We bring you the best EQ pedals for guitar, tone sculpting machines that give you ultimate control over your sound.
Equalization plays an important role in all aspects of music production, and amplified instruments like electric guitars are not exempt from it. As a result, majority of amps and stompbox effects are bundled with built-in EQ, either through a basic tone knob, 3-band EQ, or other more powerful slider type EQs. Because of these built-in EQ effects, many guitarists have skipped on standalone EQs, leaving them unaware of the advantages that dedicated EQ pedals provide.
Experienced players agree that having a standalone EQ pedal provides better chaining flexibility and improved tone shaping. Instead of being stuck with the original signal routing configuration of built-in EQs, you can place a dedicated EQ pedal either before or after a particular effect or amp. This opens up a wide spectrum of tone shaping options for you to enjoy, something that would normally not be available on conventional built-in EQ effects. Whether you want full control over the voice of your guitar, or you’re looking to subtly shape your sound to better work with the changing instruments and venues that you play at, you’ll find the best EQ pedal for you right here.
MXR M108 10 Band Graphic EQ
Dunlop’s sub brands and artist endorsers continue to grow along with the products that they produce, thankfully, the quality of their products are not compromised, rather they utilize the technology and experience of their various sub-brands to create pedals that truly stand out. A good example of this is the MXR M108 10 Band Graphic EQ, with its precision frequency control, reliable operation and bullet proof housing.
Fine tuning your sound by controlling 10 bands can be a bit tedious for some guitarists, but those that want ultimate control over their sound will definitely appreciate this EQ pedal. Each of the 10 carefully selected frequencies allow you to make precise changes to your sound, be it subtle adjustments to match the venue or big adjustments for changing your guitar sound completely. You can literally transform your sound any which way you want, the only limitation being the ability of your amp to reproduce your sound.
To help make the pedal more beginner friendly, MXR includes various settings that you can start with right out of the box as you work your way towards familiarizing yourself with the ten frequencies that are being represented. If you’re looking for a high-quality, versatile and straightforward EQ then check this one out.
Boss GE-7 7-Band EQ Pedal
With virtuosos like Steve Morse, Marty Friedman, Steve Lukather and more endorsing their brand, Boss continues to enjoy their status as one of the best guitar pedal manufacturers in the market. And as expected with their wide range of effects, they have a stand alone EQ pedal just for guitarists, the Boss GE-7. This pedal is easily the most popular in this list, and many guitarists including professionals used or still use this pedal in their rig.
When basic 3-band EQ is not enough, and 10-band EQ is too much work, the Boss GE-7’s 7-band EQ serves as a nice in-between where versatility and convenience meet. The company was able to squeeze in a 7-band EQ slider into their regular size stompbox, and they were even able to add in an 8th slider for level control. Each slider provides precise boosting or cutting of frequencies, and like other Boss pedals, they are guaranteed to outlast your other gear. This is exactly where the GE-7 stands out, providing great EQ control reliably, without compromising tone or jacking up the price.
There are some complaints about the pedal being a bit noisy when placed in front of the amp, but it does work great when routed through the effects loop. Also it probably has more to do with unnecessarily increasing the level setting, than the pedal being actually noisy. The Boss GE-7 is the safest choice in this list, you should get it if you’re not sure which one to get.
Empress ParaEq with Boost
Although not as popular as other big name pedal brands, Empress Effects have a growing fanbase that include artists like Adrian Belew, Andy Summers and Brad Pasiley. Of their current line up, one that stands out the most is the Empress ParaEQ with Boost, a boutique style versatile and super transparent EQ pedal that has been convincing many guitarists to spend twice as much for their EQ effect.
A majority, if not all of the guitarists who bit the bullet to add the ParaEQ into their rig have nothing but great things to say about the pedal. This is quite a feat considering that this pedal is on the expensive side. Still, having a noiseless and clear sounding parametric EQ and a great sounding booster in one box is more than enough to warrant it’s current market price. The pedal’s impressive versatility with over-lapping sweepable frequency selection is also worth mentioning, along with its ability to increase headroom via switchable 9/12/18V power supply compatibility.
While this one may be beyond the budget of some, it still is a worthy investment that will definitely pay-off greatly if you’re looking for a super quiet EQ and great sounding boost pedal.
