Contrary to popular opinion, just because you play the acoustic guitar doesn’t mean you can’t have just as sweet of a pedal collection as any electric player. In fact, pedals for the acoustic guitar or singer songwriters are some of the most technically impressive pieces of equipment on the market.
The only hard part is figuring out how to choose the best pedals for acoustic guitar. There are some many different pieces of equipment on the market, all of which have their own pros and cons and none of which are very easy on your wallet. Thankfully, if you’ve ever had a hard time figuring out how to choose the right option for your needs you’ve come to the right place. This article will give you all the information that you need to make an informed purchase, as well as give you five great recommendations.
- What Pedals Do I Need with Acoustic Guitar?
- What Other Acoustic Guitar Pedals Should I Consider?
- Top 5 Acoustic Guitar Pedals
What Pedals Do I Need with Acoustic Guitar?
Assuming that you’re a performing musician, or you have aspirations to play gigs one day, the most important factor in your sound is the guitar itself and your amplifier, if you're using one. However, using pedals can change your tone or add a sonic quality you don't have. That is largely why we love to experiment with pedals. Even if you have a great amplifier designed for acoustic guitar, pedals will expand on what your amp is capable of doing and give you access to more sounds or improve the characteristics of areas your amp is weak in.
So, while you may not need pedals with your acoustic setup, they will make your life easier and are can add sounds to your set that would be impossible to get otherwise.
What Acoustic Guitar Pedals Should I Consider?
The first pedal we recommend will be a tuner, for obvious reasons. If your guitar isn't in tune, it will be difficult to sound good, no matter the other factors. For that reason, we recommend players find a tuner that they like and can operate quickly to tune the guitar. The easier it is to use and more integrated into your setup the better, as eventually you may be tuning between songs, and pausing a set to take a long time to tune is never fun, for you or your bandmates.
The next two pedals we recommend are to combat things that frequently go wrong at live acoustic sets. The two primary things that will go wrong when you’re performing with an acoustic guitar is that your tone will suffer based on the dimensions of the room, and it may sound flat because of a lack of natural reverb. This can be counteracted by a good sound man, but the unfortunate part is that in doing so he/she may not dial in your ideal tone.
To make sure that you avoid this, get an equalizer and reverb pedal. An equalizer pedal will allow you to dial in the sound you want for the room, and then your sound man can work off that. It still may not sound perfect, but it will be a lot closer. A reverb pedal is also helpful because it allows you to set your desired level of reverb based on the room and your preference.
While the needs of your exact style of acoustic play will dictate your individual needs (a dedicated acoustic blues only guitar player may rarely need one), we recommend a chorus pedal for someone who wants to get a close approximation of a 12-string sound without having to drop another $500 or more on a new guitar (not to mention the issues that come along from playing with and maintaining multiple guitars).
Finally, we recommend that acoustic players experiment with a delay pedal. Acoustic players like Ed Sheeran have made really interesting loops by themselves by using a good delay or loop pedals.
Top 5 Acoustic Guitar Pedals
As always, all of our recommendations are made with widespread applicability in mind. We want everyone from the gigging professional to the dedicated weekend warrior to get something of our articles, so we try to include stuff at a variety of price points. Check out the five recommendations below. And as always, if you feel like we missed anything feel free to tell us all about it in the comments section below.
TC Electronic PolyTune 2
A pedal tuner is great because it is less intrusive than having a clip-on tuner hanging off your headstock for the whole show, and as a general rule the nicer ones are a bit more accurate. In our pedal tuner shootout, the TC Electronic Polytune 2 came out on top due to its accuracy, high visibility, and quality.
MXR M-109 6-Band Graphic EQ
MXR makes great products, and both the 6 band and 10 band EQs perform very well. Moreover, these offer great value given the modest price.
TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Reverb
The HoF from TC Electronic seems to be the standard of measure against which all other reverbs are measured. This versatile pedal with TonePrint will keep you busy for ages while you play with all the possibilities.
Electro-Harmonix Small Clone Chorus
Warm analog tones and simplicity of operation makes this chorus a great option for acoustic players that want to experiment with adding the effect to their sonic arsenals.
Line 6 DL4 Delay
With a 14 second looper, the Line 6 DL4 will give acoustic players a delay that will let them experiment with layering different elements in a song.