Best Volume Pedals For Guitarists (All Budgets) 2024


Best Volume Pedals For Guitarists

Hey there, fellow guitar enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving deep into a topic that might seem simple but holds incredible power in the world of music – volume pedals. Yep, those unassuming little pedals that can make a huge difference in how your guitar sings and speaks.

Whether you’re jamming in your bedroom, rocking the stage, or just noodling around, finding the right volume pedal can be a game-changer. It’s like having a secret weapon for those moments when you want your guitar to soar, whisper, or do anything in between.

In this guide, we’re taking a closer look at the best volume pedals out there – the ones that have earned their stripes among guitar greats. We’ll break down what makes these pedals tick, how you can use them to add that extra flair to your playing, and how they can fit with your unique style.

So, if you’re on the hunt for that sweet, expressive swell or aiming to tame the wild beast that is your amp’s volume, stick around. We’re about to embark on a sonic journey to uncover the top volume pedals that can take your music to a whole new level. Ready to explore? Let’s crank it up.

Best Volume Pedals for Guitarists

1. Ernie Ball VP Jr.

Ernie Ball VP JR 250K Volume Pedal, For Passive Signals (P06180)
  • 250k potentiometer
  • Jr size to better fit on pedal boards
  • Mono volume control
  • For passive signal in

Specifications:

  • Type: Passive Volume Pedal
  • Connectivity: 1/4″ Input/Output
  • Taper: 250k Ohm
  • Dimensions: 3.5″ x 10″ x 2.25″
  • Weight: 1.35 lbs
Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
Smooth Volume ControlNo Tuner Out
Durable ConstructionLimited Features
Compact Design

In-Depth Description:

The Ernie Ball VP Jr. is a classic passive volume pedal designed to provide smooth and precise control over your instrument’s volume. Its compact size and durable construction make it a staple on many pedalboards. With a simple 1/4″ input and output, this pedal seamlessly integrates into your signal chain without any hassle. The 250k Ohm taper ensures a consistent and natural volume swell, allowing for expressive dynamics in your playing.

One of the main selling points of the VP Jr. is its simplicity. It’s straightforward to use and doesn’t require any power source to operate. This makes it a reliable tool for adjusting your volume on the fly during performances. The pedal’s compact design doesn’t take up much real estate on your pedalboard, leaving more space for other effects.

While the Ernie Ball VP Jr. offers a smooth volume control experience, it doesn’t come with extra features like a tuner output or expression capabilities. If you’re looking for a volume pedal that can also serve as an expression pedal, you might need to consider other options. However, if you prioritize a reliable and hassle-free volume control solution, the Ernie Ball VP Jr. is a solid choice that has stood the test of time.

2. Boss FV-500H/FV-500L

Boss FV-500H Foot Volume Pedal – High Impedance
  • High-impedance Volume/Expression Pedal for Guitar or Other High-Impedance Instruments
  • Expression pedal function
  • Heavy-duty aluminum die casting body
  • Adjustable pedal feel (torque)

Specifications:

  • Type: Active Volume Pedal
  • Models: FV-500H (High Impedance), FV-500L (Low Impedance)
  • Connectivity: 1/4″ Input/Output, Tuner Out
Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
High/Low Impedance OptionsBulky Design
Expression Pedal ModeLarger Footprint on Pedalboard
Tuner Out

In-Depth Description:

The Boss FV-500 series includes both the FV-500H and FV-500L models, catering to high and low impedance setups respectively. These active volume pedals offer a wide range of features for the discerning musician. With their sturdy construction, they are built to withstand the rigors of live performances.

One of the standout features of the FV-500 series is the choice between high and low impedance models. The FV-500H is designed for high-impedance instruments like electric guitars, while the FV-500L is tailored for low-impedance devices like synthesizers. This flexibility ensures optimal performance and tone preservation.

Additionally, the Boss FV-500 pedals can function as expression pedals, adding another layer of versatility to your setup. The inclusion of a tuner output is a practical touch, allowing you to conveniently tune your instrument without affecting your signal chain.

However, it’s worth noting that the FV-500 pedals have a larger footprint compared to some other options, which might impact the available space on your pedalboard. Their design is also relatively bulky. While this could be a drawback for those prioritizing compactness, the added features and rugged build make the Boss FV-500H/FV-500L series a reliable choice for musicians seeking both volume control and expression capabilities.

