How to Shop for Guitar Pedals

Whatever you do it for a living or as a hobby, there will be countless arguments and theories from different people explaining how you should or should not do your work. Needless to say that this is especially pronounced the world of guitars, with every single guitarist out there – no matter his level playing – will be giving you advice about the "right way" of doing what you're doing. It seems that everyone forgot that music is an art and that you have some freedom in doing what you do.

However, at the same time, there are maybe some basic rules that you should follow and that will help you get the tone and performance you want. Picking and buying the pedals that will suit your style might be fun in a way, but it's also a long process that sometimes might last for many years, where you'll even find yourself realizing that this pedal that you paid a fair amount of money a year ago isn't exactly working out for you. With this in mind, we'll be sharing some advice on how to shop for guitar pedals.


Before you even set out to go to your local music store, use the wonders of modern technology and do some research on these products you set your mind on. There's an abundance of pedal demos online, even the most obscure vintage stuff.

In case you need pedals but don't know exactly which ones will fit your style, there are also many guides out there for the specific genre that you're into. Reading or watching other people's experiences will definitely make your life easier.

And since nothing is perfect, you should always try and find the downsides of any pedal that you're thinking of buying. This way, there won't be any bad surprises when you actually get it and will probably even find a way how to work around these issues.

In case you're buying online without trying anything out, make sure to do a lot of research and look through demos and reviews before getting one. Even then you might even have issues combining it with the gear you already have.

Either way, don't be afraid (or just lazy) to dig deep for information. Talk with everyone you can about pedals, especially those who have, or have had, these in their rig.

Try them out with a guitar and an amp that you have

When you're finally done researching and go out to the music store, it's probably the best idea to try it out with your guitar, or at least the main guitar that you're using. If there's any chance, try and play it through the amp model that you have, or anything similar. Even though some pedals are great, they might not give the result that you seek for with the amp and guitar that you have.

The best possible scenario is that you know someone who has these pedals you're looking for and is willing to let you try them out. This will definitely save you time and might even lead to a spontaneous jam session with your friends (which is always welcome).

Combining pedals

In case you already have some pedals of your own, you should go ahead and bring your pedalboard to the store or wherever you trying this new product out. Doing this, you need to know more about the order of pedals and where potentially can you put this new effect into your signal chain.

Just like with your amp and your guitar, a pedal that you thought sounds good might not be what you thought it would when combined with your other pedals. On the other hand, a pedal that seems like it's not that exciting might be the best thing out there to help you get the full potential out of the gear you already have.


The one thing that you need to have in mind before buying a new piece of gear is the money you have planned to acquire it. Yeah, we would all like to have a $10k rig, but it's highly unlikely that will happen.

Start with the amount you planned for this purchase and go from there. This will most certainly help you narrow down your choice.

Think outside the box

At the end of the day, you should always be open to experimentation. If a pedal has "Metal" in its name, it might not be the best option for the kind of metal that you perhaps play, and a simple overdrive in combination with your tube amp might work better. At the same time, if you're playing something like blues, don't be discouraged to try this heavy metal designated distortion as it might just give you a different twist to your tone, even make you sound unique.

Now that you're informed, go out there and rock!

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