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Long gone are the days of guitar pedals coming in large sizes. Sure, they still exist, but technology has allowed for much smaller pedals to exist.
Quite often, these will essentially be the same pedals as what would come in a standard pedal size. This is a massive plus for any guitarist looking to save space on a pedalboard.
Here are some of the best mini guitar pedals you can currently get your hands on.
TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini – Best Overall
Sure, you’re probably laughing, or maybe even a little enraged by this choice. How could a tuner be the best miniature pedal for a board?
Well, the answer is quite simple. A tuner does one thing only, and it can’t even affect your guitar’s tone during play.
Why, then, should a tuner take up any more space than it needs to on a pedalboard? If you follow this logic, choosing this as the best overall starts to make sense.
Being in tune is a necessity to be able to make good music. With the PolyTune 3 Mini, you have no excuse not to be in tune.
The PolyTune 3 Mini has a large LED indicator screen with bright lights. You’ll be able to tune your guitar to a precise degree without question.
This tuner goes above basic tuning functions and will allow you to tune your guitar just by playing a chord. That’s right, when a string is out of tune in the chord, the tuner will indicate the string.
Furthermore, the PolyTune 3 Mini has settings for alternate tunings. You won’t have to remember the individual string tunings as the pedal will guide you through the process.
Plus, if you wanted, you could opt to leave the pedal’s function on during actual play. This gives you a constant indicator of moments when you might actually be out of tune.
A standard 9V power supply is needed to power the pedal
In terms of a tuner, this contains premium capabilities at a price almost any guitarist can afford.
Item Weight: 0.8 ounces
Package Dimensions: 3.66 x 2.01 x 1.73 inches
Xotic SP Compressor – Best Premium
A compressor can really be the missing ingredient in a guitar’s tone. It helps to provide that extra bit of sustain and really balances out the tone.
One of the best on the market is the Xotic SP Compressor (see price on Amazon, Sweetwater, or Guitar Center). The fact that it is a miniature pedal is actually a bonus because many compressors pale in comparison to it.
This compressor is based on the famous Ross compressor circuit. You’ll find that this is quite a transparent effect in regard to tone coloration.
The SP Compressor is incredibly simple to set up and use. It has 2 adjustable knobs and a 3-way switch.
One of the adjustable parameters is a Volume knob, which controls the volume coming from the pedal. A Blend function is the other parameter, allowing you to control the mix of wet and dry signals.
The 3-way switch controls the compression settings to take on preset characteristics. These include:
While it might not seem like much, it’s a great approach to a compressor that really does help with tone. Even beginners will find that the pedal offers much flexibility without much of a learning curve.
Xotic has even included some internal dip switches to control your tone even more.
A standard 9V power supply is needed to power this pedal.
The SP Compressor is one that definitely gives other compressors a run for their money. Its simple design and transparent compressor effect are extremely hard to beat.
It might be the most expensive on this list, but it’s still relatively affordable for most guitarists. Definitely seek this out if you feel like your guitar’s tone has been lacking something intangible.
Item Weight: 13.6 ounces
Package Dimensions: 6 x 4 x 4 inches
Mooer Modverb – Best Budget
When it comes to pedals that do more than the basic functions, they tend to be quite large. After all, these pedals typically run multiple circuits and affect each other for a unique sound.
With the Mooer Modverb, taking up space doesn’t have to be an issue. Plus, it’s an extremely awesome pedal that ambient guitarists especially will love.
As you might guess from the name, the Modverb combines a reverb with different modulation effects. These effects are engaged by activating a 3-way switch into the corresponding position.
The modulation effects included in the Modverb include:
A large mix knob is provided to blend the wet and dry signals together at the appropriate levels. Controls for both Depth and Decay are provided in miniature dial knobs.
While it might seem fairly straightforward, the Modverb has some tricks up its sleeve. The first would be the freeze capability, which is activated by holding down the footswitch.
