other pedals out there and the options they come with. However, after diving into this pedal I realized how versatile it really is.

The construction of this pedal is very solid for its size and it is surprisingly heavy for a little pedal the size of some of the Donner pedals we have reviewed, which are cheaper pedal options overall. There is nothing cheap about the Xotic Effects SP Compressor though.

On the face of the pedal it has two knobs to control the volume of the pedal and the blend of the compression from the dry signal to a compressed signal. There is also a three-way tone switch to toggle between Hi Lo and Mid compression.

Where this pedal gets interesting is when you unscrew the back to access the battery and chipboard. There are four switches in the back compartment to assist in picking the best tone and compressor settings for you. I personally really like this feature of the pedal because with compression, you may not be changing it too often and sometimes when all of the controls are on the front they can get switched around in transport.

Cheap But Quality

When talking about cheap pedals I always feel like I need to say you do really get what you pay for. This is especially the case for compression as it is usually the first pedal that your guitar signal hits and controls the overall signal.

When you cheap out here you run the chance of accidently cheaping out further down the line. However, the below pedals are the best you can get on a budget, and like a lot of struggling musicians out there, I understand you may not always be able to get the best of the best.

Behringer Compressor/Sustainer CS400

Behringer Compressor Pedal

Behringer is a bit of a king when it comes to cheap pedals. They get the job done and do not hurt the bank balance one bit. However, something to take into consideration is the noise these pedals can make and sometimes you even get radio signals through them, but hey, maybe you want to listen to some radio while jamming!

However I have owned these pedals before, they are especially great for just starting out with an effect and experimenting with it to see if it is right for you and your style of playing.

The CS400 is kind of a carbon copy of the Boss CS-3 when it comes to the control knobs. It has the exact same four knobs for level, tone, attack and sustain. If you are looking at getting the CS-3 but don’t have the budget, go for the CS400 instead!

Joyo JF-10 Dynamic Compressor

Joyo JF-10 Compressor Pedal

I really like Joyo pedals when it comes to cheaper pedal options. I think I would say this is the best cheap option because it doesn’t make as much noise as the Behringer pedal does.

It does the trick and when it comes to compression is pretty solid for the price. It has three control knobs on the face of the pedal. The knobs are for sustain, or amount of compression, the level to control the overall output of the pedal and also the attack knob to control how aggressive the signal is.

I like the design of this pedal as well. Although it doesn’t add any audible benefits it sure looks cool in your pedal board. I mean, can you really go wrong with having a cool ass scorpion on the front of the pedal? I think not.

Best Wah Pedal (Cry Baby, Vox, Multi Wah, Bad Horsie)

The wah pedal is one of the most iconic pedals out there. It has been used by guitar legends such as, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa and Eric Clapton not to mention countless other artists in many hit songs. In this review we look at four different wah pedals to help you find the best wah pedal for the sound you are striving for!

I personally love the sound of the wah pedal because of its ability to create human like tones from the guitar. This may sound goofy, but there is no simpler way to explain the sound the wah makes than to say “waka waka” over and over. Plus, when paired with some other pedals like a phaser & tremolo it can get pretty wild. 

Your voice makes a similar kind of sound that the wah pedal can produce by moving the pedal from top to bottom. However, for a less goofy and more audible example of the wah pedal in use, take a listen to Jimi Hendrix’s song Voodoo Child In the below video:

Cry Baby, Cry: A Brief History Of The Wah Pedal

The wah pedal, also known as the wah-wah pedal, was created by accident in the mid 60’s by an engineer by the name of Brad Plunkett. At the time he was a junior engineer for the Thomas Organ Company and was tasked with replacing an expensive circuit switch with a cheaper transistorized solid state mid range boost circuit. However, we don’t need to bore you with the technical jargon.

Basically they were messing around with a solid-state amp and wanted to control the tone better. They put the circuit into an organ volume pedal casing, because they were an organ company, and the result was a footswitch that could create sweeping tones at the touch of your foot.

