Wednesday Question: Best Guitar Effect Pedals?

Vote for the best-sounding and most influential guitar pedals in history with our latest weekly poll.

Ultimate Guitar

Our weekly polls celebrate the best in music - but there's one important category that often goes unnoticed.

Over the decades, guitar effects pedals have been the unsung heroes of rock music, giving musicians the power to radically change their tone and style with the flick of a switch. They can provide subtle changes, prompt an intense quiet-to-loud dynamic shift, or enable wild chains of spaced-out effects with sounds from another dimension.

This week's question is:

What are the best guitar pedals in history?

Read into that however you like. You might nominate pedals that you personally think sound best, or you might consider ones that helped define genres and had an important role in music history. Perhaps you want to celebrate the very best distortion, or the most popular delay unit. It would be great if niche pedal suppliers

Nominate whatever you like, and if the crowd agrees with you, they'll vote for it. Hopefully the results will average out and we're left with a really killer top 10 of the greatest pedals of all time.

Post one nomination per comment, and upvote any posts that you agree with. It will help a lot of you post YouTube demos of the pedals in action, and if you make your own, we might include it in the final roundup. We'll collect your answers and post the results on Friday.

321 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Big Muff
    Which one? There are several versions. My favorite is the rams head.
    Such a great pedal. Probably one of my favorite pedals on my pedal board.
    My bicycle pedal. It always pushes me forward.
    Crybaby, it's an iconic pedal that made riffs and solos sound even better. Like Voodoo Child.
    The crybaby is on purple haze but hendrix actually used the Vox V846 on Voodoo Child. They're both pretty similar, great sounding pedals but my vote goes to the Vox
    If I recall correctly they were the exact same it was just a licensing issue that kept them from using the same name because of where they were produced or distributed.
    The crybaby is the father of all effects pedals. Any guitarist without it in their arsenal is pretty much unarmed. >.
    I use the Bass Crybaby for my guitar, hoooolllllyyy Jesus does it sound sweet as hell
    Agreed, but if Slayer's God Hates Us All taught me anything, it's maybe you shouldn't over use the Crybaby (by the way, I ****ing love Slayer)
    I'd have to go with the original Ibanez Tube Screamer. By far the best overdrive pedal out there.
    I hear the Fulltone OCD pedal very much rivals the Tube Screamer. Can somebody give some advice for which pedal to get and why (or any other overdrive/distortion pedal and why...oh and take price into account too, because that's a factor for me to a certain extent)
    MXR Distortion+ I can't go a day without it.
    Way Cool JR.
    (MXR Distortion +) Considering Randy Rhoads said The MXR Distortion Plus is the only gadget I use a lot. And the Distortion plus also helped shape the sound of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. It is by far one of the greatest/iconic Overdrive pedals made since the 70s. +1 to the Distortion Plus
    I don't get why people don't seem to like it! Sure it's not as versatile as say a Tube Screamer or a big muff but it's relatively cheap with a great sound.
    Digitech Whammy was pretty iconic, and the first pitch shifting pedal. Besides, Jack White is a boss
    I think the Tube Screamer is the most well known effect but definitely no where near the best overdrive pedal out. I can name several better options without thinking, though credit where it is due the TS808 did spawn many of the better quality and sounding overdrive pedals of our lifetime alone.
    Idk why but I love pushing octaves with my DigiTech Whammy lol.
    If there's one pedal that has changed the way I create music, it's the Digitech Whammy.
    link no1
    I got one for christmas, my favorite pedal by far. Can't imagine not having it now xD I would also throw a vote to the Crybaby wah. The crybaby in particular because it's just iconic, the wah because well, every guitarist I know owns some kind of wah.
    Funny thing is I rarely use the actual whammy effect on mine. I have the DT model so I use it for downtuning ALL the time.
    any talk box
    anyone know where i can test out talk boxes?
    You generally can't. They're kind of a personal product seeing as the tube you use to work it goes in your mouth. But I have a Rocktron Banshee talkbox and it sounds really nice! Truth be told, It's probably among the best you can get, unless you have a proffesional grade rig. Because then you'd want the Dunlop Heli which requires a PA monitor, separate amp heads for the talk box (I think) and you run the risk of blowing up your amp. Oh, and you'd need to be as good as Peter Frampton! Lol
    MXR Carbon Copy. Nothing better than annoying the crap out of your neighbors with crazy oscillation.
    I love making the sound of the Starship Enterprise with that thing. One of the best delay pedals around.
    I just ****ing love that pedal, absolutely amazing smooth natural sounding analogue delay, simple to use, and I could probably spend all day on that pedal making wind/screeching alien noises on that thing.
    The employees at Guitar Center hate me i've played around with it so much. I'll be getting my own soon.
    Now this is a poll that is actually worth having. I'll be interested to see what the results are.
    The Electro Harmonix Small Stone Phaser definitely deserves a spot on that list. Example song: "Paranoid Android" by Radiohead, and basically anything by Tame Impala.
    That was the 1st effect pedal I bought back in 1977. When I'd kick in the other guys in the band would say, "oh no, he's going underwater again"
    Empress Superdelay
    nice to see at least a few people are getting creative with their answers rather than parroting the typical 'big muff' or 'fuzz factory' or 'ds-2'answers like most people
    I'm intrigued by this pedal. Reminds me of something I've tried on Guitar Rig. Good post!
    Its the tube screamer. Yes the cry baby is iconic, yet the tubescreamer is the essential "lets tighten that tone" for the solo sound.
    Any sort of treble booster really, they turned any ac30 into the roaring beast as we know them today e.g Brian May, Rory Gallagher