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BOSS Guitar Pedals for Beginners: Where to Start and What to Buy

For someone who has reached the point of investing in serious guitar equipment, the thought of buying pedals is about as appealing as staring at a plate full of sweets. The difficulty lies not with the act itself. But, in the decision-making that precedes it: Which pedals do I want? What do they do? How are they supposed to affect my sound? What makes these ones better than others?

Because there are so many different types, it can take time to figure out where to start. The following guide is designed for beginners trying to get started experimenting with guitar pedals. Focusing on the best pedals for beginners.

a close up image of a guitarist in black and white frame

BOSS Guitar Pedals for Beginners: Where to Start

The last decade has brought us some really excellent guitar pedals for beginners to use. Yet, sifting through all the information out there and making a decision about which pedals are actually worth your time can be difficult. Whether you're into metal, blues, or any other style, this article will help you figure out what you actually need.

How does the guitar pedal help guitars?

Guitar pedals are a versatile tool in the hands of any musician. They can help you experiment with sounds. Also, expand your musical creativity and that’s why guitar players love them so much. However, they might not be the right tool for every situation or skill level. So how exactly do guitar pedals help guitars?

Guitar pedals are used to change the guitar sound. Pedals can change the sound of a guitar without actually changing anything but the tone (ie: distortion). They can create sound from scratch by triggering the string to vibrate (ie: wah-wah, flanger, or phaser effects). Also, filter out certain frequencies (ie: a treble booster pedal). Add delay, echo, and reverb effects, alter volume or tempo, and many more things.

As you progress, you can upgrade these pedals. Or replaced which will improve tone and playability. Eventually, you may find that the pedals merely serve as a means to an end and that your main focus will be on the guitar and its accessories. At that point, you may end up doing all the customization yourself.

Is guitar pedals suitable for acoustic and bass guitars?

Guitar pedals help guitars in a lot of different ways. They provide you with more options to experiment with your sound when playing your music live or recording.

Guitar Pedals for Acoustic Guitars

Guitar pedals for acoustic guitars add effects to your guitar that can turn your acoustic into an electric instrument. It also turns your acoustic guitar into a more versatile instrument. It makes it possible for you to insert and adjust different sounds. Resulting in unique sounds, voices, or tones from your instrument. This can be done by manipulating an input tone, an output tone, or both.

BOSS Acoustic Guitar Pedals

Guitar Pedals for Bass Guitars

Many guitarists that play bass wonder if guitar pedals can be used with a bass guitar. The answer is yes, you're not crazy. But it depends on the pedal. Some pedals sound better with a bass than others, some pedals can even damage your amp or bass.

So how do you hook up a guitar pedal to a bass guitar? It's simple. There are two different types of pedals you can use with bass: true bypass and non-true bypass. True bypass pedals preserve the low frequencies, which is why they're most commonly used for bass guitars. Non-true bypass pedals act like any other effects pedal and cut the low-end frequencies of a bass signal.

BOSS Bass Stompboxes

Types of Guitar Pedals

There are essentially two types of guitar effects pedals, and these often form the core of a guitarist's debate. We’re going to take a look at what the benefits of each option are, and hopefully help you decide whether multi-effects or single pedals are best for you.

What are Single Effect Guitar Pedals?

Single-effect guitar pedals are one particular type of guitar pedal. Here, you’ll just get a single included effect. These types of pedals are great for those who just want a simple sound or to create some unique sounds. Each individual pedal has its own unique sound – they don’t clone the other effects.

They are notorious for being easy to use and not having too many controls, which is a good thing when you're learning how to play the guitar as it's not as confusing.

What are Multi-Effect Guitar Pedals?

Multi-effects pedals contain several different effects in one compact pedal. You just turn on/off the effect you want to use. Nowadays, multi-effects pedals are very advanced and can serve as a complete solution to your sound world. They can replicate sounds of other instruments or of an orchestral nature.

These are good if you play different genres and want a quick sound transformation. Multi-effects pedals are an affordable way to get a variety of effects in one convenient package.

BOSS Guitar Pedals for Beginners: What to Buy

BOSS has been a pioneer and innovator in the field of compact effects pedals since 1977.

