Best Guitar Sustain Pedals – 2019 Top Picks Reviewed

Whether you are an aspiring guitarist or you already have a vast collection of pedals, a sustain pedal is definitely a must-try.

Why is that? Have a look in the next section to find out what a sustain pedal is and what it does.

We'll then explore the pros and cons of the top picks available on the market. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Guitar Sustain Pedals

Product

Rating

Price

Boss CP-1X Compressor

Boss CP-1X Compressor Pedal and Boss PSA-120S2 Power Supply

Best Overall

MXR Dyna Comp Effects Pedal

MXR M102 Dyna Comp Compresor Pedal

Runner-up

Behringer Compressor/Sustainer CS400

Behringer Compressor/Sustainer CS400 Ultimate Dynamics Effects Pedal

Best for the Money

Wampler Ego Compressor/Sustain Pedal

Wampler Ego Compressor V2 Guitar Effects Pedal

Fender The Bends Compressor

Fender The Bends Compressor Pedal

What is a Sustain Pedal?

A sustain pedal allows you to lengthen the output signal of your guitar; in other words, it sustains the sound sent to the amp for a longer time. This can be used for on-stage live performances, but they are also used in studio recordings. 

Keep in mind that there is a considerable difference between delay pedals and sustain pedals – though many aspiring guitarists mix them up. The first one ‘delays’ the sound, in that the sound is played several times, one after the other, so it appears delayed, while the sustain pedal prolongs the sound sent to the amp. 

What Does a Sustain Pedal Do?

Long story short, the sustain pedal has four main levels: attack, decay, sustain, and release. These focus on how a sustain pedal actually works. Experimenting with different controls and timings will help you reach better quality sounds and performances, equalizing some sounds and finding your unique play style and genre. 

Remember that it is also relevant where you place it in the signal chain – we recommend towards the end because it handles the entire signal your guitar transmits. 

First Stage - Attack

First, the entire process begins with the attack phase. This is the moment where you play the sound, and it raises from zero decibels to maximum. 

Boss CP-1X Compressor 

Second and Third Stage – Decay and Sustain

The next stage is when the sound falls down to the ‘sustain’ level (the one you adjust), followed by ‘sustain’ time – or the time wherein the sound remains at the sustain level. 

Release Stage

Lastly, the final stage is when you release the chord, and the sound finishes. This process is often known as ADSR and explains how a sustain pedal works through the four main segments described above. 

How to Choose a High-Quality Sustain Pedal

There is a wide variety of sustain pedals on the market, each of them with different price points, features, and characteristics. But which one is for you? Here’s a shortlist of must-have features when considering a sustain pedal:

Maintain a Natural Sound

First of all, the pedal should not interfere with the natural qualities of your instruments. Many low-budget options will result in a muddied original signal from the guitar, which is definitely a thing you should avoid! Keep an eye open for models that keep natural qualities intact – luckily, you can find them in the next section!

Little to No Interferences

Some sustain pedals can interfere with other equipment and make humming noises. Others have improved circuitry, which avoids such disaster, keeping your performance clean and crystal clear.  

Easy to Read and Use

Why buy a pedal you can’t use? If you’re a stage performer, make sure it is easy to read in the dark; otherwise, you will find it very difficult to manipulate it. Additionally, too many features, knobs, and controls can be extremely confusing if you are just starting with your effect pedals, so we recommend keeping it simple. 

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best Guitar Sustain Pedals

Here’s a compact review of our top models that we absolutely love and highly recommend to both pros and beginners.

Boss CP-1X Compressor Pedal and Boss PSA-120S2 Power Supply

PROS

  • Can be used as a booster
  • Sophisticated, musical tones
  • Nuances are clear, rich, and incredibly detailed
  • Extremely versatile, works perfectly with any type of guitar
  • Maintains the unique character of your guitar without mudding the tones

CONS

  • High price range

What Recent Buyers Report

This compressor is extremely easy to work with – the simple interface has only 4 knobs, which provide you with the ability to create sophisticated, highly clear sounds. Additionally, the best feature is the gain reduction indicator, which informs you how much compression you apply. Best compression one can get for any type of guitar!

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is our top pick for the best guitar sustain pedals. For those who tried out compressors, it is quite common to find that they muddy your tones. This Boss compressor keeps the natural-sounding qualities of your instrument, providing you with advanced controls and high clarity.

Who Will Use This Most

This compressor is perfectly optimized for any type of guitar and all music and play styles. It delivers consistent, rich, and highly musical tones, ranging from mellow touches to heavy and fast rhythms. Additionally, you can also use this compressor as a booster if you aim for a transparent, punchy sound.

Bottom Line

Overall, this Boss compressor is as close to perfection as one can get. Perfect for electric guitars, it can highlight the low-end tones and control upper-range sounds easily, while acoustic-electric instruments are highlighted with lush, natural, and fully detailed overtones.

MXR M102 Dyna Comp Compresor Pedal

PROS

  • Extremely affordable
  • Thicker and fuller sounds
  • Great for single-coil pickups
  • Simple, solid, and easy to read design
  • Professional quality right out of the box

CONS

  • Low humming noise
  • Volume boost is not much (mods can be used, though)

What Recent Buyers Report

If you have a single-coil pickup, you will never let go of this sustain pedal ever again. Once you try it for the first time, you will definitely notice that this is the sound you’ve been looking for. Customers have praised this as a good quality pedal, ready to play on a professional level straight out of the box.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Our runner-up sustain pedal for guitar presents you with a more affordable choice, preserving great features and tone qualities. The MXR compressor pedal offers a constant output signal for smooth performance, but also allows you to control sensitivity and fully benefit from the superb tones.

