May 15

8 Best Volume Pedals for Guitar in 2024

Volume pedals are a key tool for any guitarist looking to fine-tune their sound, whether you're playing live or laying down tracks in the studio. They help us smoothly transition volumes and give us more control over our dynamics, which can really polish our performance. Given the variety of pedals out there, it can be tough to pick the right one that matches your style and needs.

In this guide, we're going to break down some of the best volume pedals for guitar, offering reviews and tips on what to look for. Whether you're just starting out or you’re a seasoned pro, we'll help you find a volume pedal that suits your playing and enhances your setup. Let’s get into it and find the perfect pedal for you!

Quick List of the Best Volume Pedals for Guitar

8 Best Volume Pedals for Guitar

Here's our list of the best volume pedals for guitar players. Check them out below!

Ernie Ball VP JR Tuner Pedal

Best Overall
Ernie Ball VP JR Tuner / Volume Pedal
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You'll love this 2-in-1 pedal for its convenience, functionality, and space-saving abilities.

Pros

  • 2-in-1 volume pedal and tuner
  • Easy to read screen
  • Compact, rugged design

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Limited volume change until 8-10
  • No room for 90-degree cables

We found this Ernie Ball VP JR Tuner Pedal to be a real game-changer. It combines a smooth and reliable volume pedal with a precise tuner, all in one compact package. Musicians often struggle with limited space on their pedalboards, so merging these two essential tools is a fantastic and practical solution.

The screen is a standout feature of this pedal. It's easy to read from a standing position, and displays both your volume level and tuning status. The digital tuner also offers an accurate and aesthetically pleasing tuning experience. You'll wonder how you ever managed without it!

However, bear in mind that this high-quality pedal comes with a higher price tag. Some users also noticed limited volume change until reaching levels 8-10 and difficulty fitting 90-degree cables. But overall, the Ernie Ball VP JR Tuner Pedal's innovative design, sturdy build, and excellent performance make it a must-have for guitarists and bassists who value simplicity and convenience in their gear.

Ernie Ball VP JR 250K Volume Pedal

Best for Passive Signals
Ernie Ball VP JR 250K Volume Pedal, For Passive Signals (P06180)
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Get the Ernie Ball VP JR 250K for a durable volume pedal with seamless performance.

Pros

  • Compact and rugged design
  • Two volume swell rates
  • Tuner output for silent tuning

Cons

  • Only for passive signals
  • May feel small for bigger feet
  • No LED indicator

We've tried the Ernie Ball VP JR 250K Volume Pedal, and we love how it saves pedalboard space without sacrificing quality. The aircraft-grade aluminum construction makes it incredibly durable, and it's tailored for passive signals to ensure smooth audio control.

What sets this volume pedal apart is the micro taper switch beneath the footplate. With two distinct volume swell rates, you can customize it to your playing style. The silent tuner output is a great feature when you need to tune without disrupting your performance.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the pedal works best with passive signals. If you have an active guitar, this may not be the ideal choice. Also, the compact design might feel small for those with larger feet, but you'll adjust to it quickly.

Overall, if you're looking for a reliable, sturdy volume pedal to control your guitar's dynamics, the Ernie Ball VP JR 250K is a great choice.

MOOG EP-3 Expression Pedal

Best Universal Expression Pedal
MOOG EP-3 Universal Expression Pedal
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A must-have for your setup, offering smooth performance and compatibility with various gear.

Pros

  • Compact and universal compatibility
  • Robust and smooth performance
  • Polarity switch for seamless integration

Cons

  • Plastic construction
  • No toe-switch for effect activation
  • Limited instructions provided

We recently tried the MOOG EP-3 Expression Pedal and found it to be a fantastic addition to any musician's setup. If you play keyboards, synths or use effects pedals, this little device can do wonders.

The EP-3 is designed for universal compatibility. That means it works well with a wide variety of musical instruments and gear. The polarity switch enables you to integrate it easily with both Moog and non-Moog products. It's compact, so you can fit it into your setup without any hassle.

One aspect we loved about this pedal is its smooth performance. Thanks to the carefully engineered cam system, the pedal's response is fast-acting and durable. However, it's worth noting that the pedal is mostly constructed of plastic, which may be a concern for some in terms of longevity.

A minor drawback is the absence of a toe-switch. It's not a deal-breaker, but having one would make activating and deactivating effects like wah easier. Also, the lack of detailed instructions can be a tad confusing for first-time users.

All in all, the MOOG EP-3 Expression Pedal is a stellar pedal that offers smooth performance, durability, and compatibility without breaking the bank. Though there may be a few minor concerns, we believe its benefits outweigh these limitations.