There is also a tap-tempo button in the middle of the pedal, which has an LED rhythm indicator. This button is fairly discreet but perfectly located as it doubles as the pedal’s status indicator.
With this tap-tempo, you can essentially control the rate of the modulation effect. This will be extremely handy when used in a band setting.
The Modverb is a great choice for a guitarist that wants something unique and interesting without spending too much money. It is a budget pedal, but it certainly doesn’t serve up basic, budget sounds.
With this, you’ll be able to give your guitar a needed dose of weirdness, all without taking up much space. You really can’t ask for much more than this in such a small, affordable package.
Item Weight: 5.6 ounces
Package Dimensions: 4.2 x 2.4 x 1.9 inches
Wampler Tumnus Mini
You’re likely well familiar with the famed Klon Centaur pedal by now. It’s one of the most expensive pedals to buy, and it has a bit of a legendary status.
Unfortunately, this means that only select people can have access to such iconic tones. Not everyone can afford a pedal that costs the same as a used car.
Some guitarists will claim that it doesn’t sound exactly the same. However, there is much debate as to whether the Centaur does much of anything at all, anyways.
Nevertheless, the Tumnus Mini is essentially the same circuitry as the famed Centaur. It functions just as you would expect a regular overdrive pedal to operate.
With this, you’ll have 3 different adjustable parameters, including:
The Gain controls the amount of distortion that is added to the signal. Dial it low for a transparent boost, or turn it up for a hint of grit.
Treble allows you to control the EQ parameters of your tone as it comes out of the pedal.
As you might guess, Volume controls the volume of the signal coming from the pedal. Do keep in mind that added gain can affect the volume slightly.
To power the Tumnus Mini, you’ll need a standard 9V power supply.
If you have a tube amp and are looking to kick it into overdrive, this is the perfect pedal for you. Legions of guitarists swear by this pedal to achieve their most ideal tones.
Plus, it’s relatively affordable compared to other overdrive pedals available on the market.
Item Weight: 7 ounces
Package Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 4 inches
Xotic EP Booster Mini
While some overdrives can operate like a boost, it's nice to have a dedicated booster. This can help to give you added volume, which can equate to more distortion with a tube amp.
If a boost pedal simply raises the volume, what makes the EP Booster Mini so special? The first would have to be the fact that it is based on the EP-3 Echo Machine’s preamp circuit.
Unfamiliar with this circuit? If you’ve listened to Van Halen or Led Zeppelin, you’ve definitely heard this being used.
True boost pedals aim to be transparent, and while this is pretty transparent, it does add some character.
The EP Booster Mini can provide up to 20dB of increased volume, controllable by 1 adjustable knob. On the pedal’s face, this is the only adjustable parameter to be found.
This allows you to easily set your level without having to worry about other settings. Should you need extra settings, some internal dip switches are installed for:
The EP Booster Mini can be powered by either a 9V battery or a standard 9V power supply. It has true bypass for tonal preservation when the pedal is not being used.
Since its introduction, the EP Booster Mini has become a staple on pedalboards. Consider adding this pedal to your board if you need a bit more punch to the tone of your guitar.
The simplicity alone makes it worthy for beginners making their entry into the pedal world. Its capability, however, is more than enough for even professionals to appreciate.
Item Weight: 12.8 ounces
Package Dimensions: 5.6 x 3.2 x 2.8 inches
TC Electronic Flashback 2 Mini
While it might be a small pedal, the Flashback 2 Mini is packed full of hidden features. There is no shortage of delay options to be found here.
The Flashback 2 Mini creates a shimmery delay that can fit in just about any musical setting. It has controls for:
To adjust the time of the delay, simply make the adjustment with the Delay function. The Feedback setting controls the number of repeats in the delay.
As you might guess, the Level adjustment controls the amount of effect in the guitar’s signal.