3. Morley Little Alligator

MORLEY 20/20 Volume Plus
  • Optical Circuitry That Won’t Wear Down Like a Potentiometer
  • Pedalboard Friendly Sized: 6.85″ x 4.5″ x 2.5″ (L x W x H)
  • Minimum Volume Control
  • Smooth Audio Taper Ideal for Swells
  • Made in the USA

Specifications:

  • Type: Optical Volume Pedal
  • Connectivity: 1/4″ Input/Output
  • Electro-Optical Circuitry
Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
Optical ControlNo Tuner Out
Smooth TaperRequires Power Source
Robust Build

In-Depth Description:

The Morley Little Alligator is an optical volume pedal designed to provide smooth and precise volume control. Its unique electro-optical circuitry ensures a noise-free operation and longevity. The optical mechanism offers a distinct advantage by eliminating the need for moving parts, resulting in less wear and tear.

The pedal’s smooth taper allows for gradual volume swells, adding an expressive touch to your playing. With its robust build and road-worthy construction, the Little Alligator can handle the demands of touring and frequent use. The 1/4″ input and output provide seamless integration into your signal chain.

One point to consider is that the Morley Little Alligator requires a power source to operate due to its electro-optical circuitry. While this might be a slight inconvenience for some players, the benefits of noise-free operation and precision control outweigh the need for power. However, it’s important to factor in power supply considerations when planning your pedalboard setup.

In conclusion, the Morley Little Alligator offers a reliable and responsive volume control solution with its optical technology and durable build. Musicians looking for smooth and noise-free volume manipulation will appreciate the qualities of this pedal.

4. Dunlop DVP4 Volume X Mini

Dunlop DVP4 Volume X Mini Pedal Bundle with 2 Patch Cables and Dunlop PVP101 Pick Pack
  • Controls volume levels and FX parameters
  • Half the size of the DVP3
  • Low friction band-drive and adjustable pedal resistance
  • AUX output for switchable tuner/expression functionality
  • Bundle includes 2 6-inch right angle patch cables and Dunlop pack of 12 picks

Specifications:

  • Type: Active Volume Pedal
  • Compact Size: 3.65″ x 10.25″
  • Adjustable rocker tension
Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
Compact SizeLimited Travel Range
Adjustable TensionNo Tuner Out
Smooth Sweep

In-Depth Description:

The Dunlop DVP4 Volume X Mini is a compact active volume pedal designed for space-conscious pedalboards. Its small footprint makes it a great choice for setups with limited room. Despite its size, it doesn’t compromise on functionality or control.

One of the standout features is its adjustable rocker tension. This allows you to customize the pedal’s feel and resistance according to your preference. The smooth sweep of the pedal ensures seamless volume adjustments for expressive playing.

The compact size of the DVP4 Volume X Mini might limit the overall travel range compared to larger volume pedals. However, for players who prioritize space efficiency, this compromise is often worth it. The absence of a tuner output might be a drawback for those who like to keep their tuner easily accessible on their pedalboard.

In summary, the Dunlop DVP4 Volume X Mini is a convenient option for musicians seeking a compact volume pedal with adjustable tension and smooth control. Its design caters to players looking to maximize pedalboard real estate without sacrificing performance.

5. Mission Engineering VM-1 Aero

Mission Engineering VM1-Aero Analogue Volume Pedal
  • Rear cut away and extended curved surface designed for comfortable use Passive circuit doesn’t alter tone Isolated tuner output and integrated mode switch Transparent acrylic, illuminated base visible from any position
  • The VM1-Aero’s rear cut away and extended curved surface are ergonomically designed for comfortable use in either standing or sitting positions
  • With a passive ‘no tone suck’ circuit, the VM-1 Aero features an isolated tuner output and integrated mode switch
  • All VM-1 Aero models also include Missions illuminated base
  • Visible from any position, the transparent acrylic base illuminates indicating selected mode

Specifications:

  • Type: Expression/Volume Pedal
  • Connectivity: 1/4″ Input/Output, Expression Output
  • Adjustable Torque
Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
Expression and VolumeLarger Footprint
Adjustable Torque
High-Quality Build

In-Depth Description:

The Mission Engineering VM-1 Aero is a versatile pedal that combines both expression and volume control. Its design emphasizes precision and durability, making it suitable for professional use. The pedal boasts a high-quality build, ensuring it can withstand the demands of live performances.

The VM-1 Aero offers both expression and volume capabilities, allowing you to control various parameters within your effects chain. Its adjustable torque feature enables you to fine-tune the pedal’s resistance, catering to your personal playing style.

One potential downside to the VM-1 Aero is its larger footprint compared to some other options. This might affect the available space on your pedalboard, especially if you’re aiming for a compact setup. However, the added versatility of expression control might justify the slightly larger size.

In conclusion, the Mission Engineering VM-1 Aero is a reliable choice for musicians seeking both expression and volume control in a single unit. Its durable construction and adjustable features make it a solid addition to any pedalboard setup.

6. Lehle Mono Volume Pedal

Lehle Mono Volume S Pedal
  • Volume Pedal f Guitar/Bass/Keyboard with Magnetically Controlled Blackmer VCA

Specifications:

  • Type: Passive Volume Pedal
  • Connectivity: 1/4″ Input/Output
  • High-Impedance
Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
High-Impedance OptionNo Tuner Out
Smooth Taper
Passive Design

In-Depth Description:

The Lehle Mono Volume is a passive volume pedal designed for high-impedance instruments like electric guitars. Its simplicity and high-quality components make it a reliable choice for musicians looking for transparent volume control.

The pedal’s passive design means it doesn’t require any power source to operate, ensuring a straightforward setup. The smooth taper allows for gradual volume swells, adding expressiveness to your playing dynamics.

One consideration is that the Lehle Mono Volume lacks a tuner output. While this might not be a dealbreaker for all players, those who prefer to have their tuner readily accessible might need to incorporate additional solutions into their setup.

In summary, the Lehle Mono Volume is a no-nonsense volume pedal tailored for high-impedance instruments. Its passive design, smooth control, and high-quality build make it a dependable choice for musicians seeking reliable volume adjustments.

7. EB Volume Pedal

Ernie Ball VP JR 250K Volume Pedal, For Passive Signals (P06180)
  • 250k potentiometer
  • Jr size to better fit on pedal boards
  • Mono volume control
  • For passive signal in

Specifications:

  • Type: Passive Volume Pedal
  • Connectivity: 1/4″ Input/Output
  • Durable Construction
Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
Simple and ReliableNo Additional Features
Durable Build
Budget-Friendly

In-Depth Description:

The EB Volume Pedal is a budget-friendly and straightforward passive volume pedal that offers simplicity and reliability. Its no-frills design focuses on providing essential volume control without additional features.

The pedal’s passive construction means it doesn’t require any power source, making it easy to integrate into your signal chain. The durable build ensures it can withstand the demands of live performances and regular use.

One point to consider is that the EB Volume Pedal doesn’t come with any extra features such as tuner outputs or expression capabilities. If you’re looking for a basic volume control solution without the need for additional bells and whistles, this pedal fits the bill.

In conclusion, the EB Volume Pedal is a simple and cost-effective option for musicians seeking a reliable volume control pedal without any unnecessary extras. Its durable construction and budget-friendly price point make it an appealing choice for those who prioritize function over additional features.

8. Goodrich 120 Volume Pedal

H-120 HighBoy Volume Pedal
  • Heavy-Duty Aluminum Constuction
  • Long-Life Potentiometer
  • 2 Outputs for driving 2 amps

Specifications:

  • Type: Passive Volume Pedal
  • Connectivity: 1/4″ Input/Output
  • No String
  • Stereo TRS Option
Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
No String MechanismLimited Compatibility (TRS)
Smooth Volume ControlNo Additional Features
Stereo Option

In-Depth Description:

The Goodrich 120 Volume Pedal stands out with its unique design that eliminates the need for a string mechanism. Instead, it employs a custom-made potentiometer for smooth and noise-free volume control.

The absence of a string mechanism enhances the pedal’s reliability and longevity. This design choice also contributes to the pedal’s smooth taper, allowing for expressive volume swells and control. The pedal offers a stereo TRS option for those who require stereo operation.

However, it’s important to note that the stereo TRS option might limit compatibility with certain setups that use mono connections. Additionally, the Goodrich 120 Volume Pedal doesn’t come with extra features like tuner outputs or expression capabilities.

In summary, the Goodrich 120 Volume Pedal offers a reliable and unique volume control solution with its innovative design. The absence of a string mechanism contributes to its smooth operation, making it a solid choice for musicians seeking simplicity and reliability.

