The volume pedal is a straightforward piece of guitar equipment that only has one function.
The majority of these pedals only function as volume controllers; however, a few of them include additional features (such as a stereo connection, tuner output, or adjustable boost).
Because the technology is so straightforward, selecting the most effective volume pedals can be somewhat challenging.
Exist characteristics that, when it comes down to it, really count?
There are, and we’ll discuss those features as we go over a list of the top four volume pedals for guitar, having eliminated anything we don’t like or haven’t tried out on our own first.
Best Volume Pedals for Guitar (top 4 picks)
These are the volume pedals that come highly recommended by our team, along with links (in the orange buttons) to Sweetwater, a retailer that we collaborate with. By making purchases through these links, you are contributing to the maintenance of Guitar Chalk at no additional cost to yourself.
1. Ernie Ball VP JR
The Ernie Ball VP JR is without a doubt one of the most well-liked volume pedals available, and it also happens to be one of the volume pedals that costs the least amount of money.
You’ll notice that there is a 25K version as well as a 250K version, which corresponds to a low and high impedance option, respectively.
When compared to pedals such as the Dunlop High Gain, the VP JR foot pedal has a significantly more refined “feel.” It gives the impression that it is preventing you from pressing down or rolling back too quickly. In this regard, cheaper volume pedals can have a feeling that is a little clumsy and haphazard, but the VP JR does a good job of leading your foot and sort of guiding you into certain positions, which is a feature that is absent from cheaper pedals.
When it comes to the fundamental capabilities of a volume pedal, guitarists typically do not look any further than the VP JR, and the same is true for us.
This is the first recommendation we make for musicians of any skill level or musical style.
- Taper switch offers two distinct swell points throughout the song.
- Smaller size conserves pedalboard real estate
- The prices are reasonable (for a volume pedal)
- The foot pedal responds with a fluid movement when pressed.
No minimum volume control
2. Morley Volume PLUS Volume Pedal
Since Morley’s Volume PLUS was developed to function in environments with high and low impedance, we are essentially able to use it either in or out of an effects loop depending on our preferences.
In addition, there are no potentiometers on these pedals because the designers opted for an electro-optical layout that is significantly less noisy.
There are a lot of similarities between this pedal and the Morley Little Alligator, which was a different Steve Vai signature pedal in the past.
In addition to that, Morley includes a minimum volume knob that enables you to move back and forth between two distinct points. This is a great feature that we don’t see on very many other volume pedals that are priced in the same range as this one.
If the lowest volume setting is something that you would use frequently (and that you would prefer to the tuner output), then the Ernie Ball Volume PLUS should be ranked higher than the Ernie Ball VP JR, in your opinion.
- Minimum volume setting
- Great price point
- outputs in stereo format
- The smooth taper was set with input from Steve Vai.
- Electrico-optical control (no pots to wear out)
Not one considering the cost.
The front control panel of the latest iteration of the Ernie Ball volume series includes two notable new additions: minimum volume control and gain control.
The minimum volume knob performs the same function as the Volume PLUS knob, allowing you to toggle between two distinct volume points at the top and bottom of the pedal’s sweep position. This functionality is identical to that of the Volume PLUS knob. A gain knob is a boost option in its most basic form. This transforms your volume pedal into a signal booster that you can use for solos, making the MVP ideal for use in situations where you will be performing in front of an audience.
Because the MVP costs somewhere between $20 and $30 (which is more than the VP Jr.), we would only recommend it in preference to that pedal (and the Morley) if you would use the gain knob in conjunction with the minimum volume control. Due to the fact that these are performance-friendly features, those in the market for a gigging pedalboard should probably consider purchasing the MVP.
- Excellent sweep control can be found here.
- Maximum signal boost can be achieved by turning the gain knob all the way down to a minimum.
- Tuner input
- Excellent for both passive and active electronic applications.
A tad more expensive than the two choices that came before it.
4. High Impedance Volume Pedal from Boss Model FV-500H
We think that Boss’ move into the market for volume pedals has been a successful one, particularly given the fact that they offer two different versions of the FV-500: an H version and an L version, respectively designed for a mono/high impedance connection and a stereo/low impedance connection, respectively.
