Best Guitar Expression Pedals of 2019 – Ultimate Round-up

When you are a musician, you are constantly on the prowl for things that can enhance or improve your sound. One of these tools is the pedal.

There are many types of pedals to choose from, but the one that gives you the most versatility is the expression pedal.

In this guide, we will take a look at some of the best options on the market, and we will also discuss some of the information you should know before getting one of these awesome pedals for your kit.

Comparison Chart of the Best Guitar Expression Pedals

Product

Rating

Price

MeloAudio EXP-001 Volume Expression Bass Pedal

MeloAudio EXP-001 Volume Expression Wah Bass Guitar Effects Pedal with Instrument Cable

Best Overall

Zoom FP02M Expression Pedal

Zoom FP02M  Expression Pedal

Runner-up

Moog EP-3 Expression Pedal

Moog EP-3 Expression Pedal

Best for the Money

Donner Viper Mini Passive Pedal

Donner 2 in 1 Viper Mini Passive Volume Expression Guitar Effect Pedal

Best Mini Expression Pedal

BOSS Dual Expression Pedal (EV-30)

BOSS Dual Expression Pedal (EV-30)

Best Boss Expression Pedal

What is an Expression Pedal and What Does It Do?

First, you have to know what expression pedals are and how they work before you determine if you want to add one to your pedal chain. Expression pedals are used like any other stompbox. You press on the pedal to turn it on and off. When this pedal is on, it allows you to modify a note or effect. 

You can use this pedal in conjunction with other pedals, like delay or modulation, to create different sounds and effects that will round out your sound. We will discuss just how you can use these pedals in combination with each other later in the guide (see How to Use an Expression Pedal below).

Can an Expression Pedal Be Used as a Volume Pedal?

This is dependent on the design and features included in each individual pedal. A lot of amps and multi-effects will allow you to use an expression pedal with them. These pedals and pieces of equipment will allow your pedal to control all manner of parameters, including volume

Some models even come with a volume control included as a sort of 2-in-1 option, which is perfect for the guitarist who wants to save a bit of money. However, if the pedal is not equipped to handle that, or the unit you are hooking up to is not fitted for this function, you may do more damage than good. 

How to Choose an Expression Pedal

When looking to buy an expression pedal, there are certain features and functions you should be looking for. By considering the carefully compiled list of features below, you will be well on your way to finding the right option for you and your musical needs.

Material

Pedals can be constructed of all kinds of materials. Some will be made of high-quality metals, and others will be made of plastic or even rubber. Obviously, if you want more durability, you will want to look at any pedal made of metal, although some of the models made in plastic do use high-grade hard plastic that can be quite durable.

Compatibility

You will want to find a pedal that is both compatible with your guitar, as well as your other pedals and your amp.

Multifunction

Another great thing to consider when looking at expression pedals is the 2-in-1 option. This will save you space and money.

Budget

You can find good pedals for a reasonable price, and some of the more feature-rich options will be more expensive. That is why, when looking at pedals, you need to have a budget in mind. There is definitely a pedal for every budget.

Cord Length

The perfect cord length will be up to you and your venue. If you are playing in a studio, a shorter cord may work just fine, whereas the opposite is true if you are playing on a stage.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best Guitar Expression Pedals

Now that we have a good idea of what to look for, it's time to dive deep into our carefully curated list of the best guitar expression pedals.

MeloAudio EXP-001 Volume Expression Wah Bass Guitar Effects Pedal with Instrument Cable

PROS

  • Excellent price versus value
  • Compatible with a plethora of effects
  • Small footprint pedal that is easy to transport
  • Offers consistency and ability to recreate tone quickly
  • Built with a rubber top, which makes it a non-slip pedal
  • Built with high-grade metal that gives it nice durability

CONS

  • Needs an inverted polarity cable to use some effects
  • Has no sweep, reaching full effect with only 20% of the pedal movement

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have a lot to say about this pedal. They love the small footprint and comfortable use, as well as the durability of the unit. Though some have found fault with the sweep, for the most part, the guitarists that have added this to their chain simply love the sound quality and ease of use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This unit has it all -- a great build that is durable and crafted to make it comfortable to use, precision response that is full of smooth action, and compatibility with multiple pedals and effects. There is a lot that stands out to us with this pedal, and being able to get all those features for such a great price leaves no doubt that the EXP-001 is the best overall expression pedal on the market.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This bass pedal is easy to use and comfortable, which makes it a great choice for both studio and live performers. However, the live performer will get the most out of the model, as it is designed without dampening. This means the sound will not be manipulated when the pedal is not in use.