9. Hotone Soul Press

Sale
Hotone Soul Press 3 in 1 Mini Volume/Wah/Expression Effects Pedal
  • 3 in 1 pedal (WAH/volume/expression)
  • Sound based on the original crybaby WAH pedal
  • Adjustable control range (bottom value)
  • Active volume mode for keeping lossless tone
  • True bypass and extreme compact size and cool LED lights

Specifications:

  • Type: Volume/Expression/Wah Pedal
  • Connectivity: 1/4″ Input/Output, Expression Output
  • Wah Mode
Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
Volume, Expression, WahSmaller Size
Versatile FunctionalityLimited Wah Range
Expression Output

In-Depth Description:

The Hotone Soul Press is a compact and versatile pedal that combines volume, expression, and wah functionalities in a single unit. Its innovative design allows you to switch between these modes, offering a range of creative possibilities.

In addition to volume and expression control, the wah mode enables you to add classic wah-wah effects to your playing. The inclusion of an expression output expands its usability by allowing you to control other effects parameters simultaneously.

The smaller size of the Soul Press might appeal to players aiming for a space-efficient pedalboard. However, it’s worth noting that the compact design might result in a slightly limited range for the wah effect, especially compared to larger dedicated wah pedals.

In conclusion, the Hotone Soul Press offers a compact and versatile solution for volume, expression, and wah control. Its unique combination of functions and the added expression output make it a valuable tool for players seeking a multifunctional pedal in a small footprint.

10. JHS Little Black Buffer

JHS Pedals JHS Little Black Buffer Guitar Signal Buffer
  • Restores the high end detail, output level, and tonal character that involved pedal chains and long cable runs steal away
  • Mount it on the underside of your pedal board to use as a low profile always on
  • Converts your guitar’s hi Z signal to lo Z for driving long cables and pedal chains
  • Retains the original tone of your guitar without tone loss from other gear in your signal chain
  • Designed to be compact, sturdy, and simple to integrate into your rig

Specifications:

  • Type: Buffer Pedal
  • Connectivity: 1/4″ Input/Output
Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
Effective Signal BufferNo Volume Control
Compact SizeSingle Functionality
Preserves Tone

In-Depth Description:

The JHS Little Black Buffer is a simple and effective buffer pedal designed to preserve the integrity of your signal over long cable runs and through complex pedalboard setups. While not a volume pedal per se, a buffer can play a crucial role in maintaining your tone.

Buffers are particularly useful when you have a lot of pedals in your signal chain or if you’re using long cable lengths, as they help prevent signal loss and high-frequency roll-off. The Little Black Buffer’s compact size allows it to be discreetly placed on your pedalboard without taking up much space.

It’s important to note that the Little Black Buffer doesn’t offer volume control like traditional volume pedals. Instead, it focuses solely on maintaining the quality of your signal. If you’re looking for volume manipulation, you would pair this with other pedals on your board.

In summary, the JHS Little Black Buffer is a valuable tool for musicians seeking to maintain the integrity of their signal. While it doesn’t offer volume control, its role in signal preservation can significantly contribute to a clean and clear sound in your setup.

11. Electro-Harmonix Volume Pedal

Electro-Harmonix Attack Decay Tape Reverse Simulator Pedal
  • Mono mode: one volume envelope at a time, the envelope resets when you play a new note
  • Poly mode: gives each note you play its own envelope
  • Built-in, fully adjustable, Harmonix fuzz enhances the volume envelope effect and produces bowed instrument sounds
  • Built-in effects loop allows for your own pedals to be inserted onto the volume envelope
  • Save and recall up to three presets

Specifications:

  • Type: Passive Volume Pedal
  • Connectivity: 1/4″ Input/Output
Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
Simple and ReliableNo Additional Features
Passive Design
Durable Construction

In-Depth Description:

The Electro-Harmonix Volume Pedal is a straightforward passive volume pedal that emphasizes simplicity and reliability. Its passive design ensures that it doesn’t require any power source, making it easy to incorporate into your signal chain.

The pedal’s durable construction ensures it can handle the demands of both live performances and studio use. Its basic functionality allows you to easily control your instrument’s volume without any additional features.