At the time there was nothing like it on the market and as we know it became extremely popular. Known for being used heavily in psychedelic blues in the late 60’s, funk in the 70’s and much more versatile uses in modern day music, it is a must have for any guitar player.

Considering the Wah came out around the same time as some gain pedals did it is no wonder that a fuzz pedal matched with the perfect fuzz or distortion sounds unreal! Check out our picks for the best fuzz pedal and distortion pedal options.​

The Best Wah Pedal: Classic 

Dunlop Original Cry Baby Wah

This is the original wah pedal. The design of the modern day Original Cry Baby stays true to the construction and electronic design that Brad Plunkett created at The Thomas Organ Company. In modern day, there are a dozen different versions of the Cry Baby wah pedal out there but there is something special about the sound of the Original Cry Baby Wah.

best wah pedal cry baby

This was the wah pedal that was first used in so many hit songs by guitar legends Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. When these guys used this pedal it revolutionized blues music and psychedelic styles of playing. If they used it, I will use it 100%.

Its rugged metal casing, and well-built foot control pedal makes this an awesome pedal that will last the test of time. It is extremely simple to use, nothing fancy at all, but in this case simple is the best way to go.

When used with a clean setting it creates the classic sounding funk wah tone known and loved in the genre. When paired with a distorted fuzzy tone it can make an epic solo sound even better or create a psychedelic washing sound in the background of what you are playing.

All and all this is the pedal to go for if you are searching for the classic tones and sounds of the original wah pedal. Definitely a contender for the best wah pedal out there!

Vox Classic Wah

Best Wah Pedal Vox

Vox also made a wah pedal in the late 60’s and was quite popular, offering a different tone and construction to the cry baby wah pedal. The modern day design of this pedal is sturdy and well constructed; it is a strong pedal with a great tone and will definitely last the test of time.

The tone when the Vox Classic Wah is engaged is a warm, tubey sounding signal with lots of play and versatility in the foot pedal movement. This is could be a contender for the best wah pedal for funk music as it has a warm tone for rhythmic parts but also a big growl when it needs to.

There are subtle differences between the Vox Classic Wah vs the Dunlop Cry Baby Wah. The main differences between the two are basically the tone and whether or not they are true bypass. To me, the Vox pedal is a bit warmer and tubey where the cry baby is a bit crisper. One thing to consider as well is the Vox pedal is not true bypass and the Cry Baby is.

Check out the below video that compares the two:

Best Wah Pedal: Versatility 

Dunlop Multi Wah

Today there are many different wah pedal variations out there. Throughout history different guitar legends wanted different tones, sweep ranges and controls on their wah pedals and manufacturers complied. Because of that you can buy many different guitar player’s wah pedals online or at your local guitar store. However, if you don’t know what sound you are going for or want to create your own tone why not buy a pedal that can accomplish that?

best wah pedal dunlop multi wah

This is why I wanted to include the Dunlop Multi Wah into this review. We went over where the wah came from and the two best classic wah pedals on the market. Now we need to talk about the modern day wah pedal.

The Multi Wah looks and feels like a cry baby wah pedal. However, it is vastly different. Mainly because there are several controls that allow you to adjust the pedal’s sound for various songs, or to tighten up the sound you like best!

Although pretty basic, the controls on the wah pedal offer some great versatility. There is a large dial on the right hand side of the pedal that controls 6 different settings. Setting 1 has more treble and as you switch to setting 6 the sound contains more bass signal and becomes pretty fat.

On the left hand side across from the large setting dial, there are two smaller dials that control the sweep range of the wah pedal, going from very little range to a lot of range, and the boost control that increases the wah level by up to 15 db. The boost on the wah is toggled on and off by using a small red kick button on the back right side of the pedal.

All and all this is a great pedal for anyone who is striving for the perfect tone and wants versatility in their wah experience. Definitely a pedal to consider bringing it home with you.

