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What Exactly is a Boost Pedal? – Boost Pedals Explained

What Exactly is a Boost Pedal? – Boost Pedals Explained

What is a boost pedal?

A boost pedal is a pedal that increases the gain of the signal that your guitar produces; out of all of the types of pedals on the market today, boost pedals affect your guitar’s tone the least. Booster pre-amp stages were created to boost the signal of the guitar before it reaches the amplifier without adding any special effects like distortion or fuzz.

Boost pedals do not change the guitar’s frequency range or tone, as the purpose of the boost pedal is only to increase the signal level. Overall, the intended result of using a boos pedal is to produce an entirely clean sound that’s completely transparent, with only a noticeable increase in sound resulted from the boost pedal.

While this is the difference that a boost pedal theoretically makes, many boost pedals actually enhance the treble. If you plan on pairing your boost pedal with a tube amp in order to drive your amp harder, you should expect a certain level of distortion to greet your ears.

Even if you’re not attempting to distort your sound with your boost pedal, if you are looking for an unchanged volume lift from your pedal, gently adjust your amp’s preamp stage. All boost pedals change the sound produced from your guitar; more expensive boost pedals just happen to be sneakier at changing the sound.

While your expensive boost pedal may be described as a clean boost pedal, manufacturers have just adjusted the pedal so that it’s highly effective at tempering a tube amp to producing distorted sounds at lower volume levels.

Some of the circuit boards on booster pedals are very simple, as the purpose of the boost pedal isn’t anything too complex. However, the more expensive the pedal, the more complex the circuit board is.

As mentioned earlier, manufactures will sometimes add secondary sound shaping circuitry effects that make the boost pedal to contain either fuzz, distortion, compression, or overdrive. If you’re looking for a 100%, completely unaltered sound, try adjusting your amp’s preamp stage, altering the tonality of your guitar, or changing up the timbre.

boost pedal

What type of sound does it make?

In simple terms, a boost pedal takes the sound that your guitar produces and transforms it into a larger and louder sound, almost as if it was a volume knob on your instrument.

Think of the volume knob on your guitar only having the ability to take your guitar’s volume to a seven out of ten; using a booster pedal will allow your guitar’s sound to surpass that level and will give you a fifteen out of ten sound. Incredible, right?

How do you use a boost pedal?

A boost pedal is a very simple unit that only has two working ways to use. Using a boost pedal allows you to:

  • Increase the volume of your instrument
  • Add a bit of bite to your overall sound

The increase of volume happens when you put your boost pedal in front of your amp. If you are using a distorted channel, you will find that your boost pedal won’t provide you with any extra volume boost, but will provide you with more distortion and more sustain.

The other option that a boost pedal will provide you with is using it to put into an effect loop; by putting your boost pedal on your amp first before any other pedal, you will boost the signal of your instrument without creating any distortion.

Where are some good pedals to purchase?

In this section of this article, I’ve created a small list of boost pedals that I suggest to all of my students, who are from different financial back grounds. I’m going to take a small amount of time to talk about the least expensive boost pedal option to the most expensive one, as well as my favorite boost pedal to use.


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Least expensive boost pedal:

Electro-Harmonix Nano LPB-1 Linear Power Booster Guitar Effects Pedal | Guitar Center

The Electro-Harmonix Nano LPB-1 Linear Power Booster is a spot-on reissue of the original LPB-1 circuit that introduced overdrive in 1968. 

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The Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 is one of the best entry level boost pedals that I’ve ever used. I still own one of these that I always bring with me when doing small concerts with my students, in case someone forgets one.

I always suggest the Electro- Harmonix to any guitarist who is just starting out, because they’re so inexpensive, there really isn’t too much financial attachment to the pedal. It is a very simple to use, so if you’re not too good with using anything electronic, this pedal will do you good.

I’ve found that even compared to some expensive models that I’ve used, the Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 is very reliable; the biggest complaint that I have with this boost pedal is that the volume production from it isn’t super sonic.

The volume level only gets to around ten to twelve, which is pretty decent, especially for a beginners boost pedal that’s this inexpensive. You shouldn’t go purchase this boost pedal with the expectations of it re-defining the overall tone of your guitar; if you’re looking for your pedal to change the sound of your guitar, you need to look at a more expensive pedal option.

Mid-range boost pedal:

TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster Guitar Pedal | Amazon

You love your amp, but when you jump on a lead, you just need a little more of it. There's more to tasty boosting than just brute force though. 

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For my mid-range pick, I’ve chosen the TC Electronic Spark Mini. There aren’t any super fancy knobs that come with this pedal, but it does do what a boost pedal is supposed to do. This peal gives users a nice range in dynamics, without making your guitar produce any weird noises.

If you happen to do any research on your boost pedal before purchasing, you’ll most likely come across the big brother of the TC Electronic Spark Mini, which is the TC Electronic Spark; this version just comes with more knobs which provide you with more control over your boost pedal, which also means that it’s more expensive.

Most expensive boost pedal:

Suhr Koko Boost Reloaded Pedal 2020 | Miami-Guitars | Reverb

Suhr Koko Boost Reloaded Pedal from Reverb.

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If you’re only reading this article for boost pedal suggestions because you’re already an experienced guitar player, the Koko Boost Reloaded guitar is where it’s at. This is a boost pedal that’s truly professional in all aspects; it provides musicians with a whole plethora of options, as well as an incredible sound that really can’t be beaten by other pedals in the price range.

My all-time favorite boost pedal:

Rockett Pedals Archer Boost Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal | Guitar Center

The Archer is a versatile overdrive/boost with amazing headroom that is designed to help you cut through the mix.

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My all-time favorite boost pedal is the J. Rockett Archer; this is an amazing pedal that I always gravitate towards using whenever I’m using a boost pedal. I love how not only I receive a true boost pedal with the J. Rockett Archer, but I also get the option to turn this boost pedal into a device that gives me the settings to turn it into an overdrive pedal.

I always love playing with the tone knob and the buffer knob, which really makes a lot of cool sounds on the guitar.


The boost pedal is the simplest pedal of all of the different guitar pedals and is one of the most obvious pedals out there. There can be many complications to the boost pedal you are buying, depending on the manufacturer, price tag, and purpose of your boost pedal. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading today’s article!

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