In addition, the sweep motion of the pedal is very smooth, making it competitive with the offerings of both Ernie Ball and Morley. In addition, we like how the pedal has a rubber grip on top of it. This provides an additional level of control, which is helpful given that the surface isn’t perfectly flat.
The fact that the FV-500H does not come with minimum volume control is the only significant drawback to the device.
For any and all circumstances requiring volume control, we recommend using the FV-500H (presuming that the more common high impedance version is what you require).
The “feel” of the sweep can be adjusted using a torque control, despite the fact that it works very well right out of the box.
Tuner, as well as a jack for expression pedal
The rubber grip surface has a robust feel to it.
There are versions with high and low impedance, as well as mono and stereo.
No minimum volume control
What to Look Out for When Making a Purchase
Even though volume pedals are fairly straightforward pieces of equipment, there are still a few details that need our attention when we go to purchase one. Since volume pedals are typically used quite frequently and subjected to more abuse than other types of pedals, their level of durability should be the primary focus of your attention when shopping for one.
You should also be aware of whether you are purchasing a mono or stereo volume pedal before making your purchase. Mono volume pedals only have one input and one output, whereas stereo volume pedals allow you to connect two instruments or outputs to two different sources. Stereo volume pedals are more versatile.
You should also check to see if it handles expression functionality (can manipulate settings in guitar pedals that are compatible with expression) and if it has a minimal volume setting, which we’ve found to be a really helpful feature in the products that we’ve used in the past. Both of these features are important to look out for.
What does a volume pedal do?
Even though we’ve already touched on the fundamental purpose of a volume pedal, we’ll summarize it by saying that it controls the output from your guitar or, more accurately, your gain. As was just mentioned, it is also capable of handling expression duties. In extremely unusual circumstances, it is also capable of functioning as a wah pedal.
How to Properly Position Your Volume Pedal
There is an article on the Strymon website that goes into further detail and also provides some illustrative aids. In the case of volume pedals, you should position them as close to the beginning of your signal chain as possible, after compression (if you are using compression), but before wah or filter effects.
The Preferred Method for Utilizing a Volume Pedal
The majority of the time, the input for your volume pedal should come from your guitar, and the output should continue on to your subsequent pedal or amplifier. This is the standard method for connecting pedals.
Connections for the Stereo Volume Pedals
The connection for a stereo volume pedal is also very easy to use because it enables you to either plug two instruments into an A and B input or send the signal of one instrument into two A and B outputs. Both of these options are very convenient.
If you wanted to send the signal from one guitar to two distinct amplifiers or pedal lines, for instance, that would be an example of how the setup would work. A “mono connection” refers to a setup in which there is only one input being utilized.
A “stereo connection” is established when both of the device’s inputs are being used.
Volume Pedal VS a Guitar Volume Knob
When turning down the Volume of your signal with either a volume knob or a volume pedal, you are, in a technical sense, lowering the signal’s gain. This is the most important thing to keep in mind.
Gain and raw Volume can be differentiated from one another in the following ways:
The term “gain” refers to the levels of the signal going into the preamp.
Raw or the “Master” format The term “Volume” refers to the signal levels that are fed into the power amplifier.
To put it another way, gain refers to the signal that is coming directly from your guitar before it is processed by the three-band equalizer in your amplifier. In this sense, the gain is controlled by both the volume knob and the volume pedal. This is due to the fact that both of these controls have the ability to reduce signal before it reaches a preamp.
The primary distinction between the two is that volume pedals are much simpler to operate and frequently come equipped with more dynamic features, such as swell points or a “pan” mode.
Do you have any concerns or inquiries regarding these volume pedals that we haven’t addressed? Please jot it down in the comments section below, and we will examine whether or not we can be of assistance.
In addition, we are always interested in hearing recommendations and suggestions regarding pedals for articles of this nature. Therefore, if you are familiar with a pedal that you believe should be included in our roundup of the best volume pedals, please let us know about it.