Steve Vai Bad Horsie 2

best wah pedal bad horsie 2

I wanted to include this pedal in this review because I think it is a pretty cool design. The sound is also really great and it was made with the influence of Steve Vai so can’t really go wrong there either.

The best feature I think this pedal has is the fact that it is a switchless wah pedal. Meaning you do not need to click in the small button at the bottom of the wah like you need to with the Cry Baby, Vox Classic Wah and Multi Wah. Instead, all you need to do is put your foot on the pedal and the pedal engages the wah.

There are also some controls on the Bad Horsie 2 that make it pretty desirable. Two dials on the side of the pedal to control the level and intensity of the pedal. These controls can be engaged when you click the button on the contour of the pedal, appropriately named contour mode.  

Best Chorus Pedal Options (Top 3 of 2015 MXR, Boss, & Electro Harmonix)

The chorus effect is known for broadening a sound and adding a beautiful air around the signal we put through it. It does that by repeating the same sound overtop of itself multiple times, but in a very different way than the delay pedal. It is the same pitch but with slight modulation so the sound becomes fuller. It almost sounds like the tone is submersed underwater.

Chorus has been used in audio recordings and composition for many years. It was first integrated into music by grouping like sounding instruments together like the human voice or string ensembles. Today we can recreate it using technology so individual instruments and artists can use the effect with ease.

Early composers realized how outstanding the same part repeated multiple times using the same instrument can sound. Some of the best classical music uses the chorus effect just by adding in 3-4 layers of the same part. In a choir people sing the same parts and it makes the part sound amazingly full compared to having just one instrument play the part.

The unfortunate thing about creating a chorus effect naturally is that we are not all composers that have access to multiple musicians and instruments. Luckily for us we can achieve a similar result through technology.

Using technology we can duplicate an audio signal coming from one instrument and modulate it to create an awesomely full chorus effect. Most chorus effects are designed to be pedals, rack plug-ins or even tabletop units.

The basic mechanics of the chorus pedal are fairly simple. The incoming signal gets split and one of the signals pitch gets slightly modulated and the timing gets slightly changed. The two signals get paired back together and the result is a signal that sounds airy and broader.

In today’s day the chorus effect has been extremely well used in some of popular music’s greatest hits. You can hear it clearly used in Nirvana’s hit Come As You Are. Also, it was used very widely in the 80’s. So if that is a time period you love, you will most likely love the chorus pedal. However, if you don’t like the 80’s, you still might love the chorus pedal! 

It is a modulation pedal at its basics. We did a review on the best phaser pedal which was also a modulation pedal, click the link to check it out! ​Also, the chorus pedal pairs really well with a delay pedal to give a really submersed and ambient sound. 

Take a listen to “Come As You Are” below:

The Best Chorus Pedal Options For Guitar

In this review we take a look at three of our top picks for the best chorus pedal out there. These were picked due to the tones they produce, popularity, durability and price. Chorus can be a very subjective sound for what you think sounds best, so make sure to listen to the videos posted below as well!

MXR Analog Chorus Pedal

Best Chorus Pedal MXR Analog

The beautiful thing about this pedal is that is an analog pedal. Meaning it keeps true to the input signal without digitally modulating it. This gives it a really warm and natural feel.

The controls on this pedal are straightforward and awesome. There are two EQ knobs to get your high and low-end sounds mixed perfectly. There is a level knob that controls the amount of chorus mixed in with the clean tone. There is a rate knob that controls the speed at which the timing of the split signal gets altered. As well as a depth knob that controls how deep the sound feels.

The pedal comes stock with a beautiful aqua blue, specifically suiting to the underwater sound of the chorus pedal. The MXR Analog Chorus Pedal is an outstanding warm sounding chorus pedal with a great tone. It definitely deserves a spot on the list of the best chorus pedals out there!

Take a listen below:

Boss Super Chorus Pedal

Best Chorus Pedal Boss-CH-1

The Super Chorus is a more modern sounding pedal then the MXR Analog Chorus Pedal as it is a digital chorus pedal. However, there maybe previously made analog super choruses out there I have not found.

