The Best Guitar Volume Pedals
Guitarists know that finding the right volume pedal is essential to getting the perfect tone. There are many different pedals on the market, and deciding which is right for you can be challenging. This blog post will discuss the best guitar volume pedals available today. We will talk about the features of each pedal and help you decide which one is right for you. There is sure to be a pedal on this list that meets your needs, whether you are a beginner or an experienced musician.
4 Best Volume Pedals for Guitar
1. Ernie Ball VP JR
The Ernie Ball VP JR is one of the most popular volume pedals. It is also among the most affordable. You can choose between 25K and 250K versions, which means a low or high-impedance option.
The VP JR foot pedal feels smoother than other pedals, like the Dunlop High Gain. It doesn’t let you push down or roll back too quickly. Some cheaper pedals feel clunky and haphazard, but the VP JR does an excellent job leading your foot and guiding you into certain positions.
The VP JR is a basic volume pedal that most guitar players use. It performs its intended function and has no additional features.
2. Morley Volume PLUS Volume Pedal
Morley’s Volume PLUS can be used with high or low-impedance devices. It can be used either in or out of an effects loop. These pedals are also designed without any knobs in favor of an electro-optical design that is a lot quieter.
The design of this pedal is similar to another pedal made by Steve Vai. This pedal also has a minimum volume knob to choose between two points. It is a great feature we don’t see on many other pedals in this price range. If you use the minimum Volume frequently setting (and prefer it to the tuner output), then the Volume PLUS should get a ranking bump over the Ernie Ball VP JR.
3. Ernie Ball MVP, Most Valuable Pedal
This volume pedal has two new features on the front control panel. The minimum volume knob lets you choose between two different volumes, and a gain knob is a boost option that makes your pedal into a signal booster. It is ideal for live performances.
The MVP costs around $20-$30. It is more expensive than the VP Jr. Still, it has features that make it suitable for performance, like the gain knob and minimum volume control. If you need these features, then the MVP is a good choice.
4. Boss FV-500H High Impedance Volume Pedal
From our perspective, Boss’ introduction into the volume pedal market was successful because they provide two separate versions of the FV-500. An H and L version for a mono/high impedance connection and a stereo/low impedance connection.
The sweep motion on the pedal is smooth – similar to the pedals made by Ernie Ball and Morley. We also like the rubber grip on top of the pedal. It gives you more control because the surface isn’t completely flat.
The only downside of the FV-500H is that it doesn’t have minimum volume control.
We like the FV-500H for any volume control needs.
What to Look For When Buying
Volume pedals are simple devices, but there are a few things you should look for when buying one. The most critical factor to consider is the pedal’s strength. Volume pedals get used a lot and can take a lot of abuse, so you want to ensure it can handle it.
In addition, you must choose between a mono or stereo volume pedal. Stereo volume pedals allow you to connect two instruments or sources to the pedal. In contrast, mono-volume pedals have one input and one output.
You should also examine the amp’s expressiveness capabilities. It means that you can change the settings on compatible guitar pedals. Additionally, you should check to see if it has a minimal volume setting. It is a beneficial feature.
What Does a Volume Pedal Do?
A volume pedal is a pedal that controls the sound of your guitar. You can use it to make the sound louder or softer. Additionally, it can be used to alter musical expression. In rare cases, a volume pedal can also be used as a wah pedal.
Best Way to Use a Volume Pedal
In most cases, your volume pedal should be connected like any other pedal. The input should come from your guitar, and the output will continue to your next pedal or amplifier.
Volume Pedal VS. Guitar Volume Knob
When you turn down the Volume on your guitar using a knob or pedal, you decrease the Volume of sound produced by the amplifier.
The difference between gain and raw Volume is the following:
Gain- Refers to signal levels going into the preamp
Raw or “Master” Volume- Refers to signal levels going into the power amp
The signal from your guitar sent to the three-band EQ in your amplifier is referred to as “gain.” The volume knob and volume pedal both control this gain. Still, the volume pedal is easier to manage and often has more dynamic features.
