When trying to find an excellent pedal to give your guitar performances that spicy effect, it isn’t an easy task. The reality is, it’s rare to see some of the greatest synthesizers on the mainstream market, and they sometimes aren’t available at all. Finding that perfect synth is very challenging.
Some people even opt to use brakes in their guitars to achieve effects, but don’t be that guy; your performance deserves the finest. You’re looking for a synthesizer sound that will work as naturally as possible. We have prepared a guide for our nine best guitar synth pedals.
Hopefully, it’ll narrow down your search. If you’re short on time, our top choice is the BOSS RV-6 DIGITAL REVERB PEDAL BUNDLE.
The top synth pedals we’ve reviewed are:
- BOSS RV-6 DIGITAL REVERB PEDAL BUNDLE
- BOSS SY-1 Bass/Guitar Pedal
- VOX StompLab 1B Modeling Pedal for Bass Guitar
- VOX STOMPLAB2G Modeling Guitar Pedal
- Source Audio C4 Synth Guitar Pedal
- MIMIDI Reverb Guitar Pedal
- Ammoon PockRock Guitar Synth Pedal
- Donner Guitar Modulation Pedal Digital Mod Square 7 Mode
- Roland GR-55 Guitar Synth
Reviews of the Best Guitar Synth Pedal
Best Overall Synth Pedal
Like most BOSS pedals, this RV-6 has a high-quality processor; it’s well built and versatile. Any type of artist can use it with its array of reverberation effect options. This synthesizing pedal can suit just about any music type. Some of the available customizable reverb modes include—plate, hall, modulate, room, delay, and dynamic shimmer.
You can also use the tone, time and e-level knobs on the interface to make further customizations.
It’s very lightweight at just 1.67 pounds. It features two pairs of input and output jacks, and the main controls include tone, time, e-level, and mode.
Boss have remained among the most iconic producers of synth pedals. The manufacturers have stood the test of time with their updated, studio-grade algorithms, and are not only relevant but at the top of the game since 1970.
This effect pedal is our top pick; it has all the features a pro user may require and is long-lasting enough for a learner to grow with while discovering their sound.
– Best Synth Pedal for Beginners
The BOSS SY-1 bass pedal is small in size but comes packed with 121 ready-to-play sounds, and you do not require knowledge in programming to operate. This guitar effects pedal is flexible for use with any instrument since it has the standard ¼ inch cable. The synth sounds on the SY-1 are polyphonic, allowing you to play either single notes or play in chords.
Best Synth Pedal for Casual Players
Most Budget-Friendly Synth Pedal
The VOX synth pedal is very sturdy, making it eligible for use both at home and when on the road. New users, this is the one for you because its user interface is pretty direct. This synth comes packed with 100 factory preset programs grouped into a variety of styles, including metal, blues, pop, jazz, funk and rock, plus nine other bass categories.
Again, for newbies, especially those on a budget, the Vox synth pedal is something you might want to consider.
Great Synth for Minimalist Tech-Enthusiast Creatives
The Source Audio C4 synth pedal is a good choice for the minimalist approach guitarist. This pedal features four straightforward knobs, including a footswitch and a toggle switch. Irrespective of the knobs’ simplicity, the pedal is as powerful as any other common pedal synthesizer due to its connectivity options.
The Source Audio C4 synth isn’t as simple as it looks and can be complicated to operate. The knobs make it tedious to learn how the pedal works, as there are so few of them. To fully utilize this synth’s potential, you need to hook it up to a phone or computer.
You get to enjoy an array of effect categories with a range of variations. To tweak particular sounds, you will require the aid of the Neuro app on Android, iOS, or computer device Neuro is freely available on all app stores. The Neuro hub also allows you to save up to 128 presets. You can download many additional phaser and chorus algorithms online, making the synthesizer futuristic and timeless.
Best Synth for Small Scale Performers
The Mimidi Reverb pedal avails stereo output and input via the ¼ jack connectors. It creates a visual spectacle when engaged from the aesthetic harmony of the LED lights reflecting the comic-inspired graphics. The unit also comes with spring, room, and hall effects, with a time and blend function that allows you to personalize the final output.
It has advanced digital circuitry and is constructed using high-quality materials; this is all protected by its dust-proof housing, ensuring its longevity.