It is a very simple to use pedal with 4 control knobs and a signature boss style stomp switch to toggle it from true bypass or chorus. There is a knob to control the EQ, however, I am partial to having more than one EQ knob but one is better than none! It also has a knob for effect level, a knob for depth and a knob for the rate.

It is a clean sounding chorus pedal that errs closer on the side of the highs then the low frequencies. It is used best with a brighter sounding amp. The pedal pretty much matches the volume of the guitar not adding or taking away any signal strength.

All and all this is a great sounding pedal if you are looking for a generally brighter sounding chorus pedal or looking to get the stability and durability of a boss pedal!

Take a listen below:

Electro Harmonix Small Clone Chorus Pedal

Best Chorus Pedal Small Clone

This pedal is on the list due to the tone it creates, as the tone is unbelievably nice. It is one of the most true chorus sounding pedals out there and has been used by some of history’s great musicians, including Kurt Cobain.

It is extremely simple to use. It has one knob on it to control the chorus. This means a lot of the guesswork can be taken out of the picture to create a great chorus tone through the EQ knobs like you do with the MXR or Boss pedals, but for some players I know this will be a huge downfall for it. It also has a switch that can toggle between deep or shallow chorus sounds.

It is an analog pedal as well so one can really hear the warmth in it. I think it sounds warmer then the MXR personally, but decide for yourself and listening below:

Best Cheap Chorus Pedal

Joyo Classic Chorus Pedal

Best Chorus Pedal Joyo Classic Chorus

This pedal is on this list because it is a great sounding chorus pedal for its price point. It is the cheapest pedal on the list and could be a strong contender that could classify as the best cheap chorus pedal on the market. Because of this though, it won’t sound quite as smooth and warm as the MXR or bright and full as the Super Chorus but it will do the job a chorus pedal needs to do!

For how cheap it is it really does sound full. Most cheap pedals out there sound a bit flat and empty when the effect is engaged. Pretty much because of the cheap parts used in the circuitry. However, the Joyo Classic Chorus Pedal almost sounds as warm as the MXR Analog Chorus pedal, but not quite. This would definitely be a better suggestion than a Behringer pedal in this instance because the Behringer Chorus pedal does have a bit of a metallic sound, tinny and too light.

Take a listen below:

Best Delay Pedal Options (Digital & Analog Delay Pedal Review)

There are many great delay pedals on the market and to be honest it was a pretty tough decision putting together this list. The below review is our pick for the top 5 best delay pedal options. The review includes a mix of digital delay pedals and analog delay pedals, as well as two cheap delay pedal options for the budget conscious guitar player.

​History of the Delay Pedal

Before getting into the details on the best delay pedals we chose for this review, lets take a look at what a delay pedal actually is. More advanced players can feel free to skip ahead.

The delay pedal is essentially the same effect as an echo or repetition of a certain sound or signal. It is like yelling “HELLO!” in a big valley or empty hall. As cliché as it is if you listen carefully enough you will be able to hear hello being repeated even though you only said it once.

Similarly to the reverb pedal, using large spaces in nature was one of the first and most rudimentary ways to create delay, and due to that the effect has been reproduced as a recording technique throughout history. Early composers used different types of rooms to create delay effects, similar to how different rooms were used to create reverb. The effect caught on and people began to experiment with different techniques to create delay or echo.

Initially, delay was introduced in the recording realm in the 20’s and 30’s using an analog reel-to-reel magnetic tape recorder. Engineers figured out that if you recorded a sound live onto a magnetic tape and then at the same time turn on the play back system. The result is an echo or delay effect.

Essentially the sound gets recorded magnetically on the tape and the tape moves towards the play back system. Depending on the speed of the reel you can control the time period of the delay. This is due to the fact that it takes a certain amount of time for the magnetic recording to reach the play back system.

Engineers started to recognize the power and potential of the delay effect and started experimenting with different ways to produce the effect. Through that development came the use of electronics to create delay and the modern day delay effect was born.