Best Guitar Volume Pedals
To find the best volume pedals, you must first understand their value. There are many different types of pedals, most of which contribute to the instrument’s tone. There are overdrives and distortions, delays, reverbs, and many others. They frequently serve as the artist or band’s audible signature. On the other hand, some pedals are noticeably less obvious.
One of those pedals is the Volume pedal. In hands of experienced musicians, they can use it to change the sound. Its importance is often overlooked or ignored. One of its functions is to add a swell to the entire signal chain and other effects.
Using the guitar volume can have some adverse effects. It makes the signal weaker, which means the sound will be weaker at the source. Some pedals rely on that signal, like distortion pedal. It will not work if you give it a weaker signal. The quality of the sound will be worse, and it will not be as strong.
A volume pedal can be placed anywhere in the chain. It means you can adjust the sound without reducing the signal to the pedal. It keeps the pedal’s power and quality. You can put it anywhere, giving you flexibility and control over the total sound.
Volume pedals can be a great addition to your pedalboard. They make your guitar louder or softer, depending on what you need. However, they are larger than other pedals and take up more space.
Top Volume Pedals Review
1. Dunlop Guitar Volume Pedal (DVP4)
Making effects pedals that rock forwards and backward is difficult because of their size. However, Dunlop has created a smaller-sized wah pedal that some people like. They have also made a smaller version of their DVP3 Volume pedal, the DVP4.
This pedal is designed to be very compact to fit on already very crowded pedalboards. It measures 6 inches by 3.5 inches by 3.5 inches and weighs only 1.3 pounds.
This pedal is of high quality and very durable. The footplate is made of rubber, and the action is very smooth. It is constructed to be sturdy and long-lasting. It also has an aux output that can be used with a tuner or as an expression effect controller. An added control also sets the minimum value for an expression pedal. This pedal is passive (doesn’t need power) and has a high impedance, which means it works well with most amps.
It is sometimes a good idea to solve the space problem, but it does not always work. One of the problems is that the pedal’s range or distance it can travel to create swell is automatically reduced because of its size.
The second issue is that the pedal will not fit comfortably under an adult’s foot. It means that there will be a large overlap. Some may regard this as a problem, while others may not. The pedal is positioned above most other pedals on the board, so its small size will not be disruptive. However, due to its small size, it is unlikely to produce the same effect as a full-size pedal.
It’s a great idea that will work for some people but not for others. The price point is reasonable, making it an appealing option.
2. Boss FV-50H | Tuner Out Jack High Impedance Volume Pedal
Boss makes another volume pedal. But don’t mistake it for the other Boss volume pedal we looked at before. This one is built tougher and can handle more wear and tear. It also looks like most Boss pedals, which means it’s ready for work. Plus, it has some features that make it useful when placed at the end of the effects chain.
This pedal is a stereo pedal. It has two inputs and two outputs. It might not seem important to some players. Still, it can be very useful if you want to use stereo effects pedals, like delays or reverbs. This way, the signal will go to two amps for a wider sound. It also has a tuner jack socket to connect your tuning device whenever needed. Plus, it’s smaller than the (FV-500H) pedal and measures 9.3 inches by 4.1 by 2.8 inches. It only weighs one pound!
This stereo volume pedal has a great feature that lets you adjust the volume levels. It is beneficial because it provides greater control over the sound. This pedal is also well-built and high quality, which means it’s a good option for people looking for a stereo volume pedal.
This Boss volume pedal is a great investment. It works well and has a good design that makes it easy to use. It is also smaller than other pedals, making it comfortable. The strong pedal cover ensures that your foot is stable while you’re using it.
3. Mission Engineering Vm-1 Volume Pedal
Sometimes you might find a product made by a company you’re unfamiliar with. This company was started in California in 2009, and it has grown quickly because of the quality of its products. In 2015, it acquired another company called Stagecraft which builds cabinets for the speakers and amps made by this company.
Even though it might be considered a small company compared to some of the bigger players in this industry, it is still doing well.
However, they can produce a quality product. Rarely are the smaller boys encouraged to play alongside the larger ones. In this case, they are almost certainly one of the highest quality best volume pedals. It is at the higher end of the market, but can its price be justified?
