At BeginnerGuitarHQ, it’s our mission to teach you how to play the guitar as well as possible. Once we’ve done that, we want to help you craft the best tone possible. Whether it’s in the studio, on stage, or just for practice, we can offer you a guide to the best guitars, amps and pedals out there to impact every single nuance of your sound.
In this important guide, I’ll talk you through the 10 best EQ pedals on the market today and which one will be right for your needs.
If you’re looking to get yourself an EQ pedal, then look no further.
First Things First
EQ is an important part of any guitarist’s setup. It might not seem like much, but when crafting the perfect tone, filtering out (or boosting up) certain frequencies can make an incredible difference.
EQ stands for equalisation, which is essentially the process of deciding how loud each frequency can be heard in your sound. The very bottom end of the human hearing range is 20Hz, while the top end is around 20,000Hx (AKA 20kHz).
The bottom end is where bass sounds come from, with the very lowest creating that sub-bass boom. Filtering that out will reduce the muddiness of your sound, but could also thin it out somewhat. The middle of the spectrum is often considered the weakest. If you were to boost the middle significantly, you’d end up with a sound described as the ‘telephone effect’ because it sounds like your guitar is playing through a phone. This isn’t pleasant, but can have a nice creative impact. The higher end of the spectrum adds presence which allows a sound to cut through the rest of a mix. However, overdoing it may thin out the tone, making it too tinny.
The reasons behind actually getting an EQ pedal can vary. You may simply want it to emphasise a certain tone. For example, activating that telephone effect mentioned above, or giving a quick brightness boost to help a solo pierce the texture. It could also be used to filter out a problematic frequency that resonates with a snare drum, or some inconvenient noise coming from a different pedal you use.
Remember that an EQ pedal shouldn’t replace the EQ available to you in a studio. If you want an analogue EQ, then possibly, but if you’re replacing digital with digital, then the studio is your friend. Having access to the visual, far more detailed EQ plugins that have specific types of EQ to play with is almost always going to be better for your sound as a whole.
Donner EQ Seeker Effect Pedal 10-Band EQ Guitar Effects Pedal
The first thing to note about the Donner EQ Seeker is that it is an analogue device. You’re having your guitar signal treated by a physical pedal that can draw on all of that real-life warmth, rather than imitating it digitally.
The second thing to point out is its design. It might not look like much, but goodness me it’s easy to use. As you can see, it has a slider that very clearly shows you which area of the frequency spectrum is being impacted, and you can influence each one with as much detail as you like. On top of that, there is an actual output level that can be adjusted, which could effectively turn this pedal into a boost pedal at the push of a button. Speaking of a button, that stompable pedal on the right hand side is a true bypass.
In terms of sound, you’re getting something that does exactly what it says on the tin. It isn’t interfering with your guitar tone in any way other than through EQ. It doesn’t try to add overdrive or anything fancy, and, most importantly, it doesn’t make itself ‘perfect for guitars’. This pedal could be used in conjunction with any instrument, and its solid aluminium alloy build makes it strong enough to take on tour.
BOSS GE-7 7-Band EQ Pedal
The Boss stamp should already be giving you all the information you need about this pedal. It’ll always be reliable, easy to use, and provide a beautiful sound at an affordable price. The actual look of this pedal isn’t quite as satisfying and simple as the Donner above, but that allows it to be smaller; perfect for live performance.
Again, you’ve got access to sliders that control the amount you want to boost each frequency band, as well as an overall level that can allow the pedal to be used as a booster if you wanted. Where exactly the boost is happening is a little less clear than the Donner as it just specifies a single number (100, 3.2k etc.) rather than a range, but this is fine as long as you aren’t looking to get too specific.
In terms of tone, it beats the Donner hands down, as you may have expected. Its design allows you to craft your sound exactly as you want it without having to rely on anyone else. You can very quickly find out the source of an annoying noise and cut it, or just as easily work out exactly the pocket you need to fill to really cut through for a solo.
Caline CP-24 10 Band EQ
This is the cheapest pedal we’ve looked at so far, so while it may skimp very slightly on quality, if you’re on a budget then you’re in luck. The first thing to note is the design. The black and yellow colours combined with a strange pattern layout makes it look weirdly complex, but the pedal actually works in much the same way as those we’ve already looked at. Simply move the red things up and down wherever you may need.