Today, and for this review, we will focus on the two main types of delay pedal options, analog delay pedals and digital delay pedals. The two types of delays are very similar in terms of practicality but have some distinct differences in terms of tone and sound. This is the same as other types of analog pedals vs digital pedals such as a tremolo or a chorus pedal

As a rule of thumb, digital delay pedals are crisper and cleaner sounding and analog delay pedals are warmer and have a more vintage sound. There can be benefits and drawbacks for each pedal option so you will need to know your sound in order to pick the best delay pedal for you.

Best Delay Pedal Options (High Quality Pedals)

Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal

Best Delay Pedal Boss DD-7

Probably one of the most popular delay pedals on the market, the Boss DD-7 is a digital delay pedal but has a mode that models an analog pedal. Like all boss pedals the DD-7 is constructed using industrial parts so it is made to last.

The pedal itself has a large boss style stomp switch and 4 knobs for controlling the effect level, feedback, delay time (for some settings) and the delay option setting. The delay settings include 4 different standard digital delay modes that can be chopped up into quarter notes, eighth notes, dotted eighth notes and quarter note triplets. There is an analog delay setting, a modulated delay setting, a “hold” setting and also a reverse delay setting. All described below:

· Analog: models the tone of the DD-2. It is a warmer sounding delay that is full and while not quite a true analog delay it does a pretty good job of emulating it.

· Modulated: modulates the signal to produce a chorus/phaser type of sound within the delay. If you are going for an “airy” type of sound this is definitely a good setting.

· Reverse: reverses the signal and produces a backwards delay. Jimi Hendrix used this type of effect in an amazing way to produce some backward sounding solos.

· Hold: acts as a loop so you can experiment with different harmonies, or looping effects. However, it should be noted that if you are looking for a loop pedal then you might want to search elsewhere. The DD-7 allows for a 40 second loop but you cannot store any presets.

One great feature that was added to the DD-7 when it came out was the tap delay time where you can tap the pedal to set the delay. Tapping the pad that comes with the pedal though is a bit tricky for live settings because as soon as you disengage the delay it forgets your tempo. However, you can buy an external pedal that you can plug into the DD-7 and control the tempo at any time through it.

All and all this is a great pedal and you get a lot of bang for your buck because of all of the different types of delay options within it. It also comes in at a fairly solid price so wont necessarily break the bank account.

TC Electronics Flash Back Delay Pedal

Best Delay Pedal Flash Back

The Flash Back delay pedal is a great sounding unit with plenty of versatility and options. Like Boss TC Electronics design a solid pedal built to last. However, the Flash Back has a few more delay options then the DD-7 has.

The pedal includes 9 different types of delay, a loop option and a tone print option where you can download signature delay sounds from the TC Electron website. It also includes a click button switch, delay switch (for breaking up the delay into quarter notes, dotted quarter notes and eighth notes), as well as 3 knobs. The knobs control the effect level, delay time and feedback of the delay.

The different delay options are chalked full of some really interesting sounds to experiment with:

· 2290: This is a basic clean digital delay. Very crisp and keeps the delayed signal free from any muck as it repeats.

· Analog: like the DD-7 the Flashback has an analog setting. The delay is warmer and fades away a bit quicker then the 2290 option.

· Tape: the tape delay setting emulates the warmness of using an actual tape delay. Can be a great option if you want the sustenance of a digital delay with the warmness of an analog delay.

· Lo-Fi: the lo-fi option is a really cool delay effect that produces a really gritty sounding delay. Lo-Fi meaning low fidelity, making it a bit grittier.

· Dynamic: This setting is dynamic to the way you play the guitar and when used correctly can offer some really interesting sounds.

· Modulated: Like the DD-7 the modulated setting modulates the signal to produce a chorus/phaser type of sound within the delay.

· Ping Pong: this setting can be used if you are using the stereo outputs. It “ping pongs” the signal from the left speaker to the right speaker.