MORLEY 20/20 Volume Plus

Best for Advanced Users
MORLEY 20/20 Volume Plus
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If you value build quality and versatility, the MORLEY 20/20 Volume Plus is a solid choice.

Pros

  • Durable Optical Circuitry
  • Pedalboard Friendly Size
  • Minimum Volume Control

Cons

  • Slight Treble Loss
  • Uneven Volume Increase
  • Audio Sweep Starts Too Quickly

We recently tested the MORLEY 20/20 Volume Plus pedal, and it offers some great features guitarists will appreciate. Most notably, the optical circuitry ensures there's no wear and tear like with traditional potentiometers. Plus, the pedal's compact dimensions (6.85" x 4.5" x 2.5") make it pedalboard friendly.

That said, our experience with the pedal wasn't perfect. We noticed a loss of treble when rolling back the volume without a buffer pedal in between the 20/20 and our amp. On top of that, the increase in volume felt uneven, with most of the action happening within the first 60% of the treadle movement. This can make it tricky for more precise volume adjustments.

Despite these drawbacks, we still recommend considering the MORLEY 20/20 Volume Plus, especially if you're looking for a sturdy, versatile volume pedal that's suitable for various playing styles. Just be mindful of the treble loss and the audio sweep starting a bit too quickly for some players.

Boss FV-500H Volume Pedal

Best Budget Volume Pedal
Boss FV-500H Foot Volume Pedal
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Get the Boss FV-500H for its durability, high-impedance design, and adjustable feel.

Pros

  • High-impedance design
  • Durable aluminum build
  • Adjustable pedal feel

Cons

  • Large size
  • Not great for swells
  • Sweep less gradual

The Boss FV-500H is a high-impedance volume pedal that works nicely with your guitar or other high-impedance instruments.

We appreciate its solid construction. Crafted from heavy-duty aluminum, this pedal promises durability and longevity. Plus, you can easily adjust the pedal's feel (torque) to your preference.

However, its large size makes it a little bulky for some pedalboards. Additionally, the volume sweep may not be as gradual as we'd like, making it less suitable for swells.

Jim Dunlop Volume X Mini Pedal

Best Mini Volume Pedal
Jim Dunlop Volume X Mini Pedal
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Grab this pedal for a compact and versatile volume control solution.

Pros

  • Compact size
  • Smooth volume control
  • Dual function AUX output

Cons

  • Limited features
  • Might require adjustment
  • Smaller pedal travel

We recently tried the Jim Dunlop Volume X Mini Pedal and loved its compact size. In a world where pedalboard real estate is precious, this mini pedal manages to save space without sacrificing functionality.

One thing we appreciated was the smooth volume control provided by the Low Friction Band-Drive. It gives the pedal a consistent, reliable performance. Adjusting the rocker tension really helps to customize the feel of the pedal to suit your preferences – something we think is worth noting.

Now, the AUX output combines tuner and expression functionality, which can be toggled with a switch inside the pedal. It's a nice touch, but be prepared to spend some time with the internal pot and switches to set minimum levels and reverse positions (if needed).

All in all, the Jim Dunlop Volume X Mini Pedal delivers impressive performance in a compact size that's ideal for guitarists looking to save space on their pedalboard. Just be prepared to spend some time tweaking it to match your personal preferences.

Boss FV-30L Foot Volume Low-Z Low-Impedence

Best Low Impedance
Boss FV-30L Foot Volume Low-Z
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You’ll appreciate this pedal’s compact size and reliable performance.

Pros

  • Space-saving design
  • Sturdy construction
  • No power required

Cons

  • Uneven volume taper
  • Limited pedal sweep
  • No easy pedalboard mounting

We tried the Boss FV-30L Foot Volume pedal and found its compact size to be a game changer. It easily fits on your pedalboard without taking up too much space. This comes in handy for traveling musicians or those who want a clean setup.

The pedal is made from a tough, aluminum die-cast body that can handle heavy use. With its smooth pivot action, you have full control over subtle volume changes. Plus, it doesn’t need a power source, freeing up more space for additional pedals.

However, some might find the volume taper uneven, affecting the smoothness of the output. The pedal’s sweep could also be a bit longer for finer control. Mounting this pedal on your pedalboard isn’t straightforward, as you’ll need to drill at least one hole.

Overall, the Boss FV-30L Foot Volume Low-Z Low-Impedence pedal is worth considering for its space-saving, reliable performance. Just be aware of its minor shortcomings before making your purchase.

Lehle Stereo Volume Pedal

Best Stereo Volume Pedal
Lehle Stereo Volume Pedal
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You won’t regret picking up this durable and precise volume pedal for your guitar needs.

