What Guitar Pedals Work with an Acoustic Guitar?

What Guitar Pedals Work with an Acoustic Guitar?

Are you currently exploring pedal options for your acoustic guitar? It's best to prioritise the ones that enhance your guitar-playing experience rather than transform it and alter the natural sound.

For example, reverb pedals are an indispensable option. Delay pedals are also an excellent choice because they offer subtlety and echoes. Compressor pedals, EQ pedals, chorus pedals, volume pedals and distortion pedals are also good options which we'll explain in more detail below.

What Types of Pedals Can Be Used with an Acoustic Guitar?

The pedals that best accompany an acoustic guitar include the following:

  1. Reverb Pedals

Reverb pedals are an excellent choice for an acoustic guitar because they are incredibly versatile and add depth, dimension and space to the sound. They simulate the natural reverberation of different environments, which creates an impressive sonic experience. Depending on your particular preference, they can imitate intimate rooms, halls or vast concert halls.

Adding reverb pedals to your acoustic guitar performance will add immersion, ambience, resonance and warmth while creating a captivating and expansive performance.

  1. Delay Pedals

Delay pedals are a great tool to have in your arsenal when playing acoustic guitars. They offer various creative possibilities while ultimately adding texture, depth and ambience to performances while enhancing the overall sound.

Most commonly, acoustic guitar players use delay pedals to create more dimension and space in their sound. They add subtle echoes to the guitar signal that simulate natural reverberation in different environments.

Additionally, guitar players can use delay pedals to create rhythmic patterns and textures, which adds complexity and movement to acoustic guitar parts. Remember to adjust the parameters, including feedback, mix levels and delay time, to craft intricate layers to your overall sound while creating a unique style and musical expression.

  1. Chorus Pedals

Many acoustic guitar players love using chorus pedals with their guitar to add richness, depth, and warmth to the sound while creating an immersive and lush musical landscape. Guitarists can incorporate the chorus pedal into their setup in the following ways:

  • Adjust Pedal Settings – the controls typically include depth, rate and tone. Setting the rate and depth control to a moderate setting at first and adjust accordingly. Rate controls the speed of the modulation effect, while depth controls its intensity. Experiment with different settings to discover the perfect amount of speed and modulation to enhance your sound.
  • Balance Dry and Wet Signals – a wide range of chorus pedals have mixed or blended adjustable knobs. Use them to adjust the balance between dry and wet signals if you have a stereo set-up. Generally speaking, it's best to maintain a balance to create a chorus effect that enhances the sound and natural tone without overpowering it.
  • Experiment with Tone Shaping—Several chorus pedals have tone controls. These controls let you shape the overall effect and character of the sound. Use these controls by experimenting with them to discover the right balance between clarity and warmth. This will help you create an interesting and unique sound for your acoustic guitar tone.
  1. EQ Pedals

EQ pedals are an excellent choice because they allow you to gain precise control over the tonal characteristics of your instrument. This will let you tailor your sound and meet specific requirements depending on your performance environment. Using these pedals effectively will allow you to enhance the acoustic guitar's overall natural sound while compensating for room acoustics.

  1. Compressor Pedals

Compressor pedals are incredibly valuable for acoustic guitar because they enhance the overall balance while providing dynamic control of the instrument. When compressor pedals are used effectively, they enhance the dynamics, sustain and balance of your acoustic guitar sound. This results in a professional performance and a more polished sound. Experiment with different techniques and settings to find the compression settings best suited to your liking.

  1. Volume Pedals

Mastering the use of volume pedals with your acoustic guitar will allow you to achieve greater control over the volume and dynamics of the instrument. This leads to more creative expression, smooth transitions and expanded musical capabilities. Experiment with different settings and techniques to access the full potential of volume pedals.

  1. Distortion Pedals

Some musicians enjoy experimenting with fuzz distortion pedals while using them with an acoustic guitar. Others prefer the instrument's natural sound, so forgo this particular pedal because it can alter the overall effect.

Nevertheless, if you want to add grit and edge to your acoustic performance while creating unique effects, then the distortion pedal is the way to go. Remember to exercise caution and use this pedal in moderation. Otherwise, adding excessive distortion will overwhelm the delicate tonal qualities of the acoustic guitar and often create undesirable results.

Curt Cobain from Nirvana achieved the bands famous guitar sound by adding distortion to his acoustic guitar. However, he fitted an electric guitar pick-up to his acoustic guitar to get that unique sound.

How Do Acoustic Guitar Pedals Work?

Acoustic guitar pedals are great because they modify and enhance the overall sound of this beautiful instrument. When used tastefully, they elevate acoustic performances while enriching the instrument's natural tone, adding versatility to the guitarist's sound palette.

After connecting the pedal to the acoustic guitar, it routes the signal from the guitar directly through the pedal's circuitry. The different pedal types, including EQ, chorus, delay, reverb, etc., will each process the signal in its own way.

Once the signal is processed, it is directly sent to the recording device, mixer, or amplifier—depending on your setup. Effects pedals typically have adjustable parameters that let guitar players customize the overall effects.

What Factors Should You Consider When Choosing Pedals for Your Acoustic Guitar?

  1. Sound Quality—Choose pedals that preserve the natural tone of the acoustic guitar while delivering high-quality effects. Choose pedals known for their fidelity and transparent sound. This allows you to enhance the sound without potentially degrading it.
  2. Compatibility – ensure the pedal you choose is fully compatible with your acoustic guitar. Some pedals are designed specifically for electric guitars and might not be compatible with your acoustic instrument. This will produce undesirable results at best. Look for adaptable and versatile pedals that can be used with different instruments and setups.
  3. Durability—It is best to Choose a rugged and well-built acoustic guitar pedal that will withstand the rigors of transportation and live performances. Make sure your pedals are constructed with durable materials and possess sturdy enclosures and switches to ensure they remain reliable and last for a long time.
  4. Budget—Figure out your budget for acoustic guitar pedals and stick to it. Always prioritise quality over quantity because premium pedals tend to have a higher price tag, remain more durable and last reliably longer than budget pedal options.

Do You Need an Amplifier for Acoustic Guitar Pedals?

No, you do not necessarily need to use an amplifier with your acoustic guitar pedals. This is especially true if you're using the pedal for recording purposes or if your pedals have direct recording capabilities or headphone outlets.

Nevertheless, if you plan to use it during a live performance, a PA system or acoustic amplifier is required to amplify the process signal while projecting it into the audience. Some pedals – including delay and reverb – can add more richness and depth to the acoustic guitar sound when played on studio monitors or quietly through a pair of headphones.

Enhance Your Acoustic Guitar Playing with the Right Pedals

Choosing the best pedals to meet your needs will enhance your acoustic guitar playing performance while preserving the natural tone of the sound. It will add depth and versatility, which will help you create beautiful music. The right pedals will elevate your sound, expand your creativity, and enhance the acoustic performances in every way imaginable, so give them a try today.

Back to blog