· Slap: this is a similar tone to what the slap back reverb would sound like we reviewed previously. But has more sustain on the delay then a reverb would… being it is a delay!

· Reverse: this reverses the signal producing a backward sound, just like we explained above with DD-7.

· Loop: a 40 second loop setting.

· Tone Print: this setting is pretty awesome because you can print different kinds of delay sounds from the Internet to get the perfect sound you are looking for.

The Flash Back is a great delay pedal option and very versatile. It comes in at a comparable price to the DD-7 and would be a great pick due to the different options of delay that come stock. If the regular flashback isn’t enough for you, TC Electronics offers 3 different kinds of flash back delay pedals with multiple presets as well as looping options.

MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay Pedal

Best Delay Pedal MXR Carbon Copy

This is a truly analog delay pedal and because of that it puts the analog settings on the DD-7 and Flash Back to shame. It has very warm repeats and as you stack more sounds on top of each other you can hear the repeats get broken up in true analog fashion.

Analog delay pedals aren’t for everyone or every type of music though. Since it is truly analog when you overload the signal it can start to sound a bit off, or if you plug too many pedals in to your chain and activate them it can have a dubious effect. But for a lot of players, analog is the only way to go.

The Carbon Copy is a pretty simple to use pedal. It has a click button type switch, three knobs controlling regeneration, mix and delay time, plus it also includes a button for modulation so you can get those nice sounding chorus repeats.

You can hear the Carbon Copy in action in the below video from Pro Guitar Shop Demos:

Best Cheap Delay Pedal Options (Behringer and Donner)

Like in some of our previous reviews, we like to throw in a couple of cheaper options for beginners or guitar players who aren’t ready to throw mega bucks in to their gear. Although it goes to say you do truly get what you pay for, these two delay pedals are a great bang for your buck!

Behringer VD400 Vintage Delay Pedal

The VD400 is a strong contender for the best cheap delay pedal on the market. It has one delay option that is a fairly clear digital delay sound. It has three knobs to control the repeat rate, echo and intensity.

Like all Behringer pedals it needs to be taken good care of in order for it to really last, but if you can do that then you have a good sounding delay pedal at an amazing price!

Donner Delay Pedal

This is an extremely simple but great sounding delay pedal for the price it comes in at. I think I like the tone of the delay repeats from the Donner over the Behringer VD400, but both are good cheap delay pedals.

The controls on this pedal consist of a large knob for controlling the time of the delay repeats. It also has two smaller knobs to control echo and amount of feedback. All and all a great sounding pedal but on the cheaper side!

Best Reverb Pedal In 2017…. Time To Get Wet!

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The best reverb pedal will be an important addition to your pedal board in order to really texturize your tone. To find what you need in terms of sound, you must know what you need and want out of the pedal.

Do you want something cheap to start out with or a something rock solid that will last a decade... or six? Or maybe you want something with a bit more flare that will allow you to use it creatively?

In this review we go over the top reverb pedals going into 2016 based on their sound, controls, and price. But first, lets look at the history of this awesome effect. 

History of The Reverb Effect

To understand reverb, we must first take a look at the root of its name. Reverb is short for reverberation and is defined as the collection of reflected sounds from the surfaces in an enclosure.

You have most likely experienced it for yourself if you have ever yelled in a gymnasium, or talked loudly in a church. The effect occurs is when a sound bounces off of something and is returned to your ear slightly changed from the original sound. Using the church example, if you yell at the top of your lungs, although I wouldn’t recommend doing this in a church, the sound wave coming from your mouth will expand throughout the room hitting the walls, ceiling and nooks of the church. Then the sound will bounce back in different ways causing your ear to hear the sound differently.

In music, reverb has been in play since the beginning of time and is probably the first “effect” that was ever utilized. However, back then, controlling reverb was basically changing rooms to get a different sound. Musicians played in huge halls, churches, caves and other acoustically varying venues that produce different reverberation. Lucky for us, in the modern day we have technology that can replicate this and bring it even further.

