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The Tanglewood TWJP E is a fantastically compact and blues-ready parlour guitar, reminiscent of a classical guitar with a thin ‘mango’ wood blend body that carries a surprisingly punchy tone for such a small-bodied guitar.
Known more for their full-bodied dreadnought acoustic than their depression-era 6-strings, Tanglewood pleasantly surprised fans the world over with the TWJP. Everything from the wood used for the actual build of the guitar to the unique neck and headstock all point to the immense detail that Tanglewood have put in to making this one of the best parlour guitars you’ll find under 500 big ones. But enough gushing, let’s take an objective look at the sounds, pros, cons, and spec of the TWJP (and why we’re huge fans of this budget blues guitar).
The Low Down – Tanglewood TWJP E
If you’re anything like us, your first thoughts when looking at this guitar is just simply…wow. The body and neck are incredibly thin, however for the era in which this guitar is based is would actually be seen as larger than usual (not that this will affect playing, and it is substantially smaller than a typical dreadnought or full bodied acoustic).
Tanglewood have brought the parlour guitar into the 21st century by ensuring it an electro acoustic model, which may not be something that many guitarists consider until it’s too late (for example, the ease of plugging in and playing an electro compared to the time and effort that it takes to mic up a standard acoustic).
Not one to stick to conventional builds, Tanglewood have constructed this TWJP with a solid cedar top. Fans of classical guitars will recognise that cedar is more regularly used on nylon string guitars, however in this instance is crucial in keeping the weight and compact appeal of the guitar whilst ensuring that a full tone is maintained. The back of the guitar is the aforementioned mango blend, a beautifully light wood that again is more commonly seen on classical guitars. Tanglewood even go as far to add a mahogany binding in the place of cheaper materials, which really finishes the body construction off and again speaks to the depth of detail that has gone into this build.
The use of this lighter wood may dissuade fans of the more standard acoustics, however we urge you to put your notions of parlour guitars aside and really take the time to seek this guitar out.
As with most parlour guitars, the top half of the body is very small and can throw regular players who expect to rest on a bulkier top half of the body. This does take a little getting used to, and accompanied with the slim neck can leave the guitar feeling rather strange in your hands. Because of this, the tone is not as ‘full’ as larger guitars, which can be heard at the higher-end when plugged in… But this is expected with a parlour guitar and for a low-cost model should be embraced rather than avoided.
Size: 50.8 x 15.2 cm
Sound (Video Demos)
Review Demo - Tanglewood TWJP Java Series - YouTube
New Gear: Tanglewood Java TWJP E Parlor Guitar Review - YouTube
Incredibly unique build and body construct
Great for beginners and players with small hands
Makes a good first guitar, particularly for fans of blues and parlour guitars
Build quality is admirable for the low price
Does not carry tone as well as thicker dreadnought guitars
Is still a budget parlour guitar and does not compete in the tone department compared to more expensive models
Beginners and fans of blues guitar who want a low-cost introduction to the world of parlour guitars
For the price, it has to be said that this guitar is worth every penny. Whilst it doesn’t compete with more expensive models, the overall quality is fantastic for the price. The electro-acoustic feature is not great, but at this price that is to be expected (think of the stock pickups that come on a standard electric).
With a little tweaking and addition of more refined hardware the TWJP E will really come in to its own.
Check out the full parlour guitar guide for more reviews and an objective look at the types of parlour guitars that are recommended for every style of playing.
Discover in-depth reviews of the 10 Best Phaser Pedals available in 2019
The perfect phaser pedal can add a huge amount of life and style to your tone, whether you’re playing a solo or simply looking for a way to thicken up your rhythm guitar tone.
Popularised by Eddie Van Halen in the late 70s and early 80s, phaser pedals have found their place on the “essentials” list over the past few decades. Despite their 80s reputation, phasers have actually been in use by guitarists for well over half a century.
Like with other popular effects pedals, there are countless phasers available. Below, we’ve put together a list of our 10 favourites, including everything from classic 60s and 70s phasers aimed at enthusiasts to a range of more modern phaser effects.
1. Walrus Audio Lillian Analog Phaser
The Lillian phaser pedal from Walrus Audio is very much a piece of premium gear. It’s compact, with an enclosure measuring less than five inches in length, and made from a thick metal that’s perfect for use on stage.
From a sound perspective, the Lillian is an excellent phaser pedal. It includes four control knobs letting you tailor everything from the rate and width of the effect to the total amount of feedback, as well as a switch that lets you toggle from four to six stages.
While it’s price puts it out of reach for most beginners, the Walrus Audio Lillian Analog Phaser is a great buy for enthusiasts, studio musicians and professional guitarists.
The Ninety Orange pedal from Mooer has classic mini-pedal phaser styling, with a bright orange color scheme and a compact, all-metal enclosure. It’s also highly affordable, with a price tag that suits beginners just as much as it does experienced guitarists.
Don’t let the cheap price fool you — the Ninety Orange is a great pedal. The phasing tone is rich and warm, with a 60s/70s psychedelic feel. The only real weakness is the lack of options — with just one control knob and a modern/vintage switch, you don’t have a lot of control over the tone.
Still, if you’re looking for a simple but effective phaser pedal that costs about the same amount as a nice meal for two, the Ninety Orange is definitely worth considering.
The Mod Square from Donner is a sleek, modern phaser pedal that’s packed with great options for modifying your sound.
This pedal includes seven different modulation effects. In addition to the phaser effect, there’s a tremolo, vibrato, two different types of chorus, rotary and a flanger effect. There are also control knobs for effect level, depth and rate control knob, letting you further tweak your sound.
While the effects offered by the Mod Square sound world class, they’re more than good enough for beginners interested in playing around with new tones. Despite its low price, this pedal has a full metal enclosure, making it just as usable on stage as it is in the practice room.
Affordable and simple, this phaser from AZOR is a great option for beginner guitarists that want to experiment with new sounds, all without spending more than they need to.
The AZOR Phase has a compact design similar to most mini-pedals. True to its simple design, this pedal only features three control knobs — one for adjusting the speed of the effect, one for the width and another for feedback.
While the AZOR Phase won’t win any awards for its sound or its features, it’s a great pedal for beginners. It also gets all of the essential features right, offering true bypass for a neutral tone when not in use and a simple LED indicator to show when the effect is active.
The Vintage Phaser from EX sports a full analog circuit, giving it a rich, warm and timeless tone that 70s and 80s rock enthusiasts are sure to love.
Like many of the other phaser pedals on this page, the EX VIntage Phaser is a mini-pedal, with a compact design that’s perfect for slipping into a gig bag or storing in your pedalboard. Despite its small size, it packs a punch, with a versatile sound that compares to more expensive pedals.
Like other mini-pedals, the Vintage Phaser is quite minimalistic when it comes to controls. There are only three control knobs, allowing you to control depth, rate and regen. If you’re looking for a simple, compact phaser and don’t mind limited control options, this one is worth considering.
No list of phaser pedals would be complete without an option or two from MXR. Famous for their bright orange stompboxes, the Phase 95 is one of MXR’s best known and most beloved pedals, delivering the classic sounds of the original 45 and 90 phasers.
Like other MXR pedals, the Mini Phase 95 is compact and extremely sturdy. With an enclosure that’s made entirely out of metal, the Mini Phase 95 is more than suitable for regular use on the stage or in the studio.
As for the sound, it’s tough to beat. This bundle includes the pedal and a variety of accessories, including two patch cables, an AC adapter and a longer instrument cable.
The Boss PH-3 is a versatile phaser pedal that has everything you’d expect from Boss, from its durable design and high quality construction to a range of effects options.
