Five Inspiring Ways to Use a Volume Pedal

Ernie Ball VP 40th Anniversary
(Image credit: Future)

The volume pedal might be the most underused and underrated tool on your pedalboard. Here are five ways you can put it to highly effective use:

1. AS A BOOST

Your volume pedal offers a simple and effective way to boost your level. And unlike a standard boost, it can be adjusted gradually for added expression.

DOD Mini Volume Pedal

(Image credit: DOD)

2. FOR SWELLS

You can use your volume pedal to control the attack of notes and chords, creating a violin-like “swell” that can be evocative of orchestral strings. Start with the volume pedal heel down; play a note or chord and bring the volume up, then pull it back to heel position at the tail end. Use a reverb pedal for a more symphonic sound and to add ambience that can cover the silences between the swells.

Electro-Harmonix Volume Pedal

(Image credit: EHX)

3. IN FRONT OF OTHER EFFECTS

Some guitarists place their volume pedal at the end of the signal chain or before it. Why not try putting it in front of specific pedals? For example, placing it in front of your distortion pedal allows you to create natural-sounding breakup as you increase the volume. Putting it in front of your delay or reverb ensures that the tails won’t be cut off when you pull back on the volume. 

VOLUME (X) PEDAL DVP3

(Image credit: Dunlop)

4. IN YOUR EFFECTS LOOP

Placing your pedal in the effect loop of your amp means it no longer functions like a foot-controlled guitar volume. With gain in play on your pedalboard, the volume pedal now acts as a level control. You’ll have the same amount of gain no matter how you set the level with the volume pedal.

Morley Power Wah Volume

(Image credit: Morley)

5. AS A NOISE GATE

Simple and highly effective at gigs, a volume pedal cuts out your signal between songs for guitar changes or breaks. It also gives you an organic way to fade out your guitar at the end of songs if you want.

BOSS FV500H volume pedal

(Image credit: Roland/BOSS)

Buy the DOD Mini Volume here (opens in new tab)

Buy the EHX Volume Pedal here (opens in new tab)

Buy the Boss FV-500L Foot Volume Pedal - Low Impedance here (opens in new tab)

Buy the Morley 20/20 Power Wah Volume Pedal here (opens in new tab)

Buy the Dunlop DVP3 Volume (X) Volume and Expression Pedal here (opens in new tab)

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