While the Electro-Harmonix Volume Pedal doesn’t offer extra features like tuner outputs or expression capabilities, its focus on simplicity and durability makes it a solid choice for musicians seeking a reliable volume control solution.

12. Valeton EP-2 Mini Volume/Expression Pedal

VALETON EP-2 Passive Volume & Expression Guitar Bass Keyboard Synth Synthesizer Workstation EXP Pedal
  • Passive Volume Control/Expression Control 2 functions in 1 Pedal
  • Automatically Detect the Functionality (Volume or EXP Control)
  • Working with Guiar, Bass, Keyboard, Synthesizer, Workstation, Controller, etc.
  • Working without Battery or Pedal Power Supply
  • Lightweight & Comact Design for easily Taking it Anywhere

Specifications:

  • Type: Mini Volume/Expression Pedal
  • Connectivity: 1/4″ Input/Output, Expression Output
  • Miniature Size
Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
Miniature SizeLimited Travel Range
Volume and ExpressionSmaller Footprint
Expression Output

In-Depth Description:

The Valeton EP-2 Mini is a compact pedal that offers both volume and expression control in a miniature form factor. Despite its small size, it provides essential functionality for players who value space-saving solutions.

The pedal’s dual functionality allows you to seamlessly switch between volume and expression modes, making it versatile for different playing scenarios. The inclusion of an expression output adds further flexibility by enabling you to control other parameters within your effects chain.

Due to its miniature size, the travel range of the pedal might be slightly limited compared to larger volume pedals. Additionally, its smaller footprint might not suit players who prefer larger pedals for ease of control.

In conclusion, the Valeton EP-2 Mini is a compact and versatile solution for musicians seeking both volume and expression control in a space-saving design. Its miniature size and dual functionality make it a practical addition to any pedalboard setup.

13. Source Audio SA260 Programmable Hot Hand Wireless 3 Expressive

Source Audio SA260 Nemesis Guitar Delay Effects Pedal
  • 24 Delay Engines – Nemesis features 12 onboard delay engines accessible via the center selector wheel, plus an additional 12 delays downloadable via the Neuro Mobile App.
  • 128 Presets – Save up to eight presets accessible via the onboard controls or save up to 128 presets recallable with MIDI program change (PC) messages.
  • Stereo Input and Output Jacks – Create dramatic stereo ping-pong delays, stereo phase inversion, or set up an external effects loops, pre or post delay.
  • Tap Tempo – Tap in the delay time with the onboard tap tempo switch. Beat divisions include quarter notes, dotted eighth, and triplets.
  • Complete MIDI Functionally – Send MIDI program change (PC), continuous controller (CC), or MIDI clock messages via the 5-pin MIDI DIN Input (also includes a MIDI Thru jack) or the USB port.

Specifications:

  • Type: Wireless Expression Controller
  • Wireless Range: Up to 100 feet
  • Compatible with Source Audio Pedals
Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
Wireless ExpressionRequires Compatible Source Audio Pedals
Programmable
Versatile Control

In-Depth Description:

The Source Audio SA260 Programmable Hot Hand Wireless 3 Expressive is a unique and innovative pedal that offers wireless expression control over your effects. Designed primarily for use with Source Audio pedals, it provides a new level of versatility and creative expression.

The wireless range of up to 100 feet allows you to move freely on stage while controlling parameters with hand movements. The pedal is programmable, enabling you to assign specific functions or effects parameters to the expression control. This adaptability is particularly useful for players seeking to explore new sonic possibilities.

However, it’s crucial to note that the Source Audio SA260 Hot Hand Expressive requires compatible Source Audio pedals to fully utilize its features. Without these pedals, the Hot Hand functionality won’t be applicable.

In summary, the Source Audio SA260 Programmable Hot Hand Wireless 3 Expressive is a cutting-edge solution for musicians looking to integrate wireless expression control into their effects setup. Its programmability and wireless capabilities offer a wide range of creative possibilities, provided you have the compatible Source Audio pedals to make the most of its features.

14. Mooer Leveline Mini Volume Pedal

MOOER Leveline Guitar Volume Pedal
  • The mini volume pedal is comfortable to operate with smooth transition and zero loss of tone
  • The strong and durable metal casing made the extendable pedestal rings for comfort
  • Special high-low impedance circuit allows flawless use with all pickup types and signal chain placement

Specifications:

  • Type: Mini Volume Pedal
  • Connectivity: 1/4″ Input/Output
Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
Miniature SizeLimited Range of Motion
Compact and Discreet
Passive Design

In-Depth Description:

The Mooer Leveline Mini Volume is a compact and miniature volume pedal designed for space-conscious pedalboard setups. Its small size allows it to fit seamlessly into tight spaces without compromising on functionality.

