The Best Octave Pedals on the Market

By Jodie Chiffey | Pedals

This guide is designed to give you the rundown of the best octave pedals available on the market, so you can improve your guitar or bass playing and choose the perfect device for you. We’ll give you a detailed overview of our top 6 octave pedals, weighing up the pros and cons so you don’t have to. Whether you’re looking into purchasing an octave pedal for the first time or wanting to expand an existing pedalboard, read on for more…

What is an octave pedal?

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty details, we should firstly cover a few basic points, such as what is an octave pedal? An octave pedal is a device that overlaps different pitches on a guitar or bass. It’s a key ingredient if you’re a musician who wants to experiment with sound or add some extra flavor to your melodies. Generally speaking, an octave pedal allows you to play around one to two octaves above or below the actual note you’re playing. But, of course, this all depends on the type of pedal you’re using. 

What are The Main Advantages of Octave Pedals?

In short, octave pedals provide an impact punch. It can potentially make your guitar sound more aggressive or alternatively, provide a unique bass.

In the past, octave pedals were analog to synthesize an octave signal based on an input. It produces a dual output of the original input notes and synthesized octave notes.

Essentially, it enhances the tones and adds complexity through its modulation while ensuring musical harmony. For this reason, octave pedals are popular gadgets for guitar soloists to stand out or add a wow-factor to their performance.

Moreover, it allows you more versatility. You can play high on the neck and still have a low bass-filled sound, and vice versa.

Adds Depth or Pitch

Using an octave pedal allows guitarists to manipulate the sounds to fit their desired output. It adds a flair in the way you need. Whether that’s in terms of deep bass or high-pitched riffs, it allows you greater customization to add personality to your music.

Compact Gadgets

To stimulate the same sounds, you’re likely going to need multiple instruments. Instead, the nifty gadget is able to replace the need for additional guitars. It delivers octaves in conjunction to its input tones producing a harmonious melody. Additionally, it is easy to travel with due to its compact size.

Ease of Use

Moreover, octave pedals are beginner friendly. With clearly labeled knobs and footswitches, they are generally easy to learn and allow for quick transitions during performances.

Play Like the Pros

To be the best, we need to learn from them. Octave pedals were widely used by guitarists such as Jimmy Hendrix for studio and live performances. Therefore, it can help you expand your understanding of the musical notes, styles and capabilities of your instrument. It additionally can improve your creativity when it comes to music to be a better musician.

Now that we understand how octave pedals can change your musical game, there are a few different choices available for you and a few considerations to keep in mind.

What should you think about when buying an octave pedal?

There are so many different octave pedals on the market that it can be difficult to drill down which one is right for you. But before you buy, make sure you consider the following:

Analog or digital?

Most octave pedals are analog. However, digital octave pedals are massively on the rise with loads of digital models now being offered, so you have a choice between the two. Both have their benefits; analogs are the original pedal and are better if you’re looking for a simple octave sound. They have a bit more of a vintage tone too if that’s what you’re after.

Digital octave pedals tend to offer more variation, being able to play one octave above and below as opposed to simply one octave down. With polyphonic devices, you can play more than one note at a time to create a more complicated sound. They’re better for tracking too.

Digital octave pedals offer a more reliable and robust performance without any interruptions. Added features, such as distortions, help add more musical interest and enhance the overall experience. 

When making your decision, you’ll need to decide your primary need for a modulation effect and the results you’re after. 

Whether you’d like to go octaves up or down, and by how much. Are there any added features you’d like or effects you may want to use? Putting aside the fancy, you should think about how you’re hoping to use octave pedals, and what kind of the soundscape you want to create. Our below reviews should also provide you with a better idea of what you’d need.

Ease of use

Chances are if you’re looking for an octave pedal, you’ll be using it for live performances. If so, you’ll need a device that’s tough, sturdy and ideal for life on the road. But it’ll also need to be as light as possible and easy to carry around too. You might want something with minimal knobs and additional features so that when you’re playing no complicated functionality gets in the way. Nothing’s worse than stamping on the wrong pedal when you’re about to lay into a solo! Having said that, perhaps a more complicated model might be more suited to the studio where experimentation and overlapping really comes into play.