Bottom Line

In the end, the MeloAudio EXP-001 is an expression pedal that is budget-friendly, and it also offers a large variety of guitarists a comfortable, precision pedal that produces quality sound for all their expression needs. It is durable and well-constructed, as well as being compact, which offers enhanced portability for the gigging professional.

Zoom FP02M  Expression Pedal

PROS

  • Outstanding price versus value
  • Offers a smooth movement
  • Does not require set up of multiple patches
  • Designed to control multiple effects and parameters
  • Constructed with a small footprint for efficient space management
  • Does not need power or battery and can operate on phantom power

CONS

  • Difficult to use auto-assign mode
  • Limited color selection, as it only comes in silver

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have raised some issues with the auto-assign modes being difficult to use, as well as the limited color selection. Once you get past that (neither issue is universal), though, all you will hear is ecstatic guitarists who love this pedal. Those that have added this pedal to their kit love the control over the effects and parameters, which gives you ultimate customization of your sound.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This model stands out to us for the same reason that recent buyers rave about. The control that this pedal offers its users is outstanding. It can be used with phantom power and is built to last. Plus, all of this comes with an affordable price tag.

Who Will Use This Most

This pedal is a great choice for any guitarist, but the ones who will get the most from the amazing qualities of this pedal are studio guitarists. The real-time control over your sound is crucial when you are in the studio and you need to fine-tune the sound needed for the given style of music.

Bottom Line

Zoom offers a lot of great products, and this pedal is no exception. The FP02M is a great pedal that offers control of your sound-crafting and is easy to use. Fitted with phantom power capability, you will be able to use this pedal no matter where your music takes you.

Best for the Money:
Moog EP-3 Expression Pedal

Moog EP-3 Expression Pedal

PROS

  • Built with durable, high-quality materials
  • Fitted with two knobs, making it easy to use
  • Has the ability to connect to multiple instrument types
  • Designed to be a high-performance pedal for a reasonable price
  • Offers smooth operation with a well-built cam system included in the design

CONS

  • Cheap quality cables included
  • Issues with the feel of the pedal
  • Made of plastic

What Recent Buyers Report

Guitarists who have purchased this pedal love the ease of use and the quality of the sound you get when using it. Though some may feel like it is a little cheap, most like the build and appreciate the durability of the unit. As they say, looks can be deceiving.

Why it Stands Out to Us

For us, the amount of quality and the build itself is great. When you tie that all together with an affordable price tag, you definitely have yourself a winner. The versatility of use that you will get from this pedal is so much more than you would expect for the budget-friendly price.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a great option for both the novice player and the player who plays multiple instruments. The ease of use and the budget-friendly price make this perfect for the guitarist who is just starting out. At the same time, the ability to plug in multiple instruments and equipment makes this great for the multi-instrument playing artist.

Bottom Line

This pedal makes it easy to use non-brand equipment with a simple flip of a switch, and that means you have unlimited possibilities. The inclusion of this in the build is a great touch and something that adds ultimate value. That is why we chose this device as the best budget option on this list.

Best Mini Expression Pedal:
Donner Viper Mini Passive Pedal

Donner 2 in 1 Viper Mini Passive Volume Expression Guitar Effect Pedal

PROS

  • Functions with phantom power
  • Amazing value versus price
  • Does not add any noise to the pedal chain
  • Designed with high-grade, durable materials
  • Built with a compact, lightweight design for better portability
  • Comes designed with dual capability, both volume and expression

CONS

  • No built-in minimum volume control or true bypass
  • Limited expressiveness of the pedal due to small sweep

What Recent Buyers Report

The guitarists that have gone with this mini expression pedal absolutely love the size and how easy it is to fit with their pedalboard or chain. Though some find fault with the sweep capability, all in all, this pedal gets a high rating.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Choosing this as the best mini expression pedal was an easy choice. The fact that it is so compact and still offers a great quality performance was the determining factor, and these features stood out to us the most. Add to that the lack of noise created in your pedal chain and the budget-friendly price and you have a recipe for a great pedal.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a great option for those working with a tight budget, as you basically get two pedals for the price of one. That will certainly save some money. If you are working on a tight budget and are a gigging professional, then you will get even more from this pedal, as it is so compact and lightweight that it won’t add much to your kit.