The pedal’s passive design means it doesn’t require any power source to operate, simplifying its integration into your signal chain. Its small form factor makes it an ideal choice for players looking to maximize the available space on their pedalboard.

However, due to its miniature size, the range of motion might be slightly limited compared to larger volume pedals. This might impact the precision of volume adjustments, particularly if you require finer control.

In conclusion, the Mooer Leveline Mini Volume is a practical solution for musicians seeking a compact and discreet volume control pedal. Its passive design and small size make it an excellent choice for those who prioritize space efficiency without sacrificing essential functionality.

What is the best volume pedal?

Determining the best volume pedal can be quite subjective, as it depends on your specific needs, playing style, and preferences. However, I can mention a few volume pedals that are widely regarded as excellent options based on their features, build quality, and popularity among guitarists:

  1. Ernie Ball VP Jr.: A classic choice known for its durability and smooth volume control. It’s compact, fits well on pedalboards, and offers a passive design that doesn’t require power.
  2. Boss FV-500H/FV-500L: Boss is a trusted brand in the pedal world, and their FV-500 series offers two versions – high impedance (FV-500H) and low impedance (FV-500L) – to match various setups and instruments.
  3. Dunlop DVP4 Mini: This pedal is known for its small footprint and solid build quality. It’s designed to fit nicely on crowded pedalboards and offers a surprisingly responsive and smooth volume sweep.
  4. Mission Engineering VM-PRO: This pedal is praised for its studio-grade audio quality, precision, and customization options. It’s also compatible with various expression pedal devices.
  5. Morley Little Alligator: Known for its optical design, the Morley Little Alligator offers a smooth and noise-free volume control. It features a compact size and doesn’t require a power source.
  6. Lehle Mono Volume: This pedal is revered for its transparency and minimal tone alteration. It’s built like a tank and designed to maintain the integrity of your guitar’s signal.
  7. Goodrich 120 Volume Pedal: If you’re looking for a professional-grade pedal with a reputation for exceptional tone preservation, the Goodrich 120 is often regarded as one of the best in the business.

Remember that the best pedal for you depends on your playing style, gear setup, and personal preferences. It’s a good idea to try out different pedals if possible and see which one feels most comfortable and suits your needs.

Are volume pedals good?

Yes, volume pedals can be incredibly useful and versatile tools for guitarists and other musicians. Here are some reasons why volume pedals are considered good additions to your setup:

  1. Dynamic Control: Volume pedals allow you to control the volume of your instrument in real-time, offering dynamic expression and the ability to create smooth fades, swells, and crescendos.
  2. Hands-Free Volume Changes: With a volume pedal, you can adjust your guitar’s volume without having to reach for the volume knob on your guitar. This can be especially helpful during live performances.
  3. Tonal Shaping: Volume pedals can alter your tone slightly when rolled back, offering a different timbre or brightness to your sound. This can be creatively useful for achieving various sonic textures.
  4. Swell Effects: Guitarists often use volume pedals to create swelling effects, emulating the sound of a violin or orchestral instrument. This adds an emotional and ambient quality to your playing.
  5. Pedal Steel-Like Effects: Volume pedals can replicate the expressive pedal steel guitar sound, allowing you to bend notes smoothly and add a unique touch to your playing.
  6. Signal Management: In a live setting, a volume pedal can help you manage your signal levels, ensuring that your solos aren’t too loud and your rhythm parts aren’t drowned out.
  7. Overall Sound Control: Volume pedals can help you control the overall mix and balance of your sound when used in combination with other effects or multiple amplifiers.
  8. Space-Efficient: Many volume pedals are designed to fit on pedalboards alongside other effects, making them a compact and practical solution for achieving volume control on stage.
  9. Instrument Compatibility: Volume pedals can be used with various instruments, not just guitars. Keyboardists, pedal steel players, and other instrumentalists often find them valuable as well.
  10. Expression Pedal Functions: Some volume pedals can also function as expression pedals, allowing you to control other parameters of effects units or software synthesizers.

Of course, like any piece of gear, the effectiveness of a volume pedal depends on your playing style and musical goals. If you value expressive control, dynamics, and the ability to shape your sound in real-time, a volume pedal can be a fantastic addition to your rig.

Do I need a passive or active volume pedal?

Whether you should choose a passive or active volume pedal depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the overall setup of your guitar rig. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between passive and active volume pedals to help you make an informed decision:

Passive Volume Pedals:

  • No Power Requirement: Passive volume pedals don’t require a power source to operate. They are directly controlled by your foot, which mechanically adjusts the volume potentiometer.
  • Simple Design: Passive pedals are generally simpler in design and construction, which can make them more durable and reliable over time.
  • Transparency: They often have a more transparent tone, meaning they have minimal impact on your guitar’s sound when the volume is adjusted.
  • No Additional Features: Passive pedals usually only control volume. They don’t have extra features like EQ adjustments or additional routing options.
  • Ideal for Analog Setups: If you have a primarily analog setup and want a straightforward solution for volume control, a passive pedal might be a good fit.

Active Volume Pedals:

  • Requires Power: Active volume pedals require a power source to function. They use electronics to control the volume and may have additional features.
  • Buffered Signal: Active pedals often include a buffer that can help maintain your signal’s integrity over longer cable runs, preserving your tone.
  • Additional Features: Some active pedals come with added features like adjustable gain, EQ controls, tuner outputs, and the ability to act as expression pedals for other effects.
  • Tone Shaping: Depending on the design, active pedals might have a slight impact on your tone even when at full volume, which could be useful for tonal shaping.
  • Ideal for Complex Setups: If you have multiple pedals, longer cable runs, or want extra features integrated into your volume pedal, an active pedal might be suitable.

Ultimately, the choice between passive and active volume pedals depends on your priorities. If you want a simple and transparent volume control without additional features and don’t want to worry about power, a passive pedal might be your preference. If you’re looking for extra functionalities, buffering capabilities, or other ways to shape your tone, an active pedal might be more appealing.

As always, the best way to make the right choice is to try out both types if possible and see which one feels and sounds better within your specific setup and playing style.

Do I need a volume pedal guitar?

Whether you need a volume pedal for your guitar depends on your playing style, musical goals, and the specific effects you want to achieve. Here are some considerations to help you decide if a volume pedal is something you should consider adding to your guitar setup:

1. Dynamic Expression: If you want to add dynamic expression to your playing, a volume pedal can be incredibly useful. It allows you to control the volume of your guitar smoothly, creating swells, fades, and crescendos that add emotion and texture to your music.

2. Ambient and Soundscaping: If you’re into creating ambient or atmospheric music, a volume pedal can help you achieve the gradual build-up and release of sound that’s characteristic of these genres.

3. Swell Effects: Volume pedals are essential for creating the “swell” effect, which is a gradual increase in volume that can mimic the sound of a violin or cello. This can be particularly effective for intros, bridges, or creating a dreamy atmosphere.

4. Pedal Steel Sounds: If you’re interested in emulating the pedal steel guitar’s smooth bends and expressive playing style, a volume pedal is a must-have tool.

5. Tonal Shaping: Volume pedals can also act as tone shaping tools. Rolling off the volume slightly can alter your guitar’s tone, making it sound warmer or smoother, which can be creatively useful.

6. Live Performance: If you perform live frequently, a volume pedal can be handy for controlling your guitar’s volume on stage without needing to reach for your guitar’s volume knob.

7. Versatility: Volume pedals can be used in various genres, from rock and blues to jazz, country, and more. They’re not limited to a specific style of music.

8. Multi-Instrument Use: Volume pedals aren’t limited to guitars. Keyboardists, pedal steel players, and other instrumentalists also find them valuable for controlling volume and expression.

9. Signal Management: In a complex setup with multiple pedals and effects, a volume pedal can help manage your overall signal level, ensuring consistency in your sound.

10. Creative Control: If you’re an experimental musician, a volume pedal can open up new avenues for creative sound manipulation.

However, if your playing style and musical goals don’t involve these expressive elements, you might not consider a volume pedal as essential. It’s ultimately about how you envision using your guitar and whether the features and effects offered by a volume pedal align with your artistic direction. If you’re unsure, you could consider trying out a volume pedal to see how it fits into your playing before making a decision.