On the front of the PH-3, you’ll find four control knobs, letting you control the rate, resolution and depth of the effect. There’s also a stage control, allowing you to cycle through a range of classic multi-stage phaser sounds.
Add a tap-to-set-tempo feature into the equation and the PH-3 packs in almost everything you’d ever want in a phaser pedal. Like other Boss effects pedals, this is a great buy, with outstanding build quality and a versatile sound that’s ideal for intermediate and enthusiast guitarists.
The Fender Lost Highway is one of the best phaser pedals on the market, offering both four and eight stage phasing with a huge range of control options.
If you’re looking for a high-end phaser pedal that puts you in full control of your sound, the Lost Highway is sure to please. With seven control knobs, slow and fast speeds and a wave switch allowing you to toggle from sine or triangle waves, this phaser pedal is packed with options.
It also sounds great, with a versatile tone that’s just as good for modern styles as it is for classic rock. Add true bypass into the equation and the Lost Highway is one of the best phasers on the market, especially for enthusiasts and professional guitarists.
The Helix Phaser from TC Electronic is a compact, great-sounding effect pedal that’s aimed at enthusiasts and professional musicians.
With its compact design, this phaser pedal fits easily into the front pocket of a gig bag and looks natural on even the smallest of pedalboards. Despite its small size, it includes a range of control options, from speed and depth to feedback and a variety of phaser types.
Like other TC Electronic pedals, the Helix Phaser is built to a high standard. Thanks to its solid metal enclosure, it looks and feels more than durable enough for use in the studio, as a practice pedal or live on stage.
Eddie Van Halen was one of several guitarists to make the phaser a must-have pedal in the late 1970s and early 80s. This phaser from MXR combines the classic Phase 90 sound with Eddie’s own style thanks to its instantly recognisable colour scheme.
The MXR EVH90 has a minimalistic design, with one knob to control the speed of the effect. It’s also equipped with a small toggle button, allowing you to switch from a vintage, “Script” phaser tone and a modern “Black Logo” phaser effect.
If you’re a Van Halen fan or just an 80s rock guru in general looking for something that will give you the classic 80s solo tone, the MXR EVH90 is definitely worth adding to your pedalboard. This was also always going to be our top phaser pedal selection, based on capabilities, tone, and looks… who can fault the EVH90?
Hopefully this guide has helped you to understand the different types of phaser pedal subsets, particularly the types of pedals which are suitable for beginners and larger, more complex phasers for players looking for a highly-modified phased effect to add to part of their pedal board.
If you enjoyed this guide, be sure to take a look at our guide to the best delay pedals to add a touch of the spacey, echoey goodness to your phaser tone.
The Boss OC-3 Super Octave – A Perfect Compact Polyphonic Octave Pedal?
If you’re familiar with effects pedals, then you’ve no doubt heard of Boss pedals. And, if you’ve seen our octave pedal guide before, then you no doubt know how big of a fan we are of the popular range of effects from the pedal behemoth…and for good reason too.
The OC-3 is a well priced, compact and surprisingly diverse pedal, proudly marketed as the worlds first polyphonic octave pedal with adjustable poly octave effects, drive setting, and an input for bass guitars specifically for adding a modulated octave signal for bass guitar players.
Let’s take a closer look at what has been improved upon since the much loved Oc-2, and why the OC-3 makes the top of our greatest octave pedals guide.
The first impressions of the OC-3 is that appears to be a little ‘busy’, at least in comparison to older, plainer pedals such as the classic DS-1, or even previous versions of the Super Octave range such as the OC-2. However, the pedal is busy for a reason, as you’ll see below with the vast array of features for what really is a fantastic price.
Immediately you’ll see the text on the face of the pedal alluding to both guitar and bass ‘in’, along with a direct out and singular mono output. If this isn’t enough to whet your octave appetite, we don’t know what will. Let’s take a detailed look at the features of the OC-3, what you can do with it, and more importantly what this legendary pedal sounds like.
The main standout feature of the OC-3 is the polyphonic octave effect. This simply means that this octave effect can be used when playing a chord, highlighting the total uniqueness of this pedal as before the Oc-3, octave effects could only really be used across singular strings, or for singular notes. With a polyphonic effect, octave notes are split and can be harmonised across multiple strings, meaning that the pedal is able to break down the effect and a modulated signal as a full chord an be emitted as a final result.
As for controls, you will find:
Direct Level – The direct input of the octave effect that you want to be added to the signal of your guitar or instrument.
Oct 1 Level – A simple control used to modify the basic octave signal of the pedal. This includes what you can think of as the thickness of the octave output.
Octave 2 – This is incredible. The Octave 2 effect is the original standard of the previous version of this pedal, the OC-2. This can then be selected and blended with the other controls on the unit.
Drive – This is another reason to why the Oc-3 is an instant classic. The drive mode kicks the signal into a dirty, fuzz-like effect, essentially transforming what is already an amazing octave pedal into a scorching fuzz unit. This level of drive can then also be controlled and blended with the original octave input.
Poly – This control allows you to select the note ranges of the octave effect, as alluded to above and the reason why the worlds first compact polyphonic octave effects stomp box is such a big deal.
Size and Build Quality
As you may have guessed, this unit is bulletproof like all of the Boss pedals that you’ve come to know and love. If you’re short on pedal board space or need to what the weight when travelling, check out the dimensions and proportions of the OC-3 below:
Size – 73mm x 129mm x 59mm
Weight – 440g / 1lbs / 0.4kg
In a live setting, the OC-3 will create a bass emulating effect that will rival any actual bassist on the stage. The drive setting may be a little too fuzzy or heavy unless accompanied with an expression or overdrive pedal to tame the signal a little, however this all depends on the genre you’re playing and personal preference.
The drive effect is not the standard drive effect that many guitarists will be used to or expecting, and it will take a little bit of experimenting before the switch to the drive mode doesn’t send your amp screeching with a full-on, fuzz/distortion effect.
In terms of usability when playing, knobs are a standard size and the pedal itself is a standard Boss size, and can slip into either a guitar case or gig bag very easily.
Boss OC-3 Super Octave - YouTube
Boss OC-3 Super Octave Demo - YouTube
For Bass Players
How I get my Bass Guitar Sound - Boss OC-3 and Voicelive3 - YouTube
This pedal is brilliant for all guitarists, it’s as simple as that. Our only issue is that the drive setting could be a little more tame, however we may see this change and become slightly more of an overdriven effect rather than a full-on distortion setting in later versions of the pedal.
In terms of price, settings, build quality, and even weight, the OC-3 just cannot be faulted. There’s a reason why it’s on the top of our octave pedal list!
A fantastic all-rounder, and logical progression by Boss from the OC-2. The fact that the OC-3 has kept the original settings of the OC-2 for the old-school octave lovers is an added bonus, along with the degree of polyphonic control which will not be found in another pedal of a similar size or price.
Roundup of the Ten Best, Recommended Volume Pedals for Guitarists
Although a volume pedal won’t have the same impact on your sound as the right distortion or delay pedal, it’s an important part of your pedalboard. Used right, a volume pedal can make it easier to tailor your sound for the perfect solo, acoustic part or rhythm guitar line.
Functionally, volume pedals are fairly straightforward. By adjusting the level of the pedal, you can adjust the volume of your guitar’s signal. This makes it easy to pump up your volume for solos and other melodies, or dial it back a north for a more reserved part.
Just about every well-known effect pedal brand has their own volume pedal. Below, we’ve put together a list of our 10 favourites, ranging from affordable volume pedals aimed at beginners to high-end pedals designed with the needs of professional guitarists in mind.
