What Guitar Effects Pedals Should I Get?
It’s a common question for beginner guitarists.
The best guitar effects pedals for electric guitar are going to cost you close to or over 100 bucks. Luckily, there are a half dozen or so solid effects pedals for under $50.
The nice thing about being a beginning guitar player is that you can get a lot more out of an inexpensive pedal. It also lets you find which pedals and effects you use and suit your style.
The guitar pedals on this list are the basic effects that any guitarist will use at some point in their career. Most pedal boards have some version of these pedals on them.
The best guitar effects pedals for beginners under $50
Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive
The Boss SD-1 is a classic distortion pedal. It’s cheap, built like a tank and totally delivers on classic overdrive tone. What’s not to love?
Well, if you’re looking for more of a high gain, metal sound you won’t want the SD-1. Check out the Gunslinger below instead.
The SD-1 is excellent for blues, and classic rock overdrive.
It has a responsive feel. This means that the harder you hit the strings, the more distortion you get. It also means that the tone cleans up nicely when you play more gently. This is allows for excellent nuance in your playing.
The controls are simple – level, tone and drive. 3 basic knobs give you smooth tube-like overdrive in a solid, dependable package.
Digitech DOD-GUNSLINGER MOSFET Distortion Pedal
The Digitech DOD-GUNSLINGER MOSFET Distortion Pedal has a distinct brushed metal look that really stands out. It’s got a wide range of gain options so you can get everything from a gritty blues overdrive to metal. But what makes the Gunslinger such a stand out in the world of under $50 distortion pedals is its clarity. Chords don’t sound muddy, and it’s perfect for shredding.
The Gunslinger produces gradual distortion creating harmonics that are like the pre amp section of a tube amp.
The circuitry is responsive too. This means that you can control the distortion by varying your playing. Gentle strumming gives you more of an over-driven tube breakup. Dig into your picking a little more and you get a harsher distortion.
The Gunslinger is true bypass, so it won’t drain your tone. The controls are dead simple too- gain, level (volume), treble and bass tone controls.
At less than $40, the DOD Gunslinger is definitely the best bang for your buck.
Donner Yellow Fall Vintage Delay
The Donner Yellow Fall is a vintage, pure analog delay pedal with true bypass.
It has a small profile, so it won’t take up a lot of space on your pedal board.
The analog circuit provides clear and smooth delay. You can sculpt the effects through the use of 3 knobs – Echo, delay and feedback.
The delay can be set from 20ms up to 620ms (more than half a second). Feedback controls the number of repetitions.
The Yellow Fall will get you everything from slap-back echo of 1950’s Rockabilly to a “lost in the echo” sound of 70’s and 80’s prog rockers – all for around $35 bucks!
Behringer Compressor-Sustainer CS400
Dynamics (the relative loud and soft notes) are an important part of music. Yet, uncontrolled dynamics can mess up an otherwise great piece of playing.
This is where compressor pedals come in.
A compressor pedal smooths out the dynamics by producing consistent sound levels. This process also has the effect of improving the sustain of each note.
Compressor and sustainer pedals are great for playing searing blues or metal solos. Compressors are also great for slap-style bass players. It’s because of this diversity that a compressor/sustainer is an essential effects pedal for beginners.
A good compressor pedal will not only clean up your tone, it will open up so many doors to your playing.
The best compressor/sustainer effects pedal for under $50 is the Behringer CS400 compressor/sustainer pedal.
The CS400 adds some great impact to your tone and near-endless sustain, and it’s easy to use. The Behringer CS400 is great for everything from clean, snappy country leads to searing blues solos to rock solos that really scream.
At $23.99 on Amazon, this pedal is a steal! (That’s why it made the Best Compressor pedal under $50 list)
Behringer EQ700 Graphic Equalizer
Finally, our best effects pedals for guitar under $50 list will wrap up with the Behringer EQ700 Graphic Equalizer pedal.
The idea behind this pedal is simple: shape the sound going into your amp.
The EQ700 is a lot like the equalizer on a traditional stereo system. 7 EQ bands let you shape your sound and eliminate feedback. The Behringer EQ700 handles frequencies ranging from 100 Hz to 6.4 kHz with a powerful 15 dB boost/cut per band.
This makes the EQ700 an ideal effects pedal for beginners because you can compensate for whatever may be lacking in your sound. Too much treble? Dial back the higher frequency and boost the bass a little. Tone too muddy? Boost the treble and dial back the bass. It’s that easy.
The EQ700 can help round out your sound.
The Behringer EQ700 Graphic Equalizer includes the standard status LED for effect On/Off and battery check. You can also run your EQ700 on a 9V battery or a DC power supply (not included).