This pedal is built with a strong metal casing ready to use. It also looks good and is very durable. It is about the size of a regular pedal, measuring 12 by five by 5 inches, but it is quite heavy at 3.6 pounds. It can be advantageous because it indicates that the pedal will remain in place and function as intended. Because of the 500k impedance, it is suitable for passive guitar pickups.
One input and one main output are featured on this mono pedal. It is straightforward to put into use. A second output jack socket can be connected to your tuner. You can access the tuner by pressing the mute button on the front. It’s fantastic for stage work. It is very useful for stage work.
We prefer pedals that are easy to use. As previously stated, they don’t get much simpler than this — no flashing lights or complicated controls, just a dependable device that does the job. The only additional feature, The mute button, if you can call it that.
However, the most important aspect of these pedals is their performance. This unit performs admirably. One of the most significant issues with a volume pedal is the pedal itself. It is smooth in this case, and the action feels precise. The sweep is linear and feels attached to your foot due to the precision of the movements.
It’s a fantastic pedal from a smaller manufacturer. It’s a little more expensive than some, but if you’re looking for quality, it’s worth a look.
4. Electro-Harmonix Expression Pedal
Electro-Harmonix is a company that makes high-end pedals. They are known for their quality products. This company is also known for being innovative, which means they always develop new ideas. The expression pedal shown in the picture is one example of this. It works similarly to a volume pedal but has an extra jack that allows you to control the sound more precisely.
This pedal is interesting because of its high-tech look. It appears to be the pedal used by Hans Solo in Star Wars. But it is also interesting because it has no moving parts. If compatible, it can be used as a volume/expression pedal or as a pan control for different settings on more advanced effects pedals.
The basic features of the pedal are one input, one output, and an instant bypass switch. It means that there is no audio interference at all. You can set the level of the sweep with the Range dial. There are also activation and calibration controls.
The pedal is mainly used to control the volume. It is tough and does not have any footswitches that might break. It also does not have gears, which you might expect from a pedal. You will need to adjust to its feel, distinct from other pedals.
Another problem is that you need to find a way to attach the pedal to your pedalboard. Attachments are not included. You can purchase an optional Velcro-based cradle. The cradle is attached to the pedalboard and houses the pedal. When you close the board, a Velcro strap keeps the unit secure.
All this extra equipment seems a bit cheap, especially considering how much effort was put into designing and making the pedal.
It’s not an expensive option, and the sound it produces is excellent. We’ve seen videos of them being run over by automobiles while still functioning.
5. Valeton Surge EP-1
This Valeton pedal is a dual-function effect. It can function as a volume or wah pedal. Wah pedals need you to rock them back and forth, and this one is compact. It measures 5.98 by 2.72 by 2.09 inches and runs on a 9-volt battery.
Valeton makes pedals that are in the budget range. They have a lot of experience manufacturing high-quality pedals. This pedal’s two distinct operations make it a very appealing buy at the price point.
To switch between the Volume and Wah functions, click the footswitch. LED lights will show you which mode the pedal is in. This pedal is cost-effective because it has nice vintage wah sounds without being at the top of the range. The volume also works smoothly and efficiently.
The reason this pedal is so affordable is because of the quality of the build. It isn’t as rugged as some other pedals, but it will last if you take care of it and don’t stomp on it too hard.
6. BEHRINGER Amplifier Footswitch (FC600)
Behringer produces a range of pedals for different needs. But their pedals often don’t have the best performance. However, they are always well-made and affordable. This pedal has two functions. It can control the volume of high-impedance instruments and act as an expression pedal or modulation control for keyboards.
This product is built tough with a die-cast aluminum body. It can take a few hits, but it is not small. It measures 11.7 by 4.4 by 2.8 inches and weighs three and a half pounds. So you can be sure it will stay where you put it and will not wander away during a performance.
A rubber surface on the pedals allows you to maintain your grip while also sensing how much pressure you are applying. The pedal movement is smooth, and there is no staggering operation. You can adjust the movement of the pedal, so it creates big deep sounds.