You don’t get the same amount of boost as the other pedals, but this lends itself quite well to those looking for a more specific, natural sound. In most situations (unless you’ve got some sort of horrifying, very specific buzz you need to kill) a boost of 15db is only for those looking to create a unique tone, not fine tune a ‘normal’ one. Only going up to 12 allows this pedal to remain accessible to the more simplistic player, while avoiding the potential temptation to over boost certain frequencies to the detriment of your tone.
It’ll work with other instruments with ease, the true bypass means it won’t impact your tone at any point when not on and the manufacturer claims the pedal is totally silent. Of course, if you boost the highs massively and don’t play, there will be hiss. But we’d like to think you wouldn’t do that…
AROMA AEG-3 GT EQ Analog 5-Band Equalizer
Now we’re moving into the world of true simplicity. This tiny, cheap, blue pedal takes things down a notch from the pedals we’ve looked at so far in order to provide the casual guitarist with a casual amount of manipulation over his guitar tone.
I’d recommend this pedal in a very specific situation. You love the tone of your guitar, and you don’t want the temptation to mess with it. However, you do occasionally need the ability to sit slightly higher in the mix without overdoing it. This pedal only has 5 EQ bands, and they’re pretty wide ranging, so it isn’t really for fine tuning of a sound. Perhaps you’re about to play a solo and you need a little boost? Notch the 1.6kZ up very slightly and tap the pedal into action. Maybe the bass is about to drop out for a moment and you need to fill the low end? Add a tiny bit of power around the 100 mark.
If that’s the sort of thing you’re after, then you’re onto an incredibly cheap winner here. One more thing to mention is that this pedal is perfect for creating a telephone effect. Bring all of the bands down to -18 (it goes all the way up and down to 18 for some reason; it doesn’t need to) and bring the 630 all the way up. It’ll sound really ugly, but create the perfect, distant, telephone effect sound.
ammoon ENO EX EQ7 Guitar Equalizer
This ammoon pedal takes a bit of a different approach to design than the others. Its landscape organisation of each band is much more aesthetically pleasing, and the blue aluminium alloy body make it strangely desirable.
They seem to have perfected exactly what the guitarist is looking for in terms of tone as well. It has a true bypass as well as an output level, giving performers that extra level of safety in case of some unpleasant feedback or if they need their dry guitar signal to go elsewhere. It also has what seems to be perfect amount of boost available (15dB) to those who simply want to fine tune a sound and those who are looking to get really creative.
On top of that, ammoon are giving more range. You can drop all the way to 63Hz (much lower than the typical 100), meaning you can really beef up that bass if needed. You can also get all the way to 5kHz. This one isn’t really made for boosting as it might sound a little weird, but if you’re worried your tone is becoming a little tiny, then bringing this area down a little will work wonders for your output.
Biyang EQ7 Graphic EQ Pedal For Guitar
Tonally, this pedal from Biyang is a great entry into the market. It might look a little like an industrial cigarette box, but the sound you can get out of it is impossible to complain about. There is absolutely no noise present that you aren’t already looking for, the response is perfect and doesn’t play with your original tone at all, other than boosting frequency.
It’s easy to use and well built, and has all of the features the rest of these EQ pedals have, just presented in their own special way. It has 15dB of boost/reduction, and a 7-band range controlling frequencies from 100Hz up to 6.4kHz. While the 6.4k seems high, there is still that large gap right at the top. I guess the reason it has been left out is because it’ll never really be used to impact tone. However, it is this sort of range that a lot of the most unpleasant feedback sounds or ringing notes come from, so it would be good to have the option to dial that area back a little.
Overall, though, there is very little to complain about. Given its affordability, your tone will be kept natural and the impact of the pedal should basically create the exact sound you expect it to.
MXR M109S Mxr 6B Equalizer, Silver
This is another pedal that enjoys a simple life. It leaves you with the most essential guitar frequencies, allowing up to 18dB of manipulation (which is too much, if anything) and has a genius LED system built in. This system means that all you’ll need to do to judge how to edit your tone is look down. Then you’ll see exactly where each slider is positioned, and exactly where you might need to move them to.
The pedal is an upgrade of a previous version, this time adding on a much needed true bypass, noise reduction and an aluminium casing which means this pedal can be taken out on stage with no worries at all.
It can be used to your advantage from any angle. Strangely, it works particularly well with acoustic guitar, adding a natural warmth to the wet signal, while it covers all of your more simple needs such as adding presence. One interesting way to use this pedal could be when looping. You can record your backing track as you please, then without encountering any problems at all, simply hit the switch and boost your signal in order to play over your loop. That way, you avoid having to get up and change tone, thus losing smoothness.
The only thing I’d say may put you off of this pedal is its lack of compatibility with other instruments. It will, of course, work, but its bands are very much specific to the fundamentals of a guitar and might not be totally appropriate for use with things such as the voice.
Mooer Graphic G Guitar EQ Pedal True Bypass
This tiny pedal is a bit of a surprise package. It might not look like a lot, but the punch packed within the miniscule, baby blue pedal is as sharp as anything. It has everything you could want for a budget EQ pedal, including the ability to remove a rumbling from the low end, and chuck on a boost in the low end.
However, users have pointed out another interesting feature. If you boost the upper bands by more than two thirds, you can create a natural overdrive. Of course, this can be done with any pedal if you can introduce enough clipping with the higher end frequencies, but this pedal just seems to handle it impressively well.
The size also has its benefits, as it can fit into any pedal board with no trouble. The fact that it has a true bypass means you can basically stick it in at any position amongst your pedals and it will allow signal to go through it naturally without interference.
One final thing to note is the lack of detail. It does only have five bands, meaning the high end is seriously neglected. Obviously, you’re rarely going to have to go above 4kHz with a guitar, but not having the ability to manipulate that end of the tone does have its downsides.
JOYO JF-11 6-Band Equalizer Guitar Effect Pedal
This pedal from JOYO is the second of the ultra-cheap pedals we’ve featured on this list. Its price makes it almost rude not to at least try it out. It built on the 5-band of the AROMA by adding in a sixth band into the mix, so that you have control over the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1.6k and 3.2k frequency areas. For some reason, the pedal doesn’t tell you how much of a boost/reduction is happening either way, which seems very strange. As such, this pedal becomes pointless for those looking to really fine tune a sound.
However, it is almost perfect for those on a budget who need just slightly more than a boost pedal. Set this pedal up so that you can allow yourself a little more room for a solo or cut out an unnecessary high frequency. For the price you’re paying, this is an invaluable service that any guitarist needs to have for live performance.
MXR 10-Band EQ Silver Guitars Effects Pedal M108S
This pedal might well be the most expensive on our list, but for those looking to really dig deep into their guitar tone and perfect it, then this is the pedal for you. Ten bands controlling a range from 31.25Hz all the way to 16kHz almost gives you the fine tuning ability afforded by a digital EQ display. 12dB each way probably has you covered in terms of how much you’re going to want to crank each one up, especially if it’s fine tuning you’re after.
If you’re playing bass, you might want to cut out those high notes to really give your tone that deep, dark edge. However, with this pedal, you can do exactly that and the chuck a bit of very specific high end in to get that funky twang if you need it. This is something an amp just can’t provide you, making this pedal almost essential. Similarly, an acoustic guitarist might want to add some warmth with some very specific manipulation of the mid, that doesn’t create an unpleasant boom.
Both of those examples are just ways this pedal trumps those we’ve looked at above, but of course it also allows you to give a simple boost to an electric guitar in time for a solo. It also has a dual output if you’re performing in stereo, a volume control if you want to only boost volume, and looks absolutely brilliant.
EQ pedals don’t need to be expensive. They pretty much do what they say on the tin, and because they don’t need to apply any effect to your sound, you can use them without the worry that plugging in is going to sacrifice your tone. However, as we’ve learned, you basically pay for how much control you want. The cheaper end will do the job perfectly if you just need some boost, but if you need to intensely fine tune, then maybe have a look on the more expensive side of the market.
One thing to point out, though, is that EQ pedals don’t do the same thing as you might used to be working with on Logic. You have a very simple band EQ that boosts up and down; you can’t add high pass filters of control the width of each very specific EQ nuance, cutting out individual frequencies as you choose. This makes EQ pedals good for refining tone on stage or creating the fundamental sound of your instrument, but in a recording situation, should never come before an immensely detailed plugin that can do that same thing with much more impressive results.