- Best Vintage Guitar Overdrive Pedal
- Best Vintage Guitar Octave Pedal
- Best Vintage Guitar Phase Shifter Pedal
- Best Vintage Guitar Fuzz Pedal
Best Vintage Guitar Pedal
It’s ironic that as we move further into the future, even the most incredible breakthroughs in technology have us yearning for the sounds of the past. In fact, most digital effects and processors are still essentially emulating their analog predecessors. To that end, the vintage guitar pedal is one which holds a special place in the hearts of guitarists around the world.
It’s not hard to understand why, as the music created in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s shaped pop culture forever; in fact, the sounds from those bygone era are still coveted and emulated today. Fortunately, there are many vintage guitar pedals available to guitarists looking to capture those iconic sounds. All the information you need to make an informed purchase is provided below in our vintage guitar pedal buyer’s guide listed below.
Best Vintage Guitar Overdrive Pedal:
It’s a little tricky to even imagine that there was a time in which the idea of taking a guitar signal and intentionally setting it into overdrive was a new and groundbreaking concept. Through that bold innovation, some of the most beloved guitar tones that would go on to shape rock music emerged. Even today it remains a sound still coveted by many guitarists. We've chosen the best vintage guitar overdrive pedals available today, with each one listed featuring some form of tone/EQ control to help you shape your sound, they all offer a range of tonal settings that are specifically better for rhythm-playing and lead guitar work, and they're also all less than three inches wide, making these picks ideal for guitarists with precious little space to spare on their pedalboards.
In the minds of many, the Ibanez TS808 Original Tube Screamer stands as the face of all overdrive pedals. It’s a unit that has crafted the sound of some of the most legendary guitarists in the game, and it continues to lend its warm, classic tone to any who wish to harness its power in the modern era of music. Read Full Review
Get ready to take it back to the Golden Age of guitar tones with Wampler’s Tweed ’57 overdrive pedal. This unit instantly brings to mind the sounds of a classic Fender amplifier hitting at that perfect breaking point, providing a cranked, bright sound that is pure vintage. Read Full Review
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One of the earlier overdrive pedals to hit the scene, the BOSS OD-1 provides a time-honored crunch-like tone in the same reliable BOSS body that has defined the company over the years since the OD-1’s debut. Featuring all vintage gear, this pedal has quite a storied history that has earned it a special place in the hearts of guitarists seeking a specific overdrive sound. Read Full Review
Darkglass looked to the tube amplifiers of the past when designing their Vintage Microtubes overdrive pedal. This piece of gear is capable of producing crunchy rhythm-like chords and bluesy, resonant lead lines that will instantly bring your tone back the classic sounds of yesterday. Read Full Review
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Are you ready to get your mojo working? Capturing the vintage sounds of the past is easy to do with TC Electronic’s MojoMojo vintage overdrive guitar pedal, a device that allows you to dial in the perfect amount of warm-sounding gain that makes your axe sound bright and powerful. Read Full Review
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Best Vintage Guitar Octave Pedal:
One attribute that listeners will point out in most classic guitar music of the mid-20th century is that the tone was thick and full-sounding. There are many factors that no doubt played a part in reaching this end result, but one of the main contributors was definitely the octave pedal. Doubling the incoming guitar signal but pitching it 1-2 octaves below (and sometimes above), these pedals produced sounds that were almost synth-like, and definitely helped in creating that classic “wall-of-sound” tone. We've chosen the best vintage octave pedals available today, with each one listed here powered by an external power supply adapter, they feature parameter controls for input level/volume of the effected signal, and they're also designed to be rugged and durable enough to stand up the rigors of playing in most live music environments.
