Best Flanger Pedal Roundup

Add excitement to you're guitar sound by employing quality flange effect. From subtle swirl to uninhibited jet like swoosh, these highly recommended flangers will help you break out from the usual clean and overdriven guitar tone.

What is the Flange Effect?

Like chorus, it duplicates your guitar signal and combines them together - but with flange one signal is slightly delayed at changing intervals. This sweeping delay variation is perceived by our ears as the swooshing sound that has made its mark in music, and it is now an essential tool for many guitarists.

My personal favorite example of putting the flanger into good use is Eric Johnson's "High Landrons", where his trademark singing violin-like fuzz tone, and bell-like clean tone are flanged to achieve a truly jaw dropping sound. With the right flanger, you can accentuate your tone with mild oscillation or get sounds that range from subtle vibrato to the popular jet plane take-off swoosh.

Here we feature the best flanger pedal along with its close competitors:

Electro-Harmonix Stereo Electric Mistress

Electro-Harmonix Stereo Electric Mistress

The Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress was the first flanger in pedal form and with the help of big names including David Gilmour, Alex Lifeson and Andy Summers, it continues to be the most sought after flanging effect pedal. Its modern day successor, the Stereo Electric Mistress, comes with upgraded features and earns the top spot for the title "Best Flanger Pedal".

If you want to play with the big boys, then you need to play with one of their toys, and this pedal is one of their precious toys. In addition to its flange effect, this sturdy pedal offers true stereo output capability, built-in chorus effect and a filter matrix mode that lets you freeze your preferred flange point. These cool features make for a reliable flanger that can handle classic sounds and can go beyond that when needed. While it may lack some versatility, its default tone is more than enough to handle various styles of music and playing.

Cool demo man Dan Miller showcasing the Stereo Electric Mistress:

Get the latest EHX Stereo Electric Mistress price & reviews at Amazon.com


MXR Flanger M117R

MXR Flanger M117R

The various variations of MXR's flanger have been put to good use by many artists, the most notable of which is Eddie Van Halen who put the Flanger M117R to great use in one of his band's most popular tracks, "Unchained". His use of the sweeping flange effect influenced a whole generation of players, including Kirk Hammet who used a variation of the M117R in his lead work for Metallica's "My Apocalypse". Because of this, the MXR Flanger M117R remains a close contender for the top position, backed by the many positive reviews, many might argue that it should be the best pick.

The most obvious application for this flanger pedal is for pairing with overdriven tones, but this modern re-issue of the M117R goes beyond just that. It has four knobs that offer easy fine tuning of the effect and lets you lock the flange effect at your preferred frequency. This in turn allows for a wide variety of other uses, upping the pedal's versatility and more importantly - value for money. My only gripe about this pedal is its non-standard shape which can take more pedalboard space than needed. If you're looking for a rock friendly flanger that has enough versatility for other uses, then check this one out.

Here is the MXR Flanger M117R demo:

Get the latest MXR Flanger M117R price & reviews at Amazon.com


Boss BF-3 Flanger

Boss BF-3 Flanger

Boss has successfully preserved their reputation for quality, reliability and affordability over the many years they have been manufacturing pedals. So much so that they have set the standard which their competitors strive to beat, and they also help keep the price of pedals more competitive. As expected, our list of the best flanger pedals would not be complete without the compact and versatile BF-3, the latest iteration of Boss' Flanger stompbox.

For something so small, the BF-3 is surprisingly versatile, featuring stereo outputs, a dedicated bass input and there's even a nifty tap tempo feature. These valuable additions further add to the already impressive value that this pedal brings for guitarists. Extra flexibility is provided by the pedal's two modes, Ultra gives you traditional fat sounding flange while the Gate/Pan mode lets you create space-age type soundscapes. While some may argue that "boutique" pedals are better, Dave Navarro, Eric Johnson, Marty Friedman are just a few of the many big name guitarists who still trust Boss branded gear, even though they can afford more expensive alternatives. If you're playing covers of multiple styles and you're looking for a compact and affordable flanger, this is your best bet.

