Best volume pedals
In the world of musical instruments, there are a lot of accessories that can improve your performance. All performers dream of the perfect show, and the available accessories can help you make that happen. While some effects that players use are more common than others, one of the accessories that is almost never missing from the pedal board is the volume pedal. After all, the difference in volume can change your performance for the better, which is why you should invest in one.
What is a volume pedal and what does it do?
I doubt that you have never heard of effects pedals such as a wah-wah pedal, distortion or overdrive. The volume pedal is an effects pedal, but it is generally labeled as a dynamics pedal that controls the volume of the instrument you are playing. Basically, it increases or decreases the audio signal. Seems simple, right? While what a volume pedal has a simple principle upon which it works, the hard part is to actually buy one because there are many factors to consider. We will get to that later, though.
As for how it operates, you can take the example from the wah pedal. The form is pretty much the same, a relatively large area with a grip on it so that your foot does not slip. All you have to do is place your foot on the pedal, and move it back or forth. Back on your heel or forward with your toe. The toe down position is maximum volume, while the heel down position is the minimum. Most volume pedals work like this.
You may be thinking that if you play the guitar or the bass, you already can control the volume. After all, the guitar has a volume control knob, and the same goes for the amplifier. Isn’t the volume pedal overkill? While some may argue that it is, the volume pedal represents another type of control, and some agree that it provides more control. I do not think you can ever be in too much control, which is why I find the volume pedal most useful.
The point is that depending on where you like your pedal and the style of your performance, a volume pedal can help you achieve multiple effects. To give you a simple example, you cannot manipulate the volume knob of your guitar with your picking hand, can you? That would mean changing the position of the said hand, and that can affect your overall performance. Why not use your foot instead?
Apart from the obvious effect that a volume pedal provides, you can create several swells and ambient textures to your songs, primarily if you use the pedal together with conjunction reverb and delay. You can also face your sounds in and out, just like violin players do. Furthermore, the volume pedal can even out the volume of the entire rig, which comes in handy if you play live in a band. You can set the minimum volume, and you can increase it when your solo is coming up.
The conclusion is that a volume pedal is more useful than most performers think. In fact, many of them do not know they need one until they use it. In reality, a volume pedal can change your performance by a lot.
What to consider when looking for the best volume pedal
As I mentioned above, it is quite clear what a volume pedal does, but the hard part arrives when you need to make a purchase. The offer on the market is vast, and you need some criteria to filter them through. If you are a beginner, you have come to the right place. Here is what you need to consider when buying a volume pedal:
- Transparency and sound – the best volume pedal does not have its own character. By that, I mean that it does not bring its own unique sound. It needs to control the volume, and that is it. If you need other effects, you buy another effects pedal, not a volume pedal with personality.
- Zero tone loss – while I do not think that you will ever find a volume pedal with zero tone loss, it is best if you aim as high as possible. You must have heard about tone loss, and you may know it as a tone suck as well. It can ruin a performance. Put it like this. Your guitar signal is already weak, and it can get broken in half by a volume pedal that is equipped with a dedicated tuner output. To paint a clearer picture, you take a weak sound signal and weaken it even more, which ultimately steals the high end of your tone. Most performers do not notice it, but it cannot hurt to at least know about it.
- Passive vs. active – I am sure that you know the difference between the two. A passive volume pedal does not need an external source of power, while the active pedal does. There are pros and cons for both of them. The passive type is very convenient and simplifies the setup, but it is more sensitive. You need to pay attention to where you put it in your signal chain. They seem to be a problem as far as loss of tone is concerned. An active volume pedal, on the other hand, may require an individual power source, but you do not have to worry about tone suck or where you place it.
- Construction – you will literally be stepping on the volume pedal, which is why you need to make sure that you buy a durable product. You will use it quite often, which is why I recommend a metal construction. However, if you usually go easy on your pedals, a durable plastic may do just fine as well. It is up to you.
- Versatility – the majority of volume pedals are pretty straightforward to use. You just rock the back and forth to control the volume. However, some models out there bring some versatility to the table. You can adjust the minimum volume, the tension/torque, the taper, and so on. As you can expect, a volume pedal with so many extra features cost more, and it is up to you if it is worth the investment or not.
