Cheap guitar pedals are very underestimated indeed. You love guitar pedals but don’t want to spend a fortune on a nice shiny boutique pedal. At least, not now.
You probably think that there’s a correlation between the price of guitar gear and the quality of its sound: the more expensive the pedal, amp, or guitar, the better the sound you’ll obtain with it. Although this might be true sometimes, you can find great deals and awesome sound without breaking the bank.
What about expending no more than $70 on the next purchase for your stompbox collection?
Here you have my 10 favorite cheap guitar pedals under $70
Be aware that these best cheap guitar pedals are not unbranded, unknown and crapy imitations. Take the Pro Co Rat2 as an example, one of the most iconic distortion pedals, used by many of the greatest guitarists of all time.
Pro Co Rat2
Pro Co Rat2 is the current production model of the legendary Pro Co Rat distortion pedal, firstly introduced in 1988.
It is one of my favorite distortion pedals and has been used by all kinds of guitarists. From David Gilmour to John Scofield, James Hetfield, and Kurt Cobain (and the list goes on and on…), which gives you an idea about its versatility.
You can obtain a wide range of tones, from bluesy overdriven sounds to heavy distortions. You can even use it as a fuzz pedal if you drive it with a booster pedal at its input.
It is built like a tank (is a heavy pedal) and very simple to use: It has three controls:
- Distortion, to control the amount of distortion of the pedal
- The filter knob is not a simple tone control; it is awesome to shape your sound. If you turn it clockwise, it darkens your tone. Turn it fully counterclockwise, and you’ll get heavier sounds.
- Finally, the Volume knob controls the output level of the pedal.
Like most stompboxes, it requires a standard voltage supply of 9V, and it is a true bypass.
Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive
The Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive is another cheap guitar pedal that has been on the pedalboards of many pro guitarists such as Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen since the early eighties.
Thanks to its asymmetrical clipping, it recreates the sound of an overdriven tube amplifier.
A great feature of this pedal is that it is quite transparent, meaning that you are able to notice the guitar.
Like most overdrive pedals, it has three control Knobs: level, tone, and drive.
- The Level knob sets the level of the output signal. It is great to play with to drive harder another distortion pedal after it without changing the texture of the sound very much.
- Tone acts as a tone control. This knob is very dangerous because it can ruin the sound of the pedal. However, it has some sweet spots: at noon, it will respect the tone of the amplifier. Counter clockwise, it will darken the sound (it can be very cool, though). Clockwise it will bring brighter tones, cutting out bass and making the signal less dynamic.
- The drive sets the amount of distortion. This control is great, as it provides very cool possibilities:
- Thickening the sound of another (previous) distortion pedal (or the sound coming from the distortion channel of the amp). If you set the knob from 1 o’clock, you’ll get great crunchy sounds from it.
- Booster. This pedal is great for driving another distortion pedal after it (or the distortion channel of the amp). Try it: you’ll notice that your rock sound will be better. Much better. As simple as that.
The required power supply is the standard 9V, and it is not a true bypass, which may bother you if you cascade a few other pedals with it.
I absolutely love the Micro series of Mooer pedals. They are small, you have a wide selection of pedals to choose from, they look nice, and they sound awesome. And, if you are looking for cheap guitar gear, you should check them out.
In the Mooer ShimVerb, the Room mode sounds warm and feels analog. You can set small studio-like reverbs or bigger hall ambiances. On the other hand, I love the heavenly sweet sounds that the Shimmer gives you by adding a 5th.
However, the Spring reverb doesn’t sound as realistic as it does in other spring reverb pedals. It feels a little digital. One thing that I noticed is that the output volume is kind of reduced when using this pedal, so better use a boost in front of it.
This pedal has three knobs (Level, Color, and Decay), a small switch for changing the type of the reverb (Room, Spring, Shimmer), and a single stomp switch (true bypass) to activate the pedal. This is how the knobs of the pedal work:
- Level controls the amount of reverb that will add to the dry sound.
- Color changes the tone of the reverb by taking over high frequencies
- Decay will adjust the length of the reverb.
This pedal is powered via a 9V negative power supply. Even though Mooer says that the pedal requires 128mA of current to operate, I’ve read some reviews saying that the Shimverb only draws 10mA, which will allow you to daisy chain a lot of these pedals with a standard power supply.
TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster
As a guitar player, you MUST own a booster pedal, mainly because of these two features:
It provides a volume boost when you need it, for example, in a solo.
It boosts the signal, so it drives the amplifier (or the next gain pedal) with a higher level, making it sound simply better.
The TC Electronic Spark Mini is very simple: just a level knob to adjust the boost in the signal. But it includes another great feature: if you press the stomp switch (true bypass) for more than one second, it acts as a momentary switch, allowing you to boost just what you need.
Watch this video by TC Electronic explaining the features of the pedal.
Electro-Harmonix Satisfaction Fuzz
Ok, the Electro Harmonix Satisfaction Fuzz is not a versatile pedal.
It does a single thing: to recreate the classic fuzz tones of the late sixties and early seventies. And it does it great!!
Now, look at its name. Sounds familiar? Yes, you’ll be able to recreate one of the most iconic riffs of all time with the EHX Satisfaction Fuzz.
Now the controls of this pedal are very simple: Volume and Attack.
- The attack is basically the amount of fuzz.