Everything about the BOSS OC-2 guitar octave pedal screams classic BOSS, from its compact size, simple design, and tone-fattening sound. If you’ve ever used this pedal before, then you are no doubt down with the brown; if you’ve yet to experience all that it has to offer, get ready to go down low into the depths of your guitar’s tonal soul. Read Full Review
MXR’s Sub Machine Octave Fuzz pedal collides different worlds and sounds into one easy-to-maneuver pedal. The addition of fuzz parameters (along with the ability to shift the effected signal up an octave) separates this pedal from the rest of its peers. Read Full Review
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With their Octave Multiplexer, Electro-Harmonix has found a new low, and we mean that in the most positive way possible. This octave pedal is built to last and produces smooth-sounding tones an octave below the original signal. Read Full Review
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From its vintage-referencing title to the tripped-out aesthetic of its design, the Dr. No Octofuzz pedal is one that is clearly focused on capturing the sounds of the past for today’s guitarist. Bringing together fuzz and octave effects under one roof, this is also great for those who want to attain classic sounds without breaking the bank. Read Full Review
Few guitarists were able to leave their signature mark on the octave pedal as a tone-shaping device than Jimi Hendrix. We’re all living in the shadow of that guitar legend’s accomplishments with the effect, and to that end the TC Electronic Vintage Octa Screamer follows in the man’s footsteps and brings some seriously face-melting tone to the table. Read Full Review
Best Vintage Guitar Phase Shifter Pedal:
Phase shifters work by duplicating a signal and then shifting that newly-created signal slightly out of phase from the original, creating a spacey, “whoosh” effect. This atmospheric, watery sound first reared its head in recorded music on psychedelic records from the late 1960s. Ever since then, the phase shifter has become a permanent mainstay in the world of guitar effects pedals, but for many, there’s nothing like the original thing. We've chosen the best vintage guitar phase shifter pedals on the market, with each one listed here is able to be powered via 9V battery, they offer parameter controls to affect the speed of the effect, and they're also capable of being used to enhance the sound of not just electric guitars, but other signals such as vocals, keyboards, and more.
The MXR Phase 90 may very well be the ambassador of all guitar phase shifter pedals. This compact unit has been used on classic recordings and is still utilized by today’s biggest players who favor its dynamic and sweet-sounding effect. Read Full Review
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MXR’s ’75 Vintage Phase 45 is an extremely accurate reissue of the rare littler brother to the company’s more commonly found Phase 90 phase shifter pedal. This unit provides two stages of phasing and is wired with authentic components and hardware to capture a classic sound. Read Full Review
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The phase shifter is synonymous with a watery sound that is often associated with clean tone, but who says you can’t find a little grit in the water? The Mu-Tron Phasor II not only comes from a long line of esteemed phase shifter pedals, but adds a character unlike any that have come before or after it. Read Full Review
Electro-Harmonix’s Bad Stone phase shifter pedal defined the modulated sounds of the 1970s, and for a long time, acquiring that tone was definitely going to cost a pretty penny for the guitarists of today. Luckily, the company has revamped the pedal and now gives players the ability to channel the sounds of the past in a device that also features some more modern additions. Read Full Review
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Best Vintage Guitar Fuzz Pedal:
That warm, fuzzy feeling you get from listening to some of the guitar heroics from the classic rock era? It’s not just a fuzzy feeling – what you’re hearing may be actual fuzz guitar. Taking the concept of distortion to a whole new level, fuzz pedals thicken up a guitar’s tone in a way that also makes the effected signal incredibly responsive to a guitarist’s playing style as well as the other effects that are incorporated within a rig. Guitarists like Jimi Hendrix all but mastered the use of fuzz as a tone-shaping effect, leading a legion of guitarists today to seek similarly room-shaking tone. We've narrowed down the best vintage guitar fuzz pedals, with each one listed here being equipped with tone-controlling knobs that allow you to really dial in the specific fuzz tone you want, they're housed in durable, sturdy metal casings designed to withstand regular road-warrior wear-and-tear, and they can also be powered by a single 9V battery.