1. Behringer FCV100 Volume and Modulation Control Pedal
The Behringer FCV100 delivers everything you’d expect from Behringer — good sound quality, solid construction and excellent reliability, all with a price that’s perfect for beginner guitarists in need of something that won’t break the bank.
At a reasonable price, the FCV100 is a great volume pedal for beginner guitarists looking to get to grips with the basics of a volume pedal. It offers volume control for one stereo signal or two individual instruments, with a dedicated modulation function allowing it to be used with a keyboard.
While the plastic construction means this pedal is more suitable for the practice room than the stage, the Behringer FCV100 is a great beginner-focused pedal that’s perfect for any guitarist with a limited budget.
At 13 x 6 x 15 inches and a whopping 1.5kg in weight, the pedal is quite bulky, but for good reason. With inputs to control two instruments in one, or one standard stereo input for external audio makes this fantastic for not just beginners guitarists, but musicians in general looking for a cheap expression pedal to play with the effects that come with altering volume.
Whilst some players don’t tend to favour the overall tone of Behringer pedal, we’ve got nothing but good things to say about this one, especially considering the price.
Pros: Great price, and built to last. An ideal option for beginners.
Cons: As is standard of expression pedals from Behringer, the FCV100 is quite bulky compared to other pedals on this list.
Recommended For: Guitarists new to volume pedals looking for a cheap but high-quality pedal to experiment with.
The Ernie Ball 6110 is an excellent mid-range to high-end volume pedal aimed at performing musicians and enthusiasts.
Like other Ernie Ball pedals, the 6110 is extremely well made. It’s manufactured entirely from thick, firm metal, giving it a hefty feel that makes it perfect for use on stage. While it’s heavier than plastic volume pedals, the all-metal design makes it look and feel extremely durable.
From a sound perspective, the 6110 works well. It’s compatible with passive and active signals, delivers precise volume control and uses a switchable taper for two swell rates. If you’re looking for a quality volume pedal that’s built to last, the Ernie Ball 6110 is definitely worth considering.
So, what makes the 40th anniversary different and why should you consider it instead of the standard option? One word… Durability. The 40th anniversary 6110 has been updated with kevlar wires and a reinforced casing with modern graphics, so not only is the pedal ready to be thrown around when travelling on the road, but it’ll look great in your pedalboard too.
However, at 25 inches long and overall 1kg in weight, the solid construct may be better for gigging guitarists that specifically need a volume pedal that is large and constructed to withstand a bettering on the road.
Pros: Built to withstand anything, particularly the kevlar cabling alongside the updated look for its 40th anniversary.
Cons: The 6110 is certainly one of the heavier pedals in this guide, and is recommended for regular players who specifically require an expression pedal that can withstand regular touring and transport.
Recommended For: Guitarists who transport their pedalboards or pedals regularly and need a pedal that is built for the purpose.
Another great option for beginners, the Sonicake Vexpress has an analog circuit design that has two separate functions, allowing it to be used as an independent volume pedal or as a separate expression pedal for use with other effects. As with the majority of pedals in this guide, this means that the pedal can be used for guitarists and for controlling keyboards, MIDI controllers and much more.
Like the Behringer FCV100, the Sonicake Vexpress is a budget volume pedal. It’s made using a type of hard plastic, giving it a reasonable durable feel. However, while it’s ideal for the studio or practice room, this pedal doesn’t quite feel strong enough for regular use on stage. With a weight of just 250g and a size at just 14.9 x 6.6cm, the pedal is fantastic for players stuck for room either in their practice space, gig bag or pedal.
All in all, if you’re looking for an inexpensive, lightweight (this pedal is compact and very easy to transport) and versatile volume/expression pedal, the Sonicake Vexpress is a great choice.
Pros: Low price, incredibly light, and very easy to transport even within gig bags (if taking your pedalboard everywhere proves to be too much hassle).
Cons: The 6110 is certainly one of the heavier pedals in this guide, and is recommended for regular players who specifically require an expression pedal that can withstand regular touring and transport. // The small size comes at a cost, this one being that the Vexpress is not as durable as many of the larger units in this buyers guide.
Recommended For: Players who need a small volume or expression pedal to carry in a guitar case or gig bag, and for those players in small apartments stuck for room and need a compact pedal that doesn’t cost the earth.
Durable and compact, the Dunlop DVP4 is a fantastic mini volume/expression pedal that’s ideal for slipping into your gig bag before a practice or recording session. The tension in the pedal can be adjusted to accommodate how hard you like to stomp on the pedal, and for which part of your foot you tend to use to press the pedal with. There’s also in internal setting to control the minimum level of output, as is common with most volume and expression pedals.
As you’d expect from Dunlop, the build quality of the DVP4 is fantastic. In spite of its small size, this pedal looks and feels like a premium piece of gear. Dunlop claim it’s roughly half the size of the similar DVP3, which seems believable considering its tiny dimensions (581g, and 15.2 x 8.9 cm).
This makes it perfect for use as a practice pedal, or on stage as part of a pedalboard. When it comes to sound, the DVP4 is no slouch, delivering a clean signal whether it’s used for volume control or to control another effect pedal’s parameters. The pedal also looks a lot heavier and larger than it actually is, which speaks volumes to its durability!
Pros: A low-cost pedal that is just as durable and of a lighter weight than many of the more expensive pedals in this list.
Cons: The DVP4 is a fantastic middle ground between the smaller, cheaper pedals, and the larger more sturdy pedals. Therefore, if you’re a musician looking for a specific type of volume pedal, the DVP4 is more of a one-size does all, but may not work for your specific needs e.g. a volume pedal for a small room.
Recommended For: If you don’t know what type of volume pedal you require, the DVP4 is the best of both worlds when it comes to size and durability, without being too costly or bulky.
The Vowel is a two-in-one pedal from Donner. Unlike other two-in-one volume pedals, most of which combine a volume effect with an expression pedal function for other effects, the Vowel combines an active volume function with a vintage wah pedal.
With an active volume design, the Vowel minimises signal loss, making it a great addition to any long, complicated signal chain. This means that it fits right at home in a pedal board and can happily control any heavy signals you can throw at it, and is constructed with a compact build size of 15.5 x 6.8cm. The pedal is also the lightest in this guide at 340g, making it the best pedal for players in need of a small volume or expression effect.
Although it’s made of hard plastic, it feels durable and looks as if it can stand up to regular use in the studio or practice room, as well as light gigging.
If you’re looking for a combination pedal at a fair price, the Donner 2 in 1 Vowel is one of the best options out there.
Pros: Highly recommended for musicians looking for a compact and easily transportable volume pedal.
Cons: The construction is nowhere near as durable as some of the larger pedal in this guide.
Recommended For: Great for players looking for a cheap and small pedal that has a surprisingly diverse effects range.
Another multi-function pedal, the Ernie Ball 500k combines volume control with a secondary pan feature, allowing you to quickly switch your guitar’s signal between different effects chains.
As you’d expect from Ernie Ball, the 500k Stereo Volume/Pan feels outstanding. It’s built out of a hard metal, making it extremely durable. If you’re looking for a reliable volume pedal that’s made from the ground up for use on the stage, the 500k is the pedal you’re looking for.
The higher price is reflected in the potentiometer, which is a variable resistor used to control the modulated output of a signal. The higher cost is that these types of builds are generally seen in much more boutique or hand wired pedals, therefore the 500k should be viewed as exactly what it is; a high-end, boutique volume pedal for players looking to make a serious investments for their pedal board.
