Best Guitar Pedal as Rated by Guitarists for 2017

best guitar pedsIf you’re passionate about playing guitar and recording your own music, you can’t get by without an excellent, versatile guitar pedal. The best guitar pedal with come with a variety of features that will allow you to really experiment and find your own unique sound.

But with so many models of effects guitar pedals and processors on the market, it can be almost too easy to lose sight of the type of model you need. We recommend only purchasing a pedal that’s equipped with the types of features that are essential.  Don’t get blindsided by the free extras. Instead, look for a model that offers the type of the sound you’re striving for and the versatility and ease of use that will allow you to start jamming right away. There are several types of guitar pedals out there that you can utilize. Here, we’ve ranked the top five models in 2017, each with their own unique features and sound. Every pedal stands at the top of their category, whether the pedal is the best looper, the most versatile or the easiest to use. We hope that by breaking it down for you, it will narrow down your choices for the best models for you and your music.

Pedal NameConnectivity options
Versatility
Cost
More Info
Boss GT100
Battery***$$Check Price
Boss ME80
USB and battery
***$$$Check Price
Line 6 pod
USB

****$$$Check Price
TC Electronic Ditto
USB

**$$Check Price
DigiTech
Adapter
*****$$Check Price

1.Boss GT100 Guitar Multi-Effects Pedal Review-Best Pedal of 2017

Boss GT-100 Guitar Multi-Effects PedalTake a look at the new Boss multi-effects processor, the Boss GT100. This pedal boasts a next-generation amp modeling that offers new COSM tones that are able to fly into the future with the feel, tone, and dynamics you’d expect from a studio quality model. The user interface features a dual LCD system, which is a huge improvement over past models. This multi-effects model is truly a powerhouse processor that goes from classic to futuristic in a roadworthy, user-friendly, yet rugged unit.

The COSM processor is what gives this unit all new sonic capabilities. Boss has gone and essentially recreated the meticulous details of vintage amps and how they operate, giving the GT100 the ability to not only clone classic amps, but it also provides a wide range of new world tones as well. The built-in amp customization feature allows you to utilize classic amp sounds in amazing new ways.

But is it Really User-friendly?

The eight-knob user interface combined with the unique dual LCD provides intuitive control and faster access. The tone-customizing feature has been improved and there are no menus to navigate. All the overdrive/distortions, amps, and patches can be customized or created from scratch with the graphical tone grid.

The A/B channel divide is another new feature found on the GT100. This feature allows you to assign different effects and amps to every channel, divide the signal by frequency and dynamics, with each of the channels able to drive their own amp settings and effects. You can choose to assign mild, smooth lead tones, mid to high pitches, or use heavier tones or low notes.

The Accel pedal will enable the user to control multiple parameters at the same time, in addition to time-variant effects. You can now experiment with different combinations of parameters, all of which will react in real-time with the pedal.

Conclusion

This is definitely an over the top floor pedal that’s able to dish out some excellent sounds for a price that’s competitive. This model also scores well with us in terms of overall quality and is recommended to guitarists on a budget, looking for an affordable option that will allow them to do some serious experimenting. The GT100 continues the lineage of this Boss series with ergonomic and sonic advances which make it a powerful tool both for live use and recording.

Pros:

For the price, the build quality it truly exceptional. You’ll love the power supply, dual screens and no menus to hassle with for hours on end. The user manual is well detailed and simply laid out, making it perfect for newbies. The addition of audio streaming via the USB port is a huge improvement and one that has been needed in the GT series for some time. You’ll get a ton of presets and great sound right out of the box. The free Roland Librarian software is also a big incentive to buy. You’ll enjoy easy editing and a wide range of effects.

Cons:

The Accel pedal was probably the least exciting of the additions. We felt that the looper was pretty basic and the fact that there is no memory option was a letdown for some buyers. You also won’t find a USB cable or disc for drivers. We also felt that a graphical editor would have been a much better addition than the Software Librarian.

CHECK THE LOWEST PRICE HERE

2.Boss ME80 Multi-Effects Pedal Review-Best Value

Boss GT-100 Guitar Multi-Effects PedalThe new ME80 by Boss is a multi-effects pedal that was designed with ease of use in mind. This is a surprisingly powerful, utilitarian model that’s a lot of fun to use and relatively easy to operate. This pedal is perfect for informal, small gigs, home demo studios and for those adventurers who love to explore and experiment with their music and sound.

This pedal is designed to move from place to place and while it isn’t impressively light, it’s definitely sturdy, with an almost entirely metal chassis and enclosure. Aside from the switches and knobs, there is very little plastic involved in the construction. The ME80 can also be powered by a total of six double-A batteries, so you can easily move it from room to room or go from blasting through your amp to jamming through headphones in your living room. If you play a lot of small gigs and parties, this type of portability is essential.

Boss added USB connectivity, which only maximizes the creative potential this unit offers. Once you have downloaded the Boss software, you’ll be able to literally write a riff with this device in your own backyard, then capture the same sounds with your DAW in your home studio five minutes later.

Of course, this pedal isn’t the first multi-effect unit to offer connectivity and portability, but it does offer an interface that is much more intuitive and familiar to the average stompbox user. And arguably, the ME80 is much more fun to play with.

Conclusion

The features discussed here represent only a fraction of what this model can do. While the ME80 isn’t without its limitations, it’s a streamlined, smart way to get a lot of sounds for very little cash. Some of the sound, such as the tweed amp voices, combo, and delays are a real pleasure to use, while others, most notably the high-gain distortions, tend to exhibit a more digital feel, lacking the reactivity and touch of the real deal. This model definitely sounds the best when it’s paired up with a tube amp that has a neutral EQ setting. But getting a clean sound is easy with a good PA. The real magic of the ME80 is its ability to deliver a wide range of reasonably convincing sounds in a durable package that can be powered with an adapter or double-As. It will give you a wealth of possibilities for remote production and performance. Ultimately, the ME80 is a multi-effect unit that’s so easy to interact with and affordable that the smart design compromises rarely feel like compromises at all.

Pros

To begin with, the interface is basically a small hive of stompboxes. Each of the effects groups features a dedicated set of knobs, including a knob that will allow you to select a specific effects type or amp. Located on the right side of the footswitches, you’ll find an expression pedal that’s used for operating the pedal effects including the wah, whammy style octave up and down functions, talk box, and much more. The two leftmost pedals located in the top row will allow you to choose presets when you’ve switched to memory mode. There’s a ton of cool factory presets to play around with, but creating your own is a simple three-step process. The sounds inside this unit range from good to decent, depending on the amp or effect. Some effects, sounds, and voices have a very organic, warm quality and a dynamic response.

Cons

There are some issues that will take some getting used to with this model. First, you’ll need to keep the delay effects and effects levels for modulation uniform with comp effects and OD if you’re using more than one effect at a time. If the effect level is set too low you can experience a highly anticlimactic signal cut for the whole effects chain instead of just the selected effect level. However, a solid workaround to this issue would be to create a preset. However, if you prefer to play without them then you’ll need to be careful about the effects balance.

CHECK THE LOWEST PRICE HERE

3. Line 6 POD HD500X Guitar Floor Multi-Effects Pedal Review-Most Versatility

Line 6 POD HD500XThe Line 6 Pod HD500X is very versatile, Allowing you to try something new thanks to its ability to recall and impressive 512 completely unique rigs with changes to amp configuration, preamp type, guitar type, effects chain, polyphonic alt-tuning and much more. This floor pedal provides the touch nuance, character, and depth to inspire creativity on the stage or in the studio. You’ll get over a hundred studio stomp effects, allowing you to take your sound in any direction. Create classic signal chains using delays, distortion, reverb, filters, and more, or you can discover entirely new sound by mixing up to eight effects at the same time. You’ll also love the assignable footswitches and the built-in, die-cast expression pedal that allows you to effortlessly control each effect in real-time.

With unbeatable flexibility and a ton of processing power compared to other models in this price range, the POD is built for tone creation. The pedal also allows you to create rich, complex tones without the headaches that come with using traditional dual-amp rigs. The user can route their guitar through a couple of independent paths, each with their own effects chain and HD amp, or you can process a couple of signals at the same time using ¼” auxiliary, ¼” guitar or XLR mic inputs. If you’re into creating unique soundscapes or elaborate signal chains, you’ve picked the right model.

You’ll also get professional-grade footswitches that are equipped with bright LED rings for easy at a glance operation. You can use them to bypass or enable effects and amps or use them to choose presets directly. If you’re in a really creative mood, you can assign a number of effects and amp parameters to the expression pedal, morphing between sounds and controlling up to fifty-two parameters all in real-time.

Conclusion

The POD is the guitarist’s dream come true. It offers an unbeatable tonal options collection which will help you to find the sound you’ve always been looking for. It comes packed with all the effects you could ever want, which makes this your one-stop shop for tone sharing needs. If you could only have one piece of equipment for your guitar, the HD500 would definitely be it. Hands down the Pod is one of the best multi-effects processors available for live performances and studio recording, especially at such a low price.

Pros:

The footswitches control the built-in forty-eight-second looper. The rugged construction and bent metal chassis make this pedal ideal for any stage. You’ll also enjoy all the connections you need for the stage, studio and any place in between. You’ll be able to plug in your mic and record acoustic instruments, vocals and more. You can connect to your PC via USB cord for studio quality, multi-channel recording with your favorite DAW program. It doesn’t matter if you go straight to the PA, use a guitar amp, the POD is the ideal guitar command center setup. It’s very flexible and fully assignable, so you can use the expression pedal and footswitches to control all types of external software and hardware.

Cons

With so many effects, setup and recording options this product can be too overwhelming and complicated for the novice.

CHECK THE LOWEST PRICE HERE

4. TC Electronic Ditto X4 Looper Effects Guitar Pedal Review-Best Looper

TC Electronic Ditto X4The Ditto X4 looper effects guitar pedal by TC is essentially two loopers stuck together with a ton of creative options. For example, you can record a couple of loops and play them simultaneously, switching them off and on to increase complexity. You can also play each loop sequentially to switch between the loops for different parts of a song. A couple of guitarists can plug in and send signals to two amps. With the delay options and the onboard FX, the possibilities are endless with the X4.

The manufacturer has a pretty solid track record when it comes to producing awesome sounding, no-nonsense loopers. While plenty of other companies were busy trying to cram in as many pedals and knobs onto their units as possible, TC stripped their pedal down and designed a model that can handle the core looping functionality and not much else, which puts a focus on ease of use and exceptional sound quality.

The X4 is the latest in TC’s trends towards streamlined functionality. The true question is, can the pedal still capture what made the original Ditto model great, or has this pedal strayed too far and sacrificed overall functionality for some pointless features?

With the DX you’ll get loop delay, dual loop tracks, seven loop effects, analog-dry-through, true bypass, stereo in/out and Star Jam, a program that features import loops for popular artists.

Conclusion

Overall, this is a great looper. TC has taken their previous success with past Ditto loopers and designed one that’s even better. If you’re in the market for a looper pedal that’s not overwhelmed with too many functions and features, this is your model.

Pros

Excellent onboard effects, sound quality, four footswitches for hands-free use, dual track looping and MIDI sync are just some of the features that make this looper so popular. It’s a powerful, simple looper that’s full of useful effects that move it to the top of the looping crowd.

Cons

It doesn’t come with drum tracks or a metronome. Also, it’s only able to store two loops of memory. The switching is handled via USB connection. The FX can only be applied to both of the loops simultaneously. The controls for the effects are pretty slim. The tape stop is too digital sounding for some.

CHECK THE LOWEST PRICE HERE

5. Digitech RP360XP Electric Guitar Multi-Effect Pro Review-Loaded with Presets

Digitech RP360XPThe RP360XP electric guitar multi-effect processor is a model that comes with all the bells and whistles, including cabs, iconic amps, and stompboxes and it’s ready right out of the box for your next studio session or performance. The LCD user interface is very intuitive, which makes it easier to nail and explore the perfect tone. In addition to the impressively large arsenal of effects, this model provides the user with a built-in expression pedal, 198 presets a forty-second looper, USB port, built-in tuner, configurable footswitch modes, sixty built-in drum tracks, and headphone jack. If you’re looking for the ultimate guitar effects solution, the RP360XP is it.

It’s incredibly user-friendly and comes with a total of three footswitch modes that will provide you with unprecedented flexibility. The Sound Check feature allows the user to spend less time tweaking and more time recording.

You can add up to eight effects for every preset. The device also comes with a USB port for loading and transferring presets from or to your PC. With a massive amount of presets and the free Nexus software, you can create your own tones and share them with friends, bandmates, and collaborators. This unit works with all types of recording software, while the USB port makes it simple to record guitar tracks directly to your PC or Mac.

Conclusion

This multi-effects processor by DigiTech comes loaded with features. From the Sound Check, which lets you record a guitar phrase and set it to repeat mode as you fine-tune the effects, to the sixty drum patterns, 198 presets, and built-in chromatic tuner, this is a model that definitely won’t disappoint.

Pros

The stompbox model makes it super easy to integrate the processor into an existing pedalboard, assigning any effect in your arsenal to each of the footswitches. You can use this model alone and easily navigate through presets in the bank or preset mode. Users will also be able to gain even more control over the processor with the optional three-button footswitch, setting it up to navigate through presets and banks or to expand onboard looper control.

We were really excited about Sound Check and it’s sheer versatility. It will allow you to really get more control over the recording process while adding some cool new sounds to your arsenal. You really won’t have to devote most of your time to fine-tuning a track, now, thanks to this new streamlined process, you can truly get inspired.

Cons

Let’s face it, this processor has it all, but for some, it can be a little much. The amount of presets is nothing short of impressive, as is the sixty drum patterns and the countless editing and fine-tuning possibilities. While it was designed with ease of use in mind, the amateur may not agree. If you’ve just started playing guitar, you’ll need to devote some serious time learning how to play the guitar with this unit.

Some buyers even felt that the manufacturer focused too much on packing the processor with features without focusing more on overall functionality and user-friendliness.

CHECK THE LOWEST PRICE HERE

Guitar Pedal Buying Guide

The type of guitar pedal you choose often says a lot about personal style. While some guitarists will prefer minimal enhancement and just pure tone, other players will indulge in a wide variety of aural soundscapes that can range from bone crushing distortion, to a psychedelic feel. Basically, the best guitar pedal will reflect your playing style and music tastes.

Pedal effects aren’t only where a guitarist will sculpt their tone or tailor their sound, but they are where they can expand on their talents and explore and experiment with other playing styles. Whether you enjoy playing covers or your own music, an effects pedal will allow you to create or recreate the sound you’re after. Novices and pros alike, most players will indulge in the wide variety of effect pedals available in order to add some flavor and more variety to their tone.

A pedal will increase the sonic variety by many levels of magnitude, giving the guitarist the ability to experiment with moods and sound in their playing. You don’t have to shred professionally to make use of an effects pedal. There’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to the effects you use, it’s all a matter of experimentation and taste. The effects that are used can define a style or genre, such as the reverb you’ll often find present in rockabilly or surf music.

How Distortion and Gain Pedals can add Serious Crunch to your Sound

Distortion pedals include overdrive and fuzz and work to create a warm buzzing or they’re used to recreate the type of distorted sounds you’ll get from an overdriven amp for a guitar. Distortion is a good choice when you’re first starting a collection of effects. The overdrive effect is also a good choice if your amp isn’t able to deliver that desired tube sound. Distortion pedals come in a wide range of styles, and each model will offer its own heat range and flavor. However, all distortion pedals will serve the purpose of spicing up your mix. The typical distortion pedal will use some form of transistor and diodes to push the incoming signal to the clipping point. The common controls you’ll find on this type of pedal including drive, volume adjustment, and a tone knob that typically rolls off any harsh high frequencies. They usually come combined with other processors and effects, such as overdrive and compression.

Gain boost pedals, also known as clean boosts, are basically in-line preamps that range from mildly colored to totally transparent. There are a couple of main purposes for this type of guitar pedal. First, they can be used to hit amps and overdrive effects using an extra-hot signal and pushing them into the sweet spot with a simple click of the footswitch. The other reason is to compensate for signal loss over extended cable runs or extensive effects pedal chains. Some models will offer limited tone shaping options, but the majority will feature just a footswitch and single volume control. These pedals are usually found paired with overdrive effects.

guitar pedal reviewsThe overdrive picks up where a boost pedal leaves off, and there’s quite a bit of overlap between them. Overdrive pedals will simulate the breakup that occurs when an amp is pushed to the point of distortion, resulting in the distortion and progressive compression based on the incoming volume level. Additionally, most of these pedals are used as a dirty boost to drive an amp’s preamp while also adding a little texture and color. There are a couple gain stages in a basic overdrive: the output volume and the input volume, which will drive the rest of the signal path. It’s typical to see a basic tone control for backing off higher frequencies, though treble, bass, and other types of tone shaping controls are pretty common as well.

Boosting Guitar Output for a Cleaner Sound

A guitar compressor is a type of signal processor and it isn’t that different from the type of compressors you’ll find in a professional studio. Compressors work to decrease the volume of signal that’s louder than a certain threshold, which results in reducing the dynamic range. A compressor is designed to boost the output and kick in quickly, working to make the quietest sound close to the same volume as the loudest one, then what you get is the sustained effect which is perfect for solo performances. These pedals tend to vary in complexity from one knob models with fixed settings to studio quality compressors with ratio, threshold, volume, release, and attack controls. The most common style you’ll run into consists of two or three knobs, including controls that combine two or more functions such as threshold and ratio.

Volume pedals are large rocker pedals that aren’t an effect so much as a utility. These pedals basically place volume control at the player’s feet. While one can be placed anywhere in the signal path, these pedals tend to live around the end of the gain stage section. They’re the perfect choice for creating swells that can add subtle fade-outs or smooth swells, but when you want to give your amp an extra push they’re considered less effective than gain boosts because of their variable levels.

When it comes to correcting problems in your tone, sculpting your harmonics, or making precise frequency adjustments, nothing will do the trick quite like the EQ pedal. Most guitarists will get the most out of these pedals by placing them after the gain staging section, although it is possible to use one at the end of the signal chain in order to correct any frequency imbalances that are caused by effects such as reverb or delay. When they’re placed after the gain staging section the player can fix any issues with tone before it can create serious frequency imbalances that are hard to correct. Most of these pedals are graphic EQs that have between five and ten frequency bands. These pedals are incredibly simple to dial in on the fly, in the event the guitarist needs to make fast adjustments to suit the playing environment. Other formats range from full studio style parametric layouts to simple amplifier style tone controls. Both options are perfect for handling frequency imbalances or punching in creative tone shifts.

The Wah Wah versus the Autowah for a more Dynamic Sound

playing with wah wah pedalYou’ll find a whole class of effects guitar pedals based on sweeping a peaking filter over the frequency spectrum in order to create better vocal articulation. Probably the oldest of these pedals is known as the wah wah. The wah wah will allow the user to manually sweep the filter by rocking their foot. It’s a total mainstay of disco and funk as a rhythmical element, but the wah wah’s continuously variable expression is part of the fundamental sound of blues-rock and classic rock. While their controls are often very basic, often dominated by just one rocker pedal and a couple of adjustments at the most, these pedals tend to differ considerably based on their control mechanism and their circuitry.

The envelope filter, or more commonly known as the autowah, was created soon after the original pedal. The autowah was initially designed to produce the same type of choppy sound you get from the wah wah pedal. So, how does the autowah accomplish this? The autowah produces its unique sound by activating a resonant peaking filter off any incoming transients. But the ultra-fast frequency sweep response that the envelope filter provided definitely opened up a wide range of new effects. When you add to that to the large variety of controls such as dynamics response, filter styles, and envelop shape, no two autowah filters will behave or sound the same.

