The effects pedal is one of the most important things a harmonica player looks for when creating musical vibes other than a quality microphone. This can make or break your experience.
If you want to expand and start creating more interesting tones to take your harmonica sound to the next level – then the best way to do that is with harmonica effects pedals.
In this guide for finding the best harmonica effects pedals, I dive deep into the music world to see what the experts were using and how they compared to the modern models available on the market today. We know there are many options out there, and it can be a tad overwhelming, so I took the liberty of narrowing the list down for you.
NOTE: If you want to skip the buying guide and go directly to the top ten best harmonica effects pedals you can do so here.
What Are The Different Types Of Effects For Harmonica Pedals
There are thirteen different types of effects for harmonica pedals that give you the ultimate playing experience. Let’s take a look now at what options are available:
Microphones – This actually comes down to personal preference because there is not just one perfect microphone for everybody – you will need to try different ones and find the one that feels best to you. However, microphones do have a huge impact on your amplified tone – so keep that in mind when choosing the best microphone for you.
Amplifiers – If you want a clearer sound, then you want to go with a solid-state amplifier. Unless you want a more distorted sound, then the tube amplifier would work best.
Equalizer – The main purpose of an equalizer is to combine your sound to fit your music. They can boost your tone or cut your bass frequencies. It takes time to really find your groove when using an equalizer!
DI Box – Get electrical ground isolation between your output and input when using a DI Box. From splitting audio to matching the source of the signal, your creative options just got enhanced!
Reverb – You’ll need to choose between the two options reverbs come in, digital and spring. However, you can get an amplifier that has the reverb built-in feature that makes creating more simple.
Note: If you’re a harmonica player who’s just starting to explore effects and amplification, then we strongly suggest using a good reverb right from the start!
Octave – You might have to play around with the octave to get the tone you’re looking for, but once you master it – it comes to life! Take your original tone and give it one or more tones below or above your original sound.
Echo (Aka, Delay Device) – These allow you to simulate your sound through a signal processor through one of the three options available: digital delay, tape delay, and analog delay.
Phasers And Flangers – Create one or more alterations in a sound frequency’s original format.
Leslie Effect – Like electronic organs, you can get the vibrato effect similar to the Leslie rotating speaker.
Delay is one of the most important effects, simple but effective in bringing life to mundane mixes. You can use delay in combination with flanging, chorus, or even reverb.
Chorus – Bring in the group of people who make your sound pop with the added effects turning your single instrument into a symphony of magical sounds!
Pitch-Shifter Or Harmoniser – Change your pitch in real-time with the help of instrumental shifting.
Envelope Filter – Fade your treble boost with an envelope filter to give you a softer sound.
What Are Harmonica Pedal Boards?
Harmonica pedalboards are flat-looking boards that can be used as a power supply for effects pedals. They often can hold multiple pedals, allowing you to maximize your session, especially if you are playing on a stage.
There are cool pedal board bags that make transporting these very easy without having to disassemble them.
How Do You Setup A Harmonica Pedalboard?
These are very simple to set up. Just use the hook and loop fasteners (they may need to be purchased separately). Some come with handles and or wheels, making the hauling of the equipment easy to move around.
You will need to be aware of the voltage that your pedalboard uses and make certain that this can accommodate the voltage needed wherever you use it. Some pedalboards do run on batteries as well. Something to definitely consider is whether or not the outlets will be a problem for your jam session.
Here is a great video put together by Paul Messinger where he does an exceptional job running through his pedalboard setup.
Which Is The Best Distortion Pedal For Playing Harmonica?
If distortion is your main concern, you will want to consider the tone production used in your harmonica effects pedal. The main idea is to have zero loss or any negative effects on your tone.
This is easy to achieve when buying the best harmonica effects pedal. Just be sure to check the stats and reviews before deciding which pedal will work best for you within your budget.
Below we have given you the top 10 best harmonica effects pedals with all the pros and cons. This will give you an inside look into what each brand has to offer and where they differ when it comes to performance.
Note: When trying to achieve distortion with your harmonica, it’s generally done the best way by using a perfect combination of a quality microphone and an awesome tube amplifier.
Top 10 Best Harmonica Effects Pedals
Danelectro Billionaire BK-1 Big Spender Spinning Speaker Effect Pedal
Save space and money with this classic effects pedal. Have complete control over your next ramp move, plus select the direction you want it to go while jamming with your favorite tones!
- Ramp Switch
- Retro Design With Die-Cast Case
- Control The Volume, Speed, And Treble
- Needs Plug Outlet To Charge
JOYO JF-09 Tremolo Effect Pedal
You won’t be disappointed with the JF-09 Tremolo effect pedal when you start creating a new sound with its classic tube amplifiers. Plus, the rate and intensity knobs will give you all the control you desire with a crisp sound!
- Single Effect With True Bypass Design
- Easily Adjustable Tone & Vibe With Intensity And Rate Knobs
- Aluminum Alloy Design
- Can Be Used With 9V Power Supply Or Battery
- Super Cool Design
- Battery And 9V Power Adaptor Not Included
NUX MG-300 Multi-Effects Pedal
Get ready to recreate the incredible sound of real analog overdrive with the NUX MG-300. With 56 drum beats and the amp modeling algorithm providing excellent sound and playability, you can’t go wrong! Use this multi-effect pedal to create great sound quality.
