Treble booster pedals are one of those obscure tools that not a lot of guitarists tend to use. In order to fully take advantage of their potential, you need to know what these pedals exactly do. As their name states, treble booster pedals boost treble frequencies in varying degrees.
This effect generally gives you a fatter tone that is saturated. With that said, not every treble booster pedals is made equal. Today, we’re going to show you what we consider to be the 4 best treble booster pedals on the market.
Our main criteria for this list was the quality of the transistor and the frequency range that was affected by each individual pedal. Without further ado, let’s dig right in.
Keeley Electronics Java Boost
Keeley’s Java Boost pedal is definitely up there when it comes to popularity. Some will say that it’s not a true treble boost, and they would be partially correct. Java Boost is capable of boosting every part of the frequency range individually, as well as boosting the signal in its entirety. We included it on our list mainly because the treble boost portion of its function meets and exceeds our requirements.
Keeley Electronics Java Boost (see full specs) comes in a rather simple format. It features a solid case that can take whatever abuse you throw at it, all while looking quite decent from an aesthetic point of view. The layout of controls is straightforward. You have two knobs, one three-way switch, and a stomp switch. Knobs control Tone and Level, while the three-way switch allows you to select the mode of operation. You can select bass, treble or mid. When in bass mode, the pedal will boost the entire signal.
What makes this pedal so amazing is the effect it has on your tone. Thanks to its Mullard OC44 transistor, Java Boost is capable of delivering a great amount of fairly balanced gain. You are looking at a very refined treble boost pedal that can be fined tuned to produce a whole range of tone colors. When it comes to its compatibility with various amps, the consensus is that Java Boost works best when paired with a tube amp that is slightly pushed into overdrive. With that said, you can definitely achieve great results with other setups.
Catalinbread Naga Viper
If there’s one treble boost pedal that has become the go-to choice for most guitar players, it’s the Naga Viper from Catalibread. It’s reasonably priced and sits in that sweet spot when it comes to performance to price ratio. It’s no secret that Naga Viper was modeled after the legendary Dallas Range Master – a treble booster that has been used by some of the greatest guitar players in the history of music.
When you first unpack Naga Viper (see full specs), it gives you the feeling only a boutique pedal can. The case is sturdy and rather conservative in nature. However, this is countered by a very lively design that covers the entire pedal. In terms of controls, you have three knobs and a stomp switch. Knobs control Range, Heat, and Boost. With this combination, you can adjust the gain and select which portion of the frequency range you want to boost. It might sound crude, but you can be very precise with the controls available.
What Naga Viper offers is a very stable performance which delivers quality tone many have grown to appreciate. When dialed in properly, you get a very rich gain boost in the upper range, which definitely adds width to the tone. It’s one of the few pedals that will give your signal that edge. If you have listened to Brian May’s stuff from back in the day, you know what we’re talking about. Hook this baby up to a decent tube amp and you’re ready to go. It’s, without doubt, one of the best treble booster pedals around.
EarthQuaker Devices Tone Job
For a relatively small company, EarthQuaker has a very extensive range of effects pedals in their offer. Tone Job we are looking at today is marketed as an EQ pedal, but its capability to boost trebles is why it’s on this list. It comes at a reasonable price considering what you’re getting and is packed with some serious potential. If you’re looking for a more versatile package that offers more than just a decent treble boost, this is one of the best options on the market.
EarthQuaker Devices Tone Job comes in a robust yet simple format, just like the previous pedals on the list. One thing that we’d like to see changed are the input and output ports. Instead of being placed on the sides of the pedal, both of them are found on the back panel. This might be a nuisance if you want to hook this pedal up to a pedalboard. Controls come in form of four knobs. You have Level, Treble, Bass and Mid knobs. Each of these is capable of attenuating or boosting the signal attributed to each part of the frequency range.
If you ask the user base what’s their opinion of Tone Job as an EQ pedal, you will get mostly positive feedback. However, we are interested in its ability to give you that treble boost. Thankfully, this is something that Tone Job does very well. There is plenty of gain to work with, allowing you to increase the range of the trebles without deforming the rest of the frequency range. On top of that, you can add a few extra mids into the mix and get a well-defined tone. This should be on anyone’s list of the best treble booster pedals.
Electro-Harmonix Screaming Bird Nano
Electro-Harmonix needs no special introduction. This company has been around for a while now and their products are known as quality goods. Electro-Harmonix Screaming Bird Nano is their take on an affordable treble boost pedal that delivers the core experience.
The design of this pedal falls in line with Electro-Harmonix usual aesthetics. It’s a very simple pedal that comes with one knob and a foot switch. What that tells us is that it impacts a determined frequency range, and delivers a high gain boost to that part exclusively. If you need a simple booster pedal, this is what you’re looking for.
Even though it’s fairly limited compared to other pedals on our list, Electro-Harmonix Screaming Bird Nano offer a great performance at a price that is almost four times cheaper than anything we’ve mentioned so far. This little pedal is capable of pushing out 20 dB of additional gain, which is more than enough headroom to play with.
When we created this list, we wanted to find the most versatile treble booster pedals that offered enough gain boost in a balanced manner. The main goal and criteria of this item are simple – to give your sonic attack a boost the treble department that sounds natural and truly makes the sound clearer and brighter.
The ones we showed you here definitely fit that bill. As you can see from this list, even the best treble booster pedals come in various formats and price ranges so you definitely don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a great tone.