It’s easy to manipulate your guitar’s signal to create unique sounds when you have the right equipment, especially with an octave pedal. Although it is not going to be used as much as the likes of your distortion pedal it is going to get a fair amount of playtime, especially when you buy a quality product.
The better options allow you to customize the way your octaves are played back with differing pitch shift intervals and can make your guitar sound like a completely different instrument. If you are looking for a pedal that can give your guitar a new identity such as an organ or a 12-string guitar, or one that allows you to add effects to different octaves then these are the pedals for you.
To help you make a sensible decision, we have created a list of the best octave pedals on the market. Each one offers something different but would make a reliable addition to your pedalboard.
Quick Summary of Octave Pedals
Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork Guitar Pitch Effect Pedal
For many people, this is hands down the best octave pedal available. There is enough customization to make it capable of shaping your sound in a variety of ways whilst delivering a plus and minus octave range of up to three. You also want to be able to tailor the transposition interval which is what you get here in 11 increments via the shift knob.
You can send the pitch in a variety of directions including up, down, or up, and down among other settings. We like the blend knob more than anything as it allows you to tailor how much of the pitch shift you want to come through against the original sound. You can use it all or go for something more subtle. There is also latch mode which is interesting since it means you can choose to only use the effect when you have your foot on the pedal.
These small features add up to a versatile and reliable octave pedal.
- 11 transportation intervals
- -/+ 3 octave range
- Latch mode is useful
- Blend knob
Electro Harmonix Micro POG Polyphonic Octave Generator Pedal
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to turn your 6 string into a 12 string then this is the pedal to try for yourself. You get three control knobs to find the perfect sound that includes sub-octave, dry, and octave up. The sub-octave knob is for the volume of the octave below the one you are playing and at half the frequency so you can make this more subtle, turn it right up, or off.
This pedal can even make your guitar sound like an organ and has an authentic bass sound. Because of the super fast tracking, you can strum without any lag or glitches and it is all cased in a die-cast chassis.
- Makes your guitar sound like a 12-string
- Durable outer
- Sub octave, dry, and octave up knobs
- No glitch
- Can be a bit pricey for some
EarthQuaker Devices Tentacle Analog Octave Up Guitar Effects Pedal
Best Octave Up
This easy to use octave pedal might be simple but for anyone who wants to go an octave up without the frills of other pedals, this is a great option. The swelling sound of the increase sounds great and there are no complex controls to worry about, it is the kind of plug in and go pedal that a lot of people long for.
The analog sound and pairs well with dirt pedals such as fuzz, overdrive, and distortion. It is sensitive to tone without being overbearing and although it isn’t the most versatile, it doesn’t pretend to be. Compared to some of the other options it has a relatively compact footprint and a durable outer.
- Octave up pedal
- Analog sound
- Easy to use
- Pairs well with dirt pedals
- Limited in what it can do
DigiTech Whammydtv-01 DT Drop Tune Guitar Effects Pedal
Although we have a few entries before it, some will argue that this is the best octave pedal going. It is easy to agree since it gives you plenty of effects to use in one pedal. The polyphonic pitch shifting is easy to get on with but it also has a whammy pedal and each setting can go up or down in seven half steps or an octave at a time.
This pedal has been used on some of the world’s most famous albums and with the likes of the harmony setting that allows you to combine and blend two tones this isn’t so surprising. There are tonnes of settings and modes and although they might take some getting used to, there are plenty of pitch shifting effects to keep the experienced guitar player busy.
- Whammy and octave pedal in one
- Footswitch allows for hammer-on effects
- True bypass
- Lots of adjustable settings
- Might take some getting used to for some
Eventide PitchFactor Harmonizer Pitch+Delay Pedal
If you’ve spent enough time in a recording studio then the chances are that you’ve stumbled across this octave pedal at some point. It is one of the most popular with pros and can be bought for a reasonable price considering the number of options it gives you.
You get to tweak the delay up to 1.5 seconds and play with 4 different voices of pitch shifting. It doubles up as a harmonizer pedal with a tonne of adjustable settings and it always stays up to date as it can be updated via USB. There are 10 signature built-in effects to choose from including Dianotic, Pitchflex, and more. You can switch between MIDI and stereo and it has a built-in tuner but it is nowhere near done.
You also get tap tempo, and real-time control and a product that sets the industry standard for octave pedals although you do have to pay for the privilege.
- Incredible amount of adjustments
- 10 built-in effects
- Tap tempo
- Built-in tuner
- Can be a bit pricey for some budgets
MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe
Best For Bass
For a lot of people, this octave pedal has just the right amount of tweaks and customization without being overbearing. It is designed with a bass guitar in mind so expect deep growl from the knob of the same name as well as plenty of girth.
There is also the option to play with the dryness which means you can move between the strength of the original signal and the one that has been amended. You can also add a boost to your mid-range and it has an organic analog tone to it that is hard for a bass player to better. With true bypass signal flow it maintains the clarity when on without impacting the high-end when you switch it off.
- Adjuatable growl, dry, and girth settings
- Tailor made for bass
- True bypass
- Not as good on low notes
Octave Pedal Guide
Although these pedals don’t always work so well on their own, it is easy to pair them with the likes of a dirt pedal so expect to be able to get a lot out of them when used with fuzz and overdrive. Still, if you don’t buy a decent pedal you won’t get the pitch shifting quality of the better products.
To help you understand these unique pedals better and ensure you end up with a product you can’t wait to use, we have created the following buyer’s guide.
What To Look For In An Octave Pedal
The more customization, the more fun when it comes to an octave pedal. There are basic options that are great for those who know exactly what they want but the versatile products give you multiple octaves to play with and built-in effects to choose from.
Because these are the sort of pedals that follow touring guitarists around they are usually made to last but this isn’t always the case. This is why we always recommend looking for a product with a metal casing.
It might seem obvious but this is a reason to avoids the budget options.
This might be a built-in tuner or the ability to make your 6 string sound like a 12 string guitar but additional features can make you feel like you are getting value for money. This is only the case when they are useful so if you are buying a product with 100 preset voices you’ll never use, it might be better to look for something different.
The truth is, octave pedals can be a fair bit pricier than some of the basic types of pedals out there but what you get are a drastic change and a versatile pedal. This means the value might be in getting as many features as you can within your budget. Don’t expect to be able to find a reputable product for a minimal price but you might be able to save money by getting two effects in one.
Sometimes, pedals only give you one option such as the boutique EarthQuaker Devices Tentacle Analog Octave Up Guitar Effects Pedal. This is great if you know exactly what you want but for everyone else, having both options gives you more to play with.
What Is An Octave Pedal?
Essentially, these are pitch-shifting pedals that can be amended to create a note that is either higher or lower than the one being played. Using a blend knob you can choose how much you want it to come to the foreground or tweak it slightly to make it more subtle.
What Is A Polyphonic Octave Pedal?
These are not for everyone but if you want to turn your 6-string into a 12-string then a polyphonic is a great option. They don’t cause a glitch so it as seamless as if you were strumming with double the strings.
You can play around with the octaves to send them up or down depending on the style you want and should give you adjustable knobs to fine-tune the sound.
Where To Put An Octave Pedal On The Circuit?
The tuner and volume pedal comes before all else, but just after these is the ideal place for an octave pedal. For a clean signal, it must be placed before the drive pedals and just about anything else for it to work its magic.
Because you will be reproducing the notes you want to ensure they can do so without interference which is why an octave pedal works best towards the beginning of the chain.
How Much Does An Octave Pedal Cost?
Although they are one of the pricier additions to a pedalboard, the best octave pedals shouldn’t break the bank. Depending on what you are looking for, you can get a decent product for around $150. This might not get you the high-end, studio ready octave pedals that you may have read about but it can get you a versatile product.
Anyone with over $300 will start to get into the elite level of octave pedals and expect more octaves to play with, added features, a durable product, and more.
What Is The Best Octave Pedal?
In our search, we considered a lot more than what had the best sound. The other criteria have to include value for money and durability. This is why the overall best octave pedal on our list was the Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork Guitar Pitch Effect Pedal.
It has 11 transportation intervals and an -/+ 3-octave range. We also liked the latch-on mode that allows you to hold down the footswitch to turn the effect on and switch it off upon release.
The blend knob puts you in control of the mix between wet and dry and for the price, it is one of the most versatile and user-friendly octave pedals.
Analog Vs Digital
The purists will say that the only pedal you should be using is an analog and although there are benefits to both, we can’t argue against them. They aren’t perfect, sometimes giving you a slightly fuzzy sound but any imperfections get lost in the unique sound anyway.
You still get a clean sound out of a digital octave pedal and they are also more accurate. The analog vs digital debate is a little lost on these pedals as both sound great and other pedals are far different depending on which type you go for.