1. Distortion / OverDrive / Fuzz

Obviously, pedals that emphasize picking dynamics tend to sound best for cleaner sounds.


The Distortion effect category consists of great-sounding pedals that take your guitar tone from tame to wild. Great for doling out heavy riffs, thick chords, and distorted leads. These pedals will certainly put a smile on your face.

They essentially are capable of creating any sound that a guitar is capable of producing.

Top BOSS Distortion Guitar Pedal: ML-2 Metal Core

BOSS ML-2 metal core product image

If you’re looking for a pedal that can create the kind of crushing sound used in many metal songs, look no further than the ML-2 Metal Core from BOSS. This pedal is truly like no other pedal on the market today — it easily delivers an extreme, heavy, and thick distortion tone that will cut through your band when you want it to. The ML-2 is capable of extremely light or heavy distortion so you can distort your guitar to sound like a tuned-down bass. You might be thinking that there are already a lot of distortion pedals out there which is true but, what really sets them apart is the flexibility in creating different tones at your fingertips with ease.

This one is for the metalheads. The massive, crushing gain of the ML-2 will help even a novice rock out to Metallica and give distortion pedals a new meaning for metal heads everywhere.


Overdrive pedals are designed to make your guitar sound “overdriven”, adding crunchy, distorted tones to your clean guitar sound. They work by being overloaded with a signal from your guitar, clipping the top and bottom of the waveform and causing distortion.

They also add extra tonal flexibility to an amp that might have limited tone options, and even just as a boost - turning a slightly driven amp into one that’s seriously on the edge of breakup.

Top BOSS Overdrive Guitar Pedal: BD-2 Blues Driver

BOSS BD-2 Blues Driver product image

The BOSS BD-2 Blues Driver has become extremely popular over the years thanks to its traditional warm overdrive sound and creamy distortion tones. Used regularly by both amateur and professional musicians alike as well as being one of the most successful guitar pedals ever made.

From crisp and clear blues tones to warm overdriven rock distortion, this pedal is the secret ingredient to hundreds of great guitarists' signature sounds.


Fuzz is a particularly intriguing form of overdrive/distortion pedal. Instead of simply amplifying the signal coming from your guitar, fuzz literally takes the signal and distorts it in several different ways.

Fuzz is often used for organ-type tones, heavy rhythm playing, or just to give a guitar a dirty sound.

Top BOSS Fuzz Guitar Pedal: FZ-5 Fuzz

BOSS FZ-5 Fuzz product image

Get ready with the bold, biting, and explosive FZ-5 fuzz effect pedal. It has a cutting-edge COSM technology to deliver the sharpest fuzz sounds in the range — from mild to wild and everything in between. This stompbox evokes the classic fuzz pedals of the ’60s and ’70s, but puts a fresh new spin on noise-making.

FZ-5 is probably the most modern pedal available that still sounds and looks like a vintage pedal. It's great for anyone who is looking for that classic fuzz, but doesn't want to carry around a pedal filled with old faulty chips from the 80s.

2. Delay/Reverb

Delay and Reverb effects are probably the most common sound design effects found in modern music production. Both effects are time-based so create an echo-type sound.


The delay pedal is an effects pedal that records a sound, and repeats it at a desired frequency and volume, with its value being controlled by the user. It adds a dimension to your sound that is almost like another instrument. It can really fill out the sound and provide some pretty cool effects like doubling your guitar lines.

It is not just a shorter version of the reverb, although it can be used in this way.

Top BOSS Delay Guitar Pedal: DD-8 Digital Delay

BOSS DD-8 Digital Delay product image

You don’t need an overdrive pedal to get your own speedy rock tone, but if you’re after a thicker sound, the BOSS DD-8 Digital Delay is ready to work for you. This delay has three types of sounds which include Analog, Tape and Vintage Digital. Each brings its own tone and sounds great on its own or layered with other pedals. You can also choose from eleven types of delay sounds including Modulate, Tape Echo, Looper and Reverse. You can also pick from five different modes including Auto Mode that lets you automatically select the mode based on the amount of time set in setting knob.