The Real Truth Behind Harmony Pedals

Harmony pedals and pitch shifters will come in a variety of styles from the octave down bass emulation pedals to the classic momentary octave up pedal, down to the polyphonic harmony pedal that allows the user to dial in full chords. Each one of these pedals offers its own unique sound, with controls that depend entirely on function. If you’re a guitarist who enjoys experimenting and creating new sounds with your tone, then you’ll have plenty of fun with harmonizers and pitch shifters.

One thing you should consider about harmony pedals and pitch shifters is that, while manufacturers have made plenty of advancements with their pitch shifting technology, there are a couple of things you should research before you buy. Number one, while these effects can be cool, unique and creative, none of these models will sound very realistic, and the more you change the pitch, the less realistic they tend to sound. Number two, the lower the pitch you play, the harder it will be for the shifter to keep track of the note, which means you can expect glitches or lag to occur.

The modulation pedal affects combinations of time, frequency and gain staging, and they tend to find a special place on a pedalboard, usually between more pronounced time based effects and frequency effects. When it comes to these pedals, the type of sound change they offer will be regulated by an LFO, also known as a low-frequency oscillator, and the part of the signal the low-frequency oscillator affects will be the largest defining characteristic in this type of pedal.

Must-Have Effects for a Unique Guitar Sound

Closeup of guitar pickups Both the vibrato and tremolo effects are based on a simple low-frequency oscillator that modulates a single tonal element. The vibrato pedals control the pitch in a manner that’s somewhat similar to the Leslie rotary speaker, while the tremolo pedal modulates volume. In both cases, basic controls will include rate and depth.

Most models of vibrato and tremolo pedals allow the user to shape the low-frequency oscillator. The vibrato pedals that try to closely emulate the Leslie speakers often include controls for adding ramp-up time between changing speeds and changing the rate of the effect. While the tremolo pedals usually offer a range from hard square wave to smooth pulses which add a type of percussive click to your sound.

Flanger and chorus effects are so alike that they’re not only often confused, but they’re usually covered by the same pedal. However, this makes a lot of sense considering chorus is the result of an early attempt at emulating flanging that ended up producing a different result and flanging is the result of an old studio trick that involved desynchronizing a couple of tape reels. However, the biggest difference is probably that chorus offers a spacious shimmer with a noticeable delay and flanging produces a distinct type of rise and fall sound.

Chorus effects feature modulating a delayed signal, much like a flanger, however, there’s a more significant delay with no feedback. Chorus effects usually have broader rate and depth controls. Other controls include a tone knob that’s used to minimize the brightness and pre-delay, which works to further offset the delayed signal. And the result? The user is able to create more defined effects with chorus when compared to flanger.

Flanger will produce a movable comb filter by doubling the incoming signal and slightly delaying it, while modulating the delay in order to slightly shift the filter and feed a small amount of the signal back to the effect. Flanger controls often include the amount of feedback and of course, the modulation rate and depth.

A phaser pedal utilizes an interesting phase cancellation method in order to create several frequency peaks and notches at intervals that are evenly spaced across the spectrum. The low-frequency oscillator will modulate the cutoff frequency of the signal that’s phase-shifted. This, in turn, causes a gradual sweep that’s pretty similar to flanging, just more subtle. It’s definitely the go-to effect for adding color to a rhythm guitar. The classic phaser usually has only one rate control, but some newer models feature depth control. Depth control will allow you to increase the resonance in the filtering in order to produce a more noticeable effect.

Final Thoughts on how to Turn up your Guitar Sound

As you can see, there are several types of guitar pedals to choose from. Every serious guitar player has at least a few different pedals because they can really change the way you play and sound. They’re fun to experiment with, record with and jam with. Their prices can range from $50 to $500 and up, depending on manufacturer and pedal type. The best guitar pedal for you will ultimately depend on the type of sound and style you’re looking for. Listen closely to some of your favorite artists and try to identify the type of effects that are used. Speak with other guitarists to get a feel for which type of pedal would work the best for your music or the sound you’re trying to recreate.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: