Best volume pedal for guitar

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Everyone who plays the electro or bass guitar wants it to sound in some extraordinary way, and wants to make up some new sound, so the best way to make your instrument sound special is pedal. The problem is that today we’ve got a lot of different types of pedals, some of them may be suitable for aspiring guitarists, others may have particular effects, and it’s really hard to choose the right one. Our review on the best volume pedals for guitar can help you to understand which is worth buying . In order to make the selection process easier, we have prepared a comparative table with the main parameters.

Comparison table

SONICAKE VolWah BOSS FV-500H Ernie Ball VP Jr. P06180 Donner 2 in 1 Vowel Behringer FCV100
Pressing range  Short Long Long Short Long
Material Plastic Aluminum Aluminum  Plastic Aluminum

Guitar pedals are a great way to create interesting effects and spice up your playing! We take a look at the best stompboxes that will make your experience with the guitar much more exciting.

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SONICAKE VolWah – Two Modes in One Device

Casing

One of the smallest pedals from our review. The wah part of “VolWah” is going after the iconic “Crybaby” – vintage wah sound, which is very dynamic and responsive, employed widely by guitarists from all genres. This pedal appears to be the best pick if you are looking for something compact. It is almost half-size of Crybaby, so it would be totally suitable for any pedalboard.

Specifications

A distinctive feature of “Sonicake VolWah” is the presence of two mods: “Volume” mode and “Wah” mode. In “Volume” mode, the guitarist can control the volume of the output signal. The “Wah” mode adds a “Wah” effect to the guitar sound. Switching between modes is carried out by fully pressing the footswitch until it clicks. Two LED lights at the bottom of “VolWah” indicate the mode. Green LED means that the pedal is in “Volume” mode. Red indication means that the “Wah” mode is on. It’s a fully analog pedal with active power control onboard. To make “Sonicake VolWah” work, a 9V DC adapter is needed.  “Sonicake VolWah” is made of impact resistant plastic. Despite the weight of this pedal it’s totally well-built, because the quality of materials is on the highest level. 

Recommendations

VolWah has its beautiful analog sound, it is really easy to use. Price-quality ratio works perfect for “Sonicake VolWah”. But it’s not just about the big bang for your buck, because most owners are happy, if not impressed, with its overall performance and quality. Many have appreciated the “wah” mode. Which is more important, it does it all while maintaining a compact casing that many consider to be ideal for their pedalboards. But small size means small pressing range which entails less volume control. In addition, the small size makes the pedal more difficult to use. LED indication has some peculiarities. The fact is that the indicators themselves are located under the surface of the pedal and if you look down at the pedal, it is difficult to understand which mode is on. This pedal is recommended for those who want to find something small and light for a reasonable price.

Positive
  • small size
  • 2 modes
  • LED indication
  • analog sound
  • active power control
Negatives
  • LED indications under the pedal
  • short pressing range
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BOSS FV-500H – Best All-Arounder and Completely Autonomy Pedal

Casing

If the “Boss” company produces something, it does it good. “BOSS FV-500H” is not an exception. The pedal is made of durable, thick aluminum.  It was built to be stepped on over and over again. Also it features rubber grips that help to keep your feet from slipping off and make for a more comfortable playing experience.

Features

“BOSS FV-500H” provides two operating modes. It can be used both as volume and expression pedal. When the pedal is plugged in between a guitar and an amplifier rocking the footswitch back and forth will raise and lower the volume of the guitar. A distinctive feature of the “BOSS FV-500H” is the presence of two options. They can be found on the side part of the pedal. The first option is output which is provided to connect the FB-508 directly to a guitar tuner. Also, thanks to the “Minimum Volume” control, you can set any minimum volume level, which is convenient for choosing two different volume modes and smooth transition between them. Another feature is the presence of a special screw that controls the hardness of the pedal stroke. And the most convenient option is no need for a power adapter or battery. The pedal works completely autonomously.

Specifications

“BOSS FV-500H” has all the essential features you would expect from a good volume pedal. A wide pressure surface with a large pressing range is available. As for the connection methods, everything is standard here: 1 INPUT and 1 OUTPUT with 1/4″ Jack on the front side. “BOSS FV-500H” works in “mono”. On the front panel there is also an “expression” input.

Recommendations

“BOSS FV-500H” is strongly recommended for both aspiring and professional guitarists because it is one of the best volume pedals on market. It has really high quality sound with fantastic casing. This pedal also has its own features such as expression, volume control and no need in power supply. Build quality can be reliable, but it also delivers smooth and accurate performance, which is a big deal. The manufacturer decided to add rubber to the pedal to keep the player’s foot firmly on the device while performing. And this feature makes the playing proces comfortable. The price is acceptable within the bounds of the high end products.

Positive
  • strong aluminium casing
  • tuner input
  • “Minimum Volume” control
  • hardness of the pedal stroke control
  • no need for a power supply
Negatives
  • heavy enough
  • takes up a lot of space
  • not a cheap device
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Ernie Ball VP Jr. P06180 250K – Compact Design and Two Distinct Volume Swell Rates

Casing

“Ernie Ball VP Jr.” is made of durable aluminum. It has a tight long-lasting kevlar cable that transmits footswitch progression to the controls and it’s attached by stainless steel springs.  The footswitch surface is big enough for comfortable use. Moreover, the large center shaft diameter and also the strength factor creates a broader stress bearing surface and the shafts are designed to give the guitarist an indefinite service life. The deck mat of non-slip material is impervious to oil, alcohol and most things that you might spill on it. It is equipped with a quick disconnect wiring harness allowing for changing the pot without soldering.

Features

“Ernie Ball VP Jr.” is another passive volume control pedal which has all the important advantages of the “BOSS FV-500H”. It has a 250K ohm resistance suitable for the audio path of passive instruments. Behind the jack area, under the footplate there is a micro taper switch which provides a useful option –  two distinct volume swell rates. On the second setting the  swell starts off a little bit slow and  then accelerates towards the end.

Also it offers a tuner output which is provided and allows for silent tuning when the footswitch is in a heel down position. No need for a power supply.

Recommendations

“Ernie Ball VP Jr.”  pedal is worth buying because it is a really good volume pedal with its own advantages and features. Two distinct volume swell rates. The material is pretty good, the sound is also fine, so this one item  totally deserves your attention. Two volume swell rates allow you to fine tune the pedal. The size of the pedal allows you to freely transport the device on any pedalboard. The deck mat of non-slip material and aluminium casing prolong exploitation life. All these characteristics make this pedal suitable for professional musicians who perform frequently in concerts and go on tours. 

Positive
  • strong aluminium casing
  • tuner input
  • 2 volume swell rates
  • wear-resistant pedal material
  • convenient size for pedalboard
  • passive mode
Negatives
  • no LED indication
  • few options
  • unimpressive appearance
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Donner 2 in 1 Vowel – Mini Active Wah effect Pedal

Casing

“Donner 2 in 1 Vowel” belongs to the category of compact devices. The front of the footswitch is split in two parts. Each part has a rubber pad. LED indicators and a mode switch are located under the surface of the footswitch. On the side parts there are one INPUT and one OUTPUT for 1/4 “Jack and 9V DC INPUT. The material of the pedal is plastic.

Features

“Donner 2 in 1 Vowel” is very similar in characteristics and appearance to “SONICAKE VolWah”. But there are still differences. This is a two mode pedal with “Volume” and “Wah” modes onboard. As with the use of “SONICAKE VolWah” you change modes just by clicking the footswitch down and then it will go between either a volume mode or a wah pedal. The cool thing about “Donner 2 in 1 Vowel” is that if you change modes you generally push the footswitch down, so if you go to volume mode from wah mode and you switch it down, then you get your full volume, and as soon as you stop bringing the pedal up you start to bring the volume down. It runs on 9 volts, so it’s really simple to use and it sounds great as well.

Recommendations

“Donner 2 in 1 Vowel” appears to be a really interesting choice for aspiring guitarists. It provides two modes, which are really easy to switch. The sound is pretty clear. Despite the fact that it is made of plastic, it’s well-built. The button push strength is excellent. The disadvantages include the small size of the footswitch and the case made of plastic. The short pressing range is also a weakness.

Positive
  • small size
  • 2 modes
  • LED indication
  • analog sound
  • active power control
Negatives
  • small size
  • LED indications under the pedal
  • short pressing range
  • plastic casing
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Behringer FCV100 – Pedal for Volume and Modulation

Casing

“Behringer FCV100” is a universal volume pedal. It can be used with anything that accepts jack and makes sound. High-quality materials and components were used in the construction. All of them are durable. Pretty much the whole pedalis made of high-density strong plastic and covered in non-slip rubbery coating. Even though it’s plastic it does seem quite sturdy, it’s certainly not going to slip off your pedal board.