Bottom Line

When you are dealing with limited space but need to get the most out of your investment, this mini expression pedal is a great choice. It comes built with all the features you need and elevates itself with many of its other features. Though it does have limited expressiveness, that should in no way deter you from considering this mini pedal.

Best Boss Expression Pedal:
BOSS Dual Expression Pedal (EV-30)

BOSS Dual Expression Pedal (EV-30)

PROS

  • Fitted with multiple effect modes for versatility
  • Designed with a built-in powerful ratchet potentiometer
  • Crafted with high-grade materials for superior durability
  • Comes with the standard high quality expected from BOSS
  • Creates a wide variety of options for unique sound creation

CONS

  • More expensive than other options on this list
  • Difficult to recreate or produce unique sounds between effects with precision

What Recent Buyers Report

When scouring the reviews of recent buyers, you can see why we chose this as one of our best expression pedals. The guitarists that have included this in their kit love the potentiometer and the versatility and variety of sounds that can be created using this pedal.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The BOSS brand name comes with a lot of prestige. This model is yet another example of how BOSS takes the time to add things into a design that the artist actually needs and wants. The EV-30 is fitted with many extra features and functions, and that is why it stands out to us.

Who Will Use This Most

This model would be great to add to any kit, but when looking at the specific features, you will soon see that there is one guitarist that will get the most out of it. The gigging professional will be able to use this pedal to its best potential. Its wide range of control and the ability to combine two pedals into one are advantages that the live guitarist will love to take advantage of.

Bottom Line

BOSS is always a name you can rely on, and with this expression pedal, nothing is taken away from this company’s stellar reputation. It is built with high-quality materials and fitted with features that will help improve your overall sound. That is why it is simply one of the best pedals on the market.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying an Expression Pedal?

Though you may know what to look for regarding which model to buy, there is so much more to know before making that final decision. Below are some of the things to keep in mind as you consider your choices.

Expression Ready

You will want to make sure your effects pedals are expression ready. If they are, they should be built with a jack for an expression pedal.

Matching

Make sure to find a pedal that matches your effects pedals, as the connections are not universal, or find one with a polarity switch so that they will be compatible.

Sweep

Pay attention to the sweep, or the amount of foot movement needed. Each option, whether short or long, has its advantages. The one you choose really depends on your personal preference.

Potentiometer

Pedals are usually fitted with either 10k or 25k. If you are using MIDI effects, you may want to go with the larger potentiometer, as you will be using more voltage and will need more division to allow for better control.

How to Use an Expression Pedal

When used in conjunction with other effects pedals, the expression pedal shines. There are plenty of ways to do this, and here are just a few ways you can use an expression pedal.

Delay

Expression pedals amplify the control you have over certain parameters when used with a delay pedal. You can use it to enhance feedback or to control the blend. You can even use it to play with the delay time for some interesting effects.

Dirt

Dirt pedals include a filter that, when used with an expression pedal, can give you a wah-wah sound.

Modulation

When an expression pedal is combined with a modulation pedal, you will be able to not only control the speed but the depth of the pedal, as well.

Multi-Effects

If you want a wide range of tones without having to build out a large pedal chain, then an expression pedal that has other effects attached to it can be a great way to extend the use of your expression pedal.

If you want more information, make sure to check out this video…

Conclusion

We hope that this in-depth look at the best guitar expression pedals has helped you in your decision-making process. It is always a smart move to do your research and look for reviews from experts when beginning your search. You also need to understand the basics of the equipment you are looking to add to your kit, and, in this article, we have curated all of that into one spot for you.