The Reverb pedal offers a subtle yet high-quality reverb.
Best Synth for Full-Time Performers
The Ammoon PockRock synth pedal will come with headphone stereo jacks, ¼ inch input, output mono jacks, and a ⅛ inch Aux-in. You get five effect modules with this pedal, plus a library of 15 effect types. Aside from the dual power supply, which is a commendable feature, it comes with a metal belt buckle to conveniently hang it on your waist.
This synthesizer pedal features an echo mode and a great delay. You get a variety of effect settings like distortion and overdrive options that allow you to just play around as you seek the right sound.
Best Synth for Casual Players With Tight Budgets
The Donner Guitar Modulation synth pedal is a digital circuit pedal featuring tremolo, vibrato, rotary, flanger, phaser, chorus A, and chorus B modulation effect options. It features three function knobs and has a simple look and easy interface.
This pedal has a true bypass; when the effect gets disengaged, it lets your instrument’s signal pass through a non-electronic bypass line. The bypass feeds the amp with the direct signal from your guitar to synth.
Top Synth for Professionals Seeking to Grow Their Sound
The Roland GR-55 is a combination of a revolutionary synthesizer coupled with the powerful COSM guitar modeling. This synth features two PCM synthesizer sound engines that come packed with over 900 conventional sounds and synth tones. You can use up to four sound sources at a time, with amazing sound quality and rapid processing speed.
This pedal boasts two USB ports to give the synthesizer versatility. The first port paves the way for a computer connection allowing the audio/MIDI interface to connect to the Roland synth. This function means that you can play synth tones and virtual synths right from the instrument or record MIDI data.
The second port is for an external hard drive or USB memory stick, to playback audio files in real-time; all this can be controlled by your foot, freeing your hands to strum away.
What Is a Synthesizer Pedal for Guitar?
A guitar synthesizer first, is an electronic instrument, using either analog or digital processing to reproduce the sounds made. A guitar synthesizer pedal is an effect processor through which guitarists can use their guitars to copy or emulate the sound produced by the synthesizer. In simpler terms, a synth pedal means a traditional stompbox through which you can play the synthesizer, using notes you play on your instrument.
Choosing the Right Guitar Synth
The popularity of guitar synthesizers has skyrocketed over the past few years. The reason is that a guitar synth allows musicians to play both synth and guitar and even blend them. There are many pedal guitar synths on the market, which makes the process of choosing one very confusing.
There are some factors that you should consider to make an informed decision.
Durability and Warranty
A multi-effect synthesizer is a piece of equipment that you’ll use a lot. Carefully consider the ability of each option to withstand the test of time. Additionally, once you settle on one of the durable pedal guitar synthesizers, examine their warranties and check how long the item will be covered. Synthesizers can be a big investment, and you don’t want to lose yours if something goes wrong shortly after receipt.
Size is an important but often overlooked factor to consider, especially when shopping online. A synthesizer that’s too large will not be very portable. You want to make sure that the guitar synth you purchase will be comfortable and small enough to carry around from gig to gig. You also don’t want to have to struggle to find space for your synthesizer at home.
Ease of Use
Some guitar interfaces come packed with many amazing features. However, getting to know how to maneuver your way through the pedal synthesizer could be hard. Before purchasing, always take note of the interface and make sure you’ll be able to navigate the controls.
Easy to read user manuals, how-to videos, and online support for your device would be a helpful bonus. If you’re still new to guitar, you might not want to go for an advanced model with plenty of effects straight away.
Type of Effects
Every kind of synthesizer will come with a variety of options, and some have an effects loop. The finest types of effects have much to do with preference. Before spending cash on a synthesizer, take time to think about your music, why you want a pedal synthesizer, and what you want it to do. After that self-evaluation, it should narrow down your choice of pedal synthesizers to only those that offer the guitar effects you want.
Overdrive and Distortion
Overdrive is a naturally occurring distortion that takes place once you have plugged in an amp, but a guitar synthesizer amplifies that throaty sound your ax is creating. On the other hand, distortion will offer a sweet smooth sound that’s a blend of notes, creating a cool different sound level. Consider the overdrive and distortion of any unit before investing in one.
EQ refers to equalization, which is when where the balance between frequency within an electronic signal is adjusted. An equalizing gadget is known as an equalizer; its job is to either strengthen or weaken energy in specific frequency ranges.
Your EQ will boost the sound aspects, which limits the effects of creating a unique sound profile. For instance, you can raise your treble to create an amazing bell; this goes a long way to boost the bass, creating an awesome bass guitar riff.
The equalizer in the synth you choose is one of the most important features.
A synthesizer with sound conditioning allows you to control your volume without having to stop everything to manually adjust it with the knob that’s on the guitar. The strength behind your sound is referred to as gain. While performing, especially solo, you want to have control over your volume and gain, too, without having to pause your performance to do so.
If you’re a solo performer, it’s highly advisable that you only consider synth pedals that allow for sound conditioning.
Some synthesizers are compatible with multiple instruments. If you’re a musician with a variety of electronic instruments in your repertoire, you might want to select a model that you can use with all of them.
Advantages of Using a Guitar Synthesizer Pedal
A guitar synth pedal is an effect processor; it allows you to emulate sounds with the synthesizer using your guitar.
Using a synth pedal allows you to expand your sonic palette while creating distinctive tones. Each pedal will usually have a different emulation process; some utilize analog circuits, while others might be using digital computer chips and algorithms.
After activating the guitar effects unit, the synth pedal takes an output signal from your guitar and begins to change your overall sound.
The processing units are usable in both live performance settings and in-studio recording sessions too. That means you can replicate your unique sound creations wherever you play.
If you want, you can also play the synthesizer alone. Combined with the many tones you can achieve, you have plenty of options to experiment musically.
One of the issues with earlier guitar synthesizers is that they would lag, which would create discord during performances. Newer, more advanced models typically don’t have this issue.
Synthesizers are a simpler alternative to a keyboard as they’re easier to handle. At the same time, they usually offer a wider range of sounds than a keyboard does.
You don’t require a special set of skills to use a synthesizer either—it’s less effort to learn to use one of these gadgets than to pick up a new instrument to accompany your guitar.
Almost any guitar is compatible with the average synthesizer, too. You won’t have to worry about upgrading your current ax to benefit.
Why Use Hardware Synthesizers and When Can I Use Software?
Some view hardware as an outdated means since every sound you seek is probably available as a sample somewhere. So why really, should you purchase any of the listed pedal synthesizers that will take up space when you can access the same through software?
The biggest advantage of using software is your ability to tweak the knobs. As underestimated as it may be, that direct connection with the sounds you’re making pushes you to come up with a variety of ways to create sounds, something that clicks on a mouse is less likely to inspire.
Sound quality through hardware synthesizer effects is definitely better and more natural-sounding; this is not just for famous pedal synthesizers and equalizers. Even the cheapest pedals bring their own authentic sounds to the table.
Hardware actually adds life to your production. A perfectly tuned and edited vocal track is great, but they’re often less impressive than manually created sounds. Variations that come with using hardware, and even the little flaws that are inevitable, often make you sound more human and relatable. Not only does the use of hardware aid you in breathing life and character into your productions, but it’s also easy to implement in a modern production studio.
All in all, the sound is a matter of preference; some guitarists might find classic synth sounds to be outdated. However, a bigger chunk of players don’t, and interestingly a lot of producers seek to re-use sounds from the 80s. Even traditional rock bands, such as glam metal band Mötley Crüe, tried synthesizers in later albums. Since you can input the sounds after creating them, you can even create a mix of both worlds with the use of synths for some part of the sounds and some touch-ups for the software end.
Our top nine feature some of the finest guitar synth pedals, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. Our winning guitar synth will have to be the BOSS R-6 digital reverb, mostly because of its versatility, so you can tune your experience to be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. The ability for all users to make that choice and experience gradual growth is definitely a plus.
The Roland GR-55S Guitar Synthesizer may have come last on our list, largely due to its cost, but this is our runner up for an experienced player who can afford it. This synth pedal is endowed with features, and the sound it gives shows its money’s worth.
The BOSS SY-1 comes with good old traditional features of synth pedals that we all love, which definitely makes it a favorite. If the above two do not make the cut for you, this one is definitely worth your time. The array of features harmoniously works to give you a clean, coordinated sound; this synth specifically lets you control all the sounds you make thanks to its vast interface.