5 Must Have Guitar Pedals For Playing Rock Guitar

5 Must Have Guitar Pedals For Playing Rock Guitar

In today’s lesson, we are going to look at 5 must-have guitar pedals for playing rock guitar.  Rock guitar is one of the most exciting styles of guitar playing there is.  And the reason for this is because you get to use guitar pedals.


Distortion pedal

Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal

The number one guitar that you need for playing rock guitar is a good quality distortion pedal.  This is what gives you the rock guitar sound that we love so much.

Now if you have a good amplifier (Marshall, Peavey, etc,) you can sometimes get this sound out of the amp.

These usually come with a footswitch to operate the distortion channel.  But if not, you’ll need a guitar pedal.

There are many to choose from on the market so I recommend that you do some research.  But for me, I choose the Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal.  This is a quality pedal that has been used on multiple rock recordings since its invention in the ’70s. Here is a review I did on it.


The MXR Distortion Pedal is a great choice for distortion.  MXR has been making guitar pedals for years and is a great option for shaping your guitar tone.  This pedal is 100% analog and provides a true bypass.  With few knobs for simplicity of use.

MXR Distortion Pedal


The Fulltone OCD distortion pedal is also a very popular choice for getting a great rock tone.  It has a very simple set up with just three knobs and provides a boost switch for extra tone enhancement.

This pedal can be used for playing rhythm guitar and can also be used for boosting your guitar solos.  This along with the other pedals can spark your inspiration in multiple ways.

Fulltone OCD guitar pedal

These guitar pedals will give you a great place to start.  I recommend you look into them and see if they work for you and your style of playing.

If not, find the one that does.  There are many to choose from and if you look hard enough you’ll find the right distortion pedal.


Reverb pedal

Boss Reverb pedal

The reverb pedal is very popular and comes in second on the list.  Sometimes the amplifier will have reverb built into it so in that case, you might not need it in pedal format.  But none the less, the reverb pedal is a great one to have on your pedalboard.

The reason why it is an essential effect to have is that it adds depth to your sound.  When it comes to playing guitar, you want to have depth.  This is why it is installed in a lot of amps.  Some amps come with spring reverb and some of the amps come equipped with digital reverb. 


The Fender reverb pedal that gives you all sorts of great options to add depth to your tone.  With hall, room, and shimmer reverb types.  And since it is made by Fender, you know it is made of quality. This pedal has plenty of options to play with.

Fender Reverb pedal


You also have the option of an MXR reverb pedal that offers the same kind of quality but in a bit of a smaller option.  MXR pedals are a bit smaller than the Fender ones.  The MXR M300 offers both 100% analog and true bypass.

MXR reverb pedal

Of course, there are many other reverb pedals to choose from as well.  TC Electronics makes a great reverb pedal as well as Boss and a whole bunch of others.  All in different sizes and colors.  I recommend you do research online and look at some reviews to find the one that fits your style of playing.


Wah pedal

Using a Wah pedal

Up next is the wah pedal.  This pedal has been around since the ’60s and has been used by all the masters of rock guitar.  Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Kirk Hammett, Slash and many, many, more.

It was designed to emulate a pedal used by an organ player.  The first one created was by Vox and soon to become one of the most popular guitar effects pedals to be used

Here are a few to look into:


Vox V845 Classic Wah

Vox Wah pedal


Dunlop Crybaby Wah 

Dunlop Crybaby Wah pedal


Morley Switchless Wah

Morley wah pedal

I chose these three wah pedals because they are all a bit different in feel and tone.  There are many more to choose from and if you look around, you’ll find the one that works for you.

Wah pedals are cool because they allow you to add articulation, emotion, and color to your notes.  By rocking the pedal back and forth you can get bassy sweeps to trebly highs.

They create a very unique sound.  When you hear it, you know it’s a wah pedal being used. Great for all styles of music.