From a sound quality perspective, the 500k is an excellent pedal. It delivers a clean signal when not in use and works flawlessly when activated. The only real downside of this pedal is its price — as you’d expect, this is a high-end, professional volume/pan pedal with a matching price tag.
Pros: The perfect pedal for players ready to spend a serious amount on a serious pedal.
Cons: At 1.9kg and 29.2 x 14 cm the pedal is hardly small, and may be too expensive for the players looking for a more simplified pedal.
Recommended For: Seasoned effects pedal uses looking for a volume or expression pedal that comes at a premium.
The Boss FV50H is an excellent mid-priced volume pedal that’s perfect for use in the practice room, in the studio or even on stage.
As you’d expect from Boss, the FV50H is built to a high standard. Although it doesn’t feel quite as sturdy as the Ernie Ball 500k, this is a dependable pedal that’s built to tolerate regular use in the studio, as well as limited use on stage (especially with the tuner jack which makes quick tuning a possibility in a live environment). Despite its size, the pedal weighs in at a surprisingly light 599g, however with most expression pedal is quite large at 25.4 x 15.2 cm.
From a functional perspective, the FV50H does everything it should. While it doesn’t deliver a huge boost in volume, it’s perfect for adjusting your levels during performances to make sure you’re never lost in the mix. All in all, a fantastic volume pedal for intermediate guitarists.
Pros: Deceptively light, and with more features than most standard volume pedals.
Cons: May not be durable or sturdy enough for touring players.
Recommended For: Guitarists who gig regularly but may not need a bulky pedal that weights in at above 1kg.
8. Donner Wah Cry 2 in 1 Mini Guitar Wah Effect/Volume Pedal
Another combination volume/wah pedal from Donner, the Wah Cry is a great pedal for guitarists in need of something compact and simple to control volume during live performances.
This is a mini-pedal, meaning it’s smaller than the typical volume pedal. Folded flat, it’s compact enough to fit inside the front pocket of a gig bag. Used as part of a pedalboard, its compact size means it takes up little space and allows for use with plenty of other effects pedals. True dimensions weigh in at a perfect, middle ground of 13.6 ounces (or 385 grams), with tightly strung proportions of 5.8 x 2.8 inches. Take a look at the pedal image again… deceivingly small isn’t it?
From a sound perspective, the Wah Cry gets a good but not perfect score. While it’s perfect for controlling your signal’s volume during performances, the wah tone is — as you might expect — not as rich or precise as the sound you’d get from a larger, dedicated wah pedal. But then again, this isn’t a wah pedal guide, and it’s the expression capabilities that we’re focused on here; all additional effects are a bonus!
Pros: Deceptively light, and with more features than most standard volume pedals. / Much smaller and sturdier than it looks, built to last.
Cons: Wah effect is not the greatest, however the volume capabilities more than make up for this.
Recommended For: A sturdy, lightweight option for guitarists in need of a volume pedal with additional expression effects.
The Dunlop GCB80 combines Dunlop’s classic expression pedal design with an sensitive, 1 million cycle volume control, making it a great pedal for matching levels with the rest of a band or just giving your signal the boost it needs to stand out in the mix. This level of control is what make the GCB80 our overall winner in this guide, as this degree of signal manipulation makes all of the difference in controlling volume swells, expression output, and the minimum levels of volume needed as a signal output.
With the same design as Dunlop’s other pedals, the GCB80 looks and feels as if it’s made with the demands of gigging in mind. This is a durable, well-made pedal with a potentiometer that’s designed to handle upwards of one million cycles.
Overall, the GCB80 is a great all-rounder volume pedal that’s just as usable and effective in the studio as it is on stage. It also looks great next to the standard Cry Baby Wah (be sure to put them apart in your pedal board though as they do look alike!).
Pros: An unprecedented degree of control, and built with touring guitarists in mind.
Cons: Takes a little bit of playing with to achieve the amount of volume control you’re looking for, so is not necessarily recommended for players completely new to expression pedals.
Recommended For: Guitarists looking for a serious pedal that has an amazing amount of volume capability, and is crafted to withstand bumps and scrapes for touring and gigging players.
Available as an active or passive pedal, the VP Jr. 25K is a smooth, high quality volume pedal from Ernie Ball.
The VP Jr. 25K is a mid-priced pedal that’s built with the needs of enthusiasts and professional guitarists in mind. It uses an aircraft grade aluminium housing, making it durable enough for use on stage, with solid input and output ports that feel like they’re built to last.
From a sound perspective, the VP Jr. 25K is great. It works great as a pedal for controlling your guitar’s signal chain, but also functions perfectly as a volume pedal for keyboards. Thanks to its fair price and extremely solid construction, this is a great mid-range option.
Pros: An absolutely solid pedal, suited more for the regular player than the occasional bedroom guitarist due to price and construction. `
Cons: The pedal itself is a not as heavily constructed as many of the other pedals in this review, despite its solid shell beneath. `
Recommended For: A mid-range option for guitarists who are no strangers to playing on the road. Nicely sized and very light, with a compromise in sturdiness because of its smaller weight.
You’ve read the reviews, now you’re no doubt going to want to hear what these pedals sound like (or at least how they can modulate a guitars signal). The below pedals listed are a varied selection of the above in this guide. For further information you can read the individual product reviews across the site, or leave a comment below for more information.
Behringer FCV100 Volume pedal review - IS €30 TOO CHEAP? - YouTube
Dunlop DVP4 Volume X
Dunlop DVP4 Volume X Mini Pedal Impressions | Almost There... - YouTube
Dunlop GCB 80 High Gain Volume Pedal Review - YouTube
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the questions we’ve been asked when it comes to both volume and expression pedals, including some of the thoughts we’ve had ourselves when looking for the perfect pedal. The below questions and answers are quite common, so if there’s anything you need answering please leave a comment below and it will be added to the FAQ section.
What’s the difference between an expression pedal and a volume pedal?
The core difference is that an expression pedal controls the degree of any and all effects that enter through it, whereas a volume pedal is solely concerned with controlling and manipulating the volume of a signal.
The best way to think about the difference between the two is an expression pedal acts as an extension of a pedal that is already part of your signal chain, such as the units within a pedal board, or a singular pedal being passed through the chain. This external capability allows musicians to essentially use the expression pedal as an additional method of control for a chosen pedal, much like an extra knob or control that is actually on the pedal.
A volume pedal, on the other hand, is focused on controlling the signal that is directly put into it, to decrease only the volume of the signal. This core difference means that, unless your other pedal in the chain have volume capabilities which can be linked to an expression pedal (and most do), that you are better to choose a stand-alone volume pedal which simply makes it easier to control the desired effect.
What are the benefits of using a volume pedal?
Some guitars have heavy knobs and control pots, and lowering/raising volume can become difficult if needed quickly, especially in a live setting. An external pedal takes away this issue, and also allows for a much greater degree of signal control that cannot be achieved by the guitar alone.
Are volume pedals expensive?
This all depends on what your requirements are for the pedal. Cheaper options are available if you just want a stomp on, stomp off option, and pedals also get more expensive once a greater degree of control os introduced. It is better to get a pedal that meets all of these points, to save with having to change pedals for different needs later down the line.
Does it matter which brand of pedal I choose?
No. It’s very easy to choose popular effects pedal brands, but like everything to do with the guitar the choice will ultimately come down to what you need the pedal for, and what you personally prefer in a pedal.
Hopefully this guide has given you a better insight into the best types of volume pedals on the market, and how different pedals should be used by the needs of the individual player. It’s always recommended to do your own research too, and even go into your local store to play the pedals if you have the chance.
Alternatively, be sure to read the individual reviews available throughout this site to make an informed decision once you’ve chosen the perfect pedal for your style of playing.
Liked this guide? There’s plenty more to take a look through. Check out the recently updated octave pedal guide to..
From crime bosses to killers, which figures loved to play guitar?
It’s often surprising to find the famous people that are interested in guitars, and even more so notorious figures that you’d think the last thing they’d want to do is sit down and play some 12 bar blues.
Here are a few of the figures you’d least expect to either play or be interested in guitars, and the guitars that sparked their interest in the world of the six strings:
The Kray Twins – Ronnie Kray
Ronnie Kray of the notorious Kray Twins once asked Maureen Flanagan, a close friend and actress, to purchase a guitar ‘like Eric Claptons’ from a music shop in Tin Pan Alley, a popular haunt for musicians looking for quality guitars. We can only imagine that Ronnie had the famous ‘Blackie’ Stratocaster in mind:
To keep himself busy at Alcatraz, Al Capone decided to learn a Tenor Guitar, which is a 4 string, commonly acoustic guitar that many beginners will gravitate towards.
It’s well known that Charles Manson was a musician, with many of his guitars appearing at auctions with sprawling notes embedded from Charles himself.
If you enjoyed this post or need more information on guitars and pedals, be sure to take a look at the honest buyers guides below.
The Digitech Luxe is a brilliant blend of octave and detuning capabilities, based in part of the hugely popular Digitech Whammy pedal. It’s clear that, off the back of the Whammy, Digitech needed to create a much more compact, easy to navigate pedal that wasn’t styled after a standard Wah Wah pedal, rather a more traditional, smaller pedal that could easily be added to pedalboards and be transported in gig bags.
You could argue that this is not a true octave pedal, but for the sake of argument, we’re lumping it into the octave category. Clearly, it’s more of a detune pedal than anything else, however we’ve included the Luxe in our best octave pedals guide, so allow us to explain why!
It’s hard to objectively view this pedal without comparing it to the Digitech Whammy. A modern reincarnation, the engineers over at Digitech have clearly taken their cues and positives from the Whammy to deliver a solution for guitarists that is cheaper and smaller, whilst maintaining the detune effects that the Whammy is famed for.
On the surface, the pedal looks great. At a glance it appears very easy to use, with clear control knobs and a neat interface that will not deter beginner guitarists from experimenting with a detune effect.
The ‘Anti Chorus’ name comes from what a detune effect inherently is, or rather how Digitech choose to define a true detune pedal. Usually, a chorus pedal will naturally modulate a guitars’ signal when applied, with also minor or major detuning or octave harmonics dependant on how heavy the effect is applied.
With the Luxe, this modulating chorus effect is removed, resulting in a true detune effect that is free to be controlled and not manipulated by an additional modulating harmonic or unwanted after-effect.
Let’s take a look at the features on the true bypass Polyphonic Anti-Chorus pedal. Digitech have opted for two very simple controls, which is a welcome no-nonsense approach to applying and controlling the exact effect you’re looking for:
Level: View this as the rate in which the ‘shimmering’, chorus side of the effect is applied. As stated, the pedal directly addressed a clean shimmering tone without unwanted modulation. Level achieves this by adding an almost tremolo-like effect to the signal, leaving out interference of the original signal.
Detune: The control you’re here for. The pedal can detune a signal both down and up by 50 cents, which is the unit of measurement for a 100th of a semitone. This minuscule degree of detuning a time results in a ‘thickening’ effect to the signal, rather than an all out Whammy dive-bomb which fans of the original pedal may be used to.
Size & Build Quality
The pedal is beautifully compact, light with a sturdy construct and no unnecessary guards or barriers to add unwelcome bulk to the unit.
If you’re specifically after a detuning effect but do not have the room for the larger Digitech Whammy pedal, then we cannot recommend the Luxe highly enough. The price, size, and diversity of the effect along with the degree of control you get is second to none.
An absolutely brilliant pedal for guitarists who want to experiment with a detuning effect, players who want a chorus pedal without unwanted modulation, and even for fans of the original Whammy pedal who are looking for a smaller, more compact solution.
Hotone SOC-1: The Miniature Octave Pedal For Guitarists With Limited Space
It’s very easy to judge the Hotone SOC-1 straight away just based on it’s size, but on this occasion, size certainly does not matter.
Whilst it’s lacking in features compared to other pedals in our best octave pedals guide, this is a fantastic pedal recommended highly for beginners, and also for players who may live in apartments with limited space, have a pedalboard lacking room for another addition, or simply want am inexpensive octave pedal for travelling that can be stored with ease.
The striking features are the size of the SOC-1, and the unique casing. The pedal is adorned with various knobs that clash with the bright purple colour of the casing, and it may even seem that the pedal is a little too ‘busy’ to look at. But it’s all with good purpose. Let’s look at what those stand-out knobs do, and why the Skyline Octa pedal is presented the way it is.
Sturdy construct, fantastic for travelling guitarist that want a compact octave pedal
Ideal for beginners
Flexible ‘Dirty’ option to disrupt the dry signal
Lacking in features compared to more expensive options
Not ideal for seasoned players
Hotone have packed the SOC-1 with plenty of features across such a small interface. The goal of the pedal is to deliver octave versatility in a compact octave effects unit, quite clearly marketed to beginners with the clean and simple knobs, and basic construction. So, what is included on the pedal?
Oct 1: Octave 1 addresses the higher harmonic levels of octave processing, made to blend with Oct 2 to create a well-rounded, harmonically rich octave processing effect.
Oct 2: Octave 2 again addresses polyphonic processing, but at the lower level. Tweaking Oct 1 and Oct 2 will give a nice blend of both the low and high octave effect, nicely blending with the dry signal of the guitar without destroying or distorting the original sound from the amp. This is where the dirty setting comes in…
Dirty: This effect distorts the dry signal by introducing a level of fuzz to the effect. This is great for giving a boost along with a distortion pedal, ideally something more heavy like the Boss DS-1 rather than an overdrive counterpart.
Top Dry Level Control: The incredibly unique top knob gives the player control over the dry signal coming in to the pedal, can be treated a little like a volume and a tone knob all in one. It’s also easy to use in a live setting, as it’s simple enough to reach from the top of the stomp box.
Size & Build Quality
Let’s face facts… This pedal looks cool. The control knobs are glow in the dark, and the pedal comes with a handy metal bar to increase sturdiness. Size is also great for travelling or for pedalboards with limited room.
Height & Width: 74mm x 44mm x 44mm
Likely To Fit In a Pedalboard? – Yes
Easy To Transport? – Yes
Easy To Store? – Yes
LED lights also show on the Oct 1 and Oct 2 knobs, ideal for playing in live settings where visibility may be obscured.
Beginners and travelling guitarists looking for an incredibly sturdy pedal that is low cost, and offers a basic dry and dirty octave combination effect.
Whilst it’s not in our top three, the Octa still made our top octave pedals guide for good reason. It’s incredibly fairly priced, and will appeal more to beginners and gigging guitarists than the more seasoned player. All in all, a solid (literally) pedal that doesn’t mess around when it comes to delivering an octave effect without needless knobs or effects to muddy the process.
Creating Well-Rounded Bass Tones With The Octave Multiplexer XO
Is there anything more satisfying than finding a pedal that gives a true bass emulation, to the point of pure bliss? Let’s get one thing out of the way… We love the Multiplexer and we’re also no stranger to the wonders that Electro Harmonix deliver in pedal form.
But this one is truly special. Very clearly geared towards players looking to achieve a funky, natural and harmonic bass sound when a six-string is their only weapon of choice, the Electro Harmonix engineers have developed a smooth, well-rounded and diverse octave pedal that includes everything you’d expect, with an output that is modern and just incredibly clean.
This is not a pedal that is necessarily for the metal players amongst us. We only say this because of how the pedal is much better suited for funk and blues, or the ‘lighter’ level of octave frequencies that emulate a bass sound without ‘muddying’ the signal too much. If you like the sound of that, keep on reading, or check out our octave pedal guide to find the right pedal for you.
As soon as you plug in to this pedal you’ll see that it’s more of a bass emulator rather than a true octave pedal, in the sense that the pedal delivers monophonic octave modelling rather than a murkier, all-encompassing octave or even fuzz effect.
Upon discovering this, we immediately paired the Multiplexer with the Boss RC-30 loop pedal to create some tasty bass loops, and this is where the pedal really sits nicely. The bass emulating tones are also shockingly good, far better than a ‘one stomp fits all’ octave pedal.
Despite its bulky size, the Multiplexer is quite simple to operate, and with the monophonic effect, it’s very easy to tailor the pedal to the exact bass tones that you’re looking for. Settings include:
High Filter: This addresses the higher harmonic frequencies of the octave effect. View this more of a tonality controller for the overall octave effect.
Blend: Used to blend the high and bass filter together to complete the true octave sound. This is also used to dial back and go full steam ahead with the affect as needed.
Bass Filter: Used for the lower harmonic frequencies and really gives the lower ranges a boost when it comes to rounding off the bass effect. Combining both the high and the bass filter gives a true bass emulation, focusing just on the bass filter gives a murkier effect, however still very much like a bass… More like a 5 or 6 string bass rather than a standard 4 string emulation.
Sub Switch: An incredible feature, allowing the bass filter to be turned on or off as required. This dials back on the lower octave harmonic frequencies, so you can kick the sub switch into play when the lower boost is needed, the dial back and focus on the higher ranges.
Size & Build Quality
The pedal is a little bulky but the construct is solid, and it’s not too big to get on a moderately large pedal board. Let’s be honest too, we’ve been recommending this pedal throughout this entire review, so if it’s a little on the large side we’re not massively concerned.
It may be considered heavy for a travelling guitarist at 15 ounces, and is a little wide at 6.2 x 3.2 x 5.7, but again if you really want a realistic and cost-effective bass emulating pedal (without actually going out a buying a bass guitar) then this shouldn’t stop you or dampen your decision.
Electro Harmonix Octave Multiplexer - YouTube
Electro Harmonix EHX Octave Multiplexer on Guitar and Bass - YouTube
This is a firm favourite in our eyes when it comes to bass emulators. Not what we’d call an octave pedal in the conventional sense, but certainly one to get your hands on if it’s a bass effect you’re looking for. All in all, the pedal may be too large for some, but Electro Harmonix clearly needed a bigger pedal to fit all that bass and octave goodness!
Whilst it didn’t win the top spot in our octave pedal guide, it’s certainly the best bass octave emulator we’ve come across, and at a very modest price too.
Live loopers and gigging guitarists looking for a very realistic bass emulator pedal, that can give an octave boost which doesn’t muddy their original signal.
Palmer Kaputt Octave Pedal Review – The Rockers Alternative To The Octave Multiplexer?
In our selection of the best octave pedals, we outlined not only the pedals that most guitarists may have hard of, but many of the ones that they will not have. Palmer as a pedal manufacturer are often understated, nipping at the heels of leading brands and loved by the pedal purists.
Having first seen this pedal on the Palmer site, it’s fair to say the stainless steel case and glowing turquoise shine were striking. Kaputt translates from German to broken or ruined, which is exactly what the pedal does to your guitars signal. As soon as you plug your guitar in and fiddle with the control knobs, you’ll understand what this statement means.
The effect completely destroys the guitars signal with an octave effect that, in all honesty should be called more of a modern fizz with an octave undertone. That’s not to say that this isn’t incredible though, so let’s take a bit of further look.
The controls are incredibly simple on the Kaputt, but it’s not something we’d recommend for beginners purely due to the fact that this is a very genre-specific pedal for guitarists looking for a specific, heavy and layered sound.
Controls knobs are:
High: The high setting controls the volatility of the octave effects at the higher harmonic level, and can be viewed as more of a high-end ‘tone’ control which pushes the octave effect to the next level. And, this isn’t just pushing the ‘highs’ in terms of making a one-step octave effect resonate on the higher strings. No, this is a high control that gives the pedal a distorted, octave and fuzz blend, which is incredibly striking and can be surprising to hear when playing around with the effect.
Blend: The blend setting is just what it says on the tin, used to combine both the high and low effect. This is best utilised when you’ve found the sweet spot with the other two controls, and need to dial back or increase the setting as needed (such as for an intro, outro, or a solo that requires a distorted octave overhaul!
Low: The low setting controls, yes you guessed it, the lower rate of the actual octave effect. We recommend spending some time to really get to know both the high and low controls.
The MOD effect takes away the lower harmonic range, which is why many guitarists opt for the Kaputt as a go-to for boosting their high-end in a chorus section, coupled with a dedicated low-end octave or fuzz to completely destroy the harmonic range. The MOD setting is great, but can be a little difficult to flick on and off in a live playing environment. The pedal also comes with the standard input/ouptput and the option to be powered by a 9v insertion.
Size & Build Quality
The Kaputt is a bulky 4.7 x 2.4. Our only main negative point comes with the outer protection case, which adds unnecessary height and can make the pedal hard to get into a pedalboard. The stainless Steel protector can also make inserting cables a little awkward. Palmer, if you’re reading this… ditch the protector!
Palmer root effects - Kaputt - YouTube
Chris Cannon demo of the Kaputt Pedal by Palmer Germany - YouTube
We’ve dubbed the Kaputt Octave Pedal as an alternative pedal to the mainstream, most notably for rock guitarists looking to spice things up with an octave pedal that blends beautifully with distortion, creating a warm fuzz-like tone that, once you heard it, you’ll have found what you’re looking for.
The pedal is certainly sturdy, however the protector can cause a bit of an issue for players with a set width and heigh on their pedal, or need a smaller pedal to be used in a live setting.
Meta and rock guitarists looking for an octave/fuzz combination pedal to boost harmonic frequencies. Recommended more for playing live to add a messier tone to the signal, rather than a more controlled studio octave sound.
Looking for the best multi-effects pedal for your style of playing in 2019?
Want to expand your guitar toolkit with a range of new effects? Multi-effects pedals or ‘all in one units’ combine a huge range of effects into a single pedal, letting you experiment with everything from distortion to delay, reverb, pitch shifting and more without having to buy separate effects pedals.
Just like other guitar gear, multi-effects pedals can range in price from cheap, simple and ideal for beginners to very costly gear designed with advanced guitarists in mind.
Below, we’ve put together a list of the 20 best multi-effects pedals available right now. Our list covers everything from ultra-budget pedals designed for beginners to studio-quality amp sims and digital effects equipment designed with the needs of professional musicians in mind.
Table of Contents
1. Line 6 Pocket POD
The smallest, least expensive version of Line 6’s famous POD amp simulator and multi-effect pedal, the Pocket POD packs 16 effects, 32 amp models and 16 speaker cabinet models into one of the smallest multi-effects pedals you’ll ever see.
Small enough to fit inside your hand, the Pocket POD easily slips into the front pocket of your gig bag, making it ideal for taking to and from rehearsals. Despite its tiny size, it’s a well-made device, with a strong feel and knobs, buttons and an LED display that all work flawlessly.
