3 Effects Pedals Every Guitarist Must Have in Their Arsenal

By John Huston

So many choices! Which ones are best?

It’s true; there are a lot of choices when it comes to purchasing an effects pedal to best complement your guitar rig. There are literally thousands of options, but if you do a little bit of research, you’ll find that there are some similar sounds amongst a lot of your favorite players. If you combine what you hear on your favorite recordings with the top-selling items in guitar effects categories on major music retail stores, you find some common elements. This list will give you some solid tips on how you can improve your sound overnight with very little effort!

  1. Vox Wah-Wah- Model V847

Most people who don’t even have any experience playing guitar still know what a wah-wah pedal is. If you have ever heard the opening riffs of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”, then you are more than familiar with a wah-wah pedal and it’s unbelievably distinct sound. This pedal has a list price of $99.00 and has been crafted to replicate the sounds made by the original Vox wah-wah pedal model from the 1960s. There are a lot of wah-wah pedals out there of varying sizes, colors, and prices. I’ve been playing this model for 7 years at this point and couldn’t be more satisfied with it. I also highly recommend pairing this pedal with a set of Danelectro 9V batteries, they are chemically different from regular batteries and help improve the tone even more.

  1. Boomerang III Phase Sampler Loop Pedal

This is the most expensive pedal on the list. Its list price usually is around $479.00. This is definitely a lot of money to spend on an effects pedal. However, you will have the potential to do so many things that will improve your live performance and your practice sessions at home too. This pedal can loop what you are playing through your amp and allows you to add multiple layers to a looped track and all by controlling the timing of the loops with your feet. This can add some ethereal and interesting moments to a live show, can help you play rhythm and lead at the same time if you are a solo performer, or just help you practice melodies at home using repetition. This is a great pedal, and can work on any instrument plugged in to it, not just guitar!

  1. Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer

This may be the most common pedal ever used in rock and roll music. It’s great for when you need some more power and gain in your guitar tone and you want it instantly at the push of a button. This pedal can definitely get you cranking up to eleven! This model features all of the same original parts and housings that have always been used in the production of these Tube Screamer pedals. There is not much I can say to really sell you on this pedal other than hearing it for yourself! I know that there a lot of choices out there, but almost every guitarist I’ve come across that doesn’t have a $7,000 amp in their arsenal, has one of these bad boys to help them out.

My question for you all:

The Grammy’s were on the other night, I might just be getting old but I’m curious to ask everyone. How relevant is the music at the Grammy’s for you? Or does most of the music you listen to never really recognized at the Grammy’s?
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23 thoughts on “3 Effects Pedals Every Guitarist Must Have in Their Arsenal

  1. The Grammy’s are essentially a popularity contest in the music industry. I watched to view celebrity antics and the big winners. The music at the Grammy’s is music that’s popular on the radio or in the news. Most of my music that I listen to gets recognition at the Grammys.

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  2. Hi, John! Your blog is definitely easy on the eyes and full of interesting information. I especially enjoyed the video link you posted on how the pedals sound. Great idea!
    I’m not one to go out of my way to watch the Grammy’s. I agree with Ashley that it is a popularity contest. The Grammy’s only feature mainstream musicians which is fine but most of the music I usually listen to is omitted on this award show.

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  3. Great post. The Grammys are so important to me that I forgot they existed lol.

    I think the Grammys would mean more to me if it seemed less slanted. However, it was an amazing surprise seeing Esperanza Spalding win a Grammy a few years ago. It’s not often that a jazz artist gets so nationally recognized in today’s pop culture. That felt culturally significant.

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  4. Hmm, I don’t have any of these pedals. I really enjoy my Dunlop crybaby, it’s my go-to wah. The pedala I use the most often: T-rex Replica (digital delay), and my empress compressor that I leave on at all times. I love the crap out of that compressor.

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  5. Another famous song that uses a Wah-Wah pedal is “The Joker” by Steve Miller. As for the Grammy Awards, I think everyone who is more than five years old is getting too old for the Grammy Awards. Music should never be a popularity contest.

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  6. Anyone who focuses too hard on what’s going on at the Grammy’s, doesn’t actually know what the music industry is like. The Grammy’s are essentially a highlight reel of the most produced and best selling records of the year. There is about 99% of the music industry you’re missing out on. The big labels are being slowly over shadowed by the smaller, yet more down to earth indie labels that are offering much more personality to the performers of today. In an age where very few artists are making millions from ASCAP and BMI royalties, while most other artists can hardly sell a box of T-shirts is a world that we wont see much of for very much longer. Until the Grammy’s can include more than just the big-name, paparazzi fuel, I don’t think it’s worth more than a casual watch.

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  7. While some of the music at the grammy’s might be relevant to me(Beyonce!!!!), the grammys themselves are a joke. It’s just a bunch of industry people(who’s opinion about music is probably as relevant as the grammys) voting in a popularity contest. Some of the most influential albums of all time have never won a grammy or even received proper recognition.

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    1. Most of the best musicians in history are never recognized for their greatness until they are very old or die early, but I’m glad you at least get something out of the Grammy’s. Beyonce is definitely undeniably talented.

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  8. I totally agree with the Faceness. Spot on, in my opinion. What’s going on at the Grammys is such a small fraction of the music industry as a whole and there is so much more music out there on independent labels that doesn’t get a lot of recognition, let alone Grammy recognition. That’s not to say that there isn’t music at the Grammys that I don’t enjoy, but most of the music I listen to isn’t always recognized by the Grammys. I don’t think it’s a completely accurate gauge of good music and therefore, like Faceness, it’s worth just a casual watch, in my opinion.

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  9. You have good picks there, but the 3 pedals I love having are: my DS-1, my crybaby, and my carbon copy. I have way too many pedals, but I could get by with just those 3.

    As for the grammy’s, I assume that the music they show is fine for the target audience but I am not the target audience clearly. I think it is great when they bring out other artists though. I thought having Annie Lennox and ELO performing was great. However, being the rock fan that I am… I am usually disappointed by the lack of rock performers they have. Sure they have new “indie” bands that classify as rock but it is still just pop music. I still watch every year though for hope that something good will happen.

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  10. I must say good post! I believe the Grammys are a mainstream artists bestfriend. As for must have pedals.. Pigtronix Fat Drive, Dunlop Cry Baby Classic, and Line 6 DL-4 Delay.

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  11. As far as the Grammys go, I don’t watch them, and I honestly have never really cared for the Grammys or payed attention to them. Sure some musicians I have listened to have been to the Grammys, but most of my favorites have never been to the Grammys, and I don’t expect them to be there anytime soon. Most of them don’t make music geared towards the Grammys, and I also expect most of them just don’t care enough about winning awards for music. I would have to agree with them, since I feel that music should be made for the music, not for the awards and such.

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    1. I would have to say that for an electric guitar, a simple distortion pedal like MXR makes will be a nice first experience. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to find. I’m glad to hear that she is learning guitar.

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