If you have a keyboard or several guitar pedals, you have probably seen an “EXP” input and seek to take your effects to the next level.
Expression pedals are a terrific tool for unleashing creativity and getting the most out of your pedals, whether you want to unlock the potential of your favorite effects pedal, broaden the possibilities of your DJ/Keyboard rig, or whether you want to do so, you are looking for a new method to be inspired.
This article features the best expression pedals for guitar if you are new to expression pedals or looking for updates.
What Is The Function Of The Best Expression Pedals For Guitar?
The top panel of an expression pedal, known as a rocker, is fixed towards one end and swivels up and down. An arm is attached to the bottom of the rocker and is connected to a potentiometer shaft on the other end. The pot, wired to an output jack or cable, moves the rocker up and down.
A low voltage travels via the connection from the device being controlled to the pedal’s pot and then back to the output. The resistance of the pot, and hence the amount of control voltage returned, fluctuates as the rocker is moved. The effect uses this voltage to determine whatever parameter is being manipulated.
A passive device is an expression pedal. It does not require any power because the controlled device supplies the control voltage. Unlike a standard volume pedal, a “pure” expression pedal has no audio input or output.
Control Voltage (CV) pedals are not the same as expression pedals. These active devices use a battery or an external power supply to generate a control voltage. A CV pedal can harm a device not made to use. If in doubt, consult the handbook!
Regrettably, there is no standard for expression pedal inputs. Manufacturers utilize various systems, making finding a compatible pedal for a certain item challenging.
Best Expression Pedals For Guitar
1. M-Audio EX-P
The Roland EV-5 affects the M-Audio EX-P, which is around the same size and has a comparable look and a similar feature set. It is a single output expression pedal with a minimum volume wheel and a polarity switch for cross-device compatibility.
It is situated at the bottom of the pedal is the only disadvantage. So, if you use Velcro to secure the EX-P (which you should because the pedal is not particularly durable), you would not readily access the switch.
The pedal is aluminum and features a plastic foot lever with rubber on the top and bottom to prevent slippage. As with the EV-5, the build quality makes this pedal best suited for studio use rather than live performance.
- It is a simple Design
- Unbeatable value for money
- Most guitars are compatible with this pedal.
- The quality of the construction reflects the price.
- TRS that is hardwired cannot be modified in length.
2. Boss EV-30 Dual Expression
The Boss EV-30 is a dual expression pedal made entirely of die-cast aluminum. The EV-30 is not quite small enough to be called a “mini” pedal, but it is very compact and worth considering if you want to save room on your board while also performing the functions of two expression pedals.
This pedal, however, is weighty and durable, making it more than suitable for live use. It also has a “silky” feel and can be set to very specific positions, holding its place even after many use.
Both outputs are isolated, which means they have low noise and can function independently even when both sides are in use. Each output has its range control, allowing you to tailor it to different parameters. Thanks to its universal polarity switch, it comes with TRS connections and works with most devices.
- Its all-metal construction ensures that it will last a lifetime.
- The design is compact.
- Each output has its control.
- Expensive for what you get.
- The foot pedal has no grip.
3. Jim Dunlop Volume X Mini
The Jim Dunlop Volume X Mini is one of the tiniest expression pedals on the market, but it also packs a punch as an expression and volume pedal. It includes an all-metal enclosure that is quite strong for its size and rubber grips on the top and bottom for additional stability.
Input and output for use with a volume pedal and an Aux output with a tuner or an expression pedal are accessible through an internal dip switch. The only enhancement I wish this pedal had was for the switch to be situated on the outside of the pedal, so I could quickly route the pedal. Rather than crawling around inside the pedal, I use volume or expression and then make my settings with a switch flip. Internal dip switches can access the expression and minimum and maximum values for the volume settings.
- Dual expression/volume pedal
- Internal dip switches allow for customizing the parameters.
- Small size without sacrificing functionality
- A single output may not be sufficient for larger boards.
- It is expensive.
4. Hotone Audio BP-10 Bass Press
Another small expression pedal, the Hotone Audio Bass Press, is designed for bass guitars. But that is not all; Wah and Volume effects are also included. You can choose which effects to use by pressing a little button on the side of the pedal. The range can be adjusted using a little wheel on the other side of the pedal.
The Hotone Audio BP-10 Bass Press has only one output because it is an expression pedal. It has a real bypass and an LED light that turns on when the pedal is turned on. This pedal requires electricity as an active volume controller and can be powered by a 9V supply or a battery.
- Various impacts
- Bassists-specific vocals and design
- Little footprint
- Three-in-one pedal at a reasonable price
- The build quality is subpar.
- At any given time, you can only use one effect.
5. Electro Harmonix Dual Expression Pedal
Electro Harmonix knows that having two outputs on an expression pedal is better than having one, but they did not stop there. Each output has its range, polarity, and reverse function settings to get the most compatibility and functionality. On either side of the pedal are all of the controls.
While having all of your wires run from the side of the pedal may appear cluttered to some, it also provides for optimal pedal placement, giving you the option of having your pedals on the right or left side of the pedal. This design concept allows you to control two pedals or functions on a single pedal.
The Dual Expression boasts a professional build quality with its metal body and conventional wah pedal size. It may cost individuals to save space on their board points, but it will undoubtedly make them feel more at ease. Despite its excellent build quality and dimensions, the Dual Expression is reasonably priced. Two TRS cables are also included.
- Excellent value
- High-quality construction
- Each output has its range, reverse, and polarity.
- More adaptability comes from having two outputs.
- The larger size provides more foot stability at the expense of pedalboard space.
- For some people, side jacks can result in a tangle of cables.
How to Choose the Best Expression Pedals For Guitar
When choosing an expression pedal, there are a few things to consider. A polarity switch is found on many expression pedals, and it pertains to the wiring layout of the guitar pedal you are plugged into. You must ensure that the polarity of the expression pedal matches that of the effects unit for proper operation. It would help if you did not have any compatibility concerns with modern pedals; however, some antique pedals may require adapters or extra cables to function properly.
Most expression pedals are passive, meaning they do not require additional electricity to function. Another advantage of adding to your pedalboard is that you get another hands-free effect without taking up one of your important power outlets. Many multi-effects devices also feature expression pedal inputs, so do not worry if you do not have a typical pedalboard and want expression pedal capability.
Some expression pedals interact with modeling amplifiers, modifying those characteristics without twiddle knobs or reading through interminable menus between songs. This extra layer of versatility ensures that whether you are a tube amp purist or a fervent believer in modern modeling technology, a new expression pedal will have something to appeal to you.
Conclusion on Best Expression Pedals For Guitar
Guitars and keyboards are among the most evocative and expressive instruments globally. Finding the best expression pedals for guitar can help you take your playing and creativity to places you might not have considered otherwise.
These pedals are quite accessible, and the small touches set them apart. My most important advice is to get a pedal that will serve you well in the long run. There are less expensive choices available, but they can easily break down because they are used so frequently. So, quality is key.