Pros

  • Magnetically-controlled VCA
  • No wear and tear issues
  • Perfect for dual amp setups

Cons

  • Slightly heavy at 3.66 pounds
  • Pricier than some options
  • Not ideal for minimalistic pedalboards

What sets the Lehle Stereo Volume Pedal apart is the magnetically controlled Blackmer VCA, which means your signal level is controlled without mechanical potentiometers that can wear out.

Not only is it built to last, but its precise control also ensures your tone remains intact throughout the entire range of the pedal’s sweep. We’ve noticed how well it caters to dual amplifier setups, as it can split a mono signal to two separate outputs.

The only drawback to this volume pedal might be its weight at 3.66 pounds. It’s also a bit pricier compared to some other options on the market. However, we believe the Lehle Stereo Volume Pedal is worth the investment for superb performance and long-lasting durability.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Volume Pedal

Unlike the knob on your guitar, a volume pedal gives you more control over your sound. To find the perfect fit, it’s important to know what factors to consider. Let’s check them out!

Active vs. Passive Volume Pedals

First off, let’s talk about the difference between active and passive volume pedals.

Active pedals come with a built-in buffer circuit, which is great for keeping your signal strong, especially if you’re using long cables or a lot of effects pedals. However, they tend to be a bit more expensive and might introduce some noise.

On the other hand, passive pedals are simpler and usually cost less, but they can sometimes lead to a loss of high frequencies, especially with certain types of pickups.

When you’re choosing a pedal, make sure to check whether it’s active or passive in the product description or manual to see what fits your setup best.

Functionality

Some volume pedals offer more than just volume control. A minimum volume knob, for example, allows you to set a minimum volume level when the pedal is fully heeled back, so you’re never completely silent.

There’s also the option for a tuner output, which allows you to tune your guitar quietly without messing with your amp’s signal. Plus, some pedals double as expression pedals, giving you control over other effects parameters like the wah or delay time. These added functionalities can make a big difference in your setup.

Pedal Size and Shape

When picking a volume pedal, the size and shape can really affect how it fits into your setup and how easy it is to use. Larger pedals might give you better control, but they do take up more space on your pedalboard. If you have less room or prefer a more portable setup, smaller pedals might be the way to go, although they can be difficult to manage if you have larger feet.

You’ll also find pedals in different shapes, like the traditional rectangular or wedge shape. Think about your pedalboard layout and your playing style to choose the best size and shape for your needs.

Price Range and Budget

Price range varies with features, brand, and build quality. But remember: price doesn’t always determine quality, and great budget-friendly options exist. Set a realistic budget based on your needs and priorities.

Durability and Build Quality

For gigging musicians, having a durable volume pedal is key. Look for one that’s built to last, with a sturdy metal casing and heavy-duty tread to handle regular use. Some pedals also come with features like dust covers or sealed potentiometers to help extend their life by keeping out dust and dirt. These are important considerations if you’re frequently on the road or play a lot of live shows.

Additional Features

For guitarists with specific needs, there are some cool features to look out for in volume pedals.

If you’re working with stereo signals, a pedal with stereo compatibility can manage your volume across both channels. Built-in tuners are handy for making quick tuning adjustments without needing extra gear. If you’re using multiple volume pedals, a phase switch can be a lifesaver to avoid phasing issues.

Also, an LED indicator to show your current volume level can be really useful, especially on dark stages. Just remember, not everyone will need these features, so think about what fits your own setup and playing style before making a decision.

Volume Guitar Pedals FAQs

What are volume pedals good for?

Volume pedals have a few key uses. They help you create smooth volume swells and maintain precise control over volume levels. We also find them great for enhancing dynamic range and expressiveness. Plus, they let you make hands-free volume adjustments during performances.

Do volume pedals go first or last in the chain?

There are two popular placement options for volume pedals. If you put it first in the chain, you’ll control the signal strength before any effects impact the overall gain structure. On the other hand, placing it last in the chain helps control the overall output volume, making it useful for final volume adjustments.

Where in the signal chain should you place a volume pedal?

The optimal placement depends on the effects you’re after. Putting a volume pedal before gain effects allows you to control the input level and prevent overloading. Placing it after gain effects lets you control the volume without affecting gain-based effects. Lastly, you can put it at the very end for overall output volume control.

What’s the difference between a volume and an expression pedal?

These two pedals serve distinct purposes. Volume pedals directly control the audio signal’s volume. On the other hand, expression pedals modify parameters of other effects, like delay time or modulation depth, without directly affecting the signal’s volume.


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