There’s always an interesting discussion of how much a guitar player needs effect pedals. Some think that it is sort of “cheating” and hate the idea of using effects. Others believe that it is part of music and technology is, in fact, making music sound better.
For me, the first time I really noticed it was when I watched a documentary about David Gilmour on BBC (highly recommend watching it). At the end of the movie, Gilmour is playing to his family by the campfire and sounds like a “normal” guitar player. But we all know that David is not ‘normal’ in any way and using the right effects is an incredible skill on its own. In that matter, I think Eric Clapton is one of the few that ever played in a live concert without any pedal.
Nonetheless, guitar pedals can make a huge difference. Acoustic guitar players are usually solo players and therefore, they need sort of another layer or special sound to their music. This could be a reverb/delay effect or a looper and drum machine. Frankly, I used the majority of the pedals below so I can provide a genuine opinion on the effect pedals below. So, let’s take a look at some of the best effect pedals for acoustic guitar players.
5 Best effect pedals for acoustic guitar players
My top pick. This one is, in my opinion, a must-have effect pedal. The thing with this pedal is that if you know how to play four chords with picking style, and know-how to connect the pedal well with a good amplifier, suddenly you get a sound like the City of the Sun. And the City of the Sun has a good sound. You have lots of sounds – cloudy, reverb, hall, room, bloom, and more. Most likely, it is the best reverb plugin out there. It’s pricy but it worth it.
Frankly, not sure I really know how to use this pedal/preamp. Super complicated in my view, but still, it is one of the best preamps for acoustic guitar. And yes, if you play with the knobs and try to get a specific sound, then the Boss AD10 is great, particularly for live performance or recordings. Also, it has a looper but don’t expect too much from the looping feature.
Boss RC30 loop station
Probably the best looper in the market. If you are into looping your music, then the RC30 is also a must-have pedal. Personally, I had the RC3 and RC300 and I do not recommend any of the two. The RC3 is very limited and with the RC300, I felt a bit clumsy. The bottom line, there’s no doubt that the RC30 is one of the most fun effect pedals you can find. If you watch guitar looping videos, then you’ll most likely notice the RC30. Bear in mind that this pedal is no longer produced by Boss so finding the Boss RC30 is not an easy task and you might have to look for a used one. If you are looking for alternatives, then the Boss RC50 is also an excellent choice.
To be honest, I never had this pedal. Eventually, I decided to buy the RC300, and then, instead of using a drum machine pedal, I used a DAW. But the Digitech Trio is not a simple drum machine but it is sort of a band creator pedal that listens to the way you play and automatically adds bass and drum parts to your song/track. Very unique. And, it also has a pretty good looper.
Digitech RP 50/55
Crazy pedal. I had this pedal after a friend found it in a flea market and gave it to me. And, when I saw this tiny plastic, it didn’t look like a special pedal. But… so many choices. When you use this pedal, you can find yourself playing with distortion that makes an acoustic guitar get a metal sound. It has a hundred and something options so you can literally play the same song/track with so many different variations. And, it’s not very expensive so it is a must-have pedal.
The bottom line
Obviously, there are lots of pedals out there for acoustic guitar players. The list above is just a partial list and represents my personal experience. The sound of an acoustic guitar is a bit different in the sense that you are often looking for the cleanest and pure sound, and in other times you are looking for a “fake” sound that comes directly from the effect. Finally, if you are keen to check more pedals, then here are some more effect pedals you need to check before setting your mind on something: FISHMAN Aura Spectrum DI Preamp, BOSS
Waza Craft CE-2W Chorus, Strymon Timeline, and the L.R. Baggs Venue DI.