Updated: Nov 24, 2022
So you're looking to start your pedalboard but you just are not sure where to begin... It seems as if there are thousands of pedals, scattered in a vibrant sea of colors and let me tell you, even the best of pirates can easily get lost in these psychedelic seas!
Well, friends! We have compiled a list of our Top 5 recommendations for you to consider when starting your very own pedalboard.
Our philosophy is, try not to over saturate and instead think of each pedal as a tool or color to add to your solid foundation.
When it comes to improving your guitar chops, inspiration & motivation is everything. If you feel inspired, naturally you will be more likely to spend hours playing instead of maybe only brief moments at a time. Having a loop pedal is like having your own band on standby. Press "RECORD" on the down beat of your chord progression and again on the next time around. Now you have a loop! Looping is a great way to explore the guitar neck or put scales into practice.
Of course the mass universe of creativity looping brings to the table is the real gem!
I personally use the Boss RC-500. It does everything I need and more. I can record a bass line on Track 1, then add some light rhythm on Track 2 allowing me the freedom to explore and improvise in the key I chose for my chord progression.
It has a built in drum machine, a microphone input, can save up to 99 loops into the internal memory, and records the loops in high quality 320kbps.
99 Phrase Memories + USB backup
2 Tracks + Separate Mixing Faders
13 hours of record time
114 built-in drum patterns
Backlit LCD Screen
Flawless 32-bit/44.1kHz quality
MIDI & Expression Ports
Check out Boss RC-1.
It is perfect if you are looking for basic looping with ease of use.
Overdrive is and has been a staple on most all pedal boards of every great guitar legend.. With so many options to choose from why not get 9 IN 1?
Slap the Bonsai on your pedalboard and enjoy unhindered access to four decades' worth of pedals. There are nine different sonic textures to choose from which successfully replicate classic overdrive models some as The Tube Screamer TS808.
Want some classic mid-bump grind? It's in there. SRV-style dirty boost? Yep. Mayer-esque low-gain grit? You've got it — and so much more more. The Bonsai isn't a modeler — it boasts the exact same components as the source units. So when you select a mode with the Bonsai's rotary control, your guitar signal actually passes through a replica of the original pedal's circuitry. With the Bonsai, you truly get nine overdrive pedals packed into one housing.
Nine overdrive pedals packed into one housing:
OD1 (1977) A brighter and somewhat higher gain mode that doesn't utilize the Tone knob
TS808 (1979) The classic low-gain grind with the signature mid-bump
TS9 (1982) Similar to the TS808, but with a brighter, SRV-style sound
MSL (1985) The "metal" version produces a higher-gain sound with more low end
TS10 (1986) Replicates the bluesy low-gain sound popularized by John Mayer
XR (1989) Duplicates the Polish-made EXAR OD1, known for its unique drive character and slightly higher gain
TS7 (1999) The late-'90s overdrive with a "hot mode" that yields more gain and low-end dirt
Keeley (2002) Robert Keeley’s classic Mod+ that tightens up your tone and gives you less noise, along with smoother mids and highs and increased bass
JHS (2008) JHS's "Strong Mod" that gives you a cleaner sound with a serious power boost
9 Classic Overdrives In 1 Box
Dial In Tone, Gain, Volume Easily
True Bypass Switching
Ruggedly built and handwired pedal
Exact components as original pedals
Do you want to clean up your tone and add some more sustain to your notes?
Robert Keeley's compressor pedals have gained recognition around the globe, and the Keeley Compressor Plus pedal continues the trend by incorporating player-requested features. Like the Blend control, which allows you to bring in some of your dry signal along with the compressed signal for the best of both worlds — dynamic and fatter at the same time. A much-requested Tone control allows you to fine-tune the Keeley Compressor Plus appropriately for any guitar. And the simplified Attack switch makes it faster to dial in a great sound. Whether you want to tame the peaks on a plucky Tele, or simply want to fatten up your tone with any guitar, We highly recommend the Keeley Compressor Plus pedal.
Adds clarity and balances out volume differences
The Compressor Plus has the precision of a studio rack mount JFET compressor, but fits conveniently on your pedalboard.
Switch between single coil or humbucker mode.
Slim & Sleek but extremely durable housing.
Easy To Operate Attack Switch
The TC Electronic Flashback 2 Delay is an amazingly versatile delay effect in a compact, pedalboard-friendly stompbox format. Featuring eight amazing delays plus a 40-second looper, the Flashback 2 is leaps and bounds ahead of standard delay pedals, which typically feature only a handful of delay effects. Some of the highlights of the Flashback 2 delay include three spots for saving tones pulled from TC's TonePrint Library, a new crystal delay, and TC's groundbreaking MASH footswitch control. If you had the pleasure of trying the original Flashback and thought it was stunning, just wait until you experience the TC Electronic Flashback 2. It is guaranteed to bring a new dimension to your playing!
The TC Electronic Flashback 2 Delay packs the company's entire delay legacy into a single compact and affordable stomp box that's designed for now – and the future
MASH technology adds an expression pedal to a world-class delay stompbox that responds to your touch and saves precious pedalboard space
If I had to recommend just one pedal to be your first, it would no doubt be a reverb pedal!
Though I prefer a tube amp with a nice built in spring reverb, having a variety of options at your disposal can really expand your tonal flexibility.
Also, let's face it... not everyone is in a place to purchase a high end tube amp and nothing is more boring than a dry solid state amp.
Reverb is an excellent way to add warm lusciousness & depth to your sound and is a standard in most all music genres, be it natural or digital.
Look, maybe the name of the pedal is a little "unique" but don't let that discourage you.
This little guy is packed with some amazing features, all inside a visually stunning housing.
The Slö Multi Texture Reverb allows players to create lush, modulated, sleepy and ambient soundscapes. Stocked with three different algorithms specifically designed to invoke textures for bringing dreams from your subconscious to reality.
The toggle switch allows three different reverb modes, Dark (Lower Octave), Rise (Ambient Swell) and Dream (Latching Pad), while secondary functions on the switch change between different wave shapes for the modulation on the reverb trail.
Combine deep modulation with long washy trails and experience, the Slö.
My favorite feature is the sustain button. It works similar as the sustain pedal on a piano.
When pressed, the decay switch ramps up the reverb trail to maximum creating long dreamy reverb trail and then ramps back down to the decay knob setting when released. In the “Dream” algorithm, the sustain switch is latching. Press it once to capture and sustain the current reverb decay for extremely long pad-like sounds. Press it again to let the reverb trail taper off, based on the position of the decay knob.
3 distinct reverb modes - Dark, Rise, & Dream
Pitch modulation w/ 3 different waveshapes — Sine, Warp, & Sink
Sustain switch turns up reverb decay time until you release the switch
Generates huge atmospheric effects without overwhelming your core sound