Reverb has been around for a long time. Ever since man invented musical instruments, we have been imitating the sounds of the natural world including our surroundings. The use of natural-sounding reverb is a key element in adding depth and realism to a recorded performance.

Reverb is an effect that adds "ambiance" or "spaciousness" to a recording.

Top BOSS Reverb Guitar Pedal: RV-6 Digital Reverb

BOSS RV-6 reverb product image

BOSS developed the RV-6 being very mindful of combining great sound quality with an extensive range of high-end reverb choices, as well as the ability to dial in a wide range of presets. Even if you're not a seasoned or experienced guitarist, it's easy to create fantastic soundscapes, even if you're just getting started.

RV-6 is an exception unleashing a myriad of natural-sounding "true" tones — from smooth ambiance to spacey swirls to richly textured modulated effects — and everything in between.

3. Tuners 

Did you know that your guitar is out of tune? It's not always easy to hear — especially if you're playing through a distortion pedal, or if you're trying to play faster than 300 beats per minute (BPM). But with the help of a guitar tuner pedal, you can keep your guitar in tune at all times.

Just plug into this tuner pedal and play your guitar. The tuner then displays the note so you can see it on the screen of the pedal. It's a lot easier than trying to figure out how to read a blank sheet of music.

Top BOSS Tuners Guitar Pedal: TU-3W Chromatic Tuner

BOSS TU-3W Chromatic Tuner product image

Let's face it, everyone hates tuning their guitar. That's why products like the BOSS TU-3W chromatic tuner were invented. This bright blue box is designed to make tuning your instrument faster & easier than ever before. The key difference between this tuner and others is that it provides extremely precise tuning for more accuracy when you're just learning how to play the instrument, or if you want a very tight and clean sound.

4. Chorus

Well, the chorus pedal is a doubler. It's a pedal that makes it sound like there are multiple instruments.

Unlike other modulation effects, a chorus pedal gives you full control over the effect as well as an additional dry tone signal. This makes for a very usable, versatile pedal. The pedal signal is mixed with your dry tone in your guitar chain, so there is no loss of volume when engaging the effect. The chorus is much more likely to be used than any other modulation effect because of this fact. 

Top BOSS Chorus Guitar Pedal: CH-1 Super Chorus

BOSS CH-1 Super Chorus product image

The BOSS CH-1 Super Chorus is a pedal that, in its own right, puts out one of the cleanest and most distinctive chorus sounds ranges with crystal clear highs and a BOSS stereo effect.

The handy EQ and Level knobs allow for precise shaping of sound. A handy Preset switch offers three different presets: "CC" (Chorus), "SB" (Small Stereo), and "LS" (Large Stereo).

5. Compression

If your guitar is too quiet, you lose tone and dynamic range. If it sounds too loud, you'll have to raise the volume of your amp and push the tubes harder, creating a harsher sound and possibly causing distortion. That's why compressors are important – they even out the playing dynamics so that you can play as softly or as loudly as you wish without overloading the amp or losing tone and dynamics.

If a guitarist played something in its lowest volume, a compressor helps to uplift the output to make it more clear. If you hit something very hard, it can soften the blow so it doesn't jump out of the mix.

Top BOSS Compression Guitar Pedal: CP-1X Compressor

BOSS CP-1X Compression product image

The latest pedal from BOSS is CP-1X Compressor. This pedal delivers improved response time and accuracy in detecting rhythmic peaks while preserving sustain and maintaining natural decay. It will help you get your tone consistent every performance, even between venues with varying acoustic characteristics.

BOSS Guitar Pedals for Beginners: Conclusion

The inclusion of guitar pedals in a guitarist's effects chain is entirely up to the user. No 'standard' rules say you need X number of pedals before you start. If you have a pedal board, there's an excellent chance that you are running a few more pedals than required, and if you don't have a pedal board, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about and why people spend so much on them. The answer is simple: it enhances the experience of playing your instrument.

So, what are the best guitar pedals for beginners? Well, they're ones you will enjoy using, and which will suit what it is you're trying to do. After all, it's possible you may only want to use one particular effect at a time; so if that's the case, getting an all-in-one isn't going to help. Likewise, there will come a time when it's better to get a small pedalboard with individual pedals rather than lay everything out on a tabletop.

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