One of the most special instruments is the guitar that can easily be manipulated, modulated, or distorted to our heart’s content.
Possibilities are endless, when the right effects are used!!!!
So many options and selecting the perfect guitar pedal for your rig could be confusing. But we have simplified after an in-depth research, they must have guitar pedals with their categories and recommended models. You will be able to generate a highly versatile and massive sound palette after being educated on what you didn’t know and validated on what you knew already about the pedal effects.
We will go through each one properly from distortion to delay, overdrive to boost and many others….
Must Have Guitar Pedals - Head To Head Comparison
BOSS Distortion Guitar Pedal
In the music industry distortion is the most broadly used effect. This effect is similar to punk rock, grunge, metal, and rock and roll. Though there are many others but some stunning examples of distortion are Jonny Greenwood of Radio Head, Nirvana, Aerosmith, and AC/DC.
The term distortion could be confusing and clinical definition says it results in extra sustain with in-harmonic and harmonic overtones when it is clipped in an instrument’s sound. Distortion is more for rock and metal while the overdrive for blue guitarists.
A large number of guitarists like to use the Boss DS-1, which comes with an affordable price tag of $50. There are significant users of this like the Josh Klinghoffer, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Kurt Cobain etc.
This pedal gained more value by being an alternative to a pedal of $100 that is used by professional musicians. If you aren’t confused with a pedal’s lineage then this one is certainly great and a versatile piece of equipment.
Thick and harmonically rich distortion is provided by this pedal and when dialed at moderate levels this remains cogent and even conjure a powerful overdrive effect. Just be cautious about one thing that enough gain will not be received by you if you wanna play modern metal.
Let’s your true guitar tone shine
Tone, level, and distortion knobs on face
Offers far more range
Powerful tone shaping
A great pedal for certain applications
Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer
Overdrive is an ultra-fine execution of distortion. You can achieve this by playing tube amplifiers at high volume or by an overdrive pedal. Many of the blues guitarists tend to choose overdrive over distortion.
This happens when they attain it with a tube-amp against the pedal. Note that the first is a boost and then it pushes the tube-amp into overdrive by raising the volume. The first way retains more amp sound while the second allows for high-level distortion achievement.
As Boss DS-1 is to distortion, similarly the Ibanez TS9 is to overdrive. The mid-range response is well-known for delivering a tone that is heard on numerous records. Some guitarists who have used this effect are Carlos Santana, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Gary Clark Jr., and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
You get similar tones to that of above and this model is the replica of the actual TS9. This is something really good and has a mid-range hump that enables your tone to cut through a mix. The gain control takes the pedal to super fine levels of overdrive to an airy distortion.
Classic tones, drive, and level controls
Appreciated by many guitar players
This is similar to its original in many ways
Gives you access to warm, amp-like overdrive that’s touch sensitive
A top-rated product which is loved by many
MXR M133 Micro Amp
As discussed above it is an overdrive pedal’s function to boost your signal. This drives a tube amp into the overdrive, but this may still pass on the pedal’s tone onto the signal. That’s why you will need a boost pedal for driving your amp to drive.
For getting the best out of a boost pedal you need to have a tube amplifier as the volume will be raised but you won’t get any overdrive.
This is a basic boost pedal and works wonderfully for the ones that are looking for something that doesn’t have an influence on their tone. The MXR M133 is a boost pedal that is made with a great build quality with a stellar reception. If you compare then the MXR is a good option to try.
Whenever you want to have a clean boost then the MXR with a simple design is the one that assures to function well. Some of you may find this as expensive pedal over the entry-level clean boosts but overall, this is a better built and spending a bit extra will be worth.
Works perfect for switching between guitars with unmatched output
With a single control this adds a pre-set amount of gain
Boosts your signal for lead work
Offers a good build quality
A simple booster
TC Electronic FlashBack Delay
As the name is the delay is an effect where signal is played again after being reproduced. It’s similar to yelling in a canyon where the echoes follow your voice. This can be essentially referred to as delay. From country to country, metal delay is used everywhere. They are of two types:
Analog – This is warmer and organic when reiterated.
Digital – This is brighter and provides more loyalty over adjustments in delay times with an overall longer delay time.
If you are just starting out then TC Electronic (Delay and Looper) is a great option. Distinct eight delay models you get out of the box with a limited looper and entry to the Tone-print software. Probably not the best of all but has many cool tones on tap and you can get a lot of enjoyment out of it.
The TC Electronic Flashback offers a lot, from appealing and powerful analog to dreamy modulated delay. If you are seeking for some particular sound then get the pedal accordingly and you can also switch to some lower-priced versions in that genre. But keep in mind that the looping is limited.
Features 11 delay types including looper
A true bypass- zero loss of tone
Enables 6 seconds delay
Instant access to custom pedal-tweaks by Tone-Print
Easy battery access
Made from high-quality components
A versatile delay but with a limited looper
Electro-Harmonix Small Clone
A slightly delayed signal can be referred to as Chorus. The pitch is raised or lowered as the delay times are lengthened or shortened. Way back in the 80s for creating a spacey and thickening effect chorus pedals were used.
Obviously in different ways by various artists for giving their guitar a unique tonality. Nirvana’s Come as You Are, is certainly a great example of this. Like we discussed digital is preferred for delay, while for chorus analog is a better sounding option.
Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain used the Electro-Harmonix Small Clone. This provides a range of tones from heavy-modulated (found on Come as You Are) to some really ultra-fine tones. From clear, rich and dimensional to warm pulsating warbles, the pedal can be intensified with the Depth Control. Available at different price ranges this is deceptively versatile.
A pretty wide range of tones is covered when the controls work together. In its analog construction all sound great. Even the simple tweaks generate exciting doubling-effects, Chiming 12-string tone, or Leslie-like warbles. This includes a 9-volt battery with optional 9DC-100 power supply. A true bypass pedal, is affordable, and a wonderful tone on a budget.
A classic chorus and a true bypass
Provides finest analog chorus sounds
Offers a range of tones
An affordable option
Popularized by Kurt Cobain
A great chorus pedal overall with no cons
Other Modulation effects
Donner Guitar Modulation Effect Pedal
In chorus the modulation effects are less common and a little different from the above section we have some definitions of effects and genres. In concern to briefness we have included a multi-effects pedal in spite of individual effects.
The chorus comprises two signals: one signal is the normal tone while the other is delayed to modulate its pitch. The main signal is modulated with the vibrato and to be noted that Tremolo is a modulation in volume. The sound you get is similar to a whammy bar.
When a jet takes off you get to hear a “swooshy sound” and this is kind of a flanger. This is much more widespread effect than what is thought of by some people. Les Paul is credited for its invention in the late 1940s.
This was widely used by the Beatles too with all the vocals on their album.
Some notable examples where the phaser was used were Jonny Greenwood on Paranoid Android, Eddie Van Halen in Eruption.
There is something between the chorus pedal and the wah and that’s a phaser. Not so easy to describe, but the video will surely add to your clarity.
Donner can be considered as a stand-out manufacturer especially in this category. A product with wonderful reviews across the web, this is a true-bypass, and features metal casings. With a really impressive price range, they have brought a Donner Square Mod (catch-all modulation pedal).
This provides 7-mode modulation effects: Chorus A, Chorus B, Phaser, Tremolo, Rotary, Vibrato and Flanger. Why is this not featured in the chorus section? Many think this and the issue is that the tone provided by this isn’t great.
It is better to get a stand-alone effect, and the flange and phase models are promising but for occasional use more. Same goes for the vibrato mode. But overall a range of modulation effects add musical color to your tone.
Offers 7-mode modulation effects
Digital circuit tone, true-bypass provide transparent tone
Stable and strong aluminum-alloy classic
The working state is shown by the LED indicator
Minor quality issues
Chorus a bit shallow
MOOER Yellow Comp
If we talk about the lead guitar players the compression is used by every genre (from country to metal). From thickest to thinnest strings this effect can balance the output with a consistent volume for solos.
An effect that works to make the loud signals quieter and the quitter ones louder. A uniform volume is provided in everything you play. If you want to play a lot of legato, chicken pick or sweep pick, this certainly works great
This is a good option for the ones who are searching for an entry-level pedal and using in a limited capacity. You can use this pedal in most of the situations as this is truly versatile. This offers a classic optical compressing sound with a smooth attack and delay.
The MOOER Yellow Comp remains sturdy with its full metal shell and the compact design is quite impressive. You don’t get attack and release controls with this. One can’t consider this as a deal breaker but this limits the extent to which one can dial the response of the effect.
Very small and exquisite
Full metal shell
Preserves the original signal transients properly
Classic optical compressing sound
Durability may be an issue for some
TC Electronic Guitar Ditto Looper Pedal
This records signals and plays it back on the loop. With a single instrument you can use this effect for full-scale arrangements live. Even multiple instruments can be used depending on the looper.
Even a rhythm track can simply be laid down that can be used to practice lead guitar. Using in a more advanced way will require a more expensive looper. The sound is dependant on the rig as against the pedal itself, so spending some amount won’t leave you with worries.
