1st Pedal to buy

Hello fellow guitarists

I’ve never owned an effects pedal and looking to buy one.
I’m leaning towards a looper pedal as I think it could enhance my learning?

I’m open to any suggestions? If I do purchase a looper which one would be a decent one?

Thank you

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Hey Bob,
Looper. Definitely a looper. I have the basic Boss looper (I think it’s the RC-1) & have a blast playing with it! It has helped me with timing & it’s also great to hear yourself IMMEDIATELY without having to stop a video recording & watch yourself. When playing with the looper, you can add layer after layer which is so cool to experiment with.
My next pedal will probably be a tuner pedal & then I think the Boss JB-2 Angry Driver pedal (it’s Boss’s Blues Driver pedal combined with JHS’s Angry Charlie in a new collab between the 2 companies - both pedals were at the top of my list).
I have a bunch of others in my “Wish List” but since I have the Katana 50 MkII amp… most of what I would need is built in there already…
Guess I’ll need to get a tube amp to justify the GAS for new pedals!!!


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Hey Bob, a looper sounds like a good idea.
Myself, I still don’t have one. Suppose I’ll get one eventually though. Sorry, I’ve no idea which one to get either. My hope would be a simple one as I’m kind of a simple man.

I’ve been at this guitar thing now for 4 or so years. I’ve got 7 pedals. Got 6 of them in the first year or two after picking up my guitar, again.

I guess my last pedal would be the one I’d recommend to get 1st, not 7th.
A peterson strobe tuner. I got the mini one fwiw. It works fine. And I must say, I really dig having a guitar that’s in tune. Nothing worse than listening to a out of tune guitar. The peterson works real well and really get’s me in tune good.

That said.
In the order I got them.
-tc electrinics gause tape echo. Not a particularly well reviewed pedal, but it works good and it’s going on 5 years since I got it used. Can’t remember the price, maybe $50.
-joyo phaser
-joyo compressor. Got these two together as a package deal for $35, used.
-joyo atmosphere reverb. I got it for a amp that had no reverb on it. It works ok, has many types of reverb. Kind of overwhelming controls (to many). The reverb is ok but for sure I prefer on board reverb. fwiw, it didn’t help my reverbless amp. That amp (Peavey audion 20) still sounded like s**t. Gave the amp away and kept the pedal.
-joyo vintage overdrive and a joyo tremolo I got together new. Round abouts $50. They both work well enough. I use the tremolo much, the overdrive, not so much. I just like tremolo is all. While I like it, it’s no where near the tube driven tremolo of a fender prri. Pretty much night and day difference.

If I turn on a pedal, I seem to use the tremolo and compressor the most, short of the tuner.

I know the joyo’s are cheap pedals, but I will say they’ve lasted so far and do what I want them to do. The only one I feel I’d like to upgrade is the tremolo. Trying to get closer to my on board fender tremolo. Haven’t done that yet as the joyo one keeps working.

Guess I got one last pedal short of the oem pedals that come with my amps.
A fender a/b/y pedal. Pretty cheap too. $40 abouts. I got it so I could keep 2 amps active at all times. Then switch between them depending on which one I want to use. It works well too. If ya got two amps, a a/b/y switch is a great idea (they make much better ones). It’s just a whole lotta fun to play 2 amps at the same time. Ya can get some real hifi tones doing that, least I think I do. I don’t use it that way mostly, but I can. I use the A amp or the B amp. That it does well too and the reason I got it.

So imho,
get a strobe tuner pedal.
your looper sounds like a great place to start too. Albeit, if your wanting to mod your tones, I don’t think a looper does that.
imho, for a 1st tone altering pedal, I think I’d go delay or tremolo. But that’s me.

The pedals I want to get eventually at this moment are a supro tremolo. Some kinda equalizer pedal, and a looper. I’ve been thinking about getting these now for a year or 2. So you can see, I don’t move so fast. I’m happy with what I got.
My amps are 1 solid state (80w), and two tube amps (12w, 15w). All have reverb, one has tremolo too, other than that, they are plain amps, no effects at all onboard.

Good luck and have fun making your decision. And ya don’t have to go down the rabbit hole if ya don’t want. A few well placed pedals may be all you need. :wink:

I’m happy with my setup and have no GAS for the last year plus.

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Tuner pedal and looper are high on my priority list at this point. I have a tuner that clamps on the headstock and TBH I don’t think it works very well. Often in a quiet room I hit G string and it tells me to tune Down about half a step and then once I get it to Green it tells me I need to tune UP half a step. It also sometimes tells me that my low E is tuned to B. Regardless, I have learned its idiosyncrasies and am able to get in tune anyway. I was hoping a pedal connected would help with the correct frequency and also look better than the headstock one.

The looper pedal for me is also high priority because right now I have to record myself and play it back from an app and no matter how fast my hands are there is always a delay clicking on off, where I have to take my hands off the instrument.

Long and short is that both pedals are hard for me to part with my cash because I have something that works now, but sure would make the whole experience better.

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Probably not what you’re looking for, but I only have one pedal and I use it everyday. It’s a Boss volume pedal. I like to leave the guitar volume pot pegged and I don’t have to mess with the amp having this pedal.

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There are so many pedals out there how can anyone suggest?

What do you have now, amp wise?

A looper is a great toy to have tho.

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A looper is a great suggestion, it was one of the first pedals I got. I have an Electro-Harmonix 720 and I love it. I have been doing a lot of songwriting lately, and a looper is really helpful for me in that process, but it’s also great for just jamming.

