With so much quality recording equipment out there, how can one person ever test it all and make a decision? Dodge the rest and get the best, thanks to our meticulous reviews below. After you snag what you need, apply the tips and tricks in our columns to make the most out of your new gear.

The Best Guitar Synth Pedals for Top-Tier Synthesizer Emulation

Updated: Reviews
guitar synth pedals

Technology has shaped every facet of culture in the modern age. The invention of the electric guitar back in the 1930's changed the landscape of contemporary music and paved the way for acts such as Jimi Hendrix and later U2.  Since then, the world has been exposed to a variety of innovations in the world of music. This has led to some strange and eccentric […]

The Best Flanger Pedals for That Thick, Other-Worldly, Wooshing Effect

Updated: Reviews
flanger pedals

We modern guitarists are lucky. Flanging used to be a nightmare of manipulating reel-to-reel machines, but today it can be achieved in analog or digital fashion all from a small stomp box situated at our feet. This means we can now use it during live performances, too. Most listeners couldn't tell you what the flanger effect is called, but they know it when they hear […]

The Best Phaser Pedals to Sweep Your Frequencies Into Another Reality

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phaser pedals

The phaser is among the earliest effects invented. It was actually invented as a way to emulate the sound of a rotating organ speakers and the phase shifting that comes along with that rotation. The sound you hear when engaging one of these pedals is that of peaks and troughs being swept up and down the frequency spectrum, much like a flanger but subtly different. […]

The Best Octave Pedals to Thicken Your Tone & Enhance Your Effects

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octave pedals

The octave effect is exactly what it sounds like it is. You can pitch shift your signal up or down an octave or more at a time so you can use your guitar to play the role of other instruments like a bass guitar, for example. What many don't understand at first is that you can recombine the original signal with the octave-shifted signal to […]

The Best Harmonizer Pedals to Turn Your Guitar & Vocals Into a Lush Choir

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harmonizer pedals

A lot of us can remember a time where if we wanted to harmonize guitar leads, we'd need two guitarists playing at the same time and hope to the high heavens they can stay in perfect unison. Today, we're far luckier thanks to the invention of pitch-shifting and harmonization effects. One guitarist can shred a lead melody and it can be copied and pitch-shifted to […]

The Best Pitch Shifter Pedals to Harmonize Your Leads Like an Ensemble

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pitch shifter pedals

If any instrumentalist can get a lot of use out of the pitch shift effect, it's a guitarist. The uses are endless, from harmonizing one's own lead to filling in for a bassist. Combine it with other pedals like a looper and an entire musical universe opens up before you. And how fortunate we are, because in the old days we had to record to […]

The Best Chorus Pedals to Satisfy Your Tone's Thick & Dreamy Wishes

Updated: Reviews
chorus pedals

Sometimes, we need a thicker, dreamier sound to accentuate specific parts of songs. Coincidentally a very common part of a song to use the chorus effect on is during the chorus itself. But many guitar and synthesizer players will use the effect for the full duration of a song. By splitting off the original signal and delaying it variably generally from 20 milliseconds up to […]

The Best Looper Pedals to Overdub Your Way Into a One-Man Jam

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looper pedals

Loopers have come a long way since they first busted on the scene. What started as novelties and practice tools have become unbelievable workstations that can be used to produce full fledged recordings, acting as a multi-track recorder, to helping master instrumentalists build up entire backing tracks over which they improvise and entertain. Although you can find a looper embedded into a microphone or keyboard, […]

The Best Compressor Pedals to Polish Your Tone & Enjoy the Perfect Sustain

Updated: Reviews
compressor pedals

If there's any audio effect that's used the most and had the most impact on music, it is by far the compressor effect. It takes the lead so hard that mastering engineers are even going through "The Loudness Wars" over it. It's influence has been monumental. Whether you're a guitarist, vocalist, synthesizer player, or literally anyone else involved in music, you'll be using compression in […]

The Best EQ Pedals to Dial Your Tone Into the Sonic Sweet Spot

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eq pedals

One of the worst problems plaguing everyone in a band is being able to be heard clearly by the crowd in the midst of every other band member. Perhaps the second worst problem is leaving this up to the sound guy, who is likely plastered and barely paying attention after sound check. The first method you should approach to solve this problem is equalization. Equalization […]

The Best Noise Gate Pedals to Suppress Hum & Keep the Cleanest Tone

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noise gate pedals

Electrical problems can plague guitar players. The 60 cycle hum and other ground noise issues can be devastating to a performance or recording. Most of the time you can't do anything about bad power at a venue. If a problem develops within your guitar or your other gear while you're live on stage, there's nothing you can do, unless you have a noise gate pedal […]

The Best Reverb Pedals That Turn Your Tone Into a Lush Soundscape

Updated: Reviews
reverb pedals

We've come such a long way since the early days. If you wanted a concert hall reverb on your guitar recording, you had to find a concert hall to play in. If you wanted a chamber reverb, you had to rent time in a specially-built echo chamber. Now we can emulate every type of environment and reverb there is, including plate and spring reverbs and […]

The Best Delay Pedals to Launch Your Tone Into Echo Heaven

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delay pedals

Every musician is familiar with the delay effect, whether they're an instrumentalist or studio engineer. It's used for various reasons, but they all boil down creating a fuller and more dimensional sound. It all started in the early 1900's with telephone line delays, literally sending signals around the city and back to be combined with the original. Eventually someone replicated this effect on magnetic tape […]

The Best Tremolo Pedals to Modulate Your Volume Into LFO Heaven

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tremolo pedals

Any time you've heard a certain effect and thought "Wow, that's cool, they sound like they're underwater" you were hearing the tremolo effect. But you've heard it in a lot of places you aren't aware of, because more often than not it's used as a subtle effect. Sometimes it's tossed on to add a sense of rhythmic complexity. At other times it can simply be […]

The Best Vibrato Pedals to Warble Your Pitch & Supply a Strong Rich Tone

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vibrato pedals

Everyone has heard vibrato even if they don't realize it. Almost every vocalist uses the effect naturally as they sing, and with the invention of the vibrato pedal guitarists can use it as well. Vibrato is a subtle warbling of pitch by a specific number of semi-tones that hangs around the main note to create a richer and more interesting experience. The ear hears it […]

The Best Volume Pedals to Gain Hyper-Control Over Your Dynamics

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volume pedals

Unlike a boost pedal, which exists to simply inject more gain into your signal path, the best volume pedal has so many uses they can't even be quickly explained. From acting as a volume knob to functioning like a tremolo, or allowing you to attenuate your amplitude at any point in the signal chain, these pedals are so versatile that you'll continue discovering new ways […]

The Best Boost Pedals for Distortion-Free, Clean Gain & Fatter Tone

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boost pedals

There are times when you simply can't get enough gain. Maybe you just need more volume in general or your other pedals or long cables have sucked too much power out of your signal. Or perhaps you want to drive a distortion pedal or a tube amp even harder. This is what the best boost pedal does, and it does it in a clean fashion […]

The Best Wah Pedals to Wail Like a Cry Baby or Neigh Like a Bad Horsie

Updated: Reviews
wah pedals

The spectral glide we call wah-wah has been around for quite some time. Trumpet and trombone players were doing it manually since the 1920's, and in 1966 the first guitar wah pedal was invented. These pedals have gone through a lot of revisions in technical terms of how they pull off the effect, but the sound itself remains the same. It's the same one that […]

The Best Envelope Filter Pedals to Auto-Wah Your Way Into Funk Nirvana

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envelope filter pedals

Most of the effects pedals out there are for universal effects any instrumentalist or studio engineer might use on any number of tracks. But the envelope filter pedal, or auto-wah pedal, is largely designed for the electric guitar, bass, and piano and employed for the funk genre. That's not to say you won't find it elsewhere being used creatively by talented thinkers. It's just that […]

The Best Fuzz Pedals to Get That High-Gain, Girthy, Vintage Distortion

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fuzz pedals

Distortion and overdrive are all fine and dandy, but sometimes you want to really push it to the limit with some ripping fuzz. And by ripping I mean the sound of the woofers in your amp being torn to shreds. In a studio in 1961, Grady Martin played through a faulty preamplifier and that song became a smash hit. Companies scrambled to recreate the sound, […]