Best Guitar Modulation Pedal

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There are many guitar effects pedals which are instantly recognizable and identifiable to the average listener’s ears. However, truth of the matter is modulation effects have prominently contributed to the sounds of some of the most beloved guitar riffs of all-time. They may be used sparingly for a subtle effect or employed to fully engulf a signal to provide a completely wet, phase-soaked, flanging, or tremolo-heavy sound. These pedals can enhance a guitarist’s recordings or live performances and inspire the way they write and play music. There are many considerations you should take when purchasing a guitar modulation pedal, and we’ve outlined them in our buyer’s guide below.

Best Guitar Chorus Pedal:

The chorus effect isn’t just that great feeling you experience when you listen to the hook of a song. Guitarists have long used chorus pedals to fill out their tone and make it sound as though the original guitar signal is being voiced by multiple sources, a “chorus,” if you will. Chorus can be used to thicken up a part, and when combined with distortion or overdrive effects, can expand and reveal multiple layers of tones within a single chord or note. These are the best guitar chorus pedals, with each piece of gear here offering an optional stereo output so you can truly spread the width of your chorus effect through dual amplifiers or speakers, a rate/speed knob to control just how fast you want your effect to go, and is built from durable die-cast material that will keep it in good shape even when you are in the most stompy of moods.

TC Electronics TonePrint Corona Chorus Effect Pedal

TC Electronic’s Corona Chorus pedal offers the best of both worlds for guitarists who want variety in their chorus tone. It’s more than capable of providing a traditional shimmering effect, but its Tri-Chorus option opens the door to more experimental and creative application. And because it’s coming from TC, you know that you’re in the hands of a company that has mastered the modulation game. Read Full Review

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    TC Electronics TonePrint Corona Chorus Effect Pedal

    MXR M134 Stereo Chorus Pedal

    The MXR M-134 Stereo Chorus pedal doesn’t just give guitarists a wide range of chorus settings to apply to their effects rig. Bass and treble knobs also offer users the ability to truly tweak the sound of their effect, resulting in a pedal with a much wider range of tonal possibilities than many of its contemporaries. Read Full Review

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      MXR M134 Stereo Chorus Pedal

      Electro-Harmonix Neo Clone Chorus Pedal

      Electro-Harmonix is the company behind the classic Small Clone chorus pedal, revered as one of the best guitar chorus pedals to hit shelves. With their Neo-Clone, the folks at EH have captured all that was great about the Small Clone and fit it into a more compact package. Still all-analog, still great sound, just fits better on your pedalboard now. Read Full Review

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        Electro-Harmonix Neo Clone Chorus Pedal

        Boss CE-5 Stereo Chorus Ensemble Pedal

        BOSS’s CE-5 Chorus Ensemble offers a great depth of chorus control in a durable, straightforward effects pedal. It’s far from flashy, but the no-frills approach to its design and range of controls means you can jump right in and start getting sounds that will fill the room with lush audio warmth. Read Full Review

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          Boss CE-5 Stereo Chorus Ensemble Pedal

          Electro-Harmonix Stereo Polychorus

          With the Electro-Harmnonix Stereo Polychorus pedal, you’re not just getting a great analog chorus tone; this thing also features a flanger and a slapback echo effect. More bang for your buck, plus the controls on the unit really allow you to get down and dirty in crafting the exact type of sound that you want from this effects pedal. Read Full Review

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            Electro-Harmonix Stereo Polychorus

            Best Guitar Tremolo / Vibrato Pedal:

            The tremolo effect creates a vibrating sound (often erroneously referred to as a vibrato effect) that makes a guitar signal sound as if you hit a note on your instrument and then immediately turned the guitar’s volume up and down at a rapid pace. A staple of modulation effects, tremolo is often offered as a built-in feature in guitar amplifiers, but guitarists looking to really customize and manipulate this effect look to effects pedals to harness this cool sound often associated with niche genres like rockabilly and surf rock. These best guitar tremolo/vibrato pedals are all easily powered by only a single 9V battery as well as all each weighing less than three pounds for optimal portability and compact flexibility. They also come equipped with a rate control knob so players have the ability to adjust the speed at which the tremolo is applied to guitar signal.

