Building a pedalboard is one of the most fun and challenging experiences for guitar and bass players, regardless of skill level. Space, money, and tonal requirements can all be restricting factors. The good news is, you can still get a great set up on a budget with some carefully chosen cheap guitar pedals.
Below, we’ll examine 6 cheap guitar pedal alternatives to classic effects pedals. Costing $100 or less, these alternatives leave plenty of room in your budget to grow a versatile rig. Let’s take a look!
Chorus -- Ammoon Nano Chorus
The Ammoon Nano Chorus has built an incredible reputation since entering the effect pedal fray. Despite being one of the most popular mini pedals of all time, many guitar players remain unaware of its prowess. I’ve been using this pedal for years alongside more expensive EHX, Boss, or MXR pedals, and have yet found a reason to replace it!
The Nano Chorus has both deep and normal chorus modes, which control overall modulation settings. Users can further tweak the tone via rate, depth, and level controls — yielding quite a few sound options at a budget friendly price. The Ammoon Nano Chorus can easily be found in the $20-30 range on sites like Walmart, Ebay, and Amazon.
Fuzz -- TC Electronic Rusty Fuzz
For fans of classic rock, a fuzz pedal is an absolute necessity on your board. With a bit of tweaking, it can even get your rig into heavy metal territory. Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, and many others have used fuzz to push riffs over the top.
While a Big Muff or Fuzz Face might be your dream fuzz, TC Electronic delivers Rusty Fuzz — a cheap fuzz pedal option comparable to the greats. Based on the silicone fuzz tones that inspired David Gilmour, the Rusty Fuzz delivers killer tones at a fraction of the price — coming in at $49.99. Another perk is its pedalboard friendly size — unlike the huge fuzz pedals of the past, the Rusty Fuzz leaves you with more room to grow your rig. A great tone, size, and price make the TC Electronic Rusty Fuzz one of the best cheap guitar pedals available.
Delay -- Behringer Vintage Delay VD400 Analog Delay
Whether you want to add some shimmer and body to your solos, or you’re trying your best U2 impression — delay pedals are a staple of the guitar effect world. While many people prefer complex delay and echo pedals such as the EHX Memory Man, sometimes you just can’t drop $150 or more on a single pedal.
The Behringer Vintage Delay is just too cheap to be beat — for around $25, you can control the intensity, echo, and repeat rate. These functions allow you to shape your tone from slapback echo to shoegaze heaven. The Behringer Vintage Delay even has a direct out jack for recording or sound system applications. The low price tag and customizable features make the Vintage Delay a no-brainer when experimenting with cheap guitar pedal options for your rig.
Wah -- Vox V845 Classic Wah
Wah pedals are generally more expensive — they are considered more of a luxury compared to overdrive and reverb effects. That said — at only $70, the Vox V845 Wah provides almost all the same tonal bending as its more expensive counterpart, the classic Dunlop Crybaby.
The Vox V845 delivers a familiar, durable foot pedal design — providing an instant spark to your solos, guitar hooks, and atmospheric sections. To my ears, the Vox Wah sounds pretty dang close to the Dunlop Crybaby. If you haven’t added a wah to your arsenal yet, I’d definitely recommend giving this Vox a try. The wah is one of the most instantly recognizable guitar effects and will inspire any new (or budget strapped) player once it hits your pedal board.
Overdrive -- Electro Harmonix Nano Muff Overdrive
Bet you weren’t expecting to see an Electro-Harmonix pedal on here. They certainly offer a lot of top-of-the-line pedals, coming with big price tags and even bigger pedal board real estate needs (looking at you, Memory Man and Big Muff), but they’re big players in the budget game as well.
Even at a low price of $45 from Guitar Center, the Electro-Harmonix Nano Muff Overdrive holds up to rigorous use and tone standards thanks to the long history of EHX excellence. This small pedal won’t take up too much space on your board and is incredibly easy to use — having only a volume knob. While this may be somewhat limiting for tone heads, it’s super simple to go from tube amp overdrive to full-on saturated fuzz by cranking the volume. The Electro-Harmonix Nano Muff Overdrive is sure to help dial in that perfect overdriven tone, no matter where it lies on the gain spectrum.
Looper -- TC Electronic Ditto Looper
Loop pedals can be quite expensive, with some players shelling out hundreds to have drum machines or multiple channels built in. Though they might carry a higher price tag than a common overdrive, loopers can have a huge impact on your playing — they assist with your practice routine, while also being excellent tools for versatility and experimentation.
The TC Electronic Ditto Looper is one of the cheapest, simplest, and most reliable loop pedals on the market. Just shy of $100, the Ditto Looper features 5 minutes of looping in a true bypass, all analog package. It also features perks like layering infinite overdubs and redo/undo functionality. The Ditto Looper’s small size leaves more real estate space, while giving you freedom of sonic exploration that only a looper can provide.
Who Says Cheap Guitar Pedals Are Bad?
While boutique pedals have plenty of appeal and worthwhile features, you can easily build a rig or recording ready pedal board for a few hundred dollars with these cheap guitar pedal alternatives. They’ll sound phenomenal, work reliably, and inspire your playing and writing more than a modeling amp ever could.
Want to take budget-hunting to the extreme? Check out our article on building a whole guitar rig for under $600.