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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.