guitar pedals

November 30, 2021

3 Pedals That Make Great Gifts

Pedals aren't a casual purchase, but their higher price point and specialized nature do make them memorable options when it comes to special holiday gifts. We asked three of our writers which stompbox they'd most like to give or to receive this year – maybe one fits the guitarist on your gift list?


The Swedish death metal “wall of chainsaws” sound is back -- and it's arguably better than ever with enhanced reissue of the legendary (and legendarily hard to find) Boss HM-2. Part of BOSS' Waza Craft boutique series, the HM-2W gives you the authentic sound and no-frills design of the original HM-2, with additional enhancements and that the metal guitarist on your list will love. In addition to a three-decibel level boost, there's also a custom mode for added punch and aggression, with more refined low- and high-mid frequencies. More is more when it comes to what this pedal can deliver – but after trying different settings, you can still max all the knobs through your amp’s distortion channel to get that coveted Swedish saturation. –Leila Abdul-Rauf

Xotic Effects EP Booster

Rocksmith colleagues only half-jokingly call the EP Booster "the better button," but it's earned several fans on the team for basically taking everything we all like about our respective guitars and giving us more of that good stuff. While the main effect you hear is a boost to the volume of your instrument, the way this pedal is designed – based on the preamp circuit of vintage Echoplex effect units -- also sculpts your sound in satisfying ways, from subtle bump in volume all the way up to a controlled overdrive. The tube-amp owner on your list just might love what this sculpting can do to their sound as much as we do. – Margaret Jones

BOSS VO-1 Vocoder

I love unusual modulation pedals – effects that make you go "wait, that does what?" The Boss VO-1 Vocoder is definitely one of those oddballs, designed for your guitar (via a standard 1/4" input) and a microphone (via XLR jack) at the same time. The pedal combines both signals to make your voice sound deliciously robotic; your guitar playing determines the pitch. You'll also find a synth choir setting (suitable for vaporwave tracks) and a talk box mode for getting those Peter Framptones with less hassle. For sure, this is a specialized piece of gear, but personally, it turned out to be a fantastic creative springboard: experimenting with the VO-1 ultimately inspired my entire Hero Falls project, so who knows what it will do for the musician on your list? –Dan Amrich

Collection of pedals by Henrik Hjortshøj on Unsplash.

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