Features

The Behringer company is a German manufacturer of sound equipment. The advantage of the company’s products is the low price. Sometimes the quality of the equipment suffers because of the low price. But in the case of the “Behringer FCV100” this did not happen. “Behringer FCV100” used it to control guitars and keyboards. The pedal has two modes: “CV” mode and “normal” mode. In “CV” mode “Behringer FCV100” acts as a modulation control pedal or an expression pedal, so you can control other effects with it. “Normal” mode means you can plug up to two instruments in and have two instruments coming out. “CV” operates in stereo, and “Normal”  operates in stereo. The minimum volume level can be adjusted using the dedicated controller on the left side of the pedal. Powered by battery or 9V DC adapter. Traditionally, the power adapter is sold separately. There is a battery charge indicator on the pedal body, which is very convenient. The pressing range is really long. This will allow you to control the volume more precisely.

Recommendations

The pedal is strong and sturdy, it seems that it will last for years. It is beautiful, bulky, but the mechanism seems to be plastic and has a little roughness. There is a clear “dead zone” that you will feel when you switch direction on the pedals. It’s not hard to get used to, but this might not be your cup of tea. Some reviews report problems after a period of usage.

Positive
  • two modes
  • work both in stereo and mono
  • batterу indication
  • minimum volume level control
  • long pressing range
Negatives
  • problems after a period of time reported
  • poore functionality
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Buyer’s Guide

Pressing Range

Among guitar effect pedals, the most popular is the guitar volume pedal. Its purpose is to increase or decrease the volume of the musical instrument signal. Hence the main characteristic of volume pedals – pressing range. The longer the pressing range, the more varied sound you can achieve.

Minimum Volume

Volume pedal is a type of floor pedal with gain effect. With it, you can control the volume while performing a song. When fully unfolded, the guitar sound sounds at minimum volume or does not sound at all. When fully depressed, the sound is on one hundred percent level. Hence another important option follows – “minimum volume”. It can be used to adjust the minimum volume level of the pedal when fully extended. This greatly improves the user experience.

“Wah” effect

The “Wah” effect makes the volume pedal emit croaking sounds. The “Wah” effect is not among the most popular effects among guitarists, but if you need it, you should pay attention to its presence or absence.

Other uses

Volume pedal can also be used for utilitarian purposes. For example, turn off the instrument for the duration of a vocal part, and turn it on for a solo intro. The rest of the options are optional and are selected based on the style and genre of music.

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Conclusion

If you are looking for something cheap and utilitarian, then “SONICAKE VolWah” appears to be the best choice. It has small casing, but rich functionality and “wah” mode as a bonus. The best pick for aspiring musicians looking for their own sound. For more pretentious guitarists “BOSS FV-500H” exists. Nothing unnecessary and everything is there that you need. This pedal will last a long time. If you didn’t like any of these two options, pay attention to the rest. The rest of the three pedals are a compromise between the leaders and are good in their own way.

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FAQ

Whether or not the power adapter is included in “SONICAKE VolWah” packaging?

Unfortunately, owners need to find power adapters for “Sonicake VolWah” independently. Power adapter is not included. 

Does “SONICAKE VolWah” works well with acoustic guitar or bass?

“Sonicake VolWah” made for use with any musical instrument that equipped with a sound pickup. Therefore, yes. It can be used when playing acoustic guitar or bass guitar.

Is BOSS FV-500H an active or passive volume pedal?

It’s a passive volume pedal

What is the difference between FV-500H and FV-500L?

The difference lies in the purpose. The H version is a MONO volume pedal, which is proposed for guitars. The L version is a STEREO volume pedal suited for keyboards, mixers etc.

Does “Ernie Ball VP Jr.” pedal need a battery or power supply?

No. It’s a passive pedal, so it doesn’t need any power supply

Is Behringer FCV100 going to work as an expressive pedal without battery or DC?

Yes, it is going to work without battery or DC. But you will need a special cable to do this.

Does “SONICAKE VolWah” make an extra noisy or it sounds without interference?

“SONICAKE VolWah” sounds great in “Volume” mode. As for the “Wah” mode, some owners report on the web that the guitar sounds noisy. If you listen to “SONICAKE VolWah” live or on Youtube, then the sound in “Wah” mode does not cause any complaints.

What happens if simultaneously turn on the “SONICAKE VolWah” in the “Wah” mode and the “Fuzz” effect?

In this case, “Wah” mode from “SONICAKE VolWah” wouldn’t affect sound.

Can the BOSS FV-500H boost the volume of a guitar by connecting it to an amp?

Unfortunately this is not possible. In the fully released state – the maximum volume – you get a sound that corresponds in volume to the volume of the guitar directly connected to the amplifier.

How can I use BOSS FV-500H in expression mode?

To do this, you need to connect your instrument in a special INPUT labeled “EXP”. This requires a standard 1/4 ” stereo jack. They are also called “TRS cables”.

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