At the beginning of the recording boom in the 30’s engineers started to play around with different ways to record a solid reverberation artificially. Back then, one common way was to record a sound in an acoustically dampened room, play back the sound using a loud speaker in a larger room, tunnel or some sort of stack and then record the resulting sound as the reverb.

Hall Of Fame | The Lead Guitar

This effect and recording technique is still used in some studios today, as some would argue there is no better reverb than it occurs naturally! However, not everyone has a spare dungeon to record into at band practice…

Then came the invention of digital reverb where a circuit is used to create a line delay digitally and creates reverberation within the signal resulting in the desired effect. The first ever effect pedal was the EMT 250 in 1976 and it started a gold rush in reverberation technology. The results of which can be seen in the below pedals and can be plugged straight into your pedal chain.

It should be noted that reverb pedals should be added in the pedal chain as a texturizing pedal. This means, add it to the back or end of your pedal chain. You will essentially want it to color the rest of your pedals and if you put it before then you will most likely lose the effect to the rest of the chain and it will sound muddy.

Reverb is all about texturizing your tone. It is an essential tool but by no means the only pedal that can help texture shine through. Check out our reviews on the best chorus pedal, the best phaser pedal, and best delay pedal options for a start. 

In General, The Best Reverb Pedal Options of 2016:

TC Electronics Hall Of Fame Reverb Pedal

Best Reverb Pedal Hall: Of Fame

The TC Electronics reverb pedal is one of the most versatile reverb pedals on the market for its price point. It has a simple to use design controlling 11 different tones. As well, the TC Electronics pedal has a special option of being able to download and install different tones to the pedal through a USB chord, which are available through the TC Electronics website.

The best thing about this pedal is the fact that it has 11 different types of reverb built right in, including some of the most popular and well- known types including spring, plate and hall effects. It also has controls for reverb decay, level, and tone to maximize the tone differentiation of the pedal, even within the different types of reverb.

It comes it at a fairly modest price point for a solid pedal, of course, there are cheaper varieties out there but you get what you pay for like most guitar pedals. It also is built very well so you can rest assured this pedal will last the test of time. It also is a fuller sounding reverb then the lesser quality counterparts.

Since it has such variety in terms of sound it is best heard on the below video by Pro Guitar Shop Demos. You can hear the difference between all types of reverbs as well as some differing tone settings:


Electro Harmonix Holy Grail

Best Reverb Pedal: Holy Grail

The Holy Grail is well named. It is a strong unit that produces a solid tone for all sounds so it can be thought as the best reverb that gives you “life”. It doesn’t have the same amount of controls that the Hall of Fame does, but it does have three different modes that you can alternate between in order to get the best tone needed for a particular song.

The controls on this pedal are fairly straightforward. It consists of a click button switch, a knob that controls the level of reverb as well as a three level switch that dictates the type of reverb created. The style can alternate between a hall, a spring and a “flerb” reverb.

The first option of reverb is the “spring” reverb. Which is a classic the sound of a bouncing spring verb. It is a bright sounding reverb that can be described as “slap back”, essentially slapping the sound back to the ear. The spring reverb when turned up can create an awesome sounding “surf” style of guitar. Think of the beach boys as well as the song “Wipeout”.

The hall effect is essentially replicating the sound of being in a large hall. It has a bit more “wetness” then the spring effect and sounds a bit fuller which can be nice touch to any indie, rock or alternative sounding song. The hall verb is a classic sounding reverb and can really texturize any guitar tone and style of music as if you are playing in a large hall or room. Technically it can be described as having a long decay.

The “Flerb” reverb is a mix between a Flanger and a reverb pedal. If you haven’t heard what a Flanger pedal can do, make sure to check out our review on the Flanger pedal. Basically the Flanger is an oscillation of the same signal creating a swirling sound. Mixed with a reverberation effect it can create a very interesting sound

Boss Reverb Pedals: The RV-5 and FRV-1

Best Reverb Pedal: Boss RV-5

As you may have read in our other reviews like the Fuzz, Distortion and Overdrive reviews, you may have heard us say that Boss is a standard in guitar pedals. This is because of the construction of these pedals and the sounds they are able to produce at such a reasonable price.