There are plenty of octave pedals that offer great sound with intuitive usability, so make this part of your considerations when you’re shopping around.

Top FAQs about octave pedals

When’s the best time to use an octave pedal?

 In a nutshell – when you need to make a fuller or more aggressive sound to cut through the mix, or want to experiment with creating something new. They’re great for guitar solos too (both inside and outside the studio), when you really want to wow the crowd.

Can you use octave pedals for live looping?

Octave pedals are great for using with a loop pedal, especially if you’re short on a bass guitar and need to add it as part of your layering. Creating an octave bass loop is the ultimate way to add a more dynamic, rhythmic sound to your set.

How do Octave Pedals differ from Harmonizers?

An octave pedal will add an octave signal to your original input notes. It can go up or down octaves depending on your settings. Therefore, it essentially adds a pitch over your original input without replacing it.

Harmonizers are similar to octave pedals, but they aren’t limited in their capabilities. They can add an array of intervals over your guitar sounds to enhance its harmony. You can add in seconds, thirds and so on intervals on top for further versatility.

Your choice will ultimately depend on the music output you’re looking to produce and budget considerations.

Are Digital Octave Pedals Better Than Analog Octave Pedals For Beginners?

Digital pedals are more popular, however analog pedals do have a place. The sounds analog models produce are often more fat and bass-heavy.

These beefy tones are unmatched by digital octaves which have a comparatively thin effect. Given analog octave models have gone out of style, they tend to be a niche.

However, the trade off lies in its consistency and overall functionality.

There is no denying the improvements digital octaves introduced. The sounds are more pure and clear. They have a faster and more reliable tracking. Although the sound may appear inauthentic in some settings.

Due to the aforementioned reasons, generally guitarists stick to digital versions which have better audio reproduction and are more durable, if not a little thin in sound.

For beginners, it is still recommended to pick an octavor that best fits their needs. Either option will require a learning curve. Some might take more than others, but go for the option you’d be using more consistently so you can practice and hone in on your abilities.

Which genres can octave pedals be used for?

A musician is limited by their creativity and therefore, octaves can be used in a wide variety of genres or fusions. Ultimately it depends on how you intend to use the device.

Traditionally, octave pedals are commonly used by rock and metal songs given its ability to provide riffs and strong beats.

Our top 6 octave pedals

If you’d like to hear our top 6 octave pedal picks, then take a lot at our in-depth reviews below. Here we’ve detailed the main features of each octave pedal, providing key information about the weight, dimensions and ratings. We’ve also highlighted the pros and cons of each one so you can make the most informed choice about which one’s best for you.

DigiTech Whammy DT Effects Pedal

General specifications:

Product weight

2.27 kg

Product dimensions

19.6 x 20.8 x 6 cm

Model no.

WHAMMYDT

Rating

3.9

Key features:

  • True polyphonic pitch shifting and Whammy effects in a single pedal
  • Drop or raised tuning by 7 half steps or an entire octave
  • Classy Whammy voicings
  • Momentary footswitch for hammer-on and pull-off effects
  • True Bypass
  • FS3X* input for hands-free selection of Whammy and drop tune settings (*optional)
  • Classic style metal Whammy chassis
  • Durable metal foot switches, suitable for on the road
  • MIDI input
  • 1/4” guitar input
  • 1/4” output
  • Includes 9V DC power adapter

The DigiTech-Whammy-DT is a robust and sturdy machine. Whilst a simple design, it’s super tough and designed to withstand life on the road. It’s really easy to use with an intuitive system, too – meaning you can start experimenting with it straight away. It’s incredibly reasonably priced for the amount of pros that come with it; the sound quality is top notch with natural, non-digital sounds that can really make a difference to your music.

There are no awkward adjustments or guitar changes needed either – you simply modify the sound with the tip of your toe. Want to make your set stand out? Then the pitch shifting feature will do just the job. The Whammy pedal has been a game changer with artists for over 20 years, so if you’re looking for a reliable, well-loved octave pedal then give the Whammy DT a go.

