Some guitarists will go through an infinite amount of effects pedals throughout their musical career and some won’t. Some will modify their effects pedal board throughout their musical career, in search of a sound they can call their own or a sound that can fit the current need. I myself have been at both ends of this spectrum, at one point selling my whole pedal board to start anew, but then ending up buying some of the same pedals years on down the road. But throughout those years, I’ve noticed some of the more popular main-stays that both regular joes and pros always seem to have at their disposal. Some of the effects pedals I listed mirrored some that I had or had already messed with but some were finds I ended up loving like the JHS Pedals VCR, which I found after seeing Ryan Adams live.
We all know that effects pedals can really enhance the color of your sound and these pedals are some of the industry guitar players staples. From their inception to now, these pedals have stood the test of time and simply work like magic, day-in, day-out. I’ve used all of these pedals for recording and live performances. In different circumstances and different situations, I combine different effects pedals and it almost always includes one of these pedals to complete my sound. The Ibanez Tube Screamer is one of my go-to’s!
I tried to make the list as diverse as I could. I know I’ve left a ton of your favorite effects pedals out of this list but to me, these are some that show up whenever guitar effects pedals discussions and debates come up. Some of these pedals are currently sitting on my pedal board and I’m currently in the middle of recording new songs. It looks like you’ll be hearing some of these pedals in action once I release some new material, later this year.
For now, here are 10 effects pedals every guitar player needs in their life:
Dunlop HT1 Heil Talk Box
The original Heil Talk Box is unmatched. You can recreate the sounds of Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh, Slash, Alice In Chains, Aerosmith and many others. Can be set up with one guitar amp, but requires separate microphone and mic amplification. It’s sturdy metal body, 6-1/2 feet of surgical tubing and a sturdy phenolic diaphragm is definitely an awesome feature.
Dunlop KH95 Kirk Hammett Wah Pedal
Now you can command the same killer wah tone as Kirk with the new Kirk Hammett Signature Wah! Developed in close collaboration with the metal guitar icon himself, it has been meticulously tuned and tweaked to deliver the wah-wah sound that revolutionized those insane thrash metal solos in the ’80s and into today. This is the legendary tone that Kirk dials in on tour! The Kirk Hammett Wah is exceptionally even in response as you move from heel to toe, with a thick top end and full dynamic range. Dare to step into the footprint of a giant. Own a piece of the legend!
Voodoo Lab Pedal Power ISO-5 Isolated Power Supply
Isolated power supply for pro stage and studio use. Comes with 5 total isolated power supply to power your complete guitar pedal board. For the price, the build and the sleek design, the Voodoo Lab ISO-5 is an absolute must-have guitar effects pedal. I got the power!
JHS Ryan Adams Signature VCR Ultracolor Volume, Chorus & Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal
The VCR is Ryan Adams signature Volume/Chorus/Reverb pedal inspired by the tones of The Cure, The Smiths and a hefty dose of 1980’s angst. Although I’m a huge fan of the Boss CH-1 Stereo Super Chorus and is what I use on the daily, the JHS Pedals VCR is something to pull out for impressing folks. It’s tone is super delicious!
MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay
This special edition of the the Carbon Copy Analog Delay features a lightweight aluminum housing with a metallic silver finish to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the world’s bestselling analog delay pedal. It’s not the 10th anniversary for no reason, it’s simply one of the best.
MXR M101 Phase 90 Guitar Effects Pedal
Provides the classic four stage phasing sound with continuous variable speed control. Phase 90 fixed regeneration level adds intensity and is particularly effective for keyboards. This device has found its way into many of Eddie Van Halen’s recordings, adding a shimmery velocity to lead passages or a more dramatic swoosh to muted strumming. This phaser is not just designed for guitars; it works well with bass, keyboards and even vocals and appears in all of these guises on Dweezil Zappa’s Z album, ‘Music For Pets’, which hints it is flexible and hip.
Ibanez TS808 Overdrive Pedal
Ready for that climactic solo to win the hearts of many? The Ibanez TS808 tube screamer pro is built with the pro musician in mind and when turned on, it really screams that warm tube through and makes your tone smooth like butter. This is one of the pedals I can’t live without!
Digitech JMSXT Jamman Solo XT Stereo Looper Phrase Sampler Pedal
After going through quite a few loop-based guitar effects pedals, I finally found one that fits my needs for studio to live applications. I found the JamMan. After inventing looping nearly three decades ago, DigiTech’s JamMan Solo still brings the definitive stereo looping experience. It’s simply the best loop pedal I’ve messed with, hands down.
MXR M135 Smart Gate Noise Gate
If you’re addicted to the indispensable juice of a high gain amp or a string of stomp boxes, you need this pedal. It’s my favorite noise killer. Equipped with three selectable types of noise reduction, Hiss, Mid, and Full, the Smart Gate bites down on sizzle and hum but lets the smallest detail of your playing through. With its uncanny ability to sense precisely when and how fast to engage, this little genius will never get in your way, so you can wring every last bit of sustain out of that chord without being cut off. Open or closed, it adds virtually nothing to your signal. MXR has also squeezed this baby down from half space rack size to a slender stomp box, leaving plenty of room underfoot for your newly tamed effects. If this pedal is unfortunately too much on the pocket, check out Donner Noise Killer noise gate Guitar pedal (Original Version).
Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal
The Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal is the direct descendent of BOSS’ earlier delay pedal offerings. It’s expanded feature set means it could become one of Boss’ most popular of all time. Loving this one at the moment.
Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Guitar Effects Pedal
Like the legendary Big Muff Pi of the 70’s, the reissue has three controls that let the player dial in the finest harmonic distortion/sustain ever produced. The Volume control adjusts the output level. The Sustain control optimizes the long sustain with just the right amount of harmonic distortion. The Tone control provides a range of sounds, from warm bass to crisp treble. Let distortion ring!
Which effects pedals do you like or recommend? Comment it up!