If you’ve started playing electric guitar, chances are you might be curious about the wonderful world of pedals. But there are so many different kinds! Where do you even start?
Well, we’re here to help with our Most Essential Pedals for Beginner Guitarists: a curated guide of the most fundamental guitar pedals designed to help you hit the ground running. We’ll give you options for overdrive, delay, noise gate, and tuner pedals, each at three different price points to give you the most bang for your buck. Let’s hit it!
First up, we have the TO800 Vintage Tube Overdrive pedal from Behringer. This super affordable and pedal overdrive features a smooth, vintage overdrive sound, dedicated Drive, Tone, and Level controls, and a rugged electronic On/Off switch for noise-free operation. And at just $19, how could you turn it down?
Next, we have the Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive pedal. Featuring a warm, smooth sound, the SD-1 has a natrual tube-amp-style growl and reacts to your playing like a real overdriven amp. It’s an all-around great fit for pedalboards of all shapes and sizes, and at $49, it’s a pedal that we think is worth investing in.
In our third overdrive slot, we have the classic Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer Overdrive pedal! At $99, this reissue of the original TS9 Tube Screamer pedal features a classic stompbox distortion/overdrive effect and the same components, housing, and seasick-green paint used to make the original models. If you’re going for the most classic overdrive sound ever, this is where you wanna start.
Lastly, we have the Revv G3 Preamp/Overdrive/Distortion pedal. At $229, this might not be in everybody’s price range, but if you’re committed to a quality heavy tone, this is definitely where you want to be. Based on Revv amplifier’s coveted purple channel, the G3 features 3 selectable “aggression” settings, Bass, Middle, and Treble EQ controls, and a sound that fits perfectly in front of an amp, in the effects loop, with a modeler, or into a cab simulator. It might be the most expensive pedal on this list, but it could very well be the last overdrive you’ll ever need.
In our first delay pedal slot, we have the Behringer VD400 Vintage Delay! Another pedal at just $19, the VD400 features a true analog delay and vintage vibe of real slap-back echo, up to 300ms of delay, an advanced noise reduction circuit, and dedicated Intensity, Echo, and Repeat Rate controls. All this and more is packed into the VD400, and at that price point, it’s hard to beat.
Next up, we have the TC Electronic Echobrain Analog Delay pedal at $49. With probably our favorite name on this list, the Echobrain features a vintage-style bucket-brigade circuit for authentic analog delay effects, 40-300ms of delay, Repeat and Mix controls, and a true bypass design to keep your tone pristine. At $49, this might be the perfect balance of cost and features for a lot of players.
And in our third delay pedal slot, we have the JHS 3 Series Delay for $99. Featuring a simple 3-knob design, this powerful delay has options for both clean digital and darker anolog-style delay sounds with the featured Type switch. On top of that, it has an 80ms-800ms delay time range, meaning you can go from short and slappy to long and washy in an instant.
Noise Gate Pedal
Let’s clean up your tone! In our first noise gate pedal slot, we have the Behringer NR300 Noise Reducer pedal. At $19, the NR300 is perfect for eliminating buzz and hum from single-coil pickups and noisy effects pedals. The Reduction mode eliminates noise, while the Mute mode acts as a kill switch for instant silence. And being ANOTHER pedal for just $19, what have you got to lose except for the noise?
Up next, we have the TC Electronic Iron Curtain Noise Gate pedal for $39. Featuring a streamlined 2-knob interface, the Iron Curtain eliminates radio frequency interference and 60-cycle hum with ease. The Threshold knob determines the level at which the gate will engage, while the Decay knob adjusts how quickly the gate engages, meaning you have plenty of options for how to get rid of any unwanted noise in your tone. And for just $39, it’s definitely a pedal worth taking a look at.
In our last noise gate pedal slot, we have the Electro-Harmonix The Silencer Noise Gate / Effects Loop pedal. Featuring Threshold, Reduction, and Release controls, variable noise reduction from -70dB to +4dB, buffered output (via Send)/buffered bypass, and a built-in effects loop, it’s hard to beat all the features this compact pedal has. And for just $68.60, it’s probably the last noise gate/effects loop you’ll ever need on your board.
Lastly, we make our way to arguably the most important type of pedals: tuners! First up, we have the Behringer TU300 Chromatic Tuner pedal for just $19. Featuring a whopping 7 different tuning modes including Regular, Flat, Double Flat, and Chromatic mode, precise 7-segment LED and 11-point Stream Meter, mute/bypass function, AND an adjustable reference tone of 438Hz to 447Hz, the TU300 is pretty dang hard to beat, especially at this price.
Next, we have the Ibanez BigMini Tuner pedal at $49. Another name that you can’t help but like, the BigMini features both needle and strobe tuning modes, a range from A0 (27.5Hz) to C8 (4,186Hz), calibration range of 435Hz to 445Hz, and true bypass switching. And at just $49, it’s a powerful little tuner that should get you where you want to be without breaking a sweat.
And in our third and final tuner pedal slot, we have the iconic TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Polyphonic LED Guitar Tuner pedal for $79! Their fastest, most dependable, and most intuitive design yet, the PolyTune 3 features a built-in BonaFide Buffer, switchable true bypass option, alternate tuning modes, precise strobe tuner face, auto-dimming LED display, AND the ability to tune all of your strings at the same time. There’s a reason PolyTune is a recognizable name when it comes to tuners, and at $79, it’s one of the most popular choices for guitarists of all walks of life.
Well, there you have it: our definative beginner’s guide to pedals. We hope you were able to find something of use in this list, and be sure to let us know if you want any other pedal recommendations! Happy gear hunting!
Some of these links may be affiliate links which support the site at no extra cost to you.