Fender Micro EQ Pedal
While Fender’s pedals have not been getting as much attention as the company wanted, the Micro EQ is one of the few gems that deserve a second thorough look. This pedalboard friendly nano-size pedal houses a five-band graphic EQ with ±18 dB adjustable gain range per slider, and surprisingly, each one works really well allowing for convenient frequency tuning and even feedback reduction, all without requiring a bulkier form factor.
Because of its uncanny resemblance to Mooer’s 5-band Graphic EQ, many have been speculating that Fender has simply rebadged Mooer’s mini EQ pedal. Interestingly, the Fender branded version has been getting great feedback from users, and more importantly is cheaper than Mooer branded version. Regardless, this compact EQ pedal works amazingly well considering its price tag, and makes for a quick and easy addition for any pedalboard without requiring much space.
Get the Fender Micro EQ if you want to keep your tone groomed without extending your budget and pedalboard space.
Source Audio SA170 Programmable EQ
Known for their modern and eclectic use of technology, Source Audio is not one that would be constrained by convention or tradition. The Source Audio Programmable EQ is a great example, providing a streamlined modern workflow that helped it gain the approval and recommendations of many guitarists. This compact aluminum pedal houses versatile controls that are made possible by digital programming and miniature circuitry.
The old school knobs and sliders interface is replaced by a more modern approach that consists of buttons and lights, which surprisingly is very intuitive and easy to master. It lets you cut or boost seven frequency bands for up to plus or minus 18dB. An additional frequency band at 62Hz is also available via the Octave Extend function, allowing for even more tone shaping possibilities. More importantly the company’s use of digital technology does not in anyway compromise the sound – the majority, if not all, who tried this EQ pedal were pleased with the noiseless operation and signal transparency.
If you’re tired of the same old conventional gear, you should check out the Source Audio SA170, with its modern design and impressive sound.
Electro-Harmonix Tube EQ
Not everyone wants complexity and transparency, if you are one who prefers old school “warm” equalizer effect then you’re in luck because EHX has a genuine vacuum tube driven EQ pedal, the Tube EQ. Unlike other EQs that focus on transparency, this pedal will add organic tube warmth to your tone as you shape your tone. It comes with two 12AX7WA vacuum tubes that drive the two filter sections of the pedal, which include the passive shelving and active parametric EQ section.
Interestingly, this pedal works great with digital effects or guitar rigs, since it injects old school warmth into the sometimes dry sounds that come from modern effects. In addition to adding characteristic tube warmth, the EHX Tube EQ is also surprisingly precise, letting you change the center frequency and the band pass range so you can accurately cut or boost specific frequencies. Also, you can actually get some pretty weird and interesting tones out of this pedal by playing with the two filters, and it can also double as a wah pedal when you connect it to an expression pedal controller.
The only downside to this pedal is its bulk and higher price tag, but since it uses genuine tubes, the price point is reasonable. If you’re looking to add warmth and old school soul into your digital rig, or you just want to warm up your sound, then the Electro-Harmonix Tube EQ is perfect for you.
EarthQuaker Devices Tone Job
This seemingly bare EQ pedal has been getting a lot of positive feedback and recommendations from guitarists, and the reason is simple, it simply works! There’s nothing out of the ordinary with this pedal, just a straightforward setup of 3-band EQ knobs (bass, mid and treble) and a level knob, so it’s quite surprising that many guitarists and other musicians have been raving a bout it – especially since they don’t have as many big name endorsers, yet.
Designed around a stereo preamp, this pedal can handle a wide range of frequencies, and in effect making it useful for instruments other than the guitar, including bass, synths and more. And more importantly, it operates quietly, with virtually zero noise, much like more expensive boutique pedals. Equally noteworthy are the three frequency bands which allow for extending boosting or cutting, with up to plus or minus 20dB capability. The level control lets you boost the signal up to 5 times the input, essentially doubling as a boost section.
It would’ve been nicer if the price is on par with standard sized pedals, but with so much positive feedback, it would be best to get it now before the price tag rises even more. Get this pedal if you’re looking for a simple and reliable EQ pedal.
Which are your favorite EQ pedals and how do you use them? Let everyone know in the comment section below: