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Expression pedals are great tools for guitar players who want to add an extra layer of expression to their sound. They can be used to control a variety of effects and parameters, such as volume swells or even pitch bending.
Finding the right expression pedal can be difficult – there are dozens of brands and models with different features and effects. To help you make a decision, we’ve rounded up some of the best expression pedals that offer excellent build quality, performance, and value.
What is the Best Expression Pedal?
Expression Pedal Reviews
Mission Engineering Inc EP-1 Expression Pedal - Black
Mission Engineering Inc EP-1 Expression Pedal - Black Review
This Mission Engineering device is an all-metal expression pedal designed for use with effects pedals, synthesizers, and more. It is built for lasting reliability and years of smooth operation due to its top-drawer components used throughout.
It comes with a non-slip rubber surface that helps your foot to maintain the ideal amount of pressure with the face of the pedal when you’re moving the rocker plate back and forth to achieve your desired effect.
Furthermore, the pedal has four rubber feet on the underside to help it stay in place, whether you’re using it on a pedalboard or just on a stage floor.
The EP-1 Expression Pedal works great when using modulation or delay effects as the range of control it offers allows me to manipulate my sound in real-time without having to constantly adjust knobs manually.
The simplicity of this pedal is another of its strengths. Expression pedals don’t need to be complex and shouldn’t require a wealth of effects-based knowledge or experience to use.
Rather than being manufactured in other countries to save costs, Mission Engineering ensures that all the EP-1 expression pedals are made in the USA and come backed by Mission’s comprehensive warranty and service program.
Boss EV-30 Dual Expression Pedal
Boss EV-30 Dual Expression Pedal Review
Are you looking to take on the role of a ‘boss’ during your next jam session? Have you found that lightweight, plastic expression pedals don’t fit the bill in terms of durability? If so, the Boss EV-30 Dual Expression Pedal could be the best guitar expression pedal for you.
Crafted from cast aluminum and built to last, this pedal leaves little to the imagination in terms of durability. Smooth responses, precise delays, and a host of filters ensure that acoustic flexibility is never sacrificed.
Let’s also keep in mind that the EV-30 can control two devices simultaneously, so it’s easily the best expression pedal in terms of space.
The Boss EV-30 might also be the best expression pedal if you tend to have a heavy foot while playing. This pedal is easy to install, so even amateur guitarists will be pleased with what is in store.
When we then take into account the device’s dual outputs and precise controls, it is clear to see why this pedal is truly the “boss!”
Moog EP-3 Universal Polarity Expression Pedal
Moog EP-3 Universal Polarity Expression Pedal Review
Many professional guitarists feel that the Moog EP-3 Universal Polarity Expression Pedal is the best expression pedal on the market in terms of control and a sturdy build.
The EP-3 will work with most brand-name synthesizers, and it is compatible with most other effects pedals. This could also be the best mini expression pedal if you are a fan of the famous MoogerFogger effects pedals.
Another great feature is the fact that this guitar expression pedal offers an external level adjustment so that you are in ultimate control of how it interacts with any of your other instruments. An output of 1/4 inches will work perfectly fine with typical TRS jacks, and you are also supplied with a six-foot cable as standard.
Superior levels of craftsmanship went into the design of this guitar expression pedal. The Moog EP-3 could also be the perfect expression pedal for you if you have experienced compatibility issues with other models in the past.
Boss FV-500H Foot Volume Pedal (High Impedance)
Boss FV-500H Foot Volume Pedal (High Impedance) Review
The Boss FV-500H Foot Volume Pedal is arguably the best expression if you already own a number of high-impedance instruments.
In fact, you might be familiar with the previous line of Boss FV-500 pedals. The main difference is that the FV-500H series has been specifically engineered to provide your high-impedance guitars with truly roof-shattering effects.
Other benefits include a die-cast aluminum body, non-slip rubber pads for a firm grip, adjustable pedal-torque, and ultra-smooth movement. We should also mention that the FV-500H is equipped with an expression output designed to be used with all compatible amps.
The Boss FV-500H is indeed the best guitar expression pedal for high-impedance instruments. Still, its rugged design and extremely smooth responsiveness will provide you with amazing levels of control.
Roland EV-5 Expression Pedal
Roland EV-5 Expression Pedal Review
Versatility is the name of the game in regards to the Roland EV-5 Expression Pedal. As we should expect from a brand such as Roland, you are provided with levels of flexibility that are not often seen with generic after-market models.
The Roland EV-5 can work in combination with other manufacturers, including Boss, so mixing and matching your current pedal board should not present a problem.
This is also the best expression pedal in terms of functionality. It can be used for data entry, volume control, or parameter adjustments within real-time scenarios. To put it simply, this guitar expression pedal will definitely add value to your existing line-up.
Finally, let’s mention that this pedal can work with many Roland, Alesis, and Kurzweil instruments; ideal if you have a band and you cannot afford to purchase individual pedals for each one.
The Roland EV-5 guitar expression pedal is as flexible as it is a great cost-effective option in terms of an all-in-one option. Not only does it offer numerous functions, but it can be used with other instruments and/or setups. We feel confident that this is the best guitar expression pedal in terms of overall value.
Nektar NX-P Universal Expression Pedal
Nektar NX-P Universal Expression Pedal Review
Whether you currently own a Nektar foot controller or any instrument with a built-in expression input, the Nektar NX-P Universal Expression Pedal will be a welcome addition. Perhaps the most interesting feature is that this model is equipped with a polarity switch. In other words, it can be used with nearly any item that already contains an expression input.
Nektar is also famous for its user-friendly controls, and the NX-P does not disappoint. Players can adjust parameters, including volume, pan, hold, and modulation, with ease. If you happen to be traveling to gigs regularly, a weight of only 0.7 pounds is ideal. On a final note, this guitar expression pedal comes with a six-foot cable and a 1/4-inch TRS jack as standard.
These are some of the reasons why it is fair to say that the Nektar NX-P is the best expression pedal in terms of overall compatibility with other instruments. Additional amenities include rubber feet for a firm grip, a durable build, and streamlined dimensions for easy storage.
Guitar Expression Pedal Buyer’s Guide
So, how are you to know which of the five brands mentioned above is the best expression pedal for your needs? It is first a good idea to take a look at the weight, dimensions, and durability of the unit; especially if it will be subject to a fair amount of wear and tear. Other variables include:
- Compatibility with other devices.
- User controls and expression options.
- Price (obviously).
- Additional acoustic effects that you might desire.
The good news is that all of the expression pedals outlined above represent budget-friendly options if you are concerned about breaking the bank. Of course, feel free to examine each one in greater detail in order to make an informed decision.