From a sound perspective, the Pocket POD offers many of the same effects and amp options you can find in the larger, more expensive POD models. There’s even USB connectivity to let you connect the Pocket POD to your PC and keep it updated with the latest software.
All in all, the Pocket POD is a great multi-effects pedal for beginner guitarists, as well as one of the best ultraportable effects units for enthusiasts. If you’re looking for a compact pedal that has a range of great-sounding effects, the Pocket POD is sure to satisfy.
Designed for the studio or the stage, the NUX Cerberus is one of the best multi-effects pedals you’ll find for less than $/£500.
This is a premium multi-effects pedal, with a great build quality and a tough, durable feel. While it’s not a small pedal by any means, it’s still compact enough to fit onto your pedal board without taking up any unnecessary space.
The NUX Cerberus featured 16 different effects, ranging from delay to reverb, chorus, overdrive and distortion. There are also 128 different presets, letting you choose from a massive range of tone options to suit your sound and playing style.
Add additional features like an integrated loop switcher, IR loader, kill dry function and 0-20dB volume booster into the equation and the Cerberus packs a huge range of different options into its metal shell.
All in all, this is a great multi-effects pedal for serious players. While it doesn’t offer the massive number of effects of Boss and DigiTech pedals, the build quality, sound quality and overall feel make this a pedal that any serious guitarist should consider.
DigiTech is famous for producing some of the best multi-effects pedals on the market, both with budget-friendly and premium price tags.
The Element XP falls into the former category, with a budget-friendly price that makes this one of the best multi-effects pedals available for beginner guitarists looking for a variety of unique effects.
All in all, the Element XP includes 58 different effects, ranging from stomp boxes (there are 37 different effect pedals alone) to 12 amp models and a total of nine different speaker cabinets to choose from.
There’s also a chromatic tuner, expression pedal (for use with the wah and other effects), drum machine and countless other features.
In short, this pedal packs everything you need to experiment with different effects into a small, high quality package. While it won’t win any awards for sound quality, the Element XP delivers all of the effects a beginner to intermediate-level guitarist needs.
Designed for budget-conscious guitarists, the Pyle-Pro PPDLA1 packs a variety of effects into a compact enclosure, all with a price that any guitarist can justify.
These effects range from the usual distortion and overdrive to delay and chorus, giving you all of the options you need to expand your sound and match the tone of your favorite guitarists. Each effect it managed by one of four separate switches, making it easy to switch sound at will.
While the Pyle-Pro PPDLA1 scores well for features, it has some build quality issues that make it tough to recommend. Numerous customers have reported issues with the PPDLA1’s reliability, with some reporting that the pedal occasionally switches off or stops working completely.
The PPDLA-1 comes with a one-year warranty, meaning you’ll be somewhat protected if yours has reliability issues. Our advice? For the price, it’s an interesting multi-effects pedal. However, if you’re looking for quality and durability, you’re better off with another one of our options.
Along with Boss and DigiTech, Zoom is one of the biggest names in digital effects pedals and amp simulators.
The G3Xn is one of Zoom’s mid-range offerings — a well-made multi-effects pedal that packs upwards of 68 effects into a compact, durable enclosure. There’s everything you need here, from the usual distortion and overdrive to delay, reverb, phasing, chorusing and more.
Most of these effects sound very good. While the quality won’t quite match a bunch of separate effects pedals, the G3Xn’s effects sound fairly natural and lack the “plasticky” sound that’s often common with digital multi-effects pedals.
The G3Xn also includes five amp emulators, five cabinet emulators and 75 custom patches to make perfecting your tone a breeze. There’s also a built-in expression pedal, letting you control effects like wah and volume.
As you’d expect from Zoom, the G3Xn is a quality product. If you’re looking for a versatile, high quality multi-effects pedal that you can buy for a reasonable price, the G3Xn definitely deserves a place on your “to consider” list.
Over the years, the Line 6 POD has grown from a plastic, bean-shaped effects toolbox into one of the most powerful amp simulator and effects platforms available.
The POD HD500X is one of Line 6’s best products — a comprehensive, world-class multi-effects pedal and amp simulator in one. If you’re looking for a studio quality multi-effects pedal that you can use live or while recording, the POD HD500X is what you’re looking for.
Before we get into the features, let’s cover the build quality. The POD HD500X has a durable metal exterior that’s designed to take the hits and tolerate the abuse of a live show. The dials, switches and expression pedal are all solidly built, durable and have a premium feel.
All in all, the POD HD500X contains more than 100 studio and boutique effects, ranging from delays, filters and reverbs to a huge variety of different distortion effects. Most of these effects sound flawless, with an overall tone that’s comparable to buying separate stompboxes.
Beyond the effects, the POD HD500X also contains a huge variety of amp and speaker models, making it easy for you to match the gear setups and tone of your favorite guitarists. Add a USB port (for easy computer control) into the equation and the POD HD500X really has everything.
Simply put, if you’re looking for a multi-effects pedal and amp simulator that doesn’t make any compromises on sound quality, the POD HD500X is it. While this pedal isn’t cheap, it delivers incredible value for money when you consider its versatility, sound quality and sheer power.
Another great premium multi-effects pedal, the Boss ME-80 offers a huge range of effects, amp models and preamps in a compact but durable enclosure. There’s even a USB connection port, making it easy to control the ME-80 from your computer.
Like the Line 6 POD HD500X, the Boss ME-80 is designed for serious guitarists that need high quality effects, all without the inconvenience of chaining a variety of stompboxes together.
The ME-80 includes a ton of different effects, from octave, de-fretter and sustain effects to pitch shift, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, harmony effects and more. There’s also the usual delay, volume and wah, plus a massive selection of different overdrives and distortions.
Then there’s the amp modeling. The ME-80 includes a huge selection of preamps, from classic tweed amps to modern metal-inspired stacks. Simply put, if you want to model every amp you’ll ever need to play, the ME-80 is probably for you.
From a sound quality standpoint, the Boss ME-80 doesn’t quite match the tones offered by the Line 6 POD HD500X. However, it’s pretty close. It’s also significantly cheaper, making this one of the best pedals around for intermediate or advanced guitarists seeking value for money.
All in all, the ME-80 is a great multi-effects pedal and amp simulator that exceeds expectations, all while offering excellent value for money.
Introduced in 2008, the Rocktron Utopia G200 is an older multi-effects pedal that still delivers a great variety of tones.
Despite its age, the G200 performs well, with classic delay, flanger, noise reduction and several other effects. There’s also an expression pedal, letting you control effects like wah to your liking while you play.
From a sound quality perspective, the G200 is a great piece of technology. The effects on offer sound natural and impressive, with sound quality that’s comparable to more expensive pedals from Line 6 and Boss.
There are only two real weaknesses of the Utopia G200. The first is its design — compared to newer multi-effects pedals, the switch layout and controls of the G200 aren’t exactly flawless.
The second is its amp simulator options. This is a multi-effects pedal first and an amp simulator second, meaning the four basic preamps on offer aren’t anything to write home about.
Overall, the Rocktron Utopia G200 is a good buy if you’re looking for high quality effects in an extremely well made package and don’t mind a slightly older design and limited variety of amp simulations.
9. Keeley Dark Side Workstation Analog Multi-Effects
The Keeley Dark Side Workstation packs a great selection of analog effects (yes, you read that right, analog effects) into a compact stompbox that’s easy to fit into your studio or live setup.
Unlike 99% of multi-effects pedals, which use digital effects, the Dark Side is completely analog, meaning you get the old-school, classic and natural sound you’ve heard on albums, at concerts and in other performances from well-known artists.