Who Will Use This Most

This pedal is great for anyone who wants to achieve the sophisticated tones of well-known pop hits, adding sustain to the lead lines at the same time. One might go to such an extent to say that this pedal is essential to single-coil pickups, elevating your instrument to sky-high standards.

Bottom Line

Overall, if this classic is best, this pedal is a must-have for you. It is simple, easy to use, and purely gets the job done. The simple design makes it easy to use in live settings, during rehearsals, or any other setup. It is highly affordable, and it has great sustain.

Behringer Compressor/Sustainer CS400 Ultimate Dynamics Effects Pedal

PROS

  • Durable and sturdy casing
  • Preserving original sounds of the instrument
  • Extremely affordable and good dynamics controller
  • Easy on/off switch and status LED for higher visibility
  • Highly versatile and includes controls for attack, level, sustain, and tone

CONS

  • Plastic casing

What Recent Buyers Report

This pedal performs astonishingly well to smooth out the dynamics of your performance. Although some might get discouraged by its low price point, all you need is to give it a try. Despite the plastic casing, it is highly durable and reliable. This product is definitely underpriced!

Why it Stands Out to Us

Our best budget pick is the excellent Behringer sustain pedal. The volume is consistent, velvety smooth, and provides great sustain. This sustain pedal offers richness, density, and impact to all the sounds, smoothing the loud ones and highlighting the quieter ones, all in a compact and easy to use design.

Who Will Use This Most

This sustain pedal is a great choice for aspiring musicians who want a good quality setup without breaking the bank. This pedal is highly recommended for its simplicity and ease of use, but also for allowing you full control over dynamics through the level, attack tone, and sustain knobs.

Bottom Line

Overall, Behringer definitely needs some more recognition for their efforts. Despite the low price, this pedal can definitely compete with other, much more expensive alternatives on the market. It is a great sustain pedal, and it does everything a sustain pedal is expected to do.

Wampler Ego Compressor V2 Guitar Effects Pedal

PROS

  • True bypass
  • Premium-quality components
  • Controls attack, tone, blend, and sustain
  • Can be either used as an effect or constantly on
  • Preserves the natural-sounding of your instrument

CONS

  • Expensive

What Recent Buyers Report

This pedal brings to life the clean tones, without meddling with the tone of the amplifier. It is easier to play fuller, richer, and simply better sounds. This pedal is worth every cent due to its versatility. The knob for blend is a must-try for any guitarist!

Why it Stands Out to Us

Flexible and transparent, this premium quality sustain pedal has everything you can wish for. It preserves the original qualities of your tone and allows you to control the dynamics of your performance successfully. All components are top-notch quality, and it is true bypass.

Who Will Use This Most

The Wampler Ego is highly recommended to experienced players. It does come with a premium pricing, but its accuracy is astonishing. Additionally, an experienced guitarist can make full use of its versatility and adjust the settings to taste. The blend control is what makes it perfect – controlling everything to your needs.

Bottom Line

Overall, if you are chasing professional quality, this sustain pedal is what you’ve been dreaming of. It is durable, reliable, easy to use, and highly versatile. There are endless possibilities to tweak it and adjust everything to your satisfaction. Definitely worth the buck!

Fender The Bends Compressor Pedal

PROS

  • High-quality components allow tweaking perfection
  • Sturdy casing made of aluminum alloy for prolonged use
  • High-current control path ensures fast response time
  • Highly versatile and flexible, yet preserving the natural dynamics
  • Perfect for stage use due to illuminated LED lights and compact size

CONS

  • High price range

What Recent Buyers Report

If you are looking for a highly accurate sustain pedal with no additional noise, the Fender sustain pedal is what you need. The dual audio paths help you achieve accuracy and precision, without interfering with your signal. The blend control allows higher versatility and preserves your natural dynamics.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Most lists with guitar accessories need a Fender. This sustain pedal is one of our favorites due to its dual internal audio paths, which minimizes the noise, fast response time, and the smooth altering of sound spikes without interfering with your tones.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are quite a perfectionist, this pedal is a true asset to your pedal family. The illuminated knobs make it highly visible on a dark stage (stage performers beware!), and it is also specially designed for traveling due to the minimalistic, lightweight design.

Bottom Line

Overall, Fender never fails to deliver on quality. This pedal is perfect for the stage performer or the traveling musician. With great craftsmanship, this pedal is LED-illuminated for better visibility in dark settings. It is lightweight, durable, and ready to join the pedal family.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Sustain Pedals

Still in doubt whether to check it out or not? Check this section for a short breakdown of the main pros and cons of owning a sustain pedal. 

Advantages

Here are the main advantages of sustain pedals:

Customizable

You can level out the sounds of your instrument, sweeten the sound, and add some presence to your performance. These devices are extremely useful for live performance because they punch through clear rhythms. They can smooth and sweeten sounds, especially when paired with other effects, such as reverb. Sustain pedals are increasingly being used in modern tunes. 

Boost Volume

Some models can be used as volume boosters; additionally, they are great assets if you play in venues/places where you cannot play extremely loud; the compression will make it up for it.

Warmth and Tone

Depending on the music genre you play, a compressor might be a must-have accessory to recreate some popular tunes. These pedals add a little extra to the tone, which otherwise would make the sound incomplete. 

Disadvantages

The main disadvantages include:

Noise

They can add unwanted noise if the product is of poor quality. So when purchasing a sustain pedal, make sure that you get the best pedal for your budget.

Overcrowding

You can have a crammed pedalboard if you already own a lot of pedals, which means you will either need to get rid of a pedal or keep the sustain pedal separately.

Conclusion

Overall, a sustain pedal could be precisely the little push you need to achieve your potential. We reviewed the best guitar sustain pedals of this year, briefly mentioning their advantages, disadvantages, why you should consider them and how they can help you improve your performance. Is it a must? No. But it will definitely elevate your performance.