It is a volume pedal with an adjustable minimum volume control and a tuner-connecting output. It’s not one of the top-of-the-line pedals, but it’s well-built and sounds good. So it’s a good buy if you’re looking for something cheaper with some variety. It was designed in Germany and made in China.
7. Mini Volume/Wah/Expression Effects Pedal, Hotone Soul Press
Hotone has created a solution for guitar players who have too many pedals. They have combined the volume pedal with the expression pedal and the wah pedal. It makes it easy to use. The pedals are also small, measuring 5.4 by 2.5 by 2 inches.
The volume pedal aspect of this pedal, but the wah effect is also very good. It has nice harmonics and a classic wah sound. The Cry Baby is a passive pedal, but its Volume mode circuit is active. It will not rob your instrument of its tone, as some pedals can. It also includes a Range volume control for setting a minimum volume level.
This pedal doesn’t need a battery or power supply to work in expression mode. A 9v battery is required to power the wah and the volume pedal’s active component. It can be used with keyboards as well as guitars and bass. Plus, it has a true bypass, so your sound won’t be changed when it’s turned off.
It isn’t cheap, but it performs well and gives you plenty of sound varieties. It’s also very small, making it hard to use accurately. The compact size might not suit everyone.
8. Donner Two-in-One Viper Mini Passive Volume Expression Pedal
Many people criticize budget pedals, but we think a lot of the criticism is unfair. You get what you pay for, so don’t complain if you don’t get a Boss pedal’s build quality or sound quality. You’re not paying Boss prices.
This Donner pedal can be used as a Volume or an Expression pedal. It is made of hard-wearing plastic, so it is lightweight. The surface is cushioned with rubber to prevent slipping. It measures only six by 2.7 by 2.4 inches and weighs just eleven and a half ounces. It has a comfortable action regardless of your mode, whether as a Volume or Expression pedal.
This pedal is passive, so it doesn’t need a battery or main power. It’s a mono pedal, which means it has one input and one output. The size of this pedal affects the width of the volume sweep, but that’s to be expected.
The Donner pedal is typical. It doesn’t have fancy designs, but it does its job well and is affordable. It might be a good option if you want a good, affordable volume pedal.
The Ultimate Volume Pedal Guide
As a musician, getting lost in effects pedals that make big changes to your tone is easy. It can be fun to experiment with different sounds and turn your music into something new.
However, some pedals are just as important to your overall tone. Still, they often get overlooked because their role is more subtle. Volume pedals are one of these pedals. You could argue that, when used effectively, a volume pedal is as essential to your sound as any other pedal.
This comprehensive guide to volume pedals will examine these underappreciated devices’ various applications, capabilities, and advantages. Whether you are a seasoned effect pedal enthusiast or a total beginner, you will find this helpful information in your search for the ideal volume pedal.
The Purpose of a Volume Pedal
Volume pedals are tools that control the level of sound an instrument makes. Musicians often use them to control how loud they sound and ensure it stays consistent.
These pedals can be used for different things, depending on where you put them in your signal path. Some musicians use multiple volume pedals at different points in their signal chain to control the individual dynamics of different effects groups, like distortion, modulation, or timing-based effects.
Although all volume pedals do the same basic thing, there is a lot of variation between different models. Some high-end pedals have more controls that give you more freedom. In contrast, simpler pedals control the dynamics without any other options. To choose the perfect volume pedal, you first need to figure out what you will use it for.
Volume Pedals vs. Expression Pedals
Expression pedals are frequently grouped with volume pedals. Both pedals let you control the sound of your instrument, but there are some differences. Volume pedals make the sound louder or softer, while expression pedals can also change the instrument’s sound.
Expression pedals are used to change the sound of other pedals without using your hands. It is useful if you often change the settings on your pedals during a performance. You can use multiple expression pedals to control different parts of your signal chain.
A volume pedal would let you control how loud the sound is when it comes to delaying pedals. An expression pedal would let you change the length of time that the delay lasts, how much feedback it gives off, and when it starts playing again.
Some volume pedals double as expression pedals, which provides you with more versatility depending on how they are connected. For example, a guitarist with multiple effects in their signal chain might use different volumes and expression pedals to control the output of each effect.
