What Guitar Pedals do I need? (Essential Must Have)

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If you are a beginner guitar player, you might be wondering what guitar pedals you need to create different sounds and effects. In this blog post, I will explain what guitar pedals are, how they work, and what are the essential ones you should have in your pedalboard. 

1. TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2

VERSATILE REVERB

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2. Boss DD-8 Digital Delay

POWERFUL DELAY

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3. ProCo RAT2 Distortion

CLASSIC DISTORTION

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4. MXR Phase 90                 

LEGENDARY PHASER

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5. Boss GE-7 Graphic Equalizer

VERSATILE EQ

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6. Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9

CLASSIC OVERDRIVE

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1. TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2

VERSATILE REVERB

11 different reverb types.MASH footswitch controls reverb parameters.
Stereo input and output.True bypass switch preserves signal.
Picture by TC

PROS

  • If you’re in search of essential guitar pedals to enhance your sound, adding a reverb pedal to your collection is worth considering. Reverb simulates various spaces, like rooms, halls, and cathedrals, giving your tone depth, dimension, and ambiance for a more expressive and captivating sound. The TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 stands out as one of the best reverb pedals available, offering numerous features and benefits suitable for all guitar styles and genres. Here are four significant advantages of this pedal:

    1. With 11 reverb types to choose from, including classic spring and plate reverbs, as well as more creative options like shimmer, modulated, and lo-fi, the Hall of Fame 2 is versatile. It also allows you to download custom-made reverbs from renowned artists or create your own using the free app with its unique TonePrint feature.

    2. The MASH footswitch acts as an expression pedal, enabling you to control various reverb parameters with your foot. Adjust the intensity, decay, modulation, or tone by applying different pressure levels to the footswitch, granting you dynamic and creative control over your sound.

    3. With stereo input and output options, you can use the pedal with stereo amps or effects loops, enhancing the reverb’s spaciousness and realism for a more immersive and natural sound. Moreover, it can also be used with mono setups without any issues.

    4. The pedal features a true bypass switch that preserves your signal integrity when the effect is off. This ensures you won’t experience any loss of tone or volume during bypass. Additionally, it can be switched to buffered bypass mode if necessary for long cable runs.

    These points exemplify why the TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 is an excellent reverb pedal for guitarists. For more advice and reviews on this pedal or other essential guitar pedals, visit our blog. Happy playing!

CONS

  • If you are searching for a reverb pedal to enhance your guitar sound, the TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 may capture your interest. This pedal is highly favored and versatile, showcasing an extensive array of reverb types, modes, and settings. The TonePrint feature is an added benefit, enabling access to custom-made presets from famous musicians or creation of your own unique sound. With the Mash footswitch, you can exert foot pressure to control reverb parameters, infusing more expression and dynamics into your playing. However, it is important to note a couple of drawbacks.
  • The Mash footswitch tends to be less responsive and intuitive than expected, often requiring excessive force and causing issues with the pedal’s bypass mode. Additionally, the TonePrint Editor software can be challenging to navigate, possessing a steep learning curve, cluttered interface, and limited compatibility with various devices.
  • Furthermore, transferring TonePrints necessitates a USB cable or smartphone application, which may be inconvenient and unreliable. While these downsides should be taken into account when considering a purchase, they may not prove problematic for all users. Ultimately, the TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 offers an abundance of features and quality sound at a reasonable price, making it a commendable reverb pedal choice. It is always advantageous to possess comprehensive knowledge of a product’s potential drawbacks prior to committing to a purchase decision.

2. Boss DD-8 Digital Delay

POWERFUL DELAY

11 delay modes, versatile options.Sync delay time to tempo.
40-second looper for live performance.True stereo I/O for versatility.
Picture by Boss

PROS

    • If you are searching for a delay pedal that offers a multitude of features and benefits, the Boss DD-8 Digital Delay is worth considering. This versatile and powerful pedal has several important pros that can greatly enhance your guitar sound and enable you to unleash your creativity.

      Firstly, it boasts 11 distinct delay modes, ranging from classic digital, analog, and tape delays to more experimental and ambient effects like reverse, shimmer, warp, and GLT. With a simple rotary knob, you can effortlessly switch between these modes and customize the effect level, feedback, and time using three dedicated knobs, providing you with a vast array of options to produce different sounds and textures with your guitar.

