Do I Need a Pedal For My Guitar?

Pedals are small metal boxes designed to alter your guitar tone in various ways. Easily turned on or off during performances, pedals give your sound an array of tones not available from an amp alone.

Finding the perfect pedals for your guitar can be like picking your favorite flavor of ice cream or paint; it can be overwhelming. This Sweetwater buying guide can help you understand all the pedal types available as well as their purposes.


There are various pedals designed to enhance the sound of a guitar, each offering their own individual effects. Some may be subtler than others, but all can help enhance your tone in some way. A volume pedal, for instance, allows you to control overall volume via foot pedal rather than hands – ideal for fade outs/ins as well as changing volume mid song.

Other pedals can add depth to your sound, such as chorus or flanger pedals. A chorus pedal splits your guitar signal before modulating each individual split’s pitch for a chorus-like effect that makes your guitar sound richer and fuller. Wah-wah pedals allow users to easily produce this iconic ‘wah’ sound by using foot pressure to adjust how much filtering occurs – an invaluable way to add variety to any tone!

Compressor pedals can also be an extremely helpful device, even out the dynamics of your playing and make it sound more professional and polished. By doing so, if you play loudly and lightly at different volumes, all notes will come out at equal volume, providing more professional sounding notes overall.

Reverb pedals provide additional ambience to your sound, providing anything from subtle echo effects all the way up to creating the effect that your guitar is in a large cave. This type of pedal can especially come in handy during live performances as it adds some additional depth and dimension.

To operate a guitar pedal, simply connect one end of a jack cable into its input on the pedal and then into its output on your amplifier. On the other end of this jack cable should be connected to either a 9v battery or external power source – for multiple pedals it may be useful to utilize an external supply as this reduces cable clutter.

Sound Design

There is a wide variety of effects pedals, each offering its own distinct sound. Some pedals may produce noise while others alter your guitar tone subtly; you’ll find overdrive, distortion, modulation delay reverb and more in this wide selection of effects pedals. Furthermore, pedals offer new sonic textures for you to explore that would otherwise be difficult or impractical with just an amplifier alone; yet are an affordable way to expand your sonic palette.

Most pedals follow established circuitry. However, each manufacturer adds their own customizations that differentiate their pedal from its inspiration – leading to such diversity among pedal offerings as there are numerous variants on offer; for instance stompbox effects pedals may share similar core circuits to famous designs like the TS9 Tube Screamer or Pro Co Rat; however each manufacturer brings their own distinct twist to design.

Pedals are typically powered by 9-volt batteries. Most pedals feature an adaptor that connects them directly to a guitar amp; however, for maximum effect when using multiple pedals simultaneously it’s advisable to connect them in order of use, as this prevents their sounds from mixing together and altering one another’s. You should also purchase power cords from either your local guitar store or online vendor.

An electric guitar pedal that alters its sound can be an invaluable asset. Popular examples are distortion, reverb, and delay pedals; these devices can help enhance your guitar’s tone for a fuller, more dynamic and full sound.

Compressor pedals can give your guitar a more professional and polished sound while helping control volume and remove any peaks in tone. Many guitarists keep their compressor pedals “always-on”, as their sound quality enhances any genre of music.


Guitar pedals offer an incredible variety of sound effects to your instrument. Some may be obvious while others can add subtlety. Although these effects tend to be expensive, they can provide professional results with less effort on your part. Finding pedals that suit your tastes and styles is sometimes necessary; once found they can help make your guitar shine among its peers.

Some pedals are specifically tailored to produce certain effects, like fuzz and distortion pedals. A fuzz pedal creates an authentic heavy rock sound by producing buzzing tones; it adds character and personality to your guitar but may be overpowering and may not suit all genres of music. Meanwhile, distortion pedals often have harsh and noisy tones, making them suitable for genres such as hard rock and metal music.

Alternately, an overdrive pedal might be ideal for your guitar. These pedals offer smoother and subtler distortion than fuzz or distortion pedals, making them suitable for blues and classic rock music as well as increasing sustain and offering greater control of how much distortion occurs in your sound.

Pitch Shifter pedals are effects pedals designed to change the notes on your guitar up or down an octave, providing single note players with a very distinct sound; however, chord players should avoid using this type of effects pedal.

Compression pedals for guitar can also be useful tools to reduce the loudness of your sound, particularly for bass players as this prevents notes from fading out during long solos. Furthermore, such pedals as reverb and delay pedals allow you to adjust multiple frequencies independently for an individualized tone experience.

Another type of guitar pedals is a tremolo pedal, which can help create a pulsing sound and is used by U2 guitarist The Edge as part of his signature sound. However, some tremolo pedals may be inconsistent and unpredictable so only use it when necessary.


When testing out a new pedal, it is vital to take the time to ensure it runs without issue. Issues could stem from anything from poor power supply quality and circuit board design issues to problems with its jacks being overly used – all these problems should be prevented by using high-quality jacks as well as using reliable power sources; furthermore, each pedal should be tested individually to identify any problems.

There is an impressive variety of pedals on the market, each capable of creating unique sounds or altering the tone of your guitar in various ways. Some may be overt while others can add depth and texture to your music. If you need assistance choosing which pedal will best suit you, check out various models at a music store or consult an experienced musician for guidance.

Distortion pedals are one of the most widely-used musical effects pedals, offering heavy distortion that distorts guitar signals. Used extensively in rock and metal music genres, distortion pedals often combine with overdrive pedals to produce iconic sounds; you can find one at any musical instrument store or online.

Noise gate pedals can also be useful, eliminating any buzzing or humming caused by using too many pedals in a long chain. This feature makes this an excellent tool for live performances as it prevents distractions while keeping audiences focused on what they are watching.

Delay pedals allow for increased clarity by delaying sound signals at different intervals and playing them back at regular intervals, giving your guitar an expansive sound and adding depth to its musical compositions. Delay pedals are especially suitable for solo guitarists looking to add drama.

A wah pedal is another great addition to any guitarist’s arsenal, creating a sound resembling whistle whistling. You can control its intensity by pressing down on its pedal. Tremolo and vibrato pedals also come handy, altering volume levels while changing pitch levels respectively.