Common Questions About The Best Volume Pedals for Guitarists

What volume pedal does John Mayer use?

John Mayer is known to use the Ernie Ball VPJR (Volume Pedal Jr.) as his volume pedal of choice.

What pedal makes guitar louder?

A boost pedal or an overdrive pedal set with higher gain can make a guitar sound louder by increasing the signal level before it reaches the amplifier.

Why are BOSS pedals so good?

BOSS pedals are highly regarded for their durability, reliability, and consistent sound quality. They have a reputation for being built like tanks and delivering versatile tones, making them a popular choice among guitarists.

Where is the best place to put a volume pedal?

Placing a volume pedal at the very beginning of the signal chain (right after the guitar) allows you to control the overall volume going into your effects and amp. Placing it later in the chain can affect how the effects respond to changes in volume.

Why are volume pedals so expensive?

Volume pedals can be expensive due to the quality of components used, precision engineering required for smooth operation, and sometimes additional features like built-in buffers or expression pedal capabilities.

Should a volume pedal be in the effects loop?

Placing a volume pedal in the effects loop allows you to control the volume of the effects themselves, which can be useful for maintaining consistent effects levels while adjusting the overall volume. However, it’s more common to place volume pedals in the regular signal chain.

Can you use a volume pedal as a master volume?

Yes, you can use a volume pedal as a master volume control by placing it at the end of your pedalboard or signal chain, effectively controlling the volume of your entire setup.

Can a wah pedal be used as a volume pedal?

A wah pedal is typically not designed to function as a volume pedal. While you might achieve some volume control by manipulating the pedal’s position, it won’t provide the same level of precision and control as a dedicated volume pedal.

Is there a guitar pedal that does everything?

There are multi-effects pedals that aim to provide a wide range of effects in one unit, attempting to do “everything.” While they can be convenient, some guitarists prefer the distinct sound and control of individual pedals.

Does the volume pedal go first or last?

A volume pedal is often placed at the very beginning of the signal chain, right after the guitar. This allows you to control the level going into your effects and amp. However, placing it at the end of the chain can also have creative uses.

Why do guitarists need so many pedals?

Guitarists use pedals to shape their tone, add effects, and achieve various sounds. Different pedals offer distinct sonic possibilities, allowing for creativity and versatility in playing styles and musical genres.

Do I really need a pedal switcher?

A pedal switcher can be beneficial if you have a complex pedalboard with many pedals. It helps organize your signal chain, reduces noise, and makes it easier to engage multiple pedals simultaneously.

What is the difference between an expression pedal and a volume pedal?

An expression pedal is a type of pedal that can control various parameters on compatible effects units, such as modulation depth or delay time. A volume pedal is specifically designed to control the overall volume of your guitar signal.

Is a reverb pedal essential?

Whether a reverb pedal is essential depends on your playing style and preferences. Reverb adds a sense of space and depth to your sound, which can be crucial for certain genres and atmospheric playing.

Why are flat pedals better?

Flat pedals, often referred to as “flat-response” pedals, provide a more transparent sound that doesn’t color your tone. This can be desirable when you want the pedal to faithfully reproduce your guitar’s original sound.

Can I use an Ernie Ball volume pedal as an expression pedal?

Some Ernie Ball volume pedals have an additional output jack that can be used as an expression pedal output. However, not all models have this feature, so you would need to check the specific model’s specifications.

Is it worth upgrading pedals?

Whether upgrading pedals is worth it depends on your goals and the quality of your current pedals. Higher-end pedals can offer improved sound quality, durability, and additional features, but the decision ultimately depends on your needs.

What pedal does Van Halen use?

Eddie Van Halen was known for using various pedals, including the MXR Phase 90, MXR Flanger, and Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress flanger/chorus, to shape his iconic guitar tones.

What pedal did Metallica use?

Metallica has used a variety of pedals over the years to achieve their heavy tones, including the Pro Co Rat distortion pedal, Boss DS-1, and Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier amplifier for their signature sound.

What volume pedal does Steve Vai use?

Steve Vai has been associated with the Morley Bad Horsie wah pedal, which also has volume control built into it, allowing him to control both wah and volume in one unit.

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David Sandy

Hey there! My name is David Sandy and I'm the founder of Sandy Music Lab. I've been playing guitar for several years now and created this site to be able to share and explore music with others.
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