- TSAC-HD Pre-Effects
- Sound Library With Core-Image Post Effects
- USB Audio Stream
- 60 Seconds Phrase Loop & 56 Drum Beats
- Control Volume And Effects With The Expression Pedal
- Larger Than Most Compatible Models
- Metal Housing Makes It Heavier Than Other Brands
- Can’t Use Batteries – Only 9V DC Adaptor
FLAMMA FX100 Multi-Effects Pedal Processor
The FX100 from Flamma is perfect for those creative people looking for the latest entry-level multi-effects. With the built-in tuner, 10 metronome, and 40 drum machine options – you’ll be jammin’ in no time!
- 151 Effects And Up To 9 Effects Simultaneously
- 80-Second Looper & 200 Presets
- OTG Function
- 26 User IR Slots For 3rd Party IRs Loading For Customizing
- USB Connects To Windows PC Or MAC
- Great Options For Beginners
- No Envelope Filtering Effect
- No Instruction Manual Included (Can Be Downloaded From Website)
Red Panda Particle V2 Granular Delay Model
If chopping your signal into small grains and having them rearranged and shifted is your thing, then look no further because the Red Panda Particle V2 has it all while using granular synthesis techniques in real-time.
- Granular Delay
- Pitch Shifting Pedal
- Active Preset And Bypass State Are Remembered
- DIY-Friendly Remote 4 Switch Allows Foot Control
- Enclosure Is Smaller Than Most
MOOER GE150 Amp Modelling Multi-Effects Pedal
Are you ready to recreate the dynamics and feel of a real tube amp? Then the GE150 will give you everything you need to open up your vibe with the option of loading 3rd party files! Nothing is better than expanding your tone and letting the sound take off.
- 40 Different Types Of Drum Rhythms
- 26 User Slots
- Supports OTG Function With Programmable Expression Pedal
- Power Supply Included
- Built-In Looper With 80 Seconds Recording Time
- 200 Preset Patches And 151 Different Effects
- Not Compatible With Computer Speakers
BOSS Rhythm Loop Station Pedal
This next-generation Loop Station is an incredible real-time creation machine! Allowing you to develop spontaneous music with two unique song sections, intros/endings, and rhythm fills. Now’s your chance to get your groove on with the BOSS Rhythm Loop Station Pedal.
- Song-Based Looping
- 280 Preset Rhythm Styles
- High-Quality Sounds
- 9V Power Supply Included
- 16 Versatile Drum Kits With High Quality-Sound Effects
- Dual Outputs Are Both Mono
TC Electronic ND-1 Nova Delay Pedal
Do you want to be able to easily switch between manual operation mode and a preset at any time during your jam session? Well, the ND-1 Nova Delay allows you to do just that with the option of setting your delay tempo. Making the perfect musical combinations has never been easier!
- Six Different Delay Types – Reverse, Dynamic, Delay Line, Pan, Slap-Back, And Ping-Pong
- Programmable Presets For Up To 9 Users
- Manual And Preset Switchable Settings
- Audio Tapping
- Delay Time Up To 2290 MS
- Does Not Have True Bypass
- No Loop Function
Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Max Reverb
Enhance your music experience with the Holy Grail Max Reverb! Seriously, it’s all in the name of this one! With the option to customize your sound settings to your exact preference and get the perfect tone with the plate reverb, making your tone come to life is as easy as 123.
- True Bypass
- Clear And Noise Free Output
- Spring, Plate, Hall & Reverse Reverb
- 9.6DC-200 Power Supply Included
- Rugged, Compact Die-Cast Chassis
- Multi-Function Control To Adjust Decay Or Reverse Time
- Batteries Not Included
JOYO JF-17 Extreme Metal Pedal Effect
If you’re looking for diversity and wanting to take your effects to the next level, then the JOYO JF-17 is exactly what you need. This incredible device will allow you to adjust the high and middle bass, giving you the sharpest tones that you always dreamed of achieving.
- Adjustable 3-Band EQ
- Distortion Pedal
- Low & High Gain Pedal
- Strong Low Frequency With Extreme Metal Distortion
- True Bypass To Minimize The Tone Loss
- Battery Not Included
- Mainly Used For Playing Metal Music
- Can Be Noisy Compared To Others
It really doesn’t matter if you’re new to the harmonica playing world or already on stage sharing your magical creations with fans weekly – everybody wants to have the best possible sound, and getting the best harmonica effects pedal is a big part of making it all come together!
There are great options for a harmonica effects pedal that can produce a light, crunchy tone or the incredibly thunderous heavy metal tones!
In fact, there are so many different harmonica effects to explore, and the possibilities are endless when trying to find the best harmonica effects pedal. We can only hope that this guide was beneficial in helping you decide what matters most to you, what options are necessary to have, and what all your options are for buying your next harmonica effects pedal.