The tone of your guitar can be shaped in different ways and virtually every pedal you use will have some sort of influence on how it comes out. This can be both useful and a hindrance but one way of ensuring the tone is tailored to your preference is by using an EQ pedal.
The tone levels on your amp can only do so much and it is not as convenient that having control at your feet which is why so many seasoned guitarists opt for an EQ pedal. If you have never used one before it can be difficult to find a quality product and even if this isn’t your first, the times move fast.
Because of this, we have created a list of the best EQ pedals right now.
Quick Summary of EQ Pedals
BOSS Seven-Band Graphic Equalizer Guitar Pedal (GE-7)
You’ll find it difficult to beat a BOSS and they have reached the summit again, making the best EQ pedal overall. It might not be the flashiest but in terms of value and customization, it performs to a high standard. The seven bands of EQ range are easy to tweak with increments of plus or minus 15 dB per band.
You can move between 100Hz to 6.4Hz to help you find the perfect distorted sound that does not leave feedback ringing in your ears. It cleans up the tone of a live band so the vocals do not get lost in the mid-range, giving you the chance to boost the clarity of the high end and clean the lows. This baby enhances overdrive pedals and is popular with those on a budget thanks to the appealing price tag. Some use it as a boost pedal for the solo sections as it can clean the sound and bring it into the foreground.
- Seven bands of EQ control
- 100Hz to 6.4Hz range
- Great value
- Can be used to give a lead guitar a boost
EarthQuaker Devices Tone Job EQ and Boost Guitar Effects Pedal
Because it offers EQ and boosts control it is one of the best you can get for saving some space on your pedalboard. It also excels in both areas giving your guitar a boost without compromising tone and allowing you to customize the EQ to the perfect level. With the boost, level, treble, and bass control available you can find the ideal sound and when placed at the start of the chain it can change the character of the guitar.
It’s based on the old-school stereo amps of the past when you adjust the level control you can hear the effects of the boosted signal. A lot of people use this for their synthesizer machines and it remains popular with guitarists and bass players alike.
- EQ and boost pedal in one
- Boost, treble, level, and boss controls
- Up to 20dB boost
- Nice tone
- Takes a little getting used to for some
Caline USA, CP-24 10-Band EQ equalizer Guitar Effects pedal
It might look like a bit of a unit but you’ll many people are glad they found room for this impressive EQ pedal. The 10 bands give you plenty of adjustments and add no noise to the guitar signal. The 12dB is not quite as much of a boost as other products offer and it does enhance the sound of some of the other instruments but when used for live performances it is a great piece of kit to have at your feet.
The frequencies are clear and quiet and considering this is one of the more reasonably priced EQ pedals on our list, it is great value. The changes in frequencies are subtle so the bands aren’t overly-sensitive and the casing feels sturdy enough.
- Good value
- 10 bands
- 12dB boost
- Clear frequencies
- Bit noisy when turning on
Empress ParaEq with Boost
With a big 30dB of boost available, this is an EQ pedal that will suit anyone who wants to give their tone more presence without sacrificing quality. You can adjust the lo, mid, and high gain with noise-free adjustments. When used at the front of the chain it can reduce the noise of other effects to clean the sound up. What’s more, is the true bypass ensures it won’t impact the signal when not in use.
By cutting down the noise of other effects it ensures you get clarity that is hard to find with other pedals and with three band parametric EQ it gives you plenty of options.
- 30dB boost
- Lots of adjustments
- True bypass
- Plenty of tone control
- All the tweaks can take some getting used to
JOYO JF-11 6 Band EQ Guitar Pedal
This is a great EQ pedal for adjusting the tone with 6 bands and each one capable of boosting up to 18dB. This results in a warmer and naturally sounding guitar and true bypass ensures the quality is always there even when the pedal is switched off it won’t impact the high frequencies.
It has a rugged design that is ideal for touring yet remains pretty lightweight thanks to the aluminum outer. This is part of what keeps the price down. The sliders glow red which is useful if you are playing live and with just a little tweaking you can enhance the sound of different guitars so those highs that are present in a lot of Fenders can be adjusted or add them into the likes of your Les Pauls.
- 6 tone bands
- Up to 18dB boost
- True bypass
- Good value
- Audible click when turning on or off
Source Audio SA170 Programmable EQ
With the option to use up to four presets that can be found at a click of the footswitch this product impresses and is a good way of creating different sounds for different guitar sections. There are seven frequency bands to play with and you can reach up to 18dB of boost with each one.