- Tuner output – a lot of volume pedals on the market use a separate tuner output from the main output. That way, you can connect the pedal to it, and then you can silently tune it as you please. It is not necessary in all cases, but it can be useful between songs. However, you need to be careful with a tuner output if the pedal is passive. It can affect the high end of your tone.
What are the best volume pedals?
While I cannot answer that question per se, I can make some recommendations. You will find them below. To choose the best pedal, my advice is to follow the criteria mentioned above. Brand is also something you should probably look at, and if you read some volume pedals reviews online, that is even better. However, the reviews are mostly subjective, and they have nothing to do with your playing style, so try to stick to factors ar objective as possible. What works for you may not work for others, and vice-versa.
Fender FVP-1 Passive Volume Pedal
The first volume pedal that caught my eye is the one manufactured by Fender. As I said above, the brand actually matters when it comes to musical instruments and accessories, and Fender happens to be one of the best. The manufacturer produces only the best instruments and accessories, and this volume pedal is no different. The price may seem a bit steep, but trust me, it is worth every penny.
One of the things that I liked the most about the Fender volume pedal is the metal construction. It is made of heavy-duty die0cast aluminum, and it has a hammertone powder coat finish on the base. It does not matter how passionate you are during your performances. This pedal can take the heat. This product is designed for guitar, bass, and many other instruments. It uses a 250k potentiometer with quiet operation. The tone survives at any volume, and when the volume is way down, the sound does not become dark but keeps its clarity.
The input, output and tuner jack are located in the front for easy access. The tuner helps you make the proper adjustments between songs. The overall use is smooth, and the size is just right to install it on your pedal board. The non-slip surface will prevent your foot from slipping, and the control you have over the volume will make you enjoy the process even more. I am sure you will love the Fender volume pedal.
Yamaha FC7 Volume Expression Pedal
The second product that I thought you will find most useful is the one from Yamaha. This is another renowned manufacturer that produces high-quality accessories for musical instruments. However, the cost of a Yamaha pedal is more affordable than of a Fender, so if you are on a budget, you can still enjoy quality with this product.
As you can expect, this pedal allows you to adjust the volume of your instruments and even out the effects you are using during your performance. It is a heavy-duty controller with a fortissimo function that allows you to put the accent on some parts of your performance. You will achieve that easily because the pedal enjoys a smooth operation.
This is an active volume pedal, so you do not have to worry about tone suck or anything else. You need to be careful where you place it, but the 5-feet cord gives you some flexibility of placement. The angle of the pedal can be adjusted for your convenience. Keep in mind that this volume pedal is designed primarily for keyboards.
Signstek Guitar Stereo Sound Volume Pedal
Last but not least, the volume pedal from Signstek is yet another accessory that may pique your interest. This too is an affordable solution if you are looking for a volume pedal under $30. Even so, the quality does not suffer much, and you will be able to enjoy a satisfactory performance.
The stereo sound volume pedal from Signstek has an amplitude adjustment knob that allows you to accurately control the volume right from the start. It is a versatile pedal that can help you personalize your playing style no matter the setting. It can keep the tone just fine, and your high-end tone will not be affected.
As for type, this is a passive volume pedal that does not require any other source of power. It will deliver a professional performance every time. The construction of the pedal is durable, even if the item is made of plastic. You will be able to enjoy it for a very long time.
I am confident that no matter which product you choose, you will enjoy it very much. However, if it were me who had to make a choice, I would go with the Fender FVP-1 Passive Volume Pedal. Sure, it is a bit pricey, but you get everything you need in a volume pedal. I think it is one of the best volume pedals you can purchase.
Buying the right accessories is never easy. There needs to go some research into it, and sometimes you may find it difficult, especially if you are new to this. The terminology can appear as complicated, and if you do not know it, you can get lost in words. However, the information provided above should be of help, and if you still feel unsure, just choose one of the volume pedals presented above. I am sure that you will be delighted with whichever one you prefer. Click here to buy on Amazon
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