Looking for something with a bit of the WOW factor? Check out these boutique guitar pedals.
What are boutique pedals exactly?
Boutique guitar pedals are rare, or highly collectible, or both.
They are often handmade, have striking artwork not found on normal pedals and have something a little bit extra.
At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Boutique Guitar Pedals On The Market
Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.
Buyer's Tips: What to look for in a boutique guitar pedal?
- One of the highlights to getting a boutique pedal is the originality of it. Choosing a pedal which has the design and sound you want is one of the best feelings. Every time you play with it, you will feel that little bit extra special. Take the time searching for the correct one, you won’t be disappointed.
- Price is always a factor when buying anything musical. Boutique pedals can be more expensive than regular ones but don’t be taken for a fool. I stupidly paid way over the odds for a pedal because I liked the design, but I hated the sound it made. Don’t be taken in and flash the cash, make sure it’s worthwhile.
- The build quality of boutique pedals are usually quite high as a lot of care and attention have gone into them. Make sure whatever you buy has been made using quality materials and not just the same as the mass produced items.
Short video highlighting some of the sound differences between a boutique and budget pedal:
Ok let's look at each product in more detail. To make things easier for you, we've added pros and cons for each one, as well as a video demonstration so you can see them in action. So without further ado, let’s take a look...
5 Best Boutique Guitar Pedals (Review)
1. Barber Gain Changer
Measuring at only 2.3 inches wide, this overdrive pedal is pretty small and will look neat in any musician's room. It has a 3-way EQ switch, leading to some interesting and cool ways to change the sound of your playing.
- A great overdrive pedal, gives out some wonderful harmonic feedback and has good clarity.
- The price is relatively cheap for a boutique pedal, most people will easily spend double on theirs.
- Has a few extra tonal options that aren’t available on some other guitar pedals.
- It’s an extremely boring looking pedal (sorry Barber). For those wanting a unique and cool look to a boutique pedal, this probably isn’t for you.
- I found the size a little too small and shoddy looking. Didn’t feel sturdy enough.
- Build quality isn’t as good as other options.
Have a listen to the Gain Changer:
2. E3 Guitar Pedal "Caracas Compressor" (Budget Choice)
This is by far one of my favourite looking pedals. It’s simple design only has a few controls and is extraordinarily lightweight. I love the bold red colour and the black wiring lines, it certainly gives a boutique look.
- Great sound for those wanting a deeper crunch.
- Good price, the E3 is one of the lowest priced pedals.
- Cool design.
- Can be quite hard to get your hands on, a rare find.
- Excellent sound but after much use one of the controls became stuck.
- Not the most reliable of pedals, although I did use it constantly.
3. Wampler Pedals Euphoria
If you want that extra growl in a guitar pedal, the Wampler might be the one for you. This particular pedal is made with high grade capacitors and resistors to give it a superior sound. Therefore it is a little pricier than others out there and may be a pedal for those wishing to invest in their guitar playing.
- A particularly wicked sound is produced from the Wampler. Clear and very flexible to get the sound you wish.
- Looks much better than other pedals such as the Barber. This pedal has a green chrome look which feels quite special.
- Really smooth overdrive, sounds like a dream.
- More expensive than other boutique pedals out there.
- At first I found it difficult to get a good sound, my advice would be to mess and play around for a few days.
- Like the E3, a couple of the controls got a bit stiff after much use
4. Orange Two Stroke Boost EQ (Editor's Choice)
Oh my, this powerful little beast certainly makes a statement with it’s funky style. The Boost has a great deal of control and flexibility along with a striking design. This personally is one of my favourite pedals purely for it’s awesome look, it’s a pedal to impress your fans (not like I have any).
- Can you guess my first pro? It’s the design of course. The Orange Boost has a striking red and orange (who would have thought orange?) design which I just love carrying to a friend’s house and jamming out.
- It’s extremely versatile and the clean sound it produces makes this a worthwhile investment.
- Great tonal control, very easy to change the sound effects.
- Slightly more expensive than others mentioned here.
- Some people may not like the bold design, looks a little 70s.
- I fiddled with the controls a lot to get my desired sound, could get frustrating.
5. Dr Scientist Cosmichorus
Everyone screamed as the Dr neared, the windows shattered… Oh wait, this isn’t a horror story, but this awesome looking pedal screams with originality. With its green, zombie like design, this is a pedal destined for some Frankenstein lover.
- Great sounding and highly tweakable.
- Lots of control for different effects including, mix, level, treble, clock and hold.
- As an analog chorus, it has a rich, watery sound which I love.
- Cover your eyes if you want a cheap pedal, Dr Scientist charges a lot for its creation.
- The design may be a bit too ‘out there’ for some people.
- Lots of controls and effects, a beginner player may find it slightly overwhelming.
The five pedals mentioned here are in my opinion the best boutique guitar pedals you can find. My overall choice for the best pedal would be the Orange Boost. It’s average price means that most people can afford the luxury of a boutique pedal without spending hundreds.
It’s design is pretty awesome and the sound it produces is of a very good quality. For most guitar players wanting something a little special, the Orange Boost is right for you.
If you have a boutique guitar pedal, drop a comment below and let us know what you have.
Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.