Combining Volume Pedals with Other Effects
Volume pedals are very useful because they can be used with many different effects. People often use them to control their guitar’s volume, but they can also control the volume of other effects. It makes them compatible with other effects and allows for a more dynamic sound.
A volume pedal with overdrive, distortion, and fuzz pedals makes them sound better. It is because the pedals can be harder to control. The volume pedal lets you control the sound better in real-time.
Likewise, modulation-based pedals are also slightly unpredictable. It means that they can change the dynamics of your sound. It is, therefore, very helpful to use a volume pedal to control them or give them the necessary boost.
Volume pedals are great when used with reverbs and delays. These effects create a tail, or decay, to the original sound. The time it lasts depends on the settings of the reverb and delay pedal. You can use a volume pedal to control how long these effects last. It is useful for creating ambient, textural styles of playing.
A volume pedal is very helpful for managing the dynamics of your clean tone, even if you don’t have many other effects pedals. It allows you to gradually raise or lower the volume, making it a useful processing tool for live performances and recorded music.
Volume Pedals in the Record Studio
Volume pedals are very useful when playing live. They also have benefits when recording. Other pedals can change your sound more, but volume pedals let you control the volume of your instrument better. It makes it easier to control the sound in a recording.
When you record with a volume pedal, you have two options. Put a microphone in front of the speaker and send your output to an amplifier to record. The output can also be routed to a mixer, preamp, or audio interface’s direct input. Both approaches produce various outcomes.
The amplifier method can help make your recorded tone sound more like your live performances because you will use the same amplifier for both. However, some things can change the way your tone sounds. For example, the microphone you choose can make a difference in the type of amplifier you use.
You will have a cleaner tone if you want to record your guitar without an amplifier. The overall tone captured will also depend on the quality of the interface, mixer, or preamp you send your output into. One benefit of this approach is that you can quickly re-amp the signal if you later decide you want to use an amplifier.
There is no way to enhance the sound after using a volume pedal to record through an amplifier. You have to work with the sound that the amplifier produces. If you don’t have enough space to use an amplifier, or if the noise you make is too loud, you can use an interface.
True Bypass & Buffered Volume Pedals
Although modern effects pedals can usually be used without making much noise, this wasn’t always the case. Before they were made, guitarists had to deal with hums and buzzes from the electronics, especially when they used more than one pedal in a signal chain. It was because of the inner circuitry of the pedals.
To achieve a clean and reliable signal path, most guitar pedals today use one of two types of circuitry: true bypass or buffered. True bypass wires your input directly to your output without interference from the pedal. On the other hand, Buffered circuitry provides impedance to buffer weak signals. It preserves the strength of your tone even when long cable runs are involved.
A true bypass volume pedal keeps the sound of your instrument pure when the pedal is not turned on. It is good because it doesn’t add extra color to the sound. The only downside is that if you have a lot of cables (longer than 18.5ft), the sound will be a bit worse.
Buffered volume pedals differ from true bypass pedals because they strengthen the instrument’s signal. The stronger signal is sent through the chain, which keeps the original tone and dynamics. The buffering process always happens whether or not a pedal is switched on.
It will depend on how long your cable run is. A true bypass pedal will not work well if the run is longer than 18.5 ft. If it is shorter, it will be okay.
Buffered pedals are a more reliable option when your cable runs are longer than 18.5ft. They can keep the output of your instrument at a certain level and protect its tonal integrity. It makes them a popular choice for guitarists who have crowded pedalboards.
It’s okay to use both true bypass and buffered pedals. It’s a good idea to use both types of pedals. If you do, put the buffered pedal first in your signal chain. It will strengthen your instrument’s tone before reaching the other pedals.
Putting a Volume Pedal in Your Signal Chain
Once you have many effects pedals, the most important decision you will make is where to put them in a signal chain. It is always debated by musicians, with some people wanting to follow what is advised and others using experimental positioning to get unique tones.
There is no right or wrong position for your pedals in a signal chain. Some of the most famous guitarists and bassists have found their unique sounds by doing things in a way that other people would say is wrong. That said, you can use some general guidelines to create certain effects with your pedals.
There are three ways to position a volume pedal in your signal chain. You can put it first, after the tuner. You can put it after any filter pedals, like a wah-wah or low-pass filter. Or you can put it at the very end of the chain.
The next thing you need is a compressor. After that, you have limiters and EQ pedals. After these come effects based on gains, like distortion, overdrive, and fuzz. After you’ve added dirt, you can use pedals that change the sound. Some pedals alter the pitch or octave, phasers, chorus, flangers, and tremolo. After modulation comes delays and reverbs. Finally, the signal chain is finished off with an amplifier.
You can place a volume pedal at the beginning, middle, or end of your signal chain–it all depends on what sound you’re going for. Tradition dictates that you should try different things until you discover what suits you the best.
Putting the volume pedal at the start of your signal chain will function exactly like the bass or guitar volume knob. It will clean up your signal, making it less likely that you will hear any coloration caused by an amplifier. However, note that this pedal will not affect the volume of pedals that follow it.
If you want to keep the volume of your sound more consistent, the volume pedal can be put in the middle of the signal chain. A popular method is placing it just after your distortion, overdrive, or fuzz before any reverbs or delays. This way, you can control how much drive goes into your reverbs and delays when you use the volume pedal to add dynamics.
To some extent, where you place your pedals in a signal chain depends on your personal preference. You may want to put the volume pedal at the end of the chain so that every pedal is affected when you use the pedal to change your dynamics. This way, you can completely mute all of your pedals by turning down the volume pedal or create gradual build-ups of dynamics by slowly turning up the volume pedal.
Multiple Output Volume Pedals
When looking for a volume pedal, you may have noticed that some have two outputs instead of one. It is more common on stompbox-style effects pedals, but some high-end volume pedals also have this feature.
When you have two outputs, you can use two amplifiers. It might be helpful because it can separate your dry signal from your effects chain. You can use a volume or any other pedal with dual outputs to send the dry signal into one clean amplifier. The other output goes into another amplifier that only plays your effects pedals.
It will create a fuller, more consistent sound while playing your guitar, bass, or keyboard. The first amplifier will be on if you play clearly. When you use an effects pedal after your dual-output pedal, the second amplifier will only project the signal that has been processed. It creates the illusion of two instruments playing simultaneously.
It is a way to use two outputs from one effects pedal or volume pedal. It is sometimes called “signal splitting.” It can be used by guitar players in bands with no second guitarist. Suppose they are transitioning from a chord-based rhythm guitar section to a single-note melody or solo. In that case, they can keep their clean signal and turn on their effects pedals. It will make their instrument’s output stronger.
Many bassists use signal splitting to keep the low-end frequencies consistent when they use effects pedals. Bass guitar needs these frequencies to be retained. Sometimes, when you activate a distortion or other effects pedal, the original tone can change.
Luckily, using a pedal with dual outputs solves the problem. When the bassist turns on their effects, it plays through a second amplifier. At the same time, their original, clean low-end still drives their overall tone. There is no loss of power caused by the process.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Guitar Volume Pedals
If you are using active pickups, you will need a volume pedal with a value of 25K-50K. If you employ passive pickups, you will require a volume pedal with a resistance value greater than 50K.
You should get a volume pedal if you need to adjust your volume level more than 2-3 times during a performance or practice. It is dependent upon the sort of music played.
Volume pedals control the overall Volume of your guitar signal. Expression pedals control different effects depending on what device they are hooked up to. For example, they can change the length of a delay or add and remove gain.
Volume pedals can change the sound of your guitar if they are passive. It is because they do not have a buffer. When they are at the beginning of the chain, you will lose high-end frequencies, and the tone will sound dull. Active volume pedals do not have this problem.
After your overdrive, distortion, and boost pedals and before modulation and reverbs are one of the most typical positions for a volume pedal.
Passive volume pedals are a potentiometer that is turned by a pedal. It works like the volume knob on a regular guitar. A quick way to identify a passive volume pedal is that it doesn’t need power.