Pros and cons

Pros

Cons

You can modify tuning without needing to switch guitars

Prone to fluttering

Reasonably priced

Fairly large, so could be an issue

Easy-to-change sound with a simple tap

Great drop tune effects

Solid body to avoid bump and scrapes

Boss OC-3 Dual Super Octave Pedal

General specifications:

Product weight

454g

Product dimensions

30.5 x 17.8 x 25.4 cm

Model no.

OC3

Rating

4.2

Key features:

  • True polyphonic octave effects
  • Compact pedal
  • Inputs for both guitar and bass
  • Distortion available through Drive mode
  • Includes original OC-2 mode
  • Creates notes 1-2 octaves below
  • Poly Octave effect
  • Tracks clean on low notes
  • Comes with 5 year limited warranty

The Boss OC-3 Super Octave is the world’s first polyphonic octave pedal. It’s incredibly easy and versatile to use – guitarists can create top quality sounds with just a single tap of the foot. Better still, it can be used with bass, making the sound even bigger and better. You can build up more musical layers and create sounds that you otherwise couldn’t achieve by combining multiple pitches. This almost gives the effect of two guitars playing simultaneously.

There are three key modes – the Polyphonic Octave, The New Drive, and the original OC-2. The Drive mode is especially a great feature as it adds distortion to your sound, creating fatter tones with more aggression; perfect for playing live. The Boss OC-3 is one of the most reliable octave pedals on the market, so if you’re on a bit of a budget but will need good quality sound, give it a try. 

Pros and cons:

Pros

Cons

Self-explanatory pedals

Only plays notes two octaves below

Works with both guitar and bass

Can be difficult to use live with unusual controls

Above average tracking speed

Great for octaves using cords

Reasonably priced

Electro Harmonix POG 2

General specifications:

Product weight

885g

Product dimensions

20.3 x 17.8 x 8.9 cm

Model no.

POG2

Rating

4.7

Price

Check for latest price

Key features:

  • Volume control sliders; -2 octaves, -1 octave, +1 octave, +2 octaves,
  • Attack control slider
  • Improved sound from original POG
  • Dry FX Push-Button and LED for 4 modes of effect processing bypass
  • Q push-button and LED with 4 modes of resonance for low pass filter
  • Preset knob for selecting and saving up to 8 presets
  • Preset footswitch for selecting presets
  • Bypass footswitch with true bypass switching
  • Includes 9V AC power adapter
  • 1 9V batteries included

When it comes to octave pedals, very few devices come close to the POG 2. It’s taken a massive step up from the original POG, offering unrivaled, optimal performance wherever you play. The dry signal offers bassy, meaty sounds to really get the creative juices flowing and add a more symphonic sound to your set.

The POG 2 allows you to play two octaves down, adding extra versatility to your music. It’s incredibly responsive too, with a clear signal and easy pedal pushing so you can rely solely on your sound. You can also use it with bass, emulating guitar to fatten up your sound. Use the attack control to fade in smooth swells and slide in the enhanced detune to really refine your sound. The POG 2 gets rave reviews wherever you look, so it’s a firm favorite with musicians all over the world. And that many people can’t be wrong.

Pros and cons:

Pros

Cons

Responsive pedals

Can be prone to fluttering with more aggressive sounds

Clear signal

Tough, solid casing

Amazing sound quality

Save your favorite settings

TC Electronic Polyphonic Sub ‘N’ Up

General specifications: 

Product weight

381g

Product dimensions

12.2 x 5 x 7.3 cm

Model no.

Subnup

Rating

5

Price

Check for latest price

Key features:

  • Next generation octave-engine
  • Great polyphonic tracking
  • Classic monophonic octaver; creates old-school octaver tones
  • TonePrint Editor w. Modulation
  • TonePrint enabled; create your own tones or utilize custom options
  • True bypass

The TC Electronic Polyphonic Sub ‘N’ Up has got a tonne of amazing features, but the best bit? The TonePrint technology. It’s what makes this pedal so versatile; the polyphonic tones creates a whole symphony of sound. You can craft your own tones from scratch using the app, or use the preset custom options to create a totally unique set. The world really is your oyster.

