The 4 Best Psychedelic Guitar Pedals – Music Effects Pedal Reviews 2023

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Finding psychedelic guitar pedals is a bit tricky because the word “psychedelic” is hard to define, even if you have a pretty good idea what it sounds like. In a musical sense, it’s the style of rock that was pioneered by legends like Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix. Since then it has evolved quite a bit, and you’ll find a wide range of different bands and styles that all fall under the broad category of psychedelic.

Since it’s a bit tricky to define (and beyond the scope of this article), you can imagine it’s even harder to find the right effects pedals to mimic that distinctive sound. The truth is, most psychedelic guitarists have a pretty full pedal rack—and finding the perfect combination can sometimes be the work of a lifetime. The pedals on this list are all great places to start, giving you some essential effects to get that trippy tone.

These are our reviews for the 4 best psychedelic guitar pedals on the market:

Eventide H9 Max Harmonizer Guitar Pedal

Most psychedelic pedals model their appearance after the vintage ’60s and ’70s pedals they’re based on. Eventide takes the opposite approach with their H9 Max Harmonizer, which probably looks more like a prop from Star Trek than anything on your pedal board. As unique as the looks are, they’re far from the coolest thing about this pedal.

The H9 Max Harmonizer (see full specs) includes all the pre-sets and algorithms from four Eventide stomp boxes (Mod Factor, Pitch Factor, Time Factor, and Space). Eventide throws in a few effects you can’t find anywhere else. Psychedelic players will be most into the SpaceTime and PitchFuzz options, but with 99 presets pre-loaded and the option to add your own, there’s tons to explore with this little box.

The interface of the Eventide H9 is simple. Mode and effect selection are done through the Control app; the pedal itself only has three footswitches. The flip side of this is that programming the pedal can be a bit time-consuming, even compared to other multi-effect units.

You might feel a bit of sticker shock when you first see the price of the Eventide H9. Considering it’s basically four high-end pedals in one, though, the cost seems more reasonable. It’s a definite space-saver for your pedal rack, with the ideal effects for an ambient or psychedelic player.

Eventide H9 Harmonizer Demo

Fulltone ’69 MKII Fuzz Guitar Pedal

A solid fuzz pedal is a must in many rock styles, and psychedelic rock is no exception. The Fulltone ’69 MKII gives you a warm, full fuzz effect. It’s based on the analog fuzz pedals widely used in the late ‘60s, and uses the same germanium transistors to give it that natural sound and feel. It’s the perfect effect if you’re looking for that Jimi Hendrix-style psychedelic tone.

Design-wise, this is a classic compact stomp box (see full specs). There are control knobs for the volume and fuzz level, along with two trim knobs for fine-tuning. The range of the effect is impressive, and it’s very responsive to the volume level of your instrument—you can go from almost clean to full fuzz just by adjusting the gain. Short of finding a vintage pedal made in the era, this is the closest you’ll get to a late- ‘60s/early- ‘70s fuzz, which makes it one of the best psychedelic guitar pedals for the money.

Dunlop M68 Uni-Vibe Chorus/Vibrato Guitar Pedal

The warbling tone you’ll hear on some psychedelic guitarists most likely comes from a vibrato—something like this Dunlop M68 Uni-Vibe, which gives you both chorus and vibrato effects in one compact pedal. Like other options on this list, it draws its sonic inspiration from the analog pedals used in the ’60s, and it gives your tone that same lush texture.

Build-wise, there’s nothing to complain about with the M68. It’s a tough little stomp box that’s rugged enough for touring and has a small footprint on your pedal board. The interface is classic and the controls are smooth.

Every pedal in Dunlop’s MXR line is designed to bring a classic effect into the modern era. In the case of the M68, it sounds just as good as a vintage pedal and has the same analog operation. This makes them ideal for psychedelic rock players who want to channel those classic sounds in a convenient, well-built package.

MXR M68 Uni-Vibe Chorus Vibrato Pedal Review - Sweetwater Sound

Digitech Obscura Altered Delay Guitar Pedal

We’ll round out the list with a delay pedal: the Digitech Obscura Altered Delay. It gives you a lot of effect customization options for such a little stomp box. Not only do you get a quality delay effect, you can distort and degrade it in real time, letting you really create some fun, new sounds.

There are four types of delay included in this pedal (analog, tape, lo-fi, and reverse). Whichever one you choose, you get the same stackable controls. This means it’s not only great for psychedelic players but can serve you well across genres and styles.

Digitech pedals in general are very affordable, and the Obscura is no exception. It’s the best value on the list—a very impressive price considering the sound options and build quality. And while the sound is obviously the most important consideration, the visual appeal of the pedal is high, too. You’ll love the way it fits (and looks) on your pedal board.

Digitech Obscura Altered Delay | Reverb Video Demo

Best Psychedelic Guitar Pedals: The Verdict

The standard advice for players wondering which effects pedals to buy is to listen to the people you like and buy the pedals they use. This can get tricky with genres like ambient or psychedelic rock, however. Players in these genres typically use lots of effects stacked together to create their unique tone, and that can make it tricky to pick out which pedals are providing the unique qualities you’re after.

If you’re just building your psychedelic tone for the first time, start with a couple key effects that you know you want to be a part of your sound. Once you get those pedals working well together, listen to your tone and decide if there’s anything missing. Taking an additive approach can be a lot less overwhelming than trying to buy all your pedals up-front when you’re not sure how they’ll sound together.

Also keep in mind that the order of your pedals can make a difference in your tone. If it feels close but not quite there, consider moving an effect forward or backward in the signal chain and see what impact that has on the sound.

There’s nothing quite like finding that perfect effect that completes your tone. Hopefully one of the options above can be that best psychedelic guitar pedal for you! Good luck!

  • Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel.

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