Volume Pedals

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About Volume Pedals

With a volume pedal, you can create pedal steel-style swells and violin-like leads. You can also use one as a utility pedal to manage your level in real time.

You can’t get much more simple than the mechanics of a volume pedal. They are simply a volume control like you’d find on your guitar that you can control with your feet. They are housed in a pedal format with a treadle and look similar to a wah pedal. They are usually ‘passive’ effects which mean they don’t need any power. Some volume pedals, such as the ones in the Dunlop range, are also able to function as an expression pedal.

Volume pedals are always found on the huge pedal boards of ambient musicians. They use them to swell into chords, removing percussive attack and creating gentle synth-like pads. Country players often adopt volume pedals to mimic the distinctive wail of a pedal steel guitar.

Aside from these creative uses, they can be a useful utility during a live set. They enable you to balance your volume for each song or simply have a rhythm volume and a lead volume.

Popular volume pedals are made by Ernie Ball, Dunlop and Boss.

What makes volume pedals different?

  • Transform your guitar into a pedal steel, violin or synth
  • Balance your level hands free
  • Some double as expression pedal
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Volume Pedals

    Question: What's the difference between an expression and volume pedal?
    While they look the same - and are sometimes built into the same unit - volume pedals and expression pedals are very different. Your guitar signal passes through a volume pedal and you are able to adjust the volume of your guitar hands free. However your guitar signal does not pass through an expression pedal. Instead it controls other pedals via a special cable known as a ‘TRS’ cable.
    Question: Do volume pedals affect tone?
    Volume pedals can very subtly roll off some top-end from your guitar. This is why some players like to place a buffer after a volume pedal.
    Question: Where should I put my volume pedal in my effects chain?
    Volume pedals typically go after overdrive and distortion pedals. This way your gain remains consistent throughout the swell. Experiment with placing it before your overdrives though because this will allow you to chain the gain of the pedal hands-free.
    Question: What type of guitar player needs a volume pedal?
    Volume pedals are particularly popular with 1) country players wanting to mimic the glorious sound of pedal steel guitar, and 2) ambient players wanting to create gentle synth-like pads.