It specializes in creating old school sounds, too. The classic monophonic octaver gives that glitchy, raw tone from back in the day – that imperfect sound that gave band ‘their sound’. The design and layout are pretty simple, but this just means it easy and quick to use. Want good value, intuitive navigation, and amazing sound? Then this is the octave pedal for you.

Pros and cons:

Pros

Cons

Simple layout

Fairly basic design

Intuitive pedal

Little hard to dial in on your own

Great quality polyphonic sounds

Not prone to glitching

Small and versatile to carry

Donner Digital Octave Guitar Effect Pedal Harmonic Square 7 Modes

General specifications:

Product weight

272g

Product dimensions

6 x 6.2 x 10 cm

Model no.

EC966

Rating

3.9

Price

Check for latest price

Key features:

  • 7 modes effect and 3 way toggle switch select between different modes
  • Digital circuit design, true bypass provide transparent tone
  • Stable, strong aluminum-alloy
  • LED indicator shows the working state
  • DC 9V adapter power supply (not included)

 If you’re looking for a great-value octave pedal, the Donner Digital Octave Pedal gives great sound in one small package. While less expensive than other well-known pedals, it doesn’t compromise on features. You can switch between different modes thanks to the three-way toggle and there are WET and DRY function knobs to control the harmonic signal level, giving you the tailored sound you’re after.

The Donner typically goes an octave below. You have three basic modes available on a small switch; tune up, tune down and detune. Each works with the pitch shift dial to change the pitch of the guitar’s signal. With a touch of echo, you can instantly transform your sound and add that beefy extra layer to really get the crowd going during your live shows.

Pros and cons:

Pros

Cons

Incredibly affordable

Doesn’t last as long as more expensive models

Low noise level

Doesn’t come with a power supply

Handy LED indicator

Easy to use knobs

Jim Dunlop MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe

General specifications:

Product weight

272g

Product dimensions

5.75 x 4.5 x 2.75 inches

Model no.

11288000001

Rating

4.2

Price

Check for latest price

Key features:

  • Knob control system with 3 settings
  • Traditional Analog octave pedal
  • Constant Headroom Technology

If you’re looking to add growl and girth to your music, the MRX is an ideal option. 

It’s an analog octave pedal marketed to bass players for it’s particular sound profile. The modulation effect it produces stands out making it a great option if you play bass. Although it still is functional for guitars as well. 

Similar to other octave devices, it comes with a knob control system with 3 settings. It also has an additional dry knob which produces a single octave based signal instead of your raw output. It also enhances it’s mid range. 

While being an analog octave pedal, the MRX offers impressive tracking that produces an organic, rich tone. It is a truly high quality pedal with the ability to provide a strong thick sound.

Pros and cons:

Pros

Cons

Two octaves

Non-traditional control labels may be confusing

Traditional analog octave pedal

Requires adjusting

Constant Headroom Technology

Sounds may get muddy in low strings

Mid Plus to boost frequency

Final Thoughts on the Best Octave Pedals

With amazing reviews, our top octave pedal picks for the more experienced musician is the Electro Harmonix POG 2 and TC Electronic Polyphonic Sub ‘N’ Up. Both have a whole range of great features that will just add that extra layer to your sound. The Boss OC-3 is something special too, being the world’s first polyphonic octave pedal with loads of features to enhance your sound.

If you’re looking for a more affordable model then we’d suggest the Donner Digital Octave Pedal. It’s the perfect option if you want to experiment with sound or decide whether you want to introduce an octave pedal to your set. It’s small and compact so it’s really easy to move around, and once you’ve gotten to grips with it you can upgrade to a more premium model.

We hope this guide gives you a bit of an idea about the kind of octave pedals that are on the market right now. There are loads of features to consider when you think about purchasing your own octave pedal, but with a bit of thought and research you can easily figure out which one will slot seamlessly into your own sound. If you have anything else you’d like us to review then please get in touch, as our experts are always on hand to give you a hand.

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