            Voodoo Lab Tremolo Pedal

            Surely there must be some sort of voodoo magic taking place in the creation of the Voodoo Lab Tremolo pedal. It’s a tiny little pedal that somehow faithfully captures the tremolo sound that has long been an integral part of vintage guitar amplifiers, and its low price is pretty magical, too. Read Full Review

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              Voodoo Lab Tremolo Pedal

              Boss TR2 Tremolo Pedal

              BOSS has always made it their mission to provide top quality sounds in their effects pedals, while keeping the user experience frills-free and relatively simple. They definitely nailed that approach in the TR-2, a tremolo pedal that allows players to jump right in and instantly set up tremolo sounds using the three control knobs built into the unit. Read Full Review

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                Boss TR2 Tremolo Pedal

                T Rex Tremster Classic Tremolo Pedal

                T-Rex went full-on classic mode with their Tremster pedal, which makes sense when you consider that the effect itself had its first heyday in the 1950’s. This pedal accordingly looks as cool as a vintage Cadillac and doesn’t clutter up its pristine look with a bunch of knobs and controls. This unit is simple, which works to the advantage of the pedal tonally by staying out of the way of obscuring an impeccable sound. Read Full Review

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                  T Rex Tremster Classic Tremolo Pedal

                  Seymour Duncan Shape Shifter Stereo Tremolo Pedal

                  Seymour Duncan’s SFX-07 Shape Shifter pedal gives a nod to the classic tremolo sounds preceding it, but also proceeds to rip open a whole new bag of tricks that can be placed under the tremolo umbrella. It’s far from a traditional sound but that may be the exact reason why this pedal is so fun to play with. Read Full Review

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                    Seymour Duncan Shape Shifter Stereo Tremolo Pedal

                    Rocktron Reaction Tremolo Guitar Effects Pedal

                    Rocktron’s Reaction Tremolo pedal doesn’t do much to reinvent the wheel for tremolo effects as far as sound goes, but the look of this unit definitely has a more modern feel. But what’s most important is the sound quality and that’s definitely where this pedal delivers, regardless of appearance. Read Full Review

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                      Rocktron Reaction Tremolo Guitar Effects Pedal

                      Best Guitar Phase Shifter Pedal:

                      Phase shifter pedals provide guitarists with a distinct and instantly recognizable effect. By duplicating the guitar’s signal and then shifting that newly created signal slightly out of phase from the original, these pedals create a spacey, “whoosh” effect that brings to mind a watery atmosphere. Although signal phasing was at first an unwanted by-product of audio recording, the effect began to be used intentionally on psychedelic records in the late 1960s, and would become popularized by a range of popular guitarists, including Eddie Van Halen and Queen’s Brian May.

                      These are the best guitar phase shifter pedals, with each pedal featured here giving you the option to operate off an external power supply or battery, provides the ability to increase the speed of the phase shifting rate via an onboard knob, and can be used not just on guitars, but also other instruments such as bass, keyboards, vocals, and more.

                      MXR M-107 Phase 100 Effects Pedal

                      The MXR-M107 Phase 100 phase shifter pedal sports a classic look and a tone to match, eschewing more complicated setups of other pedals for a far simpler layout; you’ve got one button, two knobs, and that’s it. It’s no wonder that this effects pedal has been used by everyone from John Frusciante and Jerry Garcia to Yngwie Malmsteen and Brian May. Read Full Review

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                        MXR M-107 Phase 100 Effects Pedal

                        Boss PH-3

                        If you know a thing or two about guitar effects pedals, you already are familiar with the iconic shape and sea foam green color of the BOSS PH-3 phase shifter pedal. Featuring classic phase shifting parameters as well as a more modern Rise and Fall modes, this pedal is built like a tank and can create lulling sounds to wash over your tone and add new dimension to your guitar playing. Read Full Review

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                          Boss PH-3

                          MXR Phase 90 Shifter Pedal

                          MXR’s Phase 90 phase shifter pedal takes a page from its bigger brother MXR-M107 Phase 100 pedal, but consolidates into a simpler pedal which takes up less space. It’s perfect for the guitarist with a crowded pedal board who is looking for a simple yet effective way to bring a strong phaser sound into their rig. Read Full Review

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                            MXR Phase 90 Shifter Pedal

                            Moog MF103 Moogerfooger 12 Stage Phaser Effects Pedal

                            Moog has built their reputation off of the care and attention to detail that they bring not just to their electronic instruments and synthesizers, but to effects pedals as well. The Moogerfooger MF-103 Stage Phaser gives users a wide variety of controls and parameters to tweak in order to reach a phase shifting sound that’s perfect for the electric guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals, and more. Read Full Review

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                              Moog MF103 Moogerfooger 12 Stage Phaser Effects Pedal

                              Electro-Harmonix Nano Small Stone Phase Shifter Guitar Effects Pedal

                              With their Nano pedal series, Electro Harmonix has recaptured the sound and capability of their original classic pedals, but in a size that will be a welcome addition to guitar rigs everywhere. Their Nano Small Stone captures the beloved phase shifting sound of the original Small Stone, providing a compact take on an effect that can be comparable to a Leslie or UniVibe sound. Read Full Review

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                                Electro-Harmonix Nano Small Stone Phase Shifter Guitar Effects Pedal

                                Best Guitar Flange Pedal:

                                A staple of the modulation effect family, flanging has been an option for musicians since the days of the Beatles, when producer George Martin would apply this effect to John Lennon’s vocals – but it wasn’t long before guitarists started applying the effect to the sound of their axes. Flanging duplicates the original signal of a guitar’s output, but delays one signal by a small and gradually changing period, resulting in a sound that is similar to a comb filter effect (i.e. “sucking air” or “the Darth Vader effect”). Here are the best guitar flanging pedals with each able to be powered off of a power adapter (so you never have to worry about batteries running out in the middle of a performance) in addition to offering multiple modes so that you can specify which type of flange sound you’d like to utilize in your rig. These picks are also equipped with an easy-to-use speed dial that allows you to quickly ramp up or slow down the rate of the effect.

                                Boss BF-3 Flanger Pedal

                                Anyone remotely familiar with the BOSS brand knows you can expect a lot out of their little uniformed bricks with the brightly outrageous colors, and the BF-3 flanger pedal continues to uphold that tradition. Despite its small size, this pedal offers several different flange modes as well as the ability to carefully sculpt the sound of the effect. Read Full Review

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                                  Boss BF-3 Flanger Pedal

                                  Dunlop MXR EVH117 Eddie Van Halen Flanger Pedal

                                  The MXR EVH117 harnesses the classic Eddie Van Halen sound that helped catapult him into the legion of guitar legends. Instantly recall some of the Van Halen preset sounds with the EVH switch, or customize your own tone using four onboard control knobs. Read Full Review

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                                    Dunlop MXR EVH117 Eddie Van Halen Flanger Pedal

                                    Moog Music Moog Moogerfooger MF-108M Cluster Flux

                                    Remaining true to the Moog brand of detail and craftsmanship, the company’s Moogerfooger 108M Cluster Flux pedal provides a pristine flanging effect that is just as editable as the other effects that are built into this sturdy unit. You can dig as deep as you want to go with this pedal, and truly use it as though it’s its own instrument. Read Full Review

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                                      Moog Music Moog Moogerfooger MF-108M Cluster Flux

                                      Ibanez AF2 Paul Gilbert Signature Airplane Flanger

                                      Ibanez teamed with metal guitarist Paul Gilbert to co-create their AF2 Airplane Flanger pedal. Taking on the traits of two distinctly different flange effects, it is also equipped with a series of knobs that can help you craft your own sound, all in a rugged, brightly-colored die-cast case. Read Full Review

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                                        Ibanez AF2 Paul Gilbert Signature Airplane Flanger

                                        TC Electronic Vortex Flanger

                                        TC Electronics gives guitarists the option to incorporate flange into their rig with their Vortex Flanger pedal. Not only does this unit provide the classic whooshing flange sound, but also brings in some imaginative and experimental factors, particularly through the company’s proprietary TonePrint system. Read Full Review

                                        TC Electronic Vortex Flanger
                                         

                                        Guitar Modulation Pedal Buyer's Guide

                                        Generally speaking, a modulation effect essentially doubles the signal flow (in this case, the sound of an instrument like the guitar) and alters it. It then combines the effected (or wet) signal with the original (dry) signal in order to produce the effected tone. Because guitar effects are such an intricately designed and manipulatable facet of sound design, you should try it out either with your own rig or gear resembling your rig as closely as possible. However, there are still some guidelines and concepts that you can learn about that can help you make a more informed decision about your purchase.

                                        Phaser Effects

                                        Phasing, also referred to as phase shifting, is where a signal is duplicated, and then the new copied signal is shifted to be out of phase with the original signal. The resulting sound creates a spacey, “whoosh” effect evokes the sound of a watery atmosphere.

                                        While signal phasing can sometimes be an unwanted by-product of audio recording, the effect began to be used intentionally on psychedelic records in the late 1960s, notably on “Itchycoo Park” by the Small Faces. The effect was later popularized in decades to follow from guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen, Queen’s Brian May, and Incubus axeman Mike Einziger.

                                        Flange Effects

                                        Similar to phasing, flanging duplicates the original signal of a guitar’s output but delays one signal by a small and gradually changing period. The resulting sound is similar to a comb filter effect, one that has been characterized as “sucking air” or “the Darth Vader effect”.  Whether used subtly to suggest a spacey feel or cranked all the way up to create an unnatural, synthetic-like sound, flanging is a guitar effect that doesn’t seem to be losing popularity anytime soon.

                                        Although wildly popular as a guitar effect, flange was first popularly utilized by producer George Martin during recording sessions for the Beatles. John Lennon would often use the effect on his vocals; in fact, historian Mark Lewisohn claims that it was Lennon who first gave the technique its name. The first Beatles song to feature this effect was “Tomorrow Never Knows” on their album Revolver; almost every single song on that record had some sort of flanging effect on it.

                                        Tremolo Effects

                                        Tremolo produces a sound similar to flanging in that it creates a vibrating sound similar to what it would sound like if you hit a note on your guitar and then turned the volume knob up and down rapidly. Speed can be adjusted to create alternating volume fluctuation rates, while the depth controls on a tremolo pedal affects the range at which that signal is altered.

                                        Of all the effects that fall under the modulation umbrella, tremolo is perhaps the most popular simply because it’s an effect often incorporated as a default setting in guitar amps. Most popularized in niche genres like rockabilly and surf rock, tremolo has also been used prominently in songs by artists such as Radiohead, the Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and more.

                                        Chorus Effects

                                        Perhaps the most subtle of all the modulation effects, chorus duplicates the original output signal and alters it slightly so that the signal sounds like it’s being voiced by multiple sources or as the name implies, by a “chorus” of instruments. Chorus is a great way to thicken up the sound of a guitar part, and can be used with other effects such as distortion to expand multiple layers of tones within a signal.

                                        Perhaps one of the most instantly recognizable uses of chorus in popular music is the beginning intro guitar riff to “Come as You Are” by Nirvana. Like tremolo, chorus effects are often built into guitar amplifiers; however, working with processors like pedals (which are solely designed to produce this effect) will almost always result in a better and more nuanced sound.

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