Where the Flashback 2 Mini really shines is that its footswitch has multiple purposes outside of engaging the pedal. It doubles as a tap-tempo and is sensitive to pressure, allowing for expression pedal swells.
There is a micro USB port that you can use to download different delay settings into the Flashback 2 Mini. You can even download different presets that your favorite guitarists are using on the stage.
The pedal also supports the use of TC Electronic’s TonePrint software. This software allows you to fine-tune your effects at an extremely granular level.
Once you’ve crafted a tone, you can upload it to the pedal for everyday use.
To use the Flashback 2 Mini, you’ll need a standard 9V power supply.
It’s not often you can find a delay pedal in a compact format with as many features as this. Plus, the Flashback 2 Mini is super affordable, making this an excellent value for any guitarist.
Item Weight: 8.4 ounces
Package Dimensions: 4.02 x 3.31 x 2.83 inches
TC Electronic Ditto
Loop pedals are a valuable tool that any guitarist should have in their arsenal. These pedals give you an opportunity to explore much more of your personal side than just playing one guitar.
In reality, loop pedals allow you a chance to craft multiple guitar parts in real-time. Some guitarists even use these as a sort of different instrument altogether.
Looping capabilities existed before the Ditto, but this is the pedal that revolutionized the game. Priced very affordably and housed in a small frame, these pedals offer everyone a chance to utilize a looper.
And really, the Ditto is one of the most basic loop pedals you can find. There is only one control knob, which controls the volume of the loops.
What you’ll need to memorize is the different tap functions on the pedal’s footswitch. Simply press the button and the Ditto will start recording, with another press to stop recording.
Once you’ve recorded the loop, the loop will automatically begin playing from the point you clicked the button. To overdub, simply press the button again and you can add just about as many layers as you want.
The Ditto can record up to 5 minutes of sound at one time, which is an incredibly long time. Your loops will always maintain high definition quality, even with multiple layers, thanks to its 24-bit audio.
If you play bass guitar, you’ll be pleased to know that you can also use the Ditto. Some musicians loop both bass and guitar into the same looper during live performances.
Item Weight: 2.72 ounces
Package Dimensions: 4 x 3.9 x 2.5 inches
What To Look For When Buying Mini Guitar Pedals
The process of buying miniature guitar pedals is very much the same process as buying regular pedals. After all, despite their size, they provide the same functions as standard pedals produce.
Where guitarists run into issues is when they are confronted by the overwhelming options available on the market. Some provide the basics, while some are completely unique compared to other pedals.
It can be hard to know exactly what you’re looking for, especially if you aren’t familiar with effects. You certainly don’t want to carelessly spend cash on something that might not do exactly what you want.
If you’ve never bought pedals before, don’t worry too much. There are some basic guidelines you can keep in mind to guide you to the right pedal for your board.
You’ll want to memorize this information as the market landscape of mini guitar pedals is quite dense with variety. It may seem like quite a bit to remember at first, but you’ll quickly gain a workable understanding.
Before you purchase a pedal, you must have some idea of what kind of effect it can produce. This might seem quite obvious, but it isn’t always common knowledge.
Like the plant and animal kingdoms, guitar pedals have their own families with subsets of effects within. These subsets can be further broken down into specific chip types that produce subtly different characteristics.
If you’re new to guitar pedals, don’t worry so much about the specialized degree of information. First, familiarize yourself with the general categories and what each does.
These categories are known as:
- Time-based (delay, reverb, looper, sampler)
- Distortion (fuzz, overdrive, distortion)
- Modulation (flange, phaser, tremolo, vibrato, chorus)
- Filter (wah, EQ, synth, envelope)
- Utility (tuner, compressor, EQ)
Time-based effects (such as a delay or reverb) stretch out a guitar’s tone by use of an echo. Loopers and samplers are able to record segments of the guitar’s output for playback.
Distortion effects introduce an amount of clipping into the guitar’s signal. This can range from a slight grit to an all-encompassing distortion.
Modulation effects add a degree of motion to the guitar’s tone. Each effect in this family has its own unique movement.
Filters essentially work by letting certain elements of the guitar signal through and blocking others. Perhaps the most famous of these is the wah pedal, which is a filter effect at its most basic.
Utility pedals are pedals that serve one particular purpose, and they might not even color the tone at all. Many of these are left on at all times.
It is up to you to try these pedals out for yourself. Only then will you begin to understand how each affects the guitar’s tone.
Once you become more familiar with the landscape, you’ll inevitably begin to learn about specific chips with certain effects.
When purchasing a mini guitar pedal, you’ll want to ensure that there are sufficient controls available for the effect. Some pedals have to sacrifice a knob or two to fit into the smaller miniature housing.
This, of course, can present a bit of a lack of precision when dialing in your ideal tones.
Fortunately, this is becoming less of an issue as manufacturers are using smaller knobs to provide the same control.
Also, keep in mind that, just because a pedal has minimal controls, doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile. Some pedals are equipped with the bare essentials, which actually provide more than enough control.
You’ll actually find plenty of full-size pedals that only have one dial. The same goes for mini guitar pedals.
Again, the only way to really know is to try the pedal out yourself. You can get an idea of whether or not the pedal has parameters that could use some control.
Also, be sure that you check to see if the mini guitar pedal is equipped with internal dip switches. These are placed discreetly inside the housing but can provide different tonal characteristics to the effect.
As always, you’re going to want to keep your budget in mind at all times when purchasing a guitar pedal. These effects can certainly cost a pretty penny and you could unknowingly blow your budget.
Fortunately, mini guitar pedals do tend to be quite a deal more affordable than standard guitar pedals. On paper, this does make sense, as less material is used in the production of the pedal.
Plus, more often than not, full-size pedals are usually equipped with a combination of different effects circuits. This does tend to drive the price up higher than a mini guitar pedal.
But, as you’ve seen, there are certainly instances where a mini pedal can provide more than a basic effect. So, in some cases, you can score quite the bargain by purchasing mini pedals instead of standard sizes.
One particular way you can save even more money is to consider shopping around on the used market. You’ll be able to acquire pedals for far less than what they would cost as brand new.
Plus, you’ll likely be utilizing the used market yourself during the phase of trying out different pedals. If something doesn’t click, you can sell the pedal and retain most of your initial investment.
This allows you to keep some funds to be able to purchase a different guitar pedal. In a sense, it creates a sort of library-like cycle that requires an upfront cost to participate in.
Utilizing the used market will also put you in touch with other musicians. Adding to your network of musicians is never a bad thing to do.
Best Brands For Mini Guitar Pedals
It can be quite overwhelming when you find out just how many guitar pedals there are on the market. There are perhaps more pedal manufacturers now than there ever have been before.
In these cases, it can help to know about some of the different brands in the industry. The following brands have an outstanding reputation for producing quality mini guitar pedals.
Founded in 1996, Xotic has humble beginnings located in a California garage. Since then, the brand has become one of the mainstay companies, particularly for mini guitar pedals.
Their pedals have been critically acclaimed over the years, with a wide range of guitarists featuring these on their pedalboards. The company also produces a wide range of other products including guitars, basses, and pickups.
Founded in 1976, TC Electronic has a long history of providing groundbreaking innovation to the industry. Many of its pedals, such as the Ditto, have been extremely revolutionary.
Outside of pedals, the company has a wide span of different products available for musicians. For the most part, the company does seem to specialize in effects, be it for instruments or the studio.
Top Mini Guitar Pedals, Final Thoughts
Mini guitar pedals are definitely something that every guitarist should utilize whenever possible. Not only can these provide the same effects as standard pedals, but they save space and cost less.
Be sure to try these pedals out to really hear what they can do for your style of playing. Most importantly, make sure you’re having fun while you experiment with different sounds!