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Usually, studio gear lists are focused on microphones, monitors, outboard gear, and plug-ins, but what about guitar pedals? Does your studio have some attractive, utilitarian, and exciting options for use? It goes a long way to have some party favors to offer your guests, particularly visiting guitarists.
Below is a breakdown of guitar pedals in several categories based on type. Guitarists will usually bring an array of their own stompboxes, but having these pedals on hand can save a session when things break or you’re in search of some fresh inspiration.
This digital pedal offers amazing tape emulation with multi-tape head patterns, slapback echos, spring reverb, and sound-on-sound looping. Plus, there’s full MIDI implementation, allowing for MIDI clock synch and remote control from a DAW or controller.
A versatile pedal featuring delay times up to 600ms, plus dedicated controls for Delay, Mix, and Regen with user-adjustable width and rate settings. With a completely analog audio path and analog bucket brigade technology, it’s no wonder why the Carbon Copy is a classic.
With delay times ranging from 12.5 seconds to 800ms, the DD-3T is perfect for dialing in a wide range of sounds. The direct output offers both wet and dry signals, which is great for recording when we need options for later. Plus, there’s a built-in tap tempo and the loop hold function allows continuous play over top.
The Aurelius chorus pedal features six programable presets including Vibrato Mode, Chorus Mode, and Rotary Mode with settings for Width, Rate, and Balance. Save and recall up to six settings for quick and easy effects. Not to mention, the TRS expression control is a nice touch!
Based on the world’s first chorus pedal, and Boss’ first pedal, the CE-2W features both Chorus and Vibrato, plus a few new sounds which were not available previously. The CE-2W features all-analog circuitry and uses classic bucket-brigade delay lines.
An update on a classic pedal, the Mistress is perfect for spacey guitar tones with stereo flange and chorus effects that can be used independently or together, and a filter matrix mode that allows for manual sweep through the flanger. This pedal is both straightforward and full of depth.
More of an investment than a pedal, the Binson Echorec provides a unique sound created by a rotating metal drum, where the signal is recorded through the magnetic head. Useful on guitar, bass, and drums, this pedal is an all-around studio workhorse.
The Gamechanger Audio Light is a classic spring reverb with a twist. Equipped with an infrared optical sensor, Light allows for a new way of using photoelectric pickups to capture the spring's full range of motion, and thus wider range of frequencies. Not a digital recreation, but instead a different technology applied to obtain new reverb textures from analog.
Talk about spacey, Black Hole Symmetry covers a few bases. The Singularity circuit offers a wide range of fuzz tones, while the Event Horizon and Egosphere circuits control reverb and delay settings, respectively. All three can be played independently or together. Since you can’t really see a black hole, you’ll have to hear this one to understand its true power.
LVL is a low-medium gain overdrive pedal that offers a light amount of clipping. This versatile pedal works equally great on bass or guitar, and depending on where you put it in your signal flow, can be dialed in to sound like fuzz (after) or overdrive (before) effects.
This versatile overdrive pedal features multiple circuit types, which are custom-calibrated to provide the most control of tone possible. This means there is a wide range of classic overdrive tones and they stack well. Featuring a Channel A Overdrive and a Channel B, JFET gain staging allows for careful capture of the character of each circuit’s unique charms.
As the name suggests, there are a few flavors to chew on with this pedal. Boosted power rails allow for headroom and definition, and there are a handful of ways to apply the pedal, randing from light and crunchy to maximum gain for insatiable appetites.
Ride the Lighting to create heavy distortion. Based on shocking tech that uses an electrical resonant transformer circuit designed by Nikola Tesla to create clipping, Plasma uses a xenon-filled gas tube to create bursts of electricity which are converted into analog via a rectifier coil. What does lightning sound like? Like rich saturated distortion. Seeing is believing, but hearing is better.
A classic mainstay, the Boss DS-1X has been in use since 1978 and offers tones for all types of music. Perfect for a simple boost at low distortion settings or cleaning up the tone without creating mud, the DS-1X delivers transparent distortion, and you can see why it's never really gone out of fashion.
AKA the little green box, the JHS Bonsai provides classic tube distortion in nine varieties. Not to be mistaken for a box of mods, these are exacting replications made by using JHS’ in-house Audio Precision analyzer, including OD-1, TS-808, TS-9, MSL Power or L Series, TS-10, EXAR OD-1, TS-7 (+MODE), Keeley Mod Plus, and JHS Strong Mod.
Although it’s billed as a sustain and sostenuto pedal; PLUS is a pedal for all melodic instruments, not just guitar. With PLUS, you can add piano style sustain and sostenuto to any instrument via real-time audio sampling, which uses a generative algorithm specifically designed by Gamechanger Audio. The algorithm looks at the optimal area of the note’s decay to create “micro-loops”. A unique tool to add to the studio collection for use in more than one application. Powerful on guitar, harp, acoustic guitar, piano, and more.
This multifunction delay and looper offers 12 types of effects, including a looper that can record and overdub. With 3 seconds of delay, tap tempo, and 13 modes, there’s plenty of room for experimentation in the studio. The looper will remember recordings until erased, even if unplugged. If this seems like too much you can always opt for this smaller cousin the Canyon for about half of the cost, while keeping all of the same great sounds, with fewer bells and whistles in the loop length and storage.
While the Powerrack is technically not a pedal, it’s still a remarkably useful studio tool for preserving live-room real estate. Nothing beats the push of air through an amp and into a microphone, but amps can take up a lot of space. Having this in the arsenal can allow for more variety while saving room for only the choicest of amps, and of course live room recording space. The Profiler Power rack captures a variety of amps, which could be layered in with real recorded amps, or used for re-amping purposes.