- Volume sets the level at the output. At 12 o’clock is unity gain, so the volume won’t be altered when switching the pedal on and off.
It is also powered at 9V and is a true bypass.
There is another version of this pedal, modified by JHS pedals. As said by JHS pedals, it includes a new three-position “voice” toggle on the left side of the pedal, which gives you three eq choices.
In the middle position, you have the stock “Bright” voice.
In the down position, you have the “Mids” voice. It has a nice mid-punch that is just bright enough but also has somebody to it. Great for rhythm riffs and chords.
In the up position, you have the “Bass” voice for the most low end. Huge chords, full riffs, and overall the most powerful setting.
All of these voices interplay with the stock “Attack” knob and the newly added “Saturation” control on the right side. The “Saturation” control lets you fine-tune the dirt structure of the circuit and allows for the pedal to interchange as a boost pedal, overdrive pedal, distortion pedal, or the originally intended Fuzz box that it is.
You can see the difference in the following video.
Awesome!!! However, it doesn’t fit in the cheap guitar pedals list under $70.
Valeton Comprince Vintage Compressor
I absolutely love Valeton Coral Series guitar pedals. They are small, cheap, and sound pretty nice. The Compliance Vintage Compressor is a great (and cheap) sounding pedal.
If you don’t have a compressor pedal yet, you should definitely get one, and this could be a good candidate.
As you may know, compressor pedals compress the input signal by smoothing the attack of the note and sustaining its decay, reducing the dynamic range of the input signal. This way, the sound of the guitar becomes a little thicker.
The Valeton Comprince comes in small size and features four control knobs:
- Output controls the output volume.
- Sustain controls the threshold of compression and boosts the decay of the sound.
- The tone changes the brightness.
- Attack sets the attack time.
As you can see in the videos below, it sounds great: its sound is based on vintage studio rack-mount compressor equipment. The signal path is fully analog, and the stomp switch is a true bypass. However, the pedal can be a little noisy if you turn the sustain knob fully clockwise.
In any case, the results you’ll obtain with this pedal are great for the money you’ll spend. It is definitely one of the best value basic pedals you can add to your pedalboard.
Electro-Harmonix Nano Double Muff
The Muff fuzz by Electro-Harmonix is, by no means, one of the most iconic dirty distortion pedals of all time. It is responsible, among many others, for the distorted sound of David Gilmour.
Like the solo of Comfortably Numb? That is a Big Muff.
The Electro Harmonix Nano Double Muff Fuzz/Overdrive includes 2 Muff fuzzes cascaded in series. You can use just one of them for a creamy overdrive sound and the two of them for (you know) dirty distortion.
The controls are very simple: Just one switch to select only one Muff of the two of them and two knobs, one for each Muff, to add distortion.
As said by the people of Electro Harmonix:
We paired two of these together in one box to create the Double Muff. Use just one Muff for a hint of milky distortion, or cascade the second Muff for over-the-top overdrive that turns the milk into cream. Two distortions in one!
TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion
This great pedal also tries to emulate a cranked tube amp, from just a bit overdriven tone up to very, very (very) crunchy sounds.
One thing that I love about the TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion is its dynamic range. It doesn’t compress the sound as many other distortion pedals do. Instead, you will get a wide variety of sounds with the same settings, just attacking the strings of the guitar differently.
The pedal is 9V voltage powered, is true bypass, and features four control knobs:
- Gain lets you vary the amount of distortion
- Level sets the output level
- Bass allows you either cut back or boost the bass frequencies independently
- Treble does the same as Bass knob for higher frequencies
It also includes a switch to toggle between two different voices, changing the overall sound of the effect.
You better check out this video by TC Electronics to see what this pedal is capable of.
For cheap guitar pedals for less than $60, I wouldn’t think even more. Just go to Amazon and check it out!!!
Mooer MTU1 Baby Tuner
I have only used reverb pedals from Mooer. In fact, one of them (Shimverb) is also on this list.
I bumped into the Mooer MTU1 Baby Tuner when I was looking for a small cheap tuner pedal that I could always bring with me in the backpack or the guitar’s soft bag.
The TC Electronic Polytune 2 Mini is a great pedal but more expensive than the Mooer (ok, it is also better, but I already have a Polytune on the pedalboard.
The Mooer MTU1 just does the job. It bypasses the sound when tuning, and the sound is not altered at all when the pedal is not in use (true bypass).
I’ve also tried with the bass, and it works great too. It is fast, and the lights are pretty good.
DOD Phasor 201 Analog Phaser
I’m a big fan of classic phasers, mainly because of the guitar sound of “The dark side of the moon” album. It is the third reference to David Gilmour in this post already.
My favorite phaser is the MXR phase 90. Simple sounds great. But it doesn’t fit into this list, as it’s a little more expensive than $70.
But here, there is the DOD Phasor 201. The same simple control as the MXR (Speed) and a pretty similar sound. Both speed and phase depth are controlled simultaneously. Although it may look too simple, it gives you a great variety of sounds, with either clean or dirty sounds.
It was one of the first compact phaser pedals ever made (it’s been around for nearly 40 years) and was reissued in 2013 with a couple of improvements: aluminum chassis, true bypass, flashy blue LED, and 9V power supply (battery or DC). It also doesn’t boost the sound when switching it on, which is great.
What do you think about these best pedals? Do you have any other favorite cheap guitar pedal that is not featured in this list?