h2 { font-size: large; }

Reverb is the thing that makes it sound like you're playing your guitar in a big empty room - and it's awesome.

Adding reverb to your guitar can dramatically change it's tone, but it's important that you make the selection that's best for you.

To help you out, we asked 7 guitarists to give their recommendations on reverb pedals.

Before we dive into what pedals are recommended by the guitarists we interviewed, let's go over some reverb pedal basics.

What is reverb, and what does a reverb pedal do?

Reverb is something we hear in the real world every day. If you listen to the sounds around you, they're all made up of different audio wavelengths bouncing off of different objects in the environment before hitting your eardrum. This bouncing around is reverb. This is why, in most cases, hearing dry sound with no reverb feels unnatural - most of what we hear in nature every day has some amount of reverb to it.

Generally, reverb is most noticeable in a natural setting when we're in a huge hall way or auditorium, but it exists in almost everything we hear.

Reverb is created when soundwaves from any sound source reflect off of other surfaces in a room causing a large number of reflections that end up reaching your ear so closely together that you can’t interpret them as individual delays. In larger rooms, this effect is amplified, making it seem like the sound is continuing after the initial source has stopped.

To put this in simple terms, reverb can give you an impression that the sound is originating in a large room. You are basically hearing the source sound but also its numerous iterations as it bounces off different surfaces within your environment.

When it comes to reverb as a guitar effect pedal, this phenomenon is simulated and even sometimes exaggerated. Adding reverb to your effects setup can add a big-room type of effect to your playing.

For more on what a reverb pedal can do for your tone, check out this video.

What's the difference between reverb and delay?

Delay is simply a repeat of a signal - or basically a specifically timed echo effect. So when you add delay to your guitar tone, everything you play will be repeated a set number of times, at a set timing, usually with the volume level being lower each time until it reaches zero.

Reverb works a bit differently. While delay provides a more timed repeat, reverb produces a more randomized echo effect, similar to the type of sound that makes it seem like the sound is originating in a large room. So when you think of reverb, think of how it would sound if you were walking through a large, empty hall way.

Delay and reverb are similar to each other because they both depend on the mechanics waves of echo to be effective, but they do differ. If you're in a large room, and clap your hands together, what do you hear? First, you'll probably hear the direct sound of the clap, but following that, you'll hear the sound that bounces off of the ceiling and walls that was reflected back to you. This sound is reverb. Delay works in a similar way, but rather than producing randomized echo effects, delay is used to create more specifically timed echo effects.

Often times, guitarists will use delay and reverb together to produce a big, echo type of sound. It's definitely worth experimenting with how these effects can work together.

There's a lot of science that goes into the differences between delay and reverb. If you're interested in learning more about the differences between these effects, check out the video below - it may help with your understanding on how they add to your guitar tone differently.

Just to be clear, while we're using echo as a term here to describe the effects of reverb to you, echo and reverb are not the same thing. An echo occurs when a sound wave reflects off of a surface and reaches your ear past one tenth of a second after the original sound wave.

What different types of reverb are there?

Most reverb pedals have a knob that lets you select the type of reverb you want.

Here are some of the basic types of reverb.

Hall Reverb - This type of reverb is designed to simulate the sound of a concert hall, and usually lasts up to 3 seconds. Generally, this type of reverb is quite warm.

Chamber Reverb - This reverb type is shorter with a bit more clarity to it, lasting between 0.4 and 1.2 seconds. This type of reverb is also relatively warm.

Room Reverb - This type of reverb is usually pretty short, lasting less than 1 second. They often have lots of quick reflections early on.

Plate Reverb - This type of reverb is a digital emulation of an analog reverb. Typically, this type of reverb is very full and smooth sounding, and can be read on guitar when the effect isn't meant to take too much away from the main tone of what's being played.

Spring Reverb - Spring reverb could also be called analog reverb. The mechanics of a spring reverb are similar to a plate reverb in that a sound is injected into it and the coil of the spring then reverberates and those reverberations are then recorded. This type of reverb is usually emulated in digital reverb pedals, and sharp sound compared to other reverbs.

How can you use reverb in your guitar tone?

Everyone has their own way of using reverb in their guitar tone, but it can be difficult to get it right. Too much, and your audience can lose focus of what's being played - too little, and it won't be noticed at all.

To get the right amount of reverb in your tone, start dry, and add a little bit at a time. Depending on what type of music you're playing and what other effects are in your pedal chain, a small amount of reverb may be enough to do the job.

Experimentation is key - just be sure to start small when it comes to reverb.

Where should you put the reverb pedal on your pedal board?

Reverb should definitely be placed near the end of your signal chain. Placing reverb before your distortion or overdrive pedal could produce strange, unwanted results, as the reverb would feed into these pedals before they add their enhancements to your tone.

In general, anything that messes with the timing of the signal should be placed near the end.

Top 7 Reverb Pedals - According to Guitarists


David Mathew from City of Takers

Bandcamp


What's the best reverb pedal?

Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Nano

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

There's multiple settings, but still easy to use. If I'm in the middle of a show I don't want to be messing with a bunch of different reverb settings. Yet this works with a lot of different sounds. It's versatile.


Seth Michael Keil from Powder River

Bandcamp


What's the best reverb pedal?

Old Blood Noise Endeavors Dark Star

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

This is a weird one! Shimmery, glitchy, endless reverb. It has two octave voices that be blended to your liking as well as hold/freeze options. One of the least "vanilla" reverbs out there.


Jeremy Aitken

Bandcamp


What's the best reverb pedal?

Boss RV-6 Digital Reverb

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

The Boss RV6 is the newest reverb in the boss line and it is amazing! It has the new favorite of everyone (shimmer reverb) that doesn't disappoint! All settings are amazing and very hifi sounding. Great little pedal from a great company!


Patrick Wilkins

Instagram | Twitter | YouTube


What's the best reverb pedal?

Strymon Blue Sky

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

The first time I played one I immediately understood the obsession over the pedals. I don’t own one or use them regularly or anything, but as far as reverb it’s hard to beat the blue sky or big sky in my opinion.


KVN MCDermott from Cave of Swords

Website | Bandcamp | Instagram | Facebook


What's the best delay pedal?

Eventide H9 Max Harmonizer Pedal

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

I fucking loved my Space pedal. Another always on pedal. It can go from barely audible room sounds to full on batshit crazy and sound beautiful the whole time. When I found out about the H9 I sold it and a couple other redundancies so I could still have a Space and also have more room. Protip - if you get an H9 (or two) find yrself an EvenMidi pedal.


John Hancock

Facebook


What's the best delay pedal?

Keeley Hooke Reverb

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

If your amp has an on-board tank, that always sounds better. As mine doesn’t I use a Keeley electronics Hooke Reverb. It’s a spring unit that also has optional trem-verb and fugue options. Kinda pricey but very nice.


Lexie Kobra


What's the best delay pedal?

EarthQuaker Devices Dispatch Master V2

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

It sounds good. It's fairly simple to figure out. It is also a delay (to save pedalboard space if needed.) It's also good looking.



Show Comments