Guitar Compressor Pedals

guitar compressor pedalsMan I love a good compressor. Some years ago I discovered that with a good sounding amp a guitar compressor pedal  is a much better option than an overdrive or distortion pedal (although I love them too) The trouble is for recording purposes the overdrives and distortion pedals can actually make the guitar harder to place in the mix – they actually make the sound weaker strange as that may seem.

There are two types of compression really: The type that you use for a single source at instrument level – a pedal, and the type that you strap across channels in a mixing desk for use in recording and mixing.

The Two Types Of Compressor

The pedal version in simple terms squeezes the sound coming from the guitar pickups so that the amp is driven harder. This results in longer sustain, higher volume and an overall smoothness of sound – great for lead guitar playing.

guitar compressor pedals
The Line 6 M9 Pedal board includes their awesome compressor.

The other type is used to cut the dynamic range of a signal so that the quieter bits are louder. This makes it easier to make vocals sound bigger an fuller without distorting (digital distortion unlike valve or analogue distortion is hideous) This is probably the most used effect in digital recording, mixing and mastering. Technically its not an effect but a signal processor.

A Couple of Great Guitar Compressor Pedals

Anyway back to the one we are interested in here – the guitar compressor pedal. If you ever wonder how guys like Zak Wylde or Steve Vai get those crazy sounds – you know, the endless sustain and the little palm noises, squeals and controlled feedback stuff – it’s partly down to massive compression. Some from the tuned up amps they use and the rest from outboard compressors.

Basically all this compression makes the guitar and amp hyper sensitive so it’s often partnered up with a noise gate that stops things getting totally out of control!

My favourite compressor pedal is the Line 6 Tone Constrictor which I’ve been using for some years. It’s a nice chunky pedal that sits on stage firmly. The Constrictor has 3 settings – compact, sueeze and mellow, each offers a slightly different level of aggression which is further controlled by the level, gate and sustain controls. Sadly not available as a single pedal but incorporated in the M9 and other well – priced pedal boards by Line 6

This pedal does tend to eat batteries so a mains adaptor is highly recommended. I also have a little Danelectro Surf & Turf pedal which is a lot less highly featured with just level and sensitivity controls but it’s a useable little budget unit – good for that clean country twang or even the Dick Dale type of surf sound as the name suggests.

Boss – CS3 – Another great budget pedal

So if you haven’t yet experimented with compressors its time to get your feet wet and add a guitar compressor pedal to your arsenal.



I'm Dave Menzies a digital entrepreneur, photographer and guitarist. I live on the Argyll coast of Scotland. My partner and I write, record and produce our own music and videos in our home studio. I love to help individuals discover the lifestyle freedom offered by the digital world and guitarists to develop their own style.

    15 replies to "Guitar Compressor Pedals"

    • emergency dental care

      I’ve read a few just right stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much effort you set to make this sort of magnificent informative website.

    • investment advice

      Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Cheers

      • DaveM

        Hi – If you want tell your your group about my blog (but not copy/paste my work) that’s ok with me although you seem to write about real estate investments whereas I write about playing guitar – what’s the connection ?

    • wholesale jewelry

      This post will assist the internet visitors for setting up new website or even a blog from start to end.

    • dental insurance

      We stumbled over here coming from a different website and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking over your web page again.

    • What’s up, yeah this piece of writing is in fact nice and I have learned lot of things from it regarding blogging. thanks.

    • leukemia

      Hi are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you need any html coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • quick and easy recipes

      Hurrah! At last I got a weblog from where I be able to really obtain helpful information regarding my study and knowledge.

    • back pain treatment

      Wonderful blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any suggestions? Cheers!

    • diabetic nephropathy

      I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this website. I am hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal site now 😉

    • Nice post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Very helpful info specifically the final part 🙂 I take care of such info much. I was seeking this certain information for a very lengthy time. Thank you and good luck.

    • tips for hair care

      Hi there, You’ve performed an incredible job. I’ll certainly digg it and for my part suggest to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

    • body fitness

      Hello my family member! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and come with approximately all vital infos. I’d like to look more posts like this .

    • weight loss resources

      Great items from you, man. I’ve consider your stuff previous to and you are simply too great. I actually like what you have received here, certainly like what you’re saying and the best way wherein you are saying it. You make it entertaining and you continue to take care of to stay it sensible. I can not wait to learn far more from you. This is actually a wonderful site.

    • Hello there- I am so thrilled I found your blog. I’m really appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and detailed information you provide. It is so incredibly generous with people like you to supply without restraint precisely what many people could possibly have made available for an e book to earn some cash for themselves, specifically since you might have done it if you considered necessary. Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your weblog. You have some really good articles and I feel, if you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to provide some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an e-mail if interested. Regards! BTW, Grab Free Articles For Your Blog & Free Article Marketing Software <<< Here

Comments are closed.