Because of this, the effects on offer are a little limited compared to most digital pedals. There’s a flanger, a phaser and a multi-head delay effect, giving you a small variety of sounds to pick from while you play.
As you’d expect from an analog effects pedal, all three effects sound great, with a natural sound that even the best digital pedals simply can’t match. If you’re an analog enthusiast and you only need delay, flanger and phaser effects, the Keeley Dark Side is an excellent buy.
The VOX VLL1 is a multi-effects looper pedal that lets you create and play guitar loops with a variety of effects applied.
From an effects perspective, the VLL1 includes almost everything you need to produce unique recordings and live performances. There’s the usual crunch and overdrive, as well as a phaser, chorus, acoustic, delay and pitch shift effect, plus a few more options.
The VLL1 can record up to 90 seconds of sound on two separate loops, all with overdubbing via its undo/redo feature. Whether you’re playing live or creating unique sounds in the studio, this is a great tool that you can use to produce cool harmonies, rhythms and looped melodies.
From a build quality perspective, the VLL1 is exactly what you’d expect from Vox — a well-made, reliable piece of gear. If you’re looking for a high quality looper pedal that also includes a variety of effects, you’ll find a lot to like about the VLL1.
Compact, simple and affordable, the Behringer FX600 combines delay, phaser, chorus, flanger, pitch shifter and tremolo effects in a single stompbox.
Aimed at budget-conscious guitarists, the FX600 is an ideal effects pedal for beginners looking to experiment with different sounds. The effects sound good for a pedal at this price, although some have a slightly artificial, digital sound to them.
Controlling the effects on the FX600 is easy — just select the effect using the right dial, then use the parameter controls to adjust its intensity and sound.
As you’d expect from a budget pedal, the FX600 cuts a few corners to justify its price. The most noticeable is its all-plastic construction. Although it’s a thick, fairly sturdy plastic, this really isn’t a pedal you’d want to use live — instead, it’s better to opt for a metal stompbox.
All in all, this is a great budget effects pedal for beginner guitarists who want to experiment with flanger, chorus and other effects without buying separate stomp boxes. Although the sounds on offer aren’t world class, they’re more than good enough considering the budget price tag.
The Vox StompLab IIG is a mid-sized multi-effects pedal that packs in a ton of features, all at a very reasonable price. Available for a third as much as high-end pedals from Line 6 and Boss, the StompLab IIG is a great option for intermediate-level guitarists.
In total, there are 100 preset programs included with the StompLab IIG, with 103 different types of modeling effects. You can save up to 20 of your own user programs, making it easy to add in your favorite effect and amp combinations to create your own sound.
From a sound quality perspective, the StompLab IIG doesn’t quite match similar offerings from Line 6 and Boss, but it still works well. From a build quality perspective, the StompLab IIG feels more than strong enough for use live as well as in the studio.
Overall, the Vox StompLab IIG is a great multi-effects pedal for the price. It packs a ton of cool, unique effects into a compact, affordable package, all with great features such as an expression pedal and headphone output.
If you’re searching for a stompbox-sized multi-effects pedal that doesn’t sacrifice any features, you’ll love the Zoom MS50G MultiStomp.
Similar in size to the average distortion pedal, the MS50G includes more than 55 different effect types. You can use up to six effects at the same time, making it easy to combine effects such as distortion with delay, chorus, flangers, phasers and other unique sounds.
The MS50G comes with 30 preset patches, letting you choose from a huge range of sounds the second you plug in the pedal. There’s even a built-in chromatic tuner, making it easy for you to tune your guitar in between rehearsals, in the studio or on stage.
As you’d expect from a compact, affordable effects pedal, the sound quality of the MS50G isn’t quite studio-level. However, most of the effects sound comparable to other effects pedals in the same price range, all in a compact, user-friendly design that easily fits into your guitar case.
Packed with effects and sold at an extremely budget-friendly price, the DigiTech RP55 is one of the best multi-effects pedals on the market for beginners.
The RP55 includes 20 different effects, ranging from chorus and reverb to delay, distortion and more. There are also 11 different amp models, letting you play everything from blues to classic rock, hard rock and metal.
The RP55 also has a built-in drum machine with 30 different patterns, making it a useful pedal for your home studio or practice room.
As you’d expect from an ultra-budget multi-effects pedal, the sound quality offered by the RP55 isn’t world class. However, that’s not really the point — if your goal is to experiment with a huge variety of effects without spending much, this pedal is one of the best you’ll find.
All in all, the RP55 is a great multi-effects pedal for beginners and budget-conscious guitarists looking for a variety of fun, unique effects in a form that won’t break the bank.
Another great multi-effects pedal from Zoom, the G1Xon includes 75 different effects, all with their own unique control and customization options. There are also 14 amp models included, letting you cover every genre under the sun with a convincing, natural-sounding tone.
The G1Xon is priced well under $100, making it one of the best low-cost multi-effect pedals on the market. For the price, it offers a massive range of great features, including the ability to use five different effects simultaneously.
Add an expression pedal (you’ll use it often for the built-in wah effect), 100 memory locations and a simple, user-friendly design into the equation and the G1Xon stands out as one of the best multi-effect pedals available for beginners.
Overall, for the price, the G1Xon is extremely difficult to beat. If you’re looking for something that’s a step up in sound quality and comprehensiveness from the DigiTech RP55 without an overly large leap in price, the G1Xon is a fantastic choice.
The Donner Alpha Cruncher features three different effects, each with their own stompbox-style controls. There’s a delay effect, a chorus effect and distortion, with the distortion packing a 70s and 80s tone that’s great for hard rock guitarists.
This is a small pedal, making it easy to fit onto your existing pedalboard. It’s made entirely from aluminium-alloy, giving it a durable feel. If you’re looking for something solid and study to use for gigs, the Alpha Cruncher definitely lives up to expectations.
From a sound quality perspective, the delay and chorus effects on the Alpha Cruncher are very good. While they don’t quite match what you’d get from individual stompboxes, both offer a fairly natural, non-digitized sound that sounds good live or on recordings.
The distortion is a 70s/80s hard rock sound, which some guitarists will love but others might not find hard enough. If you’re looking for an ultra-high gain, thrash metal sound, the distortion here probably isn’t going to be enough for you.
With that said, the Alpha Cruncher is a great pedal. If you’re looking for a combination of delay, chorus and classic/hard rock distortion in a compact design, you’ll definitely enjoy using this.
Rugged, versatile and packed with the effects that DigiTech is famous for, the RP360 is a great multi-effects pedal for intermediate-level guitarists.
The RP360 includes 126 different effects. These are made up of 74 stompboxes, ranging from the usual distortion, delay and chorus to a variety of unique, interesting sounds. There are also 32 different amp models, as well as 18 simulated speaker cabinets.
As you can probably guess from the name, the RP360 connects to your computer via USB for use with the DigiTech Nexus software. Using the USB connection, you can control your sound from your computer, giving you more control over your effects, signal chain and tone.
From a build quality perspective, the RP360 is a durable, reliable piece of gear. It’s made using thick, strong metal, with an exterior that’s more than tough enough to tolerate regular gigs. The switches and buttons feel sturdy and reliable, with none of the cheap feel of other pedals.
There’s a chromatic tuner included in the RP360, making it easy to keep your guitar tuned in between songs while you’re playing live. The only real downside is the pack of an expression pedal, which would really complete the package.
Overall, if you’re looking for a high quality, durable and versatile multi-effects pedal that works just as well live as it does at home, the RP360 is a great buy.