Guitar Tricks Free Trial

Next up on the guitar pedal list:

The infamous Delay pedal

Delay guitar pedals

If you haven’t tried one of these pedals, I highly recommend you do.  This awesome guitar pedal can be used in multiple ways.  If you’d like to see a review I did on how it can be used, check it out here.


This little gizmo can do wonders for your guitar playing creativity.  No matter if you want to enhance your rhythm guitar playing by doubling up your rhythm tracks or adding a bit of sustain.  This pedal can do it and more.

And when it comes to playing guitar solos, this guitar pedal can make you sound like your coming from another planet in outer space.  With just the right touch, you can make some sounds that literally sound like they are out of this word!

This pedal comes in both analog and digital formats, and here are a few to look into.

MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay

MXR Delay Pedal

This pedal provides an all-analog delay, up to 600 milliseconds of delay time, modulation controls that emulate tape echo tones, and designed for simple easy usage.


Boss DD-7 Digital Delay

Boss Delay pedal

The Boss digital delay pedal expands your creative potential with modulation delay mode, classic modeled analog delay mode, external pedal control options, longer delay time and more.

As with the other pedals, there are many of these types to choose from and it’s recommended you do some research.  I suggest you start with these two as they are the most popular.

If you really want to boost your creativity and add some pizazz to your guitar playing, check out a delay pedal, I guarantee you will be fueled with inspiration.


Last in the series

Now, for the last pedals on the list, this could be many.  If you play lead guitar you might want a boost pedal for your guitar solos.  Or you may want a flanger pedal for creating crazy effects for a whole song or for only certain parts.  Or even the phase 90 pedal which has been very popular throughout the years.

There are many, many guitar pedals to choose from.  But for me, I say for our fifth pedal in this list, try the chorus pedal.


Chorus guitar pedal

Chorus pedals

This is a very nice and popular pedal that has been around for years as well.  This pedal is neat because it gives a cool playing underwater kind of sound.  It is great for when you play both rhythms and solos.  Especially if you decide to arpeggiate your guitar chords.

With this pedal, you can control the effect level, the rate of speed in effect as well as the depth and filter of tone.  With the right creativity by the guitar player (you), this pedal can add some nice effect to your guitar tone.

Here is a couple to look into.

MXR Analog Chorus

MXR Analog Chorus

This little pedal gives you a true analog tone with bucket-brigade circuitry.  It creates classically lush, liquid textures.  With ultimate tone controls that provide an effect level, rate, depth, as well as knobs for low and high frequencies.  With these options, you’ll be able to enhance your guitar creativity by a mile.


Electro-Harmonix Small Clone Chorus Pedal

Electro-Harmonix Chorus pedal

This is the classic chorus pedal.  With only one knob for simplicity of use and an analog chorus tone.  From clear, rich and dimensional to warm pulsating warbles that can be intensified with the depth control.  Simple tweaks generate exciting doubling effects and much, much more.



Boss Chorus Ensemble

Boss Chorus pedal

The Boss chorus ensemble pedal gives you high & low cut filters for shaping tonality of the chorus.  It produces a range of chorus effects from subtle to the extreme for creative control.  With mono input and stereo output, this chorus pedal can be hooked to dual amps for studio use.


Lesson conclusion

guitar pedals

When it comes to guitar pedals there are more to choose from then you can think of.  Made by many, many different mfg companies.  They come in all different sizes, shapes, colors, and sounds.

The ones presented are the ones most popular and suggested to look into first.  With enough research, you might find one you like that is not on the list.  That’s ok.  As long as it is what will work for you.

If you feel you need help with your guitar learning, be sure to visit and subscribe to my YouTube video Library for a lot of great FREE guitar lessons and product reviews.

And if you feel taking private lessons can help you with beginner guitar, rhythm guitar, guitar solos, understanding music theory, and you’re located in the Denver, CO metro area, visit my website for more information on getting started.

Try out some guitar pedals and take your creativity to the next level.

Until our next guitar lesson, take care.


Dwayne Jenkins