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second, if you’re using a fuzz guitar pedal and you’re not actively trying to at least slightly invoke the spirit of Jimi Hendrix, why are you even wasting your time? There has been no greater proponent of the fuzz pedal as a tone-defining effect, and with that in mind, Dunlop’s JDF2 Arbiter Fuzz Face is here to bring us all back to the 1960's. Read Full Review
Electro-Harmonix’s Bigg Muff Pi guitar fuzz pedal has been used by some of music’s most prominent fuzz-toting guitarists over the last four decades. Its bold design and incredible sustain has pretty much set the standard for every fuzz pedal that has followed in its wake. Read Full Review
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Calling somebody a dirty rat is typically fighting words, but in the case of Pro Co’s You Dirty RAT fuzz pedal, it’s definitely a compliment. This stompbox provides the classic fuzz tone of the 1970s in its fully analog signal path. Read Full Review
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The 1960's may be far behind us, but that doesn’t mean the sounds that were birthed out of that era need to be. Rotosound has reissued their 1960's Fuzz pedal, much to the delight of today’s players who are looking to capture authentic-sounding growl of the past. Read Full Review
Fulltone’s reissue of its classic ’69 fuzz pedal wears its ambitions clearly and boldly on its face, but if you were producing a piece of gear that so brilliantly captured the vintage vibe of such a classic unit, you probably would, too. With several control parameters to help you shape your tone, this fuzz pedal instantly harkens back to the heyday of classic rock. Read Full Review
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Vintage Guitar Pedal Buyers Guide
If you’re looking to add vintage guitar pedal to add to your rig, there are a few different approaches you can take to help you find the one that is best for you. The first measure to take is to research the sound that you are looking to emulate; identify the sound itself then study all you can about the guitarist and producer behind the records/songs featuring said sound. From there, you can find out more about what gear they used to achieve those results and either try to find the exact brand and model of gear used, or find an equivalent reissue/replacement. More than anything else, you’ll definitely want to try the guitar pedal out for yourself to guarantee you’re getting what you need. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for vintage guitar pedals.
Fuzz pedals played a significant role in the sounds of guitarists dating as far back as the 1960s. Guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards made noise in a big way when they first started using fuzz pedals on some of their riffs, consequently making them larger than life.
The fuzz effect thickens up a guitar tone to such extremes that it is often used sparingly, often as a slight addition to distortion or overdrive effects in an effort to push the guitar tone just over the edge. The sound produced by fuzz pedals is also quite responsive to other variables in playing, such as how the player employs pick attack and how loud the guitar is turned up.
While the fuzz pedal is still frequently used in music today, its mighty origins will forever classify some of its members as a vintage guitar pedal.
Differing slightly from the aforementioned fuzz pedal, the overdrive pedal also sits under the broader umbrella of distortion pedals used to make a guitar signal hotter and while giving it more character and bite.
Emulating the warm, over compressed sound which occurs when the tubes in guitar amplifiers get overdriven (hence the pedals name), this particular pedal type can really help a guitar part cut through in the mix. With the tweaking of the pedal’s knobs and settings, guitarists can craft sounds which are distinctly their own or go for a very precise imitation of sounds from records of the past.
Phase Shifter Pedals
From psychedelic records to film scores/soundtracks to rock music that dominated the airwaves in the 1970s, phase shifter pedals are sought after by many guitarists today who are looking to capture that vintage sound.
As a part of the modulation pedal family, phase shifters duplicate the sound being sent through the guitar and then shift that new copied signal so that it is slightly out of phase with the original signal. The subsequent sound is one that has a spacey, “whoosh” effect that brings to mind something of a watery atmosphere.
Groups and artists such as the Small Faces and Queen prominently used phase shifter pedals on some of their songs, consequently solidifying the phase shifter as a staple of the vintage guitar pedal stable.
The octave pedal falls under the umbrella of a pitch shifting effect. By doubling the incoming signal and then shifting that duplication down an octave, guitar lines run through an octave pedal can have a seriously deep and powerful sound. The octave pedal can also be used to shift the signal up a higher octave, which also makes the sound more thick. Guitarists can also set the octave pedal to create a second signal that doubles the original at a different interval, such as playing 5th or 3rd harmonies.