Check out this cool video demo for the BF-3:

Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com


TC Electronic Vortex Flanger

TC Electronic Vortex Flanger

This relative new comer (compared to the pedals above) continues to gain ground and is one that both guitarists and other manufacturers are keeping an eye on. It has all the makings of a great pedal - compact size, simple controls and sturdy build, but what really sets it apart is its modern versatility courtesy of TonePrint technology. This innovative technology allows the Vortex Flanger to take on various tasks by letting you download artist and user patches or even create your own flanger settings that go beyond the conventional knobs that you see on its front fascia.

Artists that have provided their TonePrint presets for this pedal include Brad Whitford, Joe Perry, John Petrucci, Bumblefoot and many more. You can either use the default sound of the pedal, or load up the various presets and edit them to your preference. Another notable feature of this pedal is its tape flange sound, which many have been raving about. The TC Electronic Vortex Flanger is easily the best bang per buck flanger out there, just be careful not to spend too much time on tweaking and you're all good.

Here is a rather long but informative Vortex Flanger demo:

Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com


Carl Martin Classic Flange

Carl Martin Classic Flange

Carl Martin may not be as well known as the brands above, but those who have tried it swear by its great sounding vintage tones - this made us want to help more guitarists learn about the brand. You may be surprised to learn that Carl Martin pedal players include big name virtuosos like Joe Bonamassa, Greg Howe, Pete Thorn, Andy Timmons and Carl Verheyen. With all these big name artists, you can be sure that the pedals they make are tour and studio ready in terms of quality and reliability.

Of their extensive lineup, the Classic Flange takes a spot in this list for its genuine sounding old school flange tone, which purists will surely appreciate. Instead of adding more bells and whistles, Carl Martin focused on providing rich and complex modulation that responds well to the four self-explanatory knobs. Resulting in a straightforward pedal that gives great sounding vintage style flange without requiring much tweaking. Note that since it colors the sound to make it more vintage like, don't expect it to be as transparent as other flangers. If you're looking for an easy to use old school flanger, then get the Carl Martin Classic Flange.

Here is a music store demo of the Classic Flange:

Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com


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The tape flanger mode of the

The tape flanger mode of the Vortex is quite awesome. In this mode I have been able to get some really wicked souinds very similar to the sounds on the Notorius Byrd Brothers album and Andwella's Dream (Felix), when I used with my homemade germanium Fuzz Face. I tried to get these tones with the Boss Flanger reviewed above and it just didn't cut it at all. The Boss is fine for many Flanger sounds and the suggestions on You Tube are worth trying. My Vortex has become one of my favourite pedals and I just can't get enough of it.

Vortex Flanger and Corona Chorus

Man, I'm trying to get the sound I'm after from a Vortex Flanger but cannot do it. With the amazing control set and TC Electronic's well known quality I would assume I could dial in the sound I want. Not blaming the Vortex. One size doesn't fit all. I kind of prefer my old Electric Mistress perhaps because I'm so used to it.

OTOH, I get some great sounds from the Corona Chorus. In fact, I'm able to set the Corona Chorus to sound a lot like the Electric Mistress, much closer than the Vortex can get to that sound. It can also be set to give a Leslie-like sound which is how I usually use it. So I will probably let someone else have the Vortex and I will stick to the Corona for modulation.

I also have the Flashback Delay, Hall of Fame Reverb, MojoMojo Overdrive, and Dark Matter Distortion. They are all very good, in fact keepers. TC Electronics effects are excellent.

Flangers

I stopped looking for a 'good' flanger decades ago, when I bought the first generation A/DA Flanger. Pat Travers was using the Harmonizer by A/DA, and he was getting some pretty great growls out of his sound! Then you had Eddie and the MXR flange which had it's extreme 'through the null', Boeing 747 sweep that was amazing. I got a little of both (mostly the MXR) from my A/DA Flanger. It's been damaged over time 2x; the last time I sent to the (current) A/DA place it came back with a little less power and range. But it still kicks any other flanger's ass that I've ever heard. And I get great chorus, and killer leslie tones with it also. One thing that is present though, is when being used subtly, you can sometimes hear a little bit of a sonic whistle. But it's still the shiznit!

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