What kind of music do you like to play? A lot of the pedals I initially got were to fill in gaps with what tones I felt I was missing. I play a lot of rock/hard rock so I have various forms of distortion, fuzz and overdrive on my board. One of my favorite pedals is a Boss noise suppressor. I play with a lot of noisy stuff :laughing: and it has made a huge difference in my overall sound.

Welcome to the pedal rabbit hole :laughing:


It depends on whether you have effects built in to your amp or not. Many amps at least have reverb. If you don’t have something like a Boss Katana then I would start with an overdrive pedal, something like a Boss Blues Driver or Boss OD3. Get an overdrive rather than a distortion or a fuzz - this will give you ‘crunch’ tones and mimics a valve amp driving the tubes (useful if you can’t play loud where you are). Getting good tones with distortion and fuzz can be tricky so they can come later (most people have both overdrive and distortion/fuzz on their boards so whatever you get now won’t be wasted).

A pedal tuner is useful if you play in public, not so much if you just play at home for fun as there’s no time pressure at home to get in tune.

A looper would be my second pedal (first if you have effects in your amp) - they’re great practice aids but not really for absolute beginners as you need to at least be able to play in time to use one effectively. However, remember that if you’re putting the looper in front of the amp, plugging your guitar into the looper and the looper into the amp, then any effects in the amp come AFTER the looper pedal i.e. they won’t be recorded in your loop, and you will just get the clean sound of your guitar on the loop. I use the TC Electronics Ditto+ for its very simple operation and small size. The Boss loopers are also good.

Finally, it also depends on your budget. You can get some very good pedals at a cheap price in the smaller formats. You might want to try starting with these $30-50 pedals until you work out what your ‘sound’ is going to be, and then perhaps go for a more expensive pedal once you know what you want. There’s also the option of buying used to save a bit of money


Loopers are great, you’ll enjoy having one of those. Mine’s a Boss RC-3 (I think from memory, at work at the moment so can’t double check), and like all Boss pedals, it does a great job and has a very robust construction. However, as boring as it sounds, a tuner pedal is my must have imo. I have a Boss Tu-3 which allows for your signal to be killed whilst tuning or you can have it pass through so you hear the output whilst checking your tuning, handy for practicing bends, etc. But if I was to start over now, I would actually get a quality multi-effects pedal, if your budget allows (they can be quite expensive). But you buy one unit and it will do everything, tuning, looping, reverb, delay, overdrive, distortion, anything you want really. The newer ones sound really great, would probably be a one-and-done type scenario :wink:
Have fun! :metal::smiley:


Looper. As a bonus, get a looper with drum-tracks/metronome built-in, and one that is easy to adjust tempo.

I had the Boss RC-3, but I upgraded to the Boss RC-5 to get a lot more drum-tracks, an easier-to-understand user interface, and a tempo knob to quickly change metronome speed.



For many styles of music the most important first pedal for tone is some kind of overdrive. There are thousands of them.

Loopers and tuners are great, but they’re different sorts of tools.


I bought a basic looper some time ago, Boss RC1 and have enjoyed playing around with it. Found it good for practicing timing and having a go at layering etc. if your budget allows maybe one with some more functions.


Loop-ah, and then an analog delay. :+1:

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Hi Bob,
I hope you can make a choice because it is not easy … a lot depends on what you want to play of course … I hope this gives some light in the darkness … above all, have fun choosing and saving for you 2nd pedal :smiley: :sunglasses:

Of course, a lot also depends on your amplifier as to what can be done with it from a technical sound effect point of view

My First was a Chorus … two weeks later a distortion … and way later a looper but I should buy that looper sooner now

Greetings and have fun,



I am a begginer and my first looper was TC electronic Ditto Looper. It is basic afordable lopper. It is easy to use but I still find it sometimes challenging to start/stop at the right time. Need to practice more :slight_smile:
The next pedal on my list will be the reverb pedal - I am looking at TC Hall of Fame 2, but still didn’t decide to pull the trigger on it. Reverb pedal because my amp only have basic reverb settings and I think I would love to play around with more options.

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I already have a looper but if I was to buy one now I’d consider the Dooner circle looper. It is has a built in drum machine. Since it would be impossible to sync the drum track to your loop manually, the pedal has built sync function as shown in the video below.


Can I add another looper vote please :slight_smile:

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To me:

A looper: a tool
distortion, reverb, overdrive, phaser, etc: effect

investing in tools that support the aspect you want to devleop in your guitar journey sounds like a fun and useful step and experiment.

For me it wouldn’t be the first pedal to buy as I would suggest distortion, overdrive or reverb but a looper is just awhole different category.

of course, what your current goals are as a musician hasa big say in what you “should” buy
… and then again. who am I to say that. There are so many fun an cheap options to try as well, you might have some FUN exploring a source of inspiration that might surprise you!


Another trick you can do with the the donner looper involves importing an mp3.

You could take a song your learning, remove the guitar track by using moises and then upload that guitarless track to your pedal. That way you can practice along with just drums, bass and vocals to whatever song you want!


Hi Bob ,
I completely agree with van Lieven says,
The “problem” of first getting a looper is that in the beginning you have to have good timing otherwise you will teach yourself terrible things, and if you have a corrected looper (never thought of typing such a word), well, a very nice tool , but didn’t they invent YouTube for that… thousands and thousands of loops/backing tracks etc etc in all tones and sizes… I am very happy with my looper (because of other pedals in which they are increasingly being used, I have one now 3 :upside_down_face:), but I wouldn’t have wanted it as a first pedal…

Good luck with your choice :sweat_smile: