Reverb Pedal Buying Guide for Various Applications

Deciding which effects pedals are right for you can get pretty tough. There are a lot of great options out there, and, let’s face it, it’s hard not to feel like you want them all. Unfortunately, our rockstar aspirations rarely jive with our less-than-rockstar budgets. So we’re forced to choose between various pedals. If you are currently trying to decide on the right reverb pedal for your board, we’ve got some advice to help out. Today we’ll be looking at a few fantastic reverb pedals and discussing which applications each of them is best suited for.

Keeping it Simple: Boing by J. Rockett Audio

This first reverb pedal is recommended for players who subscribe to the “less is more” philosophy. The Boing is a road-worthy reverb, but you won’t find any fancy bells and whistles on it, just one control knob that allows you to gauge how much reverb you bring into your tone. That’s it. It’s simplicity also makes the Boing a great option for newer guitar players who are just starting to explore different tones and may not be comfortable using pedals with a lot of options. But don’t be fooled by this pedal’s one-control design; it does a solid job of recreating bright, amplifier-style reverb to help your sound stand out during a live performance like a vintage amp reverb would.

Spring Reverb: FRV-1 ’63 Fender Reverb by Boss & Topanga by Catalinbread

Of course we would be remiss not to include the FRV-1 from Boss. This pedal was a collaborative effort between Boss and Fender to reproduce the sound of the original 1963 Fender Tube Reverb (aka “reverb tank”) that is beloved by many players for providing the classic surf rock tone made famous in the 1960s. If you’ve ever heard “Wipe Out” by the Surfaris, you’ve enjoyed the splash of spring reverb. The FRV-1 offers great spring verb sound with mixer, tone, and dwell knobs for those of us who may not have the budget for an actual reverb tank. It’s got a much smaller footprint too.

Another pedal to note when on the topic of quality spring reverb is the Topanga by Catalinbread. With sounds ranging from subtle to surfable, and a variety of dimensions provided by four knobs controlling dwell, tone, mix, and gain, the Topanga is one of the most convincing spring reverbs out there.

Reverb for Rock: Holy Grail Plus by Electro-Harmonix

If you are looking for a reverb pedal that allows you to really rock, consider the Holy Grail Plus by Electro-Harmonix. This is a fantastic stompbox that offers a multifunctional control so you can adjust the decay, damping, and modulation speed of your tone. And speaking of tone, the Holy Grail Plus comes with four different reverb settings: spring, hall, room, and flerb. When you’re playing rhythm in a rock set, this is a great pedal to have for those numbers that need a little space. Our advice when doing this is to use the spring and hall settings; you probably won’t need the flerb too much if you’re rocking out.

Ambient Reverb: BigSky by Strymon & Descent by Walrus Audio

Guitarists favoring ambient tones will love Strymon’s BigSky and Walrus Audio’s Descent reverb pedals. There is really no end to the sounds you can create with these stompboxes. We sincerely don’t think you can make a “bad” decision when choosing one of these reverbs over the other, however, we’ve included a few of the product features below to help you decide which pedal is the right fit for you. You’ll notice that the BigSky does offer a greater amount of preset storage and more reverb modes, but not every player will need that many options. Additionally, the Descent retails for about $299, whereas the BigSky retails for about $479.


Best Bang for Your Buck: Hall of Fame by TC Electronic

TC Electronic puts out a versatile reverb pedal that will rise to any musical occasion. With 10 reverb types; decay, color, and level controls, along with analog-dry-through design, the Hall of Fame has earned a reputation for being one of the best reverb pedals on the market. You can even download custom reverb tones to your smartphone using the TC Electonic TonePrint app and beam them into your Hall of Fame pedal; no cables are required! The Hall of Fame retails for about $149—definitely a fantastic value.

Tip: If you’re looking for a versatile reverb pedal but don’t have much room to spare on your board, TC Electronic also makes the Hall of Fame Mini Reverb. This pedal comes pre-loaded with TC Electronic’s legendary hall reverb and is part of their TonePrint series, so you can download any of the custom tones available on the TonePrint app and achieve the sound you want.

We hope this short buying guide has been helpful! If you have any questions about the reverb pedals discussed above or any other effects pedal you’re considering, feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch with one of our gear experts.

Contributed by the team at Rogue Guitar Shop: Rogue Guitar Shop specializes in providing boutique effects and electric guitars for musicians everywhere. Finding the tone you want online has never been easier.