How To Choose The Best Guitar Volume Pedal For You (Part 1 Of 5)

Like many musicians before you, you are starting to get sick of continually twisting that blasted volume knob on your guitar for volume swells and fade-ins etc.

It's time for a guitar volume pedal, and you know it!

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Morley Volume Plus Pedal

It's just a silly volume pedal, so it should be really simple, right?

Well you would be surprised at the quality shift you can find between different types and brands of volume pedals, which is something I’m going to explore in this article so you can make an informed decision while buying your pedal.

What Categories of Volume Pedal to Look Out For

There are a few main things that you need to look out for when choosing your volume pedal. Each different feature will affect the way your pedal works, sounds, and how long it will last before wearing out.

The main features that vary from pedal-to-pedal are:

  • Pots (Potentiometers) or Electro-Optical Circuits?
  • Stereo Or Mono?
  • A Minimum Volume, or No Minimum Volume?
  • Powered Pedal or Non-Powered?

These are the main things that you need to consider when choosing which pedal you would like to purchase.

Pots or Electro-Optical?

A pedal that uses a potentiometer (pots) to control the volume of your guitar is more likely to wear out.

Yes...Made of Pots...

What happens is the Pots get worn out, and then they start to get scratchy and make some pretty irritating noise when you are trying to control your volume.

The upside of the Pots is that they are common. You will find them in almost every volume pedal out there.

The advantage of the Electro-Optical Circuit is that it doesn’t wear out. That is because there are no moving parts in it. The Optical Circuit just uses optical technology to read the position you have put the pedal in, rather than an analog connector.

The disadvantage of the Electro-Optical Circuit is that only 1 brand makes them: Morley.

Of course, Morley is a really great brand and is one that I am going to recommend later on in this article, but the fact that only 1 brand uses this technology is a disadvantage, because you don’t really get the opportunity to “shop around” when looking for them…not that you would need to.

Stereo or Mono

Well this one is basically up to you.

If you choose to have 2 Inputs/Outputs (Stereo), then you have the option of plugging in up to 2 instruments into your pedal. You are probably already aware of the types of possibilities that it opens up for you.

As well, it gives you the opportunity to output your signal to more than one amplifier. If you do this, you now have the ability to create a “stereo” setting, which can be very useful for you if you are playing with different effects.

Some Guitar Volume pedals even give you the option to use your Stereo Guitar Volume Pedal as a pan, to pan the mix of your signal between two amps. Doing this can allow you to make some pretty wicked tones as you shoot your amp sound from one side of the stage to the other.

So if this is the case, why doesn’t everyone just get the Stereo Version?

Well the #1 reason is…the price! The stereo version will most certainly cost you more money than the Mono Version.

As well, if you are going to try the Electro-Optical Circuit, then you won’t be able to get a Stereo Version (Morley only has the mono channel versions). So that is another reason you might not be able to get one.

But if the money doesn’t matter to you (they are almost twice the price), and you don’t mind using a pedal with Pots, then you can try using the stereo version instead.

Part 2 talks about Minimum Volumes, powered or non-powered pedals, and what special power adapter you can use to power multiple pedals at once with!

Go To Part 2

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