The lack of sliders makes it a little fiddly to change up and down but most people seem to get used to it pretty fast. It is good when using the house amp at a live venue as you can find the ideal tone and overall, it is a pretty transparent EQ pedal.
- Can program up to 4 presets
- 18dB of boost
- Seven frequency bands
- Switching between presets can be a little slow
Although on the surface they don’t dramatically change the sound of your guitar in the way a flange or distortion pedal can, an EQ pedal is more influential over your sound than a lot of people realize. It allows the user to adjust the finer parts of their tone by enhancing or reducing different frequencies.
It is one of the best pedals for enhancing the sound of other effects which is why they are popular with experienced players. Even if you know how to make them work for you, there is still a lot to learn about what makes the best so good. With this in mind, we have created a buyer’s guide to help you make a wise decision when looking for yours.
What To Look For In An EQ Pedal
This is what can push the guitar to the front of the mix making it great for solos or just giving it some depth when you have found the ideal tone. A typical amount is anything from 12dB to 30dB.
Number of Frequency Bands
The frequency bands on an EQ pedal are your way of customizing the sound and shaping the tone. More isn’t always better as the quality fo the pedal depends on many factors but you should look for at least 6 bands and a maximum of 10 of things can get confusing.
You’ll find these bands on other pedals as they allow you to fine-tune certain parts of the effect but they don’t usually have more than 3 and they are not as flexible.
This is important for any. live performance. If you are a touring guitarist then you’ll know all about the ins and outs of setting up, playing live, then repacking the van. Because of this, you need a product that is known for its durability and one that can withstand the demands of tour life.
The more pedals you add to your circuit the more likely that you can impact the signal. True bypass goes straight to the amp so it won’t cause the loss of frequencies, even when not in use.
This is what allows you to lower troublesome frequencies and boost the ones you want the most. Because of this, you want an EQ pedal that offers a broad spectrum of frequencies for you to adjust. Each guitar has an individual sound and this is before you even consider adding effects so it is important to be able to change it for each one.
Is An EQ Pedal Worth It?
Ask any seasoned guitarist and they will sing the praises and importance of an EQ pedal. Perhaps they are better in the hands of someone who knows the sound they are looking for but they can also help someone learning their trade to play with different frequencies.
Your amp can only give you a certain amount of options when it comes to tonal options but an EQ pedal gives you a proper spectrum. If you. like to switch guitars but what to have a coherent sound then they can be a good idea as it will stop two completely different sounds from making your set stand out for the wrong reasons.
Creatively use them to bring out different tones or put the pedal to work in a way that can be described as conventional. Whatever you are looking for, it is going to allow your tone to be more expressive than the amp can alone.
EQ Pedal For Live Performances
When you play alone it can be easy to make the notes stand out. Rehearsing and playing in front of an audience is a different matter. You’ll be competing with a lot of loud mids and highs but instead of turning the volume up and getting involved in a shouting match, an EQ pedal is a more effective way of cutting through the noise.
Instead of adding volume, give your guitar some clarity so you’re not listening to the sound of crashing cymbals the whole time.
How Much Does An EQ Pedal Cost?
It is easy to find an EQ pedal for under $50 but you need to be careful if that is where your budget sits. The chances of picking up a dud are greater at this range but it is possible to find an EQ pedal that is easy to get on with and can shape your tone nicely.
In our eyes, it is better to look closer to $100 although you won;lt need to go much beyond that. This gets you enough frequency bands to play with, a decent dB max and a durable product.
How To Use An EQ Pedal
The best way to master an EQ pedal is to know frequencies better. Anything of 80 – 200Hz and below is known as low frequencies, and anything from here to 800Hz is the mid-range. The top end is found at frequencies of 800Hz and above.
From here you need to boost or cut the frequencies to find the ideal tone with bass being found in the low-end frequencies.
Where To Place An EQ Pedal In The Chain?
Although it will alter the sound, an EQ pedal has the benefit of being versatile enough to fit in anywhere. A lot of the placement will be down to your preference but also the other effects and choice of amp and guitar.
Typically you should place them either side of your dirt pedals if using them but there is nothing wrong with moving an EQ pedal around and seeing what effect it has on your sound.
What Is The Best EQ Pedal?
A lot of people will have their preference for what they like to see in an. EQ pedal but for value for money and performance, we like the BOSS Seven-Band Graphic Equalizer Guitar Pedal (GE-7).
The seven bands and multiple frequency options make it easy to find the ideal tone and gives a lead guitar section a nice boost.