This is simple and a well-built device, that features two controls: an activation switch and a loop level knob (controls the playback volume). The activation switch is used to turn the pedal on, overdub, and record. At this size and price this is amazingly powerful. Just five minutes of recording time is featured with this and it stays perfect for practice.
The Ditto Looper comes with a small footprint and is a true-bypass. So, leaving the pedal in a single chain will leave you with no worries for your tone getting an impact.
Designed by guitarists for guitarists
True-bypass and analog-dry-through
5 minutes of loop time, unlimited overdubs with undo/redo
Highly intuitive looper pedal
Internal memory retains loops even after a power down
Customer support could have been better
BOSS Loop Station Guitar Pedal
The BOSS Loop Station is the most powerful of all loopers ever. This fully featured looper helps you to simultaneously produce three stereo tracks and even moving between them is also possible. Those of you who are quite serious about using a looper then this is not to be missed.
This flaunts an XLR input that completes it with a phantom power and this attracts the singers, beatboxers, percussionists, violinists, or anyone who wants to get into an act. You need not start from the beginning and can overdub, record tracks, and remove. The unit offers 8 built-in effects and allows almost unparalleled level of control over the loops you have.
Three stereo tracks with dedicated foot switches
Dedicated fader per track
Manages 99 onboard memories
Provides up to 3-hours of internal recording
Top class looper with no drawbacks
Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah
As you rock the pedal the peak frequency response is moved by the wah pedal. The wah pedal also works to emphasize treble frequencies on one end and bass frequencies on the other.
The name of the pedal is onomatopoeia as it creates a sound such as that of “wah-wah”. This effect is broadly used in rock and metal. The two notable examples are Slash and Kirk Hammett.
This can be considered as a standard and opposing this all others can be judged. Even after fifty years of production this pedal is widely used till date. A design that’s sponsored to many imitators and this effect provides a classic response too.
An affordable effect to buy, and this is probably the best is you are looking to follow different players. There may be some more models that are expensive, more durable, and feature much built-in effects, but the Dunlop CryBaby Wash GCB95 still maintains a supreme position due to its performance, efficient design, and durability.
Heavy Die-cast construction
A versatile wah pedal
Two powering options
Comes with a 1-year warranty
Amazing sound but some issue with the activation switch
TC Electronic Hall of Fame
This provides amp sound effects as if you are playing in a large room. For example, you can hear the sound of your footsteps while you walk in an empty large building. The current effects of reverb are based on the following:
Room/hall: This is like the example mentioned above. Hall emulation is dramatic while the room emulation is focused and subtle.
Plate: This is like a steel plate suspended in the frame, with microphone on one side and speaker attached to the other. This has a bright presence.
Spring: It has a splashy sound and electrical signals are fed through the springs. (Dick Dale’s guitar work).
This reverb is a perfect combo of affordability and versatility. The TC Electronic Hall of Fame offers 10-different voices that are on the pedal and pre-loaded. This features a TonePrint software that allows you to tweak and edit different parameters. You can also let the pedal mimic any other reverb you can think of.
Tons of pre-sets for guitarists are also available in case you were hunting for some specific sound. This ranks higher and facilitates you to experiment reverb of numerous types and twitch them according to your taste. Though there may be some more that provide much control but this is a true bypass at this price point and great option to go for.
True Bypass with zero loss of tone
Provides maximum tonal integrity and clarity
Added flexibility to fit any set-up
A great one but consumes a bit more battery for delivering more
JOYO JF-09 Tremolo Guitar Pedals
A tremolo enables at a set rate to decrease and increase volume. For decades the effect has been used extensively and from past few years the noteworthy examples are the Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Howlin For You by The Black Keys.
This effect is a phaser and a flanger both and is a cool one if used tastefully and adds a unique texture to your songs.
An effect which is rarely used due to its simplicity is the tremolo. Not much amount is required to be spent for this good tremolo model. This is a true-bypass, features a metal casing, and offers a superb tone quality. The LED displays the effects timing and this particular feature makes dialing to a song’s tempo like a breeze. So, calling it a life saver is no brainer.
The JOYO JF-09 gives away a light and fluttery tone but doesn’t do the on-off sound. A simple design and pedal interface that comes with a 9 V. This triangle waver tremolo tone, gain, and volume, what else is required?
True bypass design minimizes tone loss
Aluminum alloy casing with varnish finish
Tremolo of beloved classic tube amplifiers
Tone and vibe can be easily adjusted with the intensity and rate knob
Made from quality components
You get what you pay, probably the best in the category
The Final Words
We hope that reading about the must have guitar pedals was beneficial for you. Just transform the way you play a guitar with the perfect mix and match of the affects you want. Get the pedal which is the best bang for the buck and just rock your act!!!!
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