The Boss RV-5 is a great pedal that has 6 different tones built in to emulate different room types. The six different types include the basic and standard room, hall, plate and spring verbs as well as a gate reverb and a modulate effect. The modulate effect can be quite wet and results in a fairly out there and “trippy” sound when used properly.

As well, the RV-5 has controls for the level, tone and time of the reverb to make sure your tone is right for the sound you want! Like all Boss pedals it has a solid construction that will last the test of time. It is a full sounding reverb and all and all would be a solid choice for your first  pedal to get used to the sound.

FRV-1

Best Reverb Pedal: Boss FRV-1

Boss and Fender came together to create the FRV-1 modeled after Fender’s classic ’63 reverb amp, a classic sounding amp used for anything from surf to blues. Fender is and was a pioneer in sound technology so it is only suiting that the Boss pedal masters and Fender teamed up to create this legendary pedal.

Like the spring setting on the Holy Grail, the sound that comes out of the FRV-1 is a bright sounding effect with a ton of action. However, this pedal is specifically designed to only be a spring reverb and does not have any other settings, thus it would be the only downside for this pedal. If you are looking for a great sounding spring reverb pedal, then this would be a solid option as one of the best spring verb pedal options out there!

The controls on the FRV-1 are straightforward and easy to use. There is a mixer knob, a tone knob and a dwell knob that can basically be thought of as a time or length knob.

​Electro Harmonix Cathedral Stereo Reverb

Best Reverb Pedal: Cathedral Stereo Reverb

The Cathedral is a monster of a pedal. It comes stacked with 8 different reverb options including two options from the Holy Grail pedal, the spring and flerb settings. Plus the pedal has 5 different control knobs to truly customize your tone.

The different options within this pedal are the grail spring, an “accu” spring, a hall, room, plate and reverse reverb plus the grail flerb and an echo setting.

The five different control knobs on the Cathedral are blend, time, damping/tone, feedback and pre-delay. These five knobs plus the 8 different reverb options allow you to get extremely detailed in regards to your tone. Which makes this pedal a strong contender your next choice in reverberation technology.

It can be dialed back to give a slight reverb sound and also, like the name would suggest, can be maxed out to get some very ethereal sounds from it. It is one of the most versatile reverb pedals on the market, but also allows for intense creative ability.

The Cheaper Reverberation Options Out There

As always, we wanted to include some options out there for beginners or anyone who may be on a tighter budget. However, I will say with reverb it is an effect that you may want to splurge on since it is such an important aspect of tone. But it is understandable if that is not an option so the below pedals will do you good, at a lesser price. 

Behringer Reverb Machine

Best Cheap Reverb Pedal: Reverb Machine

The reverb machine is a great pedal for beginners who want to have a taste the effect and all its glory. The reverb machine combines 11 different effects that allow you to experiment with different sounds all from within the body of a cheaper pedal.

The controls on this pedal include mix, decay, tone and time like most of the other effect units we've seen. However, there is one feature that is different from some pedals which is the trails section, which you can turn on and off. This aspect of the pedal controls the resonance of the pedal, when it is on the pedal rings more abundantly then when it is off.

Donner Reverb

Best Cheap Reverb Pedal: Donner

Like most Donner pedals, the Donner reverb comes in the same body style. It is a tough and well-built cheaper reverb pedal. It sounds fairly full for the price point and is definitely a plus.

The controls on the Donner pedal include a level control, tone control, reverb amount control as well as a switch that controls three different types of reverb. It is fuller sounding then the Behringer, however, it doesn’t have as much versatility (only 3 reverb options vs 11).

It is a great pedal for a beginner or someone who is on a tight budget. Like all Donner pedals it is a solid quality even though it is cheap, probably because of their use of the pedal body through most of their pedals.

Wrapping It Up

So, there you have it folks. ​