      Secondly, the Boss DD-8 features a tap tempo function, allowing you to synchronize the delay time to the tempo of the song or your playing. You can utilize either the built-in footswitch or an external footswitch to tap the tempo. Additionally, an expression pedal can be used to control the effect level or feedback of the delay, granting you further control and flexibility over the delay effect.

      Moreover, the pedal incorporates a 40-second looper, enabling you to record and overdub guitar phrases while creating backing tracks on the fly. The footswitch allows for easy control of loop functions such as starting, stopping, undoing, and redoing the loop. Furthermore, an external footswitch grants access to more advanced looper functions like reverse and half-speed playback. This makes the Boss DD-8 Digital Delay an invaluable tool for practice, jamming, and songwriting.

      Finally, the true stereo I/O of the pedal supports mono, stereo, wet/dry, and wet-only outputs. This permits connection to two amplifiers or two channels of a mixer, allowing you to create expansive stereo effects or separate dry and wet signals. The pedal also intuitively detects the input and output connections and adjusts the routing accordingly, contributing to its versatility and adaptability to different setups and situations.

      These are just a few of the countless pros that the Boss DD-8 Digital Delay pedal offers. To delve deeper into its capabilities, you can explore reviews online. Without a doubt, the Boss DD-8 Digital Delay is an indispensable addition to any guitar pedalboard, particularly for individuals seeking an essential delay pedal that can fulfill every requirement.

CONS

  • If you’re in need of a versatile and reliable digital delay pedal, the Boss DD-8 is worth considering. With 11 delay modes that range from classic analog to modern shimmer and glitch effects, it offers a wide range of sounds. It also includes tap tempo, a looper mode, and stereo in/out. However, it does come with a few drawbacks to keep in mind.
  • Firstly, the pedal’s user-friendliness is not its strong suit. With only four knobs and modes accessed by scrolling, it can be confusing. Additionally, there are no modulation or tone controls for delay repeats, limiting expressiveness. Despite these downsides, the DD-8 could still satisfy your needs, but exploring other options may be worthwhile if user-friendliness and expressiveness are priorities.

3. ProCo RAT2 Distortion

CLASSIC DISTORTION

Three simple, versatile, durable features.Wide range of distortion sounds.
Versatile pedal for all genres.Durable and reliable guitar pedal.
Picture by ProCo

PROS

  • If you’re searching for a guitar pedal that can add a gritty and crunchy edge to your sound, the ProCo RAT2 Distortion is worth considering. This legendary distortion pedal has been favored by renowned guitarists like Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, and John Frusciante. Here are four key advantages of the ProCo RAT2 Distortion:

    1. The pedal boasts a straightforward and user-friendly design, featuring only three knobs: distortion, filter, and volume. Adjusting these knobs allows you to effortlessly achieve your desired tone by controlling the level of distortion, brightness or darkness of the sound, and output volume.

    2. With its vast range of distortion sounds, the pedal can effortlessly transition from a subtle overdrive to a heavy fuzz, depending on your distortion knob settings. Additionally, the filter knob enables you to shape the tone of the distortion, making it either bright and sharp or dark and smooth.

    3. Versatility is another notable feature of this pedal, making it compatible with various genres and styles. Perfect for rock, metal, blues, punk, grunge, and alternative music, this pedal enables you to add some grit to your clean sound, boost your solos, or even create a wall of noise.

    4. The ProCo RAT2 Distortion is built to last, offering durability and reliability. The sturdy metal casing ensures it can endure the demands of gigging and touring, while the true bypass switch preserves your signal when the pedal is turned off.

    For those seeking to enhance their guitar sound with distortion, the ProCo RAT2 Distortion is an indispensable addition to their arsenal. Often hailed as a classic RAT sound, it’s a must-have pedal for many guitarists.

CONS

  • The ProCo RAT2 Distortion is a highly regarded pedal in the rock and metal community, known for its versatility in delivering a wide range of distortion tones, from subtle overdrive to intense fuzz. However, there are a couple of drawbacks that should be taken into account before purchasing.
  • Firstly, at high gain settings, the pedal can introduce unwanted noise and hiss, which can be frustrating for those seeking a clean sound or recording in a studio. To combat this issue, a noise gate or noise suppressor pedal may be required.
  • Secondly, certain amps and guitars may result in a harsh and brittle sound when using the RAT2. The pedal’s bright and aggressive tone might not be suitable for all musical styles, but this can be mitigated by adjusting the tone knob or incorporating an EQ pedal to smoothen out the distortion.

4. MXR Phase 90

LEGENDARY PHASER

1. One knob control.Wide range of sound.
Compatible with other pedals.Classic, durable, vintage design.
Picture by MXR

PROS

  • If you are looking to enhance your guitar sound with some essential pedals, one option to consider is the phaser pedal. A phaser is a modulation effect that produces a sweeping sound by shifting the phase of the signal and blending it with the original. The MXR Phase 90 is a renowned and highly regarded phaser pedal that has been favored by numerous guitar legends, including Eddie Van Halen, Dave Grohl, and Nancy Wilson. Here are four key advantages of the MXR Phase 90 that make it an excellent choice for any guitarist:

    1. User-friendly: The MXR Phase 90 features a single knob that controls the modulation speed, making it effortless to use. With no intricate settings or parameters to worry about, you can simply plug in and play.

    2. Versatile sounds: By adjusting the speed knob and playing techniques, the MXR Phase 90 can generate a diverse range of sounds. Whether you desire to add depth and motion to chords, enrich solos with a liquid-like swirl, or experiment with psychedelic effects, this pedal has got you covered.

    3. Compatibility with other pedals: The MXR Phase 90 seamlessly integrates with most other pedals and can be positioned anywhere in your signal chain. By placing it before or after distortion, delay, chorus, or any other effect, you can achieve distinct tones and textures.

    4. Classic and durable design: Sporting a retro orange color and a script logo, the MXR Phase 90 exudes a vintage vibe. Additionally, its sturdy metal enclosure and reliable footswitch ensure longevity.

    Affordable and versatile, the MXR Phase 90 is an indispensable phaser pedal for any guitarist aspiring to replicate their heroes’ tones or explore new sonic territories.

CONS

  • If you want to add some extra flavor to your guitar sound, the MXR Phase 90 might be on your radar. Renowned artists like Eddie Van Halen and David Gilmour have used this pedal to achieve a mesmerizing modulation effect that brings movement and depth to your tone. However, before taking the plunge, it’s important to be aware of a couple of downsides.
  • Firstly, the Phase 90 only offers control over the speed of the phasing effect, lacking any options for adjusting parameters like depth, feedback, or the number of stages. If you crave versatility and more shaping options, this pedal may feel too limited.
  • Secondly, the Phase 90 tends to introduce unwanted noise and hiss, particularly when used with high-gain settings or alongside other effects. Recording or playing live could become frustrating due to this distraction. Implementing a noise gate or buffer may help reduce the noise and enhance signal quality. These limitations should be taken into account when considering the purchase. Nonetheless, the Phase 90 has its own merits: classic sound, simplicity, and durability. Ultimately, the decision of whether this pedal suits your personal preferences and taste lies in your hands.

5. Boss GE-7 Graphic Equalizer

VERSATILE EQ

7 bands of EQ, +/- 15dBQuiet with no tone loss.
Compact, durable, easy to use.Versatile EQ for customizable guitar sound.
Picture by Boss

PROS

  • If you’re searching for a versatile and reliable EQ pedal for your guitar, look no further than the Boss GE-7 Graphic Equalizer. With over four decades of proven performance, it has become a staple in countless guitarists’ rigs. There are several notable advantages to the Boss GE-7 Graphic Equalizer:

    Firstly, it offers seven bands of EQ, ranging from 100Hz to 6.4kHz, perfectly suited for guitar. Each band allows for +/- 15dB of cut or boost, enabling precise tone shaping and effective feedback elimination, especially when used after a distortion effect.

    Secondly, the pedal is remarkably quiet, thanks to its silent FET switching system. This means no disconcerting pops or clicks when turning it on or off. Additionally, its buffered bypass preserves signal integrity, preventing any loss of tonal quality.

    Thirdly, the Boss GE-7 is compact, durable, and user-friendly. It easily fits into any standard pedalboard and can run on either a 9V battery or an AC adapter. The responsive sliders feature LED indicators for clear visibility during live performances.

    Lastly, the pedal is exceptionally versatile and can be used for various purposes. You can utilize the Boss GE-7 Graphic Equalizer to boost your bass, cut your mids, add sparkle to your highs, or create customized tones for solos. It can also function as a volume or clean boost for your amplifier.

    In summary, the Boss GE-7 Graphic Equalizer is an outstanding addition to your arsenal if you seek greater tonal control and improved sound in any situation. It is an essential pedal for guitarists who desire to finely-tune their sound and make the most of their gear.

CONS

  • If you’re searching for the essential guitar pedals to enhance your sound, the Boss GE-7 Graphic Equalizer is worth considering. This pedal empowers you to finely tune the frequency bands of your guitar signal, granting you greater control over your tone. However, it’s crucial to note a couple of downsides before making a purchase.
  • Firstly, noise can be a concern, particularly when boosting high or low frequencies. This may prove annoying and distracting, especially in quiet settings or during recording sessions. Implementing a noise gate or suppressor pedal could help alleviate the hiss and hum generated by this pedal.
  • Secondly, its durability leaves room for improvement. Users have reported issues with easily broken sliders or loss of functionality after only a few months of use. Additionally, the plastic casing can crack or dent under significant force. Careful handling and proper precaution are advised. 

6. Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9

CLASSIC OVERDRIVE

Versatile, durable, affordable, iconic.durable and reliable
Affordable and readily available.Iconic and influential overdrive pedal.
Picture by Ibanez

PROS

  • If you are interested in discovering the guitar pedals that suit your needs, one pedal that you shouldn’t overlook is the Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9. This particular pedal is a timeless overdrive masterpiece that has the ability to amplify your tone and introduce a delightful crunch to your sound. Let’s explore the significant advantages of this pedal:

    1. Versatility is a key aspect of the TS9. Regardless of the amp or guitar you own, this pedal works harmoniously with them all. Whether you wish to enrich your clean tone or push your amp to distortion, the level, tone, and drive knobs allow you to tweak and fine-tune your desired sound.

    2. You can rely on the durability and dependability of the TS9. Constructed with a robust metal casing, this pedal can endure the demands of live performances. Moreover, it incorporates a true bypass switch that preserves your original signal when the pedal is inactive.

    3. Affordability and accessibility go hand in hand with the TS9. As one of the most sought-after overdrive pedals in the market, it is reasonably priced and readily available. Whether you explore local music stores or browse online platforms, you’ll find it in abundance.

    4. The TS9 has achieved iconic status within the guitar community and has influenced numerous renowned guitarists. Legends like Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayer, Carlos Santana, and Gary Moore have all harnessed its power. Additionally, this pedal has inspired the creation of other overdrive pedals, aiming to duplicate its distinct sound and innovative circuitry.

    These attributes establish the Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9 as an indispensable pedal for every guitarist. It infuses your tone with warmth, intensity, and individuality, ensuring your playing stands out vividly.

CONS

  • If you are in search of a versatile and timeless overdrive pedal, consider the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer. This pedal is a revamped version of the original TS9 that gained popularity among guitar legends like Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayer, and Carlos Santana. With the TS9, you can add warmth, crunch, and a boost to your tone, making it compatible with various amps and guitars. However, before making a purchase, take note of a few drawbacks.
  • Firstly, the TS9 has a prominent mid-range hump that may give your tone a nasal or boxy quality, which some guitarists appreciate for cutting through the mix. On the downside, others may find it too harsh or unnatural. If you prefer a more transparent and balanced overdrive, alternative options like the Boss BD-2 Blues Driver or the Fulltone OCD might suit you better.
  • Secondly, the TS9’s range for gain and tone control is limited. The drive knob only covers mild to medium levels of overdrive, and the tone knob solely affects the high frequencies. If you crave more distortion or desire greater flexibility in shaping your sound, the TS9 might not meet your expectations. In this case, pedals with additional gain stages or more EQ options, like the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe or the MXR EVH 5150 Overdrive, could be preferable. Bear in mind that these are just a couple of the downsides associated with the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer. It doesn’t mean the pedal is subpar or useless – it is still highly regarded by many and boasts a rich history.
  • Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and style. If you appreciate the sound and feel of the TS9, go ahead and give it a shot. However, if you desire something different or more versatile, it might be worth delving deeper into other options by conducting additional research and experimenting with different pedals. Regardless of your choice